Saturday, August 1, 2009

lincoln ls, clockspring removal

clock spring air bag

Complete Clock Spring Replacement (PICS)

I took the time to get the entire process in pictures complete with exact
tools. First and foremost, make sure the battery is disconnected. Attach the
two battery cables together. It helps to drain any residual voltage in the car
and prevent any accidental connections with the battery terminals.

small flat head screwdriver

Phillips #2 screwdriver

Rachet with 7,8,13 mm sockets and a 3-4" extension

2 torx bit sockets T25 and T50

Differential Bearing Puller vvv These guys vvv

You are also going to need the proper socket to turn the bolt on the pullers.

Ok tools gathered, and battery voltage gone, lets start working.

1) Remove two plugs on steering wheel back cover. They might be a bit of a
pain, but a small flat head can do it, just be patient.

2) Using the 8mm socket, remove the two air bag retaining bolts from behind
the plugs. The air bag module should start to slide out on its own. You can
pull it off the steering wheel, but dont yank on it. There is still the air
bag connector which needs to be removed.

3) Slide the yellow tab towards back towards the wires and sqeeze the two
small black square tabs into the clip. I used both hands since they are so
small. When the clips are pushed together the connector can be pulled straight
back away from the module. Once off, you can go put the air bag somewhere
safe, remember to keep the Lincoln Star facing up

4) Remove the push pins from the bottom of the dash front, then pull of the
cover enough to disconnect the wires for the trunk release and fuel door.

5) Using the 7mm socket, remove the two screws holding the hood release in
place (i used a nut driver with the socket on it but the ratchet will work

6) Using the flat head screw driver (pliers would work well too) pry the two
push pins from the instrument insulator panel. Pull the panel most of the way
out, then remove the light by twisting counter clock wise.

7) Remove the 8mm screw holding the heater duct in place, then pull the heater
duct towards the drivers door and out.

8) This step is in the Ford instructions, but I dont know the reasoning. I did
it, but I think it doesnt make a difference either way. Just under the center
console speaker is two 13mm bolts. Loosen but dont remove them cause they
arent fun to line back up in the holes. You will need to pull the carpet back
to access these bolts.

9) Remove the 5 screws in the steering column opening reinforcement panel.
Four of them are 8mm, and the one just to left of the steering column is 7mm.

OK, we are moving along nicely. Before you get any further make sure your
front wheels are straight and the steering wheel is centered. This is
important and without it the clock spring may not line up correctly.

10) There is four T25 torx screws in the steering wheel holding the horn
actuator on. Remove those bolts, but be careful, there is a spring behind each
one. Dont lose them. Gently move the green circuit card down and out of the
way. You can unplug the wires if you want, but its not neeed and the plugs are
pretty small. The big white connector in the center of the circuit board does
need to be removed.

11) Remove the steering wheel by first using the T50 torx socket to remove the
center bolt. It may be easier to have someone hold the steering wheel while
you break it free, but I got it free myself so a helper isnt necessary. Then
install the fingers of the bearing puller on the top and bottom of the
steering wheel frame. The center bolt on the puller should line up and fit
right where torx bolt went. If it does, then tighten the bolt down until the
steering wheel pops free. If it doesnt, then thread the torx back in a few
turns and center the puller bolt on it. Its more of a pain since the torx bit
will spin with the puller bolt. I only have a picture of the pullers on the
torx bolt, but i took it out before cranking down on the puller bolt.

12) Remove the two screws in the bottom of the steering column with a #2
phillips screwdriver, and pull down on the bottom part of the column. There
are plastic clips inside there, but I just pulled and it came free.

By now you should have clear access to the clock spring and all the
connectors. Everything is done by hand from her out.

13) There are four clips holding the clock spring cylinder to the steering
wheel controls such as the wiper controls. First pull the two boxes straight
towards you and off the steering shaft. Then with your fingers (or a
screwdriver) pry the clips free so the clock spring comes free.

14) Remove all the connectors that go to/from the clock spring box (dont worry
about the wires on the cylinder)

cut the white wire tie in this picture to remove the long flat connector

15) Now you just have the four clips on the corners of the clock spring
holding it to the dash. Get the top two off and the bottom two will follow.

