95-97 80 series, 96 and 97 LX450 "clock spring assembly" [84306-24010] install (AKA "why isn't my late 80 series airbag or horn working etcetera?")

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Apr 9, 2017
so thanks a lot to everyone that was able to help on this one. my symptoms were a non-working horn and a couple of months ago i accidentally bought the $10 brass plunger deal with the spring on it which is for the earlier 80. so i tore it apart and got to the clock spring and had to back out.
this part is a high of $575 at NAPA, $450 at stealership, and a low of $200 at Amayama. it also appears some vendors like Amayama and NAPA show a drawing with control stalks included that don't look like what i have on my 97 lexus. so this was an added degree of difficulty.
the lowdown is you pull the two T27 torque screws for the airbag. these are a massive pain. i think i got a little magnet to get them out the first time. second time i pried one out and left the other one in there and just pulled the airbag and left one in its little plastic bucket thing.
you have to disconnect the battery before you pull the airbag or it will probably blow up in your face. i put a towel between the removed leads to the battery and the battery poles. this way i don't worry about the leads accidentally making contact with the poles. i actually closed the hood because i had to work on this a second day and it's just easy knowing the battery is "removed".
one video says to make sure you ground yourself a couple times so you don't have static electricity when touching the airbag. probably a good idea. also FSM says to keep the airbag upright with the metal facing down for obvious reasons. also it says to keep it out of heat. i put a canvas tarp under it when moving it and a carpet mat on top of it.
so two T27 torx screws. then a 19mm for the capture but for the steering wheel. muscle but don't hammer the wheel off. 12 and 6 and 3 and 9 and just keep working it. someone said to get your knees up under it which is not a bad idea.
before you do that mark with paint the steering column or whatever it is and the splined area at the wheel. i also did two more marks with one on the steering wheel and one on the cowling because i wasn't totally sure what was getting removed.
remove rhe white clip that connector for the airbag to the clock spring.
now you are looking at the clock spring.
you need to now remove the cowling around the steering column. two pieces with two lower short bolts that go into sheet metal and two longer upper bolts that go into the upper piece of the cowling. when you put it back on put the lower piece in first and screw the two short bolts into the sheet metal. then place the upper plastic cowling loosely, shove one of the long screws up into the lower cowling and then just align the upper cowling and screw that in while you can see everything so you can align it.
now remove the plastic cowling at the knees. just leave it hanging. i put the screws back in so i don't lose them.
then remove the sheet metal. same deal with the bolts.
use a scissor and snip the zip tie. unravel the electrical tape.
now you need to unhook the black plastic clip. it has three little nubs. i think they all went backward. i used a pointed awl to pry the nubs and a small flathead to try to keep it open while i was working the others. super fidgety.
now you need to unhook the old clock spring from the connector buried back there. this is also super fidgety but it is two clips in back and two in front.
the new clock spring comes "clocked" with a little white clip. this is because there is a wire wrapped around in there. in this case i believe it is wrapped around 6 times. or maybe it is 12. anyway it says 6 on the clock spring. you can see that there are marks that show it is aligned dead center when you buy it and when you take it out (if the PO or your mechanic didn't f*** this up).
it's not as big a deal as some people seem to think if you lose dead center. you just gently wind or undoing it clockwise or counterclockwise and gently go all the way to the "end". then go the other way to the other end. count the revolutions. then go back to half way. if you want to be super careful go all the way past half while counting and then come back to half way.
the issue is you don't want to install it if it is not half way since you will start breaking the wires when you fully turn the wheel.
where was i? so i put some plumbers tape i the one that came off just to keep it dead center since i will probably sell it for parts.
i cleaned up the grunge in there with a q tip and some compressed air.
new one goes in. there is a white clip keeping it dead center and some plugs protecting the harnesses. leave the white locator plug in until just before you out the airbag on.
there is a sort of disk with a large rectangular boss type area and a small
rectangular inset. just align the clock spring so the harness area will fit into the assembly and turn the disk to fit the alignment of the clock spring.
plug the clock spring into the harness all the way in the back and clip it in.
then set the harness into that black clip and clip it back closed.
the harness on the new clock spring is about six inches longer than the old one. i gently bundled it up where the original zip tie was and gently zip tied it up.
then i put that piece of electrical tape back in for good measure.
now the steering wheel goes on. thread the harness for the airbag through it. bolt it up with your alignment marks.
plug the white airbag harness back in. plug the clock spring into the airbag.
now secure your torx screws. these really seem to take forever. i think it must be very fine thread.
again big thanks to anyone who got me pointed in the right direction with this one.









Does your horn work now?
lol. better than it did before. it wasn't working at all before. still not perfect though. i just didn't have the heart to troubleshoot it more just yet.
<edit: actually seems to be working fine this morning. maybe it needs to get seated or something? i'll keep an eye on it.>
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Does your horn work now?
so day after putting it in it seemed like it was getting "seated" and it worked at the sides well but the center took some time to kind of start working.
yesterday it worked all day at all times and in all "positions".
this morning i tried it a bunch of times right after starting it and rolling down the road and it was not working no matter where i pushed it. and then a minute or two later it started working fine.
its 42dF here fwiw. something else obviously needs adjusting so i will have so keep my eye on it. but much better then not working at all obviously.

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