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99 Escort - horn switch problem

08-12-2005, 12:09 AM
Horn switch gets stuck sometimes. Has anybody ever repaired the horn switch in 99 (or newer) Escort? The switch is almost in the center of the airbag. I'm not sure if it can be repaired or maybe I have to replace the whole airbag module?

08-12-2005, 10:51 AM
It can be repaired but you will need to disable the air bag system to do it since you will need to remove the air bag to get to the switch. I recommend you take it to a mechanic to have it repaired if you are not familiar with the air bag system.

08-12-2005, 03:00 PM
Yes, I know, but I need more details how to do this. If I don't feel comfortable with this, I will go to the mechanic. I know all safety precautions when working with airbags. I'm not trying to play with it until I have all details and feel confident enough.

08-12-2005, 05:21 PM
Try your local library and see if they have a Mitchell manual for your car. They are more detailed than haynes and may provide the info you need.

08-13-2005, 08:41 AM
I checked the chiltons manual that I have and it does not discuss the replacement. Sorry!

08-13-2005, 10:04 AM
Maybe just unhook the wire going up your steering column and put a push button switch somewhere.

08-13-2005, 08:05 PM
I found Mitchell in my local library, but pretty old and it doesn't describe anything regarding horns. Probably I would need different one.
Yes, I have already put a pushbutton on the dashboard, but this is temporary workaround and I don't like it. Also, I was thinking about using cruise control switches for this purpose, but now I'm waiting with this hoping that I will be able to fix the switch.
Even if I know how to get to the switch, will I be able to fix it? In cars without airbag, the switch consists of copper contacts, but in airbag it may be something different, kind of membrane switch.
If I have time, I will visit my mechanic next week to get quote for the repair. I found in the internet that someone had the same problem and was given option to fix the switch for $300 or put a separate pushbutton for $100. Personally, I think that the repair shouldn't take more than one hour (remove airbag, get to the switch, fix it, put everything together and install airbag) and $300 is way too much.

08-14-2005, 08:02 PM
There is one little picture of a horn just below the center of the airbag and I could push anywhere in the vincinity of this horn. There is no clearly defined area on the airbaig cover to be pushed. '97 Escort looks the same as '99 model and the airbag looks the same too. Could you please tell me the procedure?

08-15-2005, 07:22 PM
I really appreciate your help, but there is not enough details in the procedure you mentioned.
Step #5 - Which are those two screws? There are four in the back of the airbag module (around the circle part in the center), three at the bottom side and also three rivets at the top side. It looks like the screws at the bottom and rivets at the top hold the cover too.
Step #6 - "the steering wheel pad horn switch", is this something that can be repaired or do I replace it? I couldn't find it on-line as a part I could buy separately.

08-16-2005, 06:34 PM
I see that person that offered help deleted his posts when I started asking detailed questions...
Anybody else that knows more details and willing share their knowledge?
Anybody that actually did this by himself?

08-24-2005, 11:52 AM
my girlfriends did that what you have to do is disable the airbag system then remove the steering wheel cover by those 2 bolts behind the steering wheel. when you remove the cover you'll see the contacts that need to touch in order for the horn to blow. what has happened is that the contacts grew old and kinda fell together so theyre touching at all times. you have to grind them down a tad so that they do not touch. there are three of them.

08-27-2005, 07:23 AM
You cannot buy a horn switch at a dealer - they tell you that the horn switch is part of the airbag assembly, which cost $450 plus. Understandably, Ford doesn't want people "messing around" with airbags. Go to a junk yard - you can eazily find and remove the horn switch from an Escort who's airbags have already deployed. I bought two of them for $5. Identify and remove the junkyard horn switch by reading step 7 below. This is an eazy fix if you follow these instructions. Should take about 10 minutes. I replaced my "stuck" 97 Escort horn switch as follows...
1) Disconnect negative battery cable, wait for at least 1/2 hour for residual power discharge before proceeding to net step (IMPORTANT!). This will disable the airbag. Neglecting this step could cause serious injury or death!
2) Remove two 10mm bolts directly behind the steering wheel - one on left, one on right. These secure the airbag unit.
3) carefully lift the airbag unit out of the steering wheel.
4) remove two small star-screws at bottom of airbag unit using star end screw driver - the horn wires enter the airbag unit next to these screws
5) pry the airbag cover (this is the front part of the steering wheel cover with the horn picture on it) off of the plastic tabs of the airbag unit, on the left & right sides - should come off very eazily.
6) now you can lift the airbag cover up (there are three rivets that continue to hold the top portion of the cover in place)
7) the horn switch, which is covered by a thin layer of dark foam, is a very thin plastic pad with two wires coming out (same wires as step 4). You can see wafer thin copper strips inside the plastic. The switch is held in place by three small plastic tabs. Remove the switch and disconnect the wires at the red connector inside the steering wheel.
8) replace horn switch with junkyard switch
9) re-assembly is the reverse of the removal.
This procedure should apply to 97 through 2002 Escorts. Hope this helps someone save some money.

08-28-2005, 08:56 PM
OK, I'll try it. Thanks a lot!

02-19-2006, 12:14 AM
I couldn't find any matching Escorts in local junk yards, so I gave up and replaced the whole airbag module.
Thanks everyone for help anyway.

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