So You Want a Louder Horn!
Updated February 4, 2014
Fiamm Air Horn
This horn uses a small compressor that supplies air on demand without an accumulator tank. I mounted the compressor on the brackets where the original 2 horns were. I wired the compressor to the existing horn wires. I mounted the horns to the wheel well and routed a short piece of air line from the compressor to the horn. The horn is all Stainless Steel.
Ongaro 4661 Electric Horn
This horn is an electric boat horn; no compressor needed. I wired each horn to one of the pairs of existing horn wires. I mounted the horns to the wheel well. The horn is all Stainless Steel.
I've been told if you want to make it noticeable louder run #12 or #14 wire right from the horn relay directly to the dual trumpets instead of using the existing factory wires.
Siren Speaker Horn
This siren speaker is mounted on the driver's front fender, next to the washer fluid tank.
What you see is the Able2 Products Sho-Me Concealed Siren speaker with ABS plastic horn. The speaker is sheet metal screwed into the plastic.
The speaker is then connected into a 100 watt amplifier that does a yelp/wail/air horn. The package produces about 125-128db at 1 meter distance.
Hadley "Bully" Air Horn
(about $300-$325) from Napa. One thing I found out about the compressor is that it MUST be hooked up directly to a high amperage power block, preferably direct to the battery or to the power block under the hood on the drivers side. A reader burned up 2 compressors that were wired directly to an Ignition power source. This happened because the compressor was running on too little voltage.
If you want the compressor to be activated only when the ignition is on wire the ignition to a relay and power the compressor from a high amperage source such as a power block or directly to the battery through a fuse.
You can mount the horns in the wheel wells or transversely down by the front bumper if you don't have a winch.
This is the hadley holding tank. I mounted it on the splash shield opposite the battery.
This is the Hadley compressor which is mounted right next to the battery. The compressor didn't last a year here. From what I've seen the Hadley compressors are not very good in the elements. I'd find a good place to mount it high and dry or even inside the truck.
I'm actually looking for another brand replacement compressor. All I think you need is a 12 volt air inflator compressor. I've got a compressor out of a Lincoln for the air suspension and I plan on hooking it up when I have some free time.
Showing the Bully horn mounted behind the grille.
Alpex Big Blast
The Alpex horns look to be the same as the FIAMM horns. The compressor looks the same. I installed the Alpex Big Blast Horns and the Hadley Bully system on my 04 H1 and thought I'd share with you all in case you want more sound under that horn button.
System 1- Italian Alpex Big Blast model, single air input, powered by 1 Alpex compressor (no air tank), installed on driver side wheel well. Its a good measure louder than the factory horn with slightly lower tone (2 tones). The 04s already have a good horn (double electric FIAMM) but the Alpex is over 3dB louder with a more deep tone. Blipping the horn produces a very unique sound as with many air horns.
System 2- Alpex Big Blast 2 separate air inputs powered by 2 Alpex compressors (same type as in System 1), on Battery side wheel well. This system is louder than System 1 by at least 12dB, my goodness, its quite loud indeed. To get an idea about the dB estimate, every 3dB increase is perceptible by the ear. System 2 is quite uncomfortable to listen to when near the truck, not in it but standing outside.
System 3- Hadley Bully Big Blast chrome model with Hadley 850 compressor and 300psi limit tank, this one was most difficult to install, the horn and tank resides behind the winch in front of the diff. Compressor is strapped to the CTIS compressor, this system is traditional and sounds much lower in tone than the Alpex. Because of the traditional setup, it "Toots" very controllable and "wails" like there is no tomorrow. It hurts your ear if standing nearby.
I have switches under the hood to switch either of the 3 systems in or out, this offers some control from noise law infringement.
Get this! When I switch Systems 1 and 2 in simultaneously, I better be in the truck with windows up. When I run System 3 in line with system 1 and 2 (1,2,3 together!) I better just wear hearing protection and make sure that I am in the open and away from pedestrians.
So how does the Bully sound with the Alpex? Very harmonious!
The factory horn is also switchable in line with the new systems, but because its electric, it comes on first and has the highest tones which clash with the air horn sounds, so that is not preferable to me.
Installation notes: Hose clamps for heavy parts like the Bully horn and compressor and tank, spade connectors, auto wire stripping tools, dielectric grease on all connections, Solder main power connections, velcro, cable ties
Cost: Bully= $250, Alpex $80 each, install tools and supplies $100. Total= $510
Time: Bully (lots of air fittings, hard to find space for all components)= 9 hours total (split between 4 evenings), Alpex Single compressor (4 hours), Alpex dual compressor (5 hours), total time for all systems= 18 hours wow!
If I had to choose one, I'd choose the Bully as it is closest to the big rig and train horns.
All Electric Horn Siren
This setup uses a Unitrol amplifier and a high output horn fed by a sound generator that produces various sirens and horns. This is the kind of equipment that the police and fire use.
Military Air Horns
We have installed a number of these military air horns on Hummers and they work great. They are VERY loud. The details: The horn is the military stock air horn used on deuces, 5 tons and up. It is small, only about 10-12 inches long and has dual trumpets. It has an attached electric valve that works fine on 24 or 12 volts and includes a mounting bracket. It is designed for low air pressure and volume. 30-40 pounds pressure works great. Your tires and CTIS system become the tank. There is NO extra tanks, compressors etc needed. We usually mount the horn on the right side on the splash panel above the upper control arm with the trumpets facing forward and down so the sound is not obstructed much. Truck air brake line is used and runs back to the CTIS check valve into a T that is placed on the side of the valve away from the compressor. The wiring for the control valve is simply tied into the existing horn circuit which is right there. When you blow the horn you get both the electric horns and the added air horns. You can blow the horns a lot before you have to pump up a little with the CTIS. The only thing to remember is these do NOT sound like a semi truck air horn with their deep loud blast. They are a high pitched squeaky sounding air horn which is very very loud but designed not to use a lot of air. Anyone who has been in the Army and heard a 5 ton M818 or M923 blow its horn knows the sound. It does not sound like a Kenworth. It sounds like a mil air horn. If that is OK with you it is a cheap and easy project that makes your hummer sound like a 5 ton tractor coming.
Mfg of Armored Cars
If anyone is interested we have armoring customers who wanted something even louder than this (for security reasons, not for typical traffic reasons) and we came up with a low cost solution that is measured at 192db at 1 meter. It can be heard clearly for over a mile and is driven by 240 watts. It is way louder than a train horn.
I think it's a bit too much for recreational fun. We developed this product for use as a deterrent to kidnapping in Colombia. It will damage your hearing a close distances. Technically, it is a 6" X 9" weatherproof speaker that is tested to 200 watts, coupled with a 6" X 9" X 2" 240 watt amplifier mounted under the passenger seat, and a voice/siren driver that has 4 channels. Typically two handle voice recordings, and two carry prerecorded sounds (industrial horn or air horn and siren). Two switches or buttons activate each of the voice messages interspersed with the air horn or siren sound. Not complicated and very, very effective in eliminating assaults on the road. Sort of the same principal of what we did in Vietnam with the huge speakers on the Hughy's blasting rock n roll before an attack. Scared the crap out of the enemy.
Franco's Air horn.
This unit has a separate compressor and large air tank mounted in the rear wheel well.
Air Tank in Rear Wheel Well
Compressor by the rear fuel fill line