Electrical 1990 - 1993 Clockspring Information and Repair

Jul 6, 2021
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Hey all, I am making this post to hopefully gain some insight and spread some knowledge about the clocksprings for the 1990-1993 Mustangs. I posted this same thing to reddit, but not sure if this will gain more traction here.

I have a 1993 LX, and my clockspring gave out a few years ago or so and I haven't made time to sit down and fix it. I have done some reading saying the parts are near impossible to find and that each year model from 1990 to 1993 had a different clockspring. I decided to do a bit more digging. I have found some interesting stuff, including someone being able to retrofit the clockspring from a 1994 Mustang into a 1992. As well, I have read one guy used a Dorman 525-201 Clockspring in a 92 GT, though he did not document this process.
Everything always just yields "buy a used one" or "ditch your airbag steering wheel." I personally am not after airbag functionality, though some might be. I just want the factory horn and cruise control to work again. As well, buying an ebay special clockspring seems a bit sketchy to me. If I'm buying a clockspring off a 1993 Mustang, who is to say it won't crap out like mine already has within a year?

If anyone here has any RELEVANT information, writeups, or documentation about retrofitting different clocksprings to foxbodies, or REPAIRING a clockspring, that would be greatly appreciated. I currently have a document written up with the information I have gathered so far in a google doc, which I will link here. I am very curious how foxbody clocksprings ACTUALLY vary between the years, and if swapping connectors would be all it takes to convert a 90 clockspring to a 93 one. As well, if anyone knows the differences between the 1994 clockspring and the 95-98 ones, we could determine if it would be possible to use one of these on a Foxbody.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KnIxyIWQ4Nc3hCuPtGmHNpRuEbt5koGIahQsCT7Nn18/edit?usp=sharing

Above is the document. If anyone has relevant information and would like to be included in the doc for others to view, that would be awesome. Or if I have some incorrect information in the document, like maybe a wrong part number, let me know and I can fix that! Again, I am not looking to hear about swapping steering wheels, or how bad gen 1 airbags are. I already know this information, I am strictly looking for people who may have had experience repairing OE Clocksprings, retrofitting SN95 clocksprings, or modifying aftermarket clocksprings to fit and work. Thanks.
 
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TIGGER

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I have not had any issues with the clock springs on my SN95's but I have had issues with the one on my mom's 94 Escort GT. I have had to replace that thing 3 times already. I took the last one apart and there is just ribbon cable inside that I saw?. I assume all the turning flexes that ribbon cable and it eventually breaks the internal strands, making no connection. I didn't take it much further but the next time I have to swap it, I will look at it more closely. I assume the Mustang ones are similar. I
 
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ebone84

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I have a 91 GT.... I need a Clocksprings..... so I’ll be watching this thread....:oops::oops::oops:
 
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Jul 6, 2021
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I am very interested in the compatibility with the Dorman 525-201 Clockspring. The user that claimed this to work was last seen online in 2014, so I doubt I will be able to get in touch with him. It does make sense, as the compatibility for this clockspring is listed as 1990-1992, with specific cars listed in the document. It is the same steering wheel and buttons, not sure what is exactly different. He said one of the mounting holes was different, and that he had to use the old connectors.
 

Mustang5L5

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If i had a broken clockspring, i might be inclined to take one apart and see what the failure mechanism is and see if they can be repaired. Not sure anyone's ever tried this before.

Since i have a non-airbag wheel car, airbags are just one area of the Fox i've never felt compelled to do any serious research on unfortunately. Anyone have a busted unit?
 

nickyb

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My airbag light has been flashing for some time now, I grabbed one out of another fox body and swapped them. The light is still flashing, seems it is the airbag module that s hit the bed, haven't swapped that yet but have a spare waiting to do so.I
The flashing light doesn't bother me as my horn and cruise work fine.
I did run across Frank B's write-up and it seems feasible.
 

TIGGER

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If you check continuity from both ends of the clock spring it will tell you if your old clock spring is good or not.
 
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Icemanxxxv

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If you check continuity from both ends of the clock spring it will tell you if your old clock spring is good or not.
I thought I had bad clock spring. Cruise Control and Left side Horn button were inop. Checked for continuity through the clock spring and found 0 ohms resistance through full wheel travel on all wires. It's pretty simple disconnect the harness from below the column and the one in the steering wheel airbag area and shoot the wires. I found a bunch of corrosion in the horn button connector and bad cruise control switches for Set/Accel, Resume, and Coast. I found the switches on the Bay for 35 bucks NOS. Cleaned the connector for the horn and away we go. No clock springs were harmed in the process;)
 
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For everyone still watching this thread, I have a Dorman 525-201 coming from O'Reileys soon. My old man has been working on these things for years, and I'm about to graduate as an Electrical Engineer. If I can't figure this out, then those other guys who got it to work are literal geniuses. I will keep you all posted, and update the forum as well as the google doc with the information.
 
