Volusiano
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:22 am

I finished installing the Stebel Compact air horn (same one Randy bought). Just want to drop a few tips here to share from my experience with rookie mistakes. I managed to drop the nut and bolt that came with the horn while trying to put it on (very easy to drop those), and the nut fell into the radiator well. Once it's fallen in there, it's very hard to get out. Took me a LONG time to try to get it out. Finally the thing that worked was to have it seen in between the 2 layers of radiator, then put in a long skinny stick with a big glob of duct tape at the end to stick to it and fish it out. To prevent this in the first place, maybe line the bottom with a sheet and cover up the radiator so the nut can't fall into its cracks in the first place.

You better have a different, stronger bracket for the Stebel horn ready, because the OEM bracket is very flimsy. I got lucky I found something in my garage to use. But I wasn't prepared at all with a new/good bracket. If you don't have your own custom bracket, there's actually a nearby bracket built-in just to the right and a little bit more to the front that's part of the Nissan chassis. You can try to see if that one is usable for your horn or not. It wasn't usable for me because the hole is too small for the bolt I need for my horn.

After installing the horn, I tried it out and only got the high tone. I had to read the manual again and it says the horn must be within 15 degrees of being vertical. So I kinda had to straighten it out by force on the bracket. But after it's kinda straight enough, then I got both the low tone and high tone.
Last edited by Volusiano on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Herm
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Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:56 am

Any thoughts about putting the original horn on a separate circuit so that you can still alert pedestrians without giving them a heart attack?

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Randy
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Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:31 am

To Volusiano and others,
If this helps...I used a different more stiff "L-bracket" when installing my Stebel because otherwise the horn is too wobbly on the stock bracket. I had a 2" Stanley L-bracket that I drilled out and used. You can install the bolt and nut for the horn on the bracket outside the car and then install it inside the car using the single bolt to attach it where the previous bracket went.

The horn can then be attached to its own nut/bolt by dropping it on top of its loosened bolt/nut and tightening it to secure it (it doesn't have to go through a hole in the horn but actually clamps to the horn top).

Using the new L-bracket made the horn much stiffer and less prone to bobbing on the thinner bracket that the old horn was mounted to....

There's only one horn switch on the steering wheel, so if you wanted to keep the original horn you would have to rig up a second switch...

rawhog
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Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:38 am

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Last edited by rawhog on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Randy
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Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:55 am

Sorry, rawhog, but it isn't practical to go from underneath unless you have a way of raising up the front wheels off the ground (and I don't)...I did scope it out, but there just isn't enough clearance for me to get under there when the car isn't raised; not to mention it isn't that great for your back if you have to lay on a creeper or on the concrete floor...I would do it from the top if I had to do it over again...

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LEAFer
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Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:24 am

Herm wrote:Any thoughts about putting the original horn on a separate circuit so that you can still alert pedestrians without giving them a heart attack?

That's a great idea ! But ... how do you activate it ?
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TangoKilo
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Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:51 am

Dropping nuts, bolts, washers, etc. is the age old bane of any mechanic. I always have a telescoping magnet to retrieve the errant part... It is however, easier to change the horn from the underside of the car. use quality ramps...

GroundLoop
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Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:10 am

If you use one of the Nautilus horns, they have an integrated motor air-pump and air horn.

The upshot is that it doesn't come on right away. On my motorcycle, a quick "toot" activates just the stock whimpy motorcycle horn.. enough for "Hi There, or 'scuse me."

If I hold the horn for more than a brief tap, the Nautilus spins up and asserts itself in a more assertive/vulgar way. :)

So, built-in delay by having a combination of mechanical buzzer and air horn. Highly recommended. Relay required.

Volusiano
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:59 pm

Randy wrote:Sorry, rawhog, but it isn't practical to go from underneath unless you have a way of raising up the front wheels off the ground (and I don't)...I did scope it out, but there just isn't enough clearance for me to get under there when the car isn't raised; not to mention it isn't that great for your back if you have to lay on a creeper or on the concrete floor...I would do it from the top if I had to do it over again...
I have the ramp but since I could just put the coolant box out of the way easily without having to disconnect the hoses, I decided to approach it from the top because I don't like having to get up and down all the times and work on my back from the bottom. I'd say either approaches have advantages and drawbacks. If you don't have the ramp then I agree the top approach is probably easier.

You can easily drop your nuts and bolts from the bottom just as well. It's just that if they land on the floor then it's more easily retrievable if you're at the bottom. But if you manage to drop them inside the radiator well like I did (which can happen just as easily even if you work from the bottom), you cannot retrieve it from the bottom. You can only retrieve it from the top like I did, which means you gotta go through the trouble of opening up from the top as well. The lesson learned is to use something to cover up the radiator side so nothing can fall into it in the first place.

By the way, the wiring kit is worth the $20 I paid for it for the convenience of not having to build one up.

On the horn, I wish it had come with a tube to cover the air intake. I don't have any one handy that fits so now I have to go find one.

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leafnode
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Delivery Date: 19 May 2011
Leaf Number: 0742
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: DIY Horn Upgrade Mod - Updated

Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:38 am

leafnode wrote:After a week and a half of ownership, today I almost got taken out by motorhome drifting into my lane! I laid on the horn, and to my surprise, I couldn't hear it, let alone the knucklehead motorhome driver!

I'm now researching horn upgrade options and will soon have this pitiful stock horn replaced! Yikes!


So I finally selected and installed the horn upgrade. Went with an Italian compact electric air horn from http://www.griotsgarage.com

Sounds great!

Installation was a breeze from the bottom; no lift or Jack's required. In fact, you don't even have to completely removed the bottom cover to get enough access o to the horn.

Here's a link to hear how it sounds - http://www.griotsgarage.com/text/sounds ... ctHorn.mp3

Cheers
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