My OBA and train horn instal - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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  #1  
Old 07-12-2011, 08:51 AM
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My OBA and train horn instal

Had wanted to instal a train horn for a while. I wanted to piece it together myself, insted of buying a kit. This way I could customize it for my applications, use, and preferences.

Here's what I came up with, and my write up:
Started with a dead 3-gal compressor, found on Craigs List, for $20. Has drain valve, pressure switch, fittings, regulator, check valve, and is nice an skinny to mount anywhere.


Extract the dead 110V motor/compressor, keep the tank.


Frankenstien mock up of 12V compressor (from Harbor Freight) on tank.


I REALLY REALLY tried to mount the tank/compressor under the truck, but I have Amp Research Steps, which consume ALL the free under the doors. So I settled for an in-bed set up. Which I have come to appreaciate, becuase of security, easy access, and its out of the elements. Sadly, I had to drill holes in my bed. But it fits just perfectly in that little pocket, and there's clearance for my BedSlide to come out. One benifit of bed mounting, is using the rubber feet that came on the tank. So one could say, the compressor/tank is rubber mount isolated!


(this is an older pic, of just OBA setup, before I finished ALL the electrical wiring, and air tubing plumbing to the horns)


I ditched the pressure regulator, but kept the OEM (110V style) ON/OFF tank switch. The switch has 2 outlet fittings on it. One goes to air horns, the other goes to quick-connect fitting for air hose/ air tools, and a schrader fill valve so I can fill up with shop air, or gas station air if needed. Compressor came with a small storage bag, in which I keep 25ft coil hose, tire fill air chuck, air blow gun, and extra fuses.


Now on to the fun part:
United Pacific, 3-chime air-horn from a truck supply company in FL. This is the same horn that trainhornsoftexas.com sells with their kit. (I paid much less)
They are BIG. The long one is 17", the short one is 12".
These are nice looking, well made, cast aluminum, polished. The pic does not do it justice.



They come assembled on a large bracket. I promptly disassembled it all, down to the individual horns. The only bad part about these horns, was that all the air fittings are literally glued in place, with silicone caulk. I guess it didnt matter, becuase the mount bracket does all the work, in keeping them together. After dissassembly, and glue removal, I tapped all the blank air fitting holes for 1/8-NPT threads, for use with compression tube fittings.

The ideal mount location for the horns is in the front, behind the grill. Well, there is just not enough room... er... there is NO room behind the grill. So the alternate location was somewhere on the frame rails. The two shorter trumpets just barely fit, ahead of the front tires, less than 1/2" behind the front bumper.
I had to fab some mount brackets, and drill holes in my frame rails to accomplish this. But as they say in real estate; "Location, locatin, location!" Don't worry, there is PLENTY of clearance around the tires. The only risk is rocks being flung off the tires, and hitting the back of the trumpet.

Right side: Minimal risk of water injestion at these locations.


Left side: (you can see my combo use of compression and press fit fittings)


The long trumpet (17-inches (that's what she said)) is mounted on the frame rail, just behind the RT FT tire, under the passenger door. Angled down, for water drainage (if req'd)



Passengers tell me they can 'feel' the noise through the floor!
Mission accomplished!

Now for the air line rounting. I used all 3/8 OD DOT Air-brake tubing. All compression fittings, and some press fit/quick connect fittings.
The blue air line goes from the air tank, through a OEM hole in the bed, down along the frame rails, then up to the engine bay where the solenoid valve and manifold are.
Note Red-switch(explained later) and blue air shut-off/isolation valve (to horns)


Routing along frame rail, at RT Rear wheel.






From the solenoid valve/manifold, then three lines down to each separate trumpet. It took about 50-ft total of 3/8 air line to route everything.
In hindsight, I wish I ran along the inboard side of the frame rail. But the trade off is easy access(?)

Just before the solenoid valve, there is a T-fitting, with 1/8 tubing going off to a pressure gauge I mounted in the cab. Next to the pressure gauge is a LED, compressor ON light.
Pressure gauge is 15/16 dia, from McMaster Carr, with 1/8-NPT fitting. Fabbed my own guage mount pod/bracket.





Finally, a schematic of it all.
The compressor is wired directly to the battery via 30A fuse, but inturrupted by a relay, which is activated by the pressure switch. The relay gets its power from one of the Upfitter switches, OR, a manual override switch on the compressor. This way, I can run the compressor without needing my keys, to get power from the upfitter switch.
Look for the red covered switch in the pics of the compressor?
Red cover down = remote turn on via up-fitter.
Red cover UP = manual override. Red switch also has a middle OFF position)

I mounted a small push button switch on the bottom of the steering colum. This powers the solenoid valve, and gets its power from Upfitter #1.
Now, Upfitter#1 acts as an arming switch for the buisness end of the system.

Compressor motor also has built in themal shutoff switch, and 30A fuse.



Yes, I could have wired the compressor directly to Upfitter #1, but then I'd ALWAYS need my keys in the ignition to run the compressor. I seem to be using the OBA more often for filling up tires and blowing dirt/dust with the air gun, than for the train horn function. Its nice to be able to do that via the manual override switch.

All in all, I am just under $300 into it. The compression fittings and DOT air line were the most expensive item(s). But now I have a sano instal, and reliable OBA. Oh, and I bought the 'extended warrenty' for the compressor, so I'll be 'trading-in' next year.

