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  #1  
Old February 22nd, 2012, 17:18
Joteism Joteism is offline
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Clock Spring Repair

Over the years I've gotten so much useful info from you guys that I thought that the least I could do is post this mini write-up about clock spring repair. I'm sorry about the lengthy back story prior to the actual "write-up".

It all started this past Saturday when I got ready to leave my buddy's house. I turned my steering wheel all the way to the left to pull out of a parking spot and bam - My steering went completely loose and I was unable to turn my wheels in either direction. It was already dark and I was on the side of the street, so I decided to tackle the job the next day. I got it towed home. Long story shorter - After playing with the steering shaft under the hood, I realized that the issue was inside. After taking the plastic and metal covers from underneath the steering wheel, I made a shocking discovery.



My steering column shaft had completely separated from the lower shaft right before the firewall (I have no idea what the part names are, so I'll just describe them to the best of my abilities/knowledge). I also noticed that I was missing a pinch bolt that's supposed to hold the column shaft to the lower shaft. I looked for the bolt all around the inside of the car, but it was nowhere to be found. I was unable to find a parts fiche or a service manual anywhere, so I Initially began to measure the bolt hole/threads to try to find a replacement at Advance Auto, but then I realized that the pinch bolt connecting the other end of the steering shaft (under the hood by the radiator) was the exact same size. So I took that one off and headed to a Jeep dealer. I got the bolt the next day and reconnected the steering column to the rest of the steering shaft.

Here's the bolt in case you ever need one. I'm sure one of those is the part #



In the process of putting everything back together, I made a gruesome discovery. When the steering first went bad, I had spun the steering wheel back and forth, snapping my clock spring. My airbag light was on. The dealer quoted me $350 just for the part, none of the local junk yards had them, and ebay wasn't any better. I had never even heard of the part before, and was amazed that a little piece like that could cost so much. On Jeepforum I read that someone had successfully opened one up and soldered the contact points back together, but there were no pictures or instructions. I had no idea what I'd find inside, but I figured I had nothing to lose, as the part was already busted.

Here's the "write-up". I'm assuming you've already removed your steering wheel and taken off the clock spring.

Do we need a disclaimer? Well, here goes one anyway...

YOU'RE DEALING WITH AN AIRBAG SYSTEM. USE EXTREME CAUTION AND MAKE SURE TO DISCONNECT THE BATTERY'S NEGATIVE TERMINAL FOR AT LEAST 5 MINUTES PRIOR TO REMOVING THE AIRBAG FROM THE STEERING ASSEMBLY. THIS DEACTIVATES THE AIRBAG "TRIGGER" SYSTEM ON 97-01 XJs - I DON'T KNOW ABOUT ANY OTHER MODELS. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INJURY SUSTAINED AS A RESULT OF YOU ATTEMPTING TO FIX YOUR CLOCK SPRING AS PER THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW. THIS WRITE-UP IS PURELY FOR INSTRUCTIONAL PURPOSES AND I'M IN NO WAY A PRO. DON'T ATTEMPT THIS IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT YOUR SKILLS.

Guys, go easy on my soldering skills. I'm using a $12 Radioshack soldering iron. It sucked, but got the job "done".

After first opening it up. It uses super small Torx screws. I didn't have one that small, so I used a tiny flat head screwdriver. As you can see, the conductive strip broke off the connector.



The connector part of the clock spring pops right out of the assembly. I just used pliers with a rubber band to prop it up for soldering. You may need to bend the contact points for more comfortable soldering. Be very careful - They seem extremely fragile.



After soldering. Yeah... I got some of the heat on the plastic strip too.



And right before putting it back together.

Knowing that I'd have to center the clock spring prior to reinstall, I twisted it clockwise all the way down until it was tight. Having the cover off helps, so that you know when to stop twisting. Once I knew one end point, I closed the case and twisted it counter clockwise counting each full spin until I reached the other end. I then divided the number of twists by two and went back clockwise by that amount.




You're done. Put it back in your car.


I was so nervous about the airbag deploying or some other crazy thing happening that I actually started the car from the passenger seat. I'm pretty sure I even held my breath in nervousness as I turned the key in the ignition. It friggin' worked! Airbag light is off, horn works, and the cruise control is cruisin' too!

Hope this helps and sorry for wasting my/your time if there's a write-up already out there about this.
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  #2  
Old February 22nd, 2012, 18:22
XJLI XJLI is offline
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Dude this is freaking awesome. I just broke mine last week, definitely doing this instead of buying one.
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  #3  
Old February 22nd, 2012, 18:34
Joteism Joteism is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

Cool - Let me know how it goes. You know, after seeing what's inside, I'm even more baffeled at the price of the part. I mean... It can't cost them more than $5 to manufacture.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 21:50
kevswens20 kevswens20 is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

I wish I would have seen this before pulling a clock spring from the junk yard for 50 dollars!
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  #5  
Old February 24th, 2012, 22:10
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danny Benavidez danny Benavidez is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

Great timing I know what I'll doing next weekend
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  #6  
Old February 24th, 2012, 22:36
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sidewaysstarion sidewaysstarion is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

I opened my clockspring with hopes of fixing it but I found someone had sprayed it with some kind of aerosol grease which thickened up causing the clock spring stick to itself and fold over it self several times before breaking in the middle. Thankfully I was able to get one for fairly cheap from the dealer which came pre-centered.
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  #7  
Old February 25th, 2012, 07:31
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kastein kastein is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

I get em for ten bucks at the pullapart so I have never bothered repairing one, but this is very good work. Thanks for posting it!

I believe sears has a mini driver set with small enough torx to open that properly, though they are just self tappers into plastic so your flat blade trick is good too.
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  #8  
Old February 25th, 2012, 11:29
Joteism Joteism is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

Sideways: I had some thick goo all over the inside too. I imagine it's there to reduce friction. It's pretty strange that it would snap in the middle...
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  #9  
Old February 25th, 2012, 11:40
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sidewaysstarion sidewaysstarion is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

when I opened mine the clock spring was folded up like an accordion and was broken about 2 feet from the end the connects to the wheel. The back in forth motion from the clock spring being folded over itself caused it to break.

I looked around and there was a TSB about not spraying any aerosol oil or grease near the clock spring as it would cause what happened to mine.
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  #10  
Old November 15th, 2014, 15:15
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zr2toxj zr2toxj is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

I know this is almost 3 years old, but that's what makes this site great. Thanks for posting this. It gave me the courage and knowledge to tear mine apart and fix it. I ended up using 2 clock springs to make one. A friend of mine had an old column but it was making a lot of noise. Mine didn't work at all, so I combined them and made a working one.


Mine:


Newish one with bad guides:



So it was a no-brainer to put the pieces together. I guess I'll see how long it lasts, but for now it's working great.
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  #11  
Old February 28th, 2019, 09:14
f_daniel f_daniel is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

Where did you buy the new cable?
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  #12  
Old February 28th, 2019, 09:51
RCP Phx RCP Phx is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by f_daniel View Post
Where did you buy the new cable?
This thread is 7yrs old and the OP hasn't been here in 5yrs!
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  #13  
Old August 9th, 2019, 20:02
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mage mage is offline
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Re: Clock Spring Repair

I just finished soldering. It's ugly but continuity checked out fine.
Install tomorrow. I will check the continuity of the existing unit to be sure I connected the wires correctly. I'm optimistic.

Thanks for this great write up!!!
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