Ok, now the removal procedure is done. The new clock spring will have a
plastic key to keep it from rotating on you. Reverse the removal procedures
but wait until the clock spring cylinder is on the steering column before
pulling it off.


  1. You are AWESOME.

    I just followed your instructions step by step and replaced the malfunctioning clockspring on my 2000 Lincoln LS.

    I skipped the puller and just yanked on the steering wheel with the torx-50 bolt halfway in as instructed on another site.

    Start to finish: 2 hours.

    Now my horn, radio controls, and hopefully, my airbag system are functioning!!!

    Thanks soooo much.

  2. Your instruction are perfect!

    Start to finished in less than 2hours

    Everything works except can't get the air bag light to reset.

  3. I are AWESOME!!! I wish there would be more posts like this. I also followed the instructions for my 2001 LS. Worked like a charm. Done and done...thanks so very much.

    Don S
    Mississauga Ont., Canada

  4. I are AWESOME. I wish there were other posts like this one showing step by step instructions. Thanks for taking the time. I followed the instructions for my 01 LS and now it's fixed.
    Thanks so very much.

    Mississauga Ont., Canada

  5. Anyone know where I can buy a new/used clockspring for a lincoln ls? I need to replace mine asap. Looking forward to some response. Thanks in advance

  6. You can go to a shop that has a good scanner and they will most likely reset the light for free. no, autozone will not work, i said a good scanner.


  8. Your instructions were exact and for a novice to complete the remove and reistall in 2 hours was amazing. Now I ask the same for removing the sunroof assembly, I found a company with the rail replacement parts just need to know how to do it. Thanks a million Chris

  9. Great Instructions!! Removed my old clockspring and installed the new with no problems whats so ever. My horn works now, radio adjustment work right again, and I now have cruise controll once again!!! Thanks for the help, and for anyone looking to change theirs follow these instructions and it will be a easy fix!!

  10. These instructions were excellent. I was able to replace the unit in under two hours and now everything works fine. I also found help on the Internet for an error code 32 for the air bag system. One of the wires to the yellow connector under the driver seat had broken off. Soldered it back together and now there are no error lights on the console.

  11. What is the part number for the clockspring? Any reccomendation on where to purchase one?

  12. your instructions were very helpful. my horn and airbag are both operational again. thanks!

  13. Just replaced the clockspring in my 2000 LS and your instructions were spot on, I just kept my laptop next to me the whole time. The only issue I had was I thought I had a T50 bit and didn't so make sure you have one before you take your car apart!

    Also, Autozone will rent you some attachment pullers to get the steering wheel off. They charge you full price, but refund it when you bring them back, so it's free!

  14. Thanks! Very easy to follow instructions. Done in under an hour. Went so well I was looking around for parts wondering what I forgot. Everything worked perfect.

  15. Thanks for the instructions. Normally, I will tackle anything...this article gave me the extra push to tackle this project. All controls are functioning now, and that blasted airbag light is OFF! I did *almost" booger up the threads on the steering shaft with the puller. That would have been bad.

  16. Thanks for the blog post. I just fixed my wife's car a 2001 LS V8. The horn had stopped working 2 weeks before the inspection was due so I had to get this fixed quickly. I did not have the torx wrenches and used channel pliers instead on the T25 screws. For the T50 I used a chisel and hammer to knock it free. I also did not have a puller for steering wheel, but just pull off the steering wheel by hand. If possible it is best to stick to these instruction and use proper tools whenever possible.

    After taking everything apart I did find a damaged wire that I repaired with electrical tape. I also reset as many of the connectors as possible and then put everything back together. I also cleaned the contact points for horn as well. Although I'm not sure if that actually did anything, but now the horn works and the airbag did not explode in my face. So I get to save $150 I would have spent on a new clockspring assembly.

    1. Thanks for your instructions. I followed your instructions step by step and it was childs play. The horn works again, and I can amuse myself with the radio controls when driving gets boring.

      One suggestion is to spray WD 40 on the steering shaft and the wheel will wiggle off with minimal persuasion. Remove the centre bolt before spraying the WD 40.

      Everything now works like new.

  17. Thanks very much for these step by step directions, they were awesome. I was able to walk from step to step with ease!

  18. Thank you! Your instructions and photos are lifesavers. Much better than the Ford manual.