Horns

August 20-24, 2005

Sometimes I just have to give in to my natural urge to make a big project out of a simple job.  There are a lot of things I should do to the car but I was poking around and noticed that the fabric-covered wires from the horn relay to the horns were shedding their insulation.  I could have just wrapped them in electrical tape (it is not like I have not done that before).  But instead I decided to rebuild the horns entirely.

 

I removed the horns and quickly realized they are probably aftermarket units.  the top bracket may have been a stude part but it has been “modified” to fit these horns.  The bottom bracket tying the trumpets together is just a bit of 1/8 steel someone bent to shape.  It looks like they intended to just clamp it on the trumpets with a bolt through the center of the bracket.  That just crushed dents in the thin sheetmetal so instead they welded it on (ugh!)
Here you can see the frayed wire and the modified upper bracket.  There is the remains of a mounting point between the horns that was removed by bending it until it broke.  The main mounting bracket on the right was hacksaw-cut to fit.  There was surface rust on some of the unpainted horn areas but nothing bad.
To separate the horns I had to grind the welds on the shorter horn.  I just left the bracket welded to the longer horn.  You can see how neatly the metal was cut and shaped.
The guts of the horn with the cover removed.   The covers just snap on and did a great job protecting the horn mechanism.  There was some surface rust on the diaphragm so I cleaned that with steel wool and smeared it with a thin cover of grease.   That may have been a mistake but I can always clean it again.
Here is the horn mechanism with a new wire installed.  I re-used the terminal on the end of the wire to make it look more authentic using the same technique I have used before.
I removed the surface rust (and quite a bit of paint) from the external parts of the horns using a rotary wire brush in my drill press.  I then did what I could to make the brackets work better and to straighten dings in the metal.  Just to be extra-anal I then primed the horns and wet-sanded them twice.  Finally I painted them with satin black paint.   When that dried I re-assembled the horns and put them back in the car.
Here they are back in place.  I should have painted the cross member and relay but there is always time for more junk like that later.  In case you were wondering these horns are big, loud, and sound REALLY nice.  The sound is almost like an air horn.  This picture is interesting because you can see the mounting holes for the upper radiator air deflector that is missing from my car.  It is a sort of bowl-shaped part that covers up the horns and forces air coming through the grille (or being sucked in by the fan) to go though the radiator core.  I am searching for one of these but do not have a lot of hope.

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