Sparks in Steering Column. Electrical Problems? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Sparks in Steering Column. Electrical Problems?

Hey VMF,

I've been having an issue with my car which I think started from when I saw sparks in the steering wheel column. Before this my car would start with the key and the radio would work fine but ever since I saw the sparks (and occasionally hear some electricity crackling noises) but now that stopped working. I cannot turn on the key with the key, I turn the key all the way and I nothing happens. The lights turns on, the radio turns on, the fan turns on but no noise from the engine where I turn the key.

Another problem I am facing is my radio constantly turning off and on when I am driving. I noticed this especially happens when I hit a bump or when I am making a turn (left or right). And today as I was pulling out of the drive thru I heard some electric crackling in the steering where column and the car turn off. The only reason I am still able to drive it is because I can start the car by connecting the contacts in the starter solenoid.

Any idea why this is happening?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 02:22 AM
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I would definitely look at the wiring in the steering column if that is where the sparking and crackling noise is. It sounds like a wire (positive 12v) is shorting out against metal (ground).

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 02:51 AM
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I would start by pulling the steering wheel and inspecting the horn slip ring and brushes. As "emergency" equipment, the horn circuit is unfused and has constant battery power, even with the ignition off. Unfortunately, this means that a short in the steering column can wreak havoc on your entire electrical system. Make sure you disconnect the battery before doing anything!

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 06:51 AM
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What steering wheel do you have?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:25 AM
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What steering wheel do you have?
IE, is it a GRANT? In which case a non-functioning horn and occasional sparks are considered normal.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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What steering wheel do you have?
I have the one in the picture. Not sure what kind it is though.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 04:17 PM
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When this happened to me, the horn ring was coming into contact with one of the connections on the hazard switch. Make sure all the pin bodies are flat and below the plastic cover that should be on the switch.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by luiscovar View Post
I have the one in the picture. Not sure what kind it is though.
HmmmÖ Not seeing a picture.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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HmmmÖ Not seeing a picture.
Sorry, forgot to attach picture.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 02:09 AM
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Sorry, forgot to attach picture.
That there's a Grant, and if the horn/hub bits look something like these they are notorious for causing fires.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 08:37 AM
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It's not the Grant steering wheel that's the problem- it's the Grant hub/horn kit that causes the sparks and fires. Get yourself a GT Performance hub/horn kit.


https://gtperformance.net/product/10...tall-hub-ford/
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 08:51 PM
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I have a Grant. I installed a horn button under the dash and took the horn pins out of the hub. Had one catch fire once.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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It's not the Grant steering wheel that's the problem- it's the Grant hub/horn kit that causes the sparks and fires. Get yourself a GT Performance hub/horn kit.


https://gtperformance.net/product/10...tall-hub-ford/
Thanks, I’ll probably end up buying this and replacing it. Hopefully that fixes the problem. Will a replacement also fix the issue where I can’t start the car with the key? Or does the problem go beyond that?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 10:30 PM
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Thanks, Iíll probably end up buying this and replacing it. Hopefully that fixes the problem. Will a replacement also fix the issue where I canít start the car with the key? Or does the problem go beyond that?
That sounds like the ignition switch to me... or the connector. Get under the dash and look for the fat yellow wire and make sure it's not worn somewhere where it can short. "BIG SMOKE!" was the warning I was given many years ago when I was having similar problems.
I'd turn the key and get nothing. I'd reach behind the ignition switch, move the "fat yellow wire" a little, turn the key again and the car would start.
Replaced the ignition switch and it's been good ever since... ever since 2006.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 01:26 PM
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On your car, though I don't believe there's an obvious direct connection between the sparks and your starting it is quite obvious you need to attend to the sparking stuff first as it's a fire and safety hazard. Then see is your starting issues are affected or even fixed. It's worth a try. The upgraded adapter should take care of your steering wheel problems.

I like my Grant Signature wheel on my '67 just fine and have no interest in any other. Out of our three Mustangs two have Grants on them and when I get to that point, the third probably will have one too. Grant makes a number of other very nice wheels. But I'll always be right in line to criticize their crummy adapter kits. They're not even funny.
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