Jul 6, 2021
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I thought I had bad clock spring. Cruise Control and Left side Horn button were inop. Checked for continuity through the clock spring and found 0 ohms resistance through full wheel travel on all wires. It's pretty simple disconnect the harness from below the column and the one in the steering wheel airbag area and shoot the wires. I found a bunch of corrosion in the horn button connector and bad cruise control switches for Set/Accel, Resume, and Coast. I found the switches on the Bay for 35 bucks NOS. Cleaned the connector for the horn and away we go. No clock springs were harmed in the process;)
I haven't even pulled my steering wheel yet, but those connectors will 100% be checked. But when both horn buttons, cruise, and airbag all go out at about the same time, and the fuse for the horn pops immediately, that kinda tells me that there is a short somewhere, most likely within the clockspring itself.
 
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To the people still following this, the Dorman 525-201 does work in my 1993. This required quite a bit of modification, but overall it is actually a very straightforward process. I have not driven the car yet because I have my upper intake manifold pulled and I'm about to pull the lower sometime this week to install a 93 Cobra intake manifold. However, this restored the horn to working status, and I have no doubt that the cruise control works as well. The center slipped over the steering wheel mount just like the factory one, but it did require different screws, and I had to tap another hole because only 2/3 of the holes lined up.

Electrically speaking, this was just a matter of splicing the old connectors onto the Dorman unit. I didn't even have to use wiring diagrams; it was as easy as looking at which wires were in what spot on the factory unit and matching them to the Dorman. There is a ground wire on the dorman that you have to move from the backside to the front to make a solid ground with how the unit mounts slightly different, but again, nothing crazy.

I will be updating the google doc here soon with pictures and loose instructions just to preserve it a bit better than trying to make a whole write up on stangnet.
 
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Document is currently updated with instructions and images to follow along. The key takeaway is that the pintouts are exactly the same, and the colors coming out the front are the same ones coming out the back. So as long as you splice the old connectors onto the new clockspring, this process is not too difficult. As always, disconnect the battery before working, and you may want to loosely make the connection with electrical tape and test the horn before you solder it all together.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KnIxyIWQ4Nc3hCuPtGmHNpRuEbt5koGIahQsCT7Nn18/edit

I also attached a PDF of just my instructions in case google docs decides to not work for some reason. If you have any questions just feel free to reply in this thread.
 

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7991LXnSHO

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Any idea what causes them to fail and how to avoid it? To me, it’s an important part that should have replacements available.
 
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Any idea what causes them to fail and how to avoid it? To me, it’s an important part that should have replacements available.
My guess is just old brittle wires that eventually come apart. I would bet turning the wheel to full lock and applying pressure makes it even worse.

Personally, my clockspring went little by little. First the airbag, then the cruise, then the horn, all over the course of about a week or so.
 
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7991LXnSHO

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The OEM clock spring on my 91 SHO lasted no more than 9 years. So I am glad you figured out a replacement for the Mustangs. Thanks!
 
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Middleagecrisis

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Document is currently updated with instructions and images to follow along. The key takeaway is that the pintouts are exactly the same, and the colors coming out the front are the same ones coming out the back. So as long as you splice the old connectors onto the new clockspring, this process is not too difficult. As always, disconnect the battery before working, and you may want to loosely make the connection with electrical tape and test the horn before you solder it all together.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KnIxyIWQ4Nc3hCuPtGmHNpRuEbt5koGIahQsCT7Nn18/edit

I also attached a PDF of just my instructions in case google docs decides to not work for some reason. If you have any questions just feel free to reply in this thread.
Thanks for taking the time to write-up these instructions! I've got a flashing airbag light on my 93, but the cruise and horn work fine. I've already replaced the airbag module when I had the dash apart for a heater core replacement, didn't solve the problem. This may be my next attempt.
 
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Thanks for taking the time to write-up these instructions! I've got a flashing airbag light on my 93, but the cruise and horn work fine. I've already replaced the airbag module when I had the dash apart for a heater core replacement, didn't solve the problem. This may be my next attempt.
You know what code it is throwing? It very well can be a multitude of things and the clockspring is certainly one of them.