I can provide part numbers and vendors if needed. Let me know if you have any suggestions, questions or comments!
Thanks for looking!
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:59 AM
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Great install! I bet the train horns are a lot of fun!
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:30 AM
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Awesome I'm gonna keep this in mind for when I start mine.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:44 AM
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Looks like a dang good install.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:07 AM
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So if I were to want to do this and I already have the compressor and possibly an air tank, what kind of cost would I be looking at? horns? lines? solenoid? fittings? Looks great and well thought out!
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:37 AM
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I got the horns from here: (looks like a scamer web site, but they are legit!) $89.99
Comes with solenoid valve too!!!!
http://www.jbr17llc.com/46unpathtrai.html
(Hands down THE BEST price for this particular model)

The compressor is the Harbor Freight, HD, 150psi 12v model. Item#66399 $59.99

The air tank, was found on Craigs List, sold as-is, non working for $20 (PERFECT!)
I dialed down the auto shut off switch from 125PSI to 110PSI to reduce compressor duty cycle and load. It was taking wayyy too long to pump the tank up all the way to 125psi. Now it only takes 3-5min to refill, starting at 80psi, up to 110psi.

The trickiest part with the air tank was that it uses 5/16 dia air inlet tubing (from the compressor, to the tank).
That stuff is hard to find! Had to track down a specialty plumbing supply house willing to sell me just 3-ft of 5/16 copper tubing and matching fittings (McMaster Carr only sells tubing in 25ft coil $$$$)

I got all my air line and fittings from McMasterCarr.com (could not get ANY correct size fittings at Home Depot)
I probobly spent about $150 in DOT air line, brass compression fittings, and the pressure gauge. (I bought a LOT of fittings!!!!, and 50ft of air line!)
Now that its all working, I could have gotten away with 1/4 tubing, but I went big. 1/2 tubing would be OVERKILL.

I used DOT rated line for the higher temp rating for use under the hood, and outdoor/enviroment durability.

All the electrical wire was 'free'.
I used 12AWG from the battery to the relay. (40amp max limit)
The rest of the wire is 24-26AWG.
I used crimp style connectors for all electrical connections, except for soldering the LED light together.
I bought an automotive style 'fog light' relay, rated for 40amp, at the local Kragen/O'Riely. $5

Last edited by marnoult; 07-12-2011 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atvrider93 View Post
So if I were to want to do this and I already have the compressor and possibly an air tank, what kind of cost would I be looking at? horns? lines? solenoid? fittings? Looks great and well thought out!
sorry atvrider93,
I should have 'quoted' you in my reply.
See above.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:06 AM
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Install looks good, but the horn that mounted to your front control arm is going to be packed full of everything imaginable, hope you never see any mud!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:33 PM
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OK here is my question............. How do these really sound?

Reason I ask. We sold an old test truck at work the other day to a salvage yard. The rig that picked up the old chassis was a 2002 Pete with a low boy that was a bad a$$ rig. When he was leaving I saw him reach up to pull the valve and BAM! Real train horns that demanded attention.

Now, I have Hadley trumpets on my truck that will get attention but train horns have been an interest for some time. But real train trumpets are $1000+. Are these any comparison?
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxfever090 View Post
OK here is my question............. How do these really sound?
Well..... they sound like a train.
They definately are not as loud or intense as a Nathan 5-chime set up, but it they sound like a train. A small train, maybe an Amtrack commuter train. Or subway train. But these ain't no hand held boat air horn, or vuvuzela soccer game horn either!

This particular 3-chime set is manufactured by United Pacific model#46129, and the same one sold by Air Horns of Texas. The AirHorns of Texas website had the best sound byte sample of these.
Go here for a sound sample: 46129 Train Horn, Train Horns

This sound byte is the best I've heard, and most accurate, except for the 'feel it in your chest part'.

I've taken lots of videos with my digital camera, but the little microphones in the digital camera cannot handle the loudness, and all my videos sound like crap.

This particular horn set can be found with plastic trumpets, or polished metal trumpets. (what kind of metal? Who knows.... probobly brass or aluminum.) I bought the all metal, for coolness factor. But you can't see them anyway, so maybe I shoud have just bought the black plastic ones...??? C'est la vie.


I've done some non-scientific tests with friends in cars next to me, with windows UP, Down, driving fast, stopped etc... They tell me that it gets their attention, and if they were a dumb driver on a cell phone, this will wake them up.

People who have stood directly in front of my truck tell me they can 'feel' it in their chest. My wife can feel it through the floor boards of the passenger seat. I have not experienced them from in front, or out side the truck... maybe I should. (like how all cops get sprayed with pepper spray, and stun guns in training)

From inside the truck, with windows UP, it is not much louder than OEM electric horn. Windows down, is louder of course, but not deafening, becuase the trumpets are forward of the cab, pointing forward.

Once in while, I'll toot them when going under an overpass, and THAT is LOUD!!! Even inside the truck.

Bottom line, these sound more like a train than a weenie air horn, or a big-rig, or a fire truck. Are these as loud and thunderous as a Nathan 5-chime? No. Are these loud enough to get the job done? Yes. These paid for themselfs, in gratification, the very first time I blasted an idiot-******* for trying to pinch me off while I was merging onto the freeway. That dick-hole got a good 2-sec in his face, and he knew why!
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