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New car horn installation


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Given how visible or "audible" we want our cars to be to everyone around us to prevent any untoward mishaps....plus the fact that the stock car horn leave a lot to be desired, has anyone gone on to change theirs in the V6? I've only seen attempts on the previous generations and was wondering what the installation entails. Surely hope it doesn't involve any clamshell removal :X

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Looks like it's behind the front grill...

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88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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You could always make it a dual horn as well.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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18 hours ago, Bibs said:

Looks like it's behind the front grill...

 

It is behind the central grille, on the inner left side of the crash box as you look into the gaping hole.

Unfortunately, none of the existing wiring to the horn will support more than 7-10A maximum, unless you want to burn-out the wiring harness and/or possibly the standard horn relay (this is located in the front fuse box).  This rules-out pretty much everything unless the wiring loom to the horn and its associated relay are replaced and upgraded (which will likely need the removal of the front clamshell to route and adequately support a supplementary wiring harness).

In short, changing the horn itself is easy - but the electrics will take substantially more work. Don't be tempted to just change the fuse; it could be a very expensive mistake.

Edited by LotusPilot
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Could you pull in a new feed down from the jump posts (fused of course), and put the new horn on the load side of a secondary relay using the existing horn wiring as the driver for the coil?

Not ideal, but easier than changing the stock harness, and easily reversible if you want to go back to standard.

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/18/2016 at 01:13, LotusPilot said:

It is behind the central grille, on the inner left side of the crash box as you look into the gaping hole.

Unfortunately, none of the existing wiring to the horn will support more than 7-10A maximum, unless you want to burn-out the wiring harness and/or possibly the standard horn relay (this is located in the front fuse box).  This rules-out pretty much everything unless the wiring loom to the horn and its associated relay are replaced and upgraded (which will likely need the removal of the front clamshell to route and adequately support a supplementary wiring harness).

In short, changing the horn itself is easy - but the electrics will take substantially more work. Don't be tempted to just change the fuse; it could be a very expensive mistake.

Would installing a relay be viable in this situation?

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The original wiring can obviously operate a secondary relay coil in place of (or with) the standard Fiamm horn.  However, you'll still need to run a new fused 12v supply to the relay switched contacts (and on to the replacement horn) if the replacement draws more than 10A - otherwise, your mail loom will simply become "fuse-wire" and burn-out somewhere along its length.  Worse, as the horn wiring  may be in a loom with other wiring, this may have serous consequences.

NB: Lotus wiring feeding the OEM horn is only 1.0mm-sq.   Remember, the primary purpose of a fuse is to protect the wiring!

If you intend to install a typical air-horn, the compressor will likely require something in the region of 15-20A, if not more. For this, to be on the safe side, you'll need 2.5mm-sq supply (and chassis-earth) wiring.

The other challenge is where to put the compressor.  There's not much room anywhere up-front in the Exige V6 that'll keep the compressor both upright and away from water spray.

 

 

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  • Gold FFM

10A/1.0mm isn't a lot to work with. On my Esprits I replaced the standard airhorns with those of a Range Rover (very similar to the one in the Exige). Very compact, no need for a separate compressor and considerably louder than standard. But they draw 10A each, and you really want both to get enough volume. No problem in the Esprit, as the standard airhorn is fused at 20A, but in the Exige you'll need to add a new fused 12V feed and upgraded wiring. A realy mounted at the front seems the easiest solution, using the existing wiring to trigger the relay.     

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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On ‎05‎/‎06‎/‎2016 at 20:47, LotusPilot said:

The other challenge is where to put the compressor.  There's not much room anywhere up-front in the Exige V6 that'll keep the compressor both upright and away from water spray.

 

:(. Colin Chapman will be turning in his grave.

Edited by RedViper
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4 hours ago, RedViper said:

 

:(. Colin Chapman will be turning in his grave.

I'd gladly sacrifice half-a-kilo to improve conspicuity.  Heck, I'd even pay good money on the option-list for a decent horn and headlights from the factory.

It's worth noting that some of the very modern air-horns are relatively small units that combine twin-trumpets with the compressor body; for example, take a look at the "Stebel Compact Tuning" and you"ll see just how compact (and loud) they can get.

One day, given how small/low and relatively "invisible" we are in our little Loti, it might just save my life!  40 tonne truck drivers look over you - not down at you!

Edited by LotusPilot
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  • 4 weeks later...

It may be worth looking at PIAA horn pairs. They are good attention-getters, at just 2.7A per horn, so 5.4A per pair. I favour the "Superior Bass" set, but the higher pitched Sport sets may be ultimately more piercing.

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  • 8 months later...
5 hours ago, MARTIN_S said:

Has anyone upgraded their horn yet?

Had a reason to use it Saturday and cant believe how silly it sounds let alone its lack of volume, that it wont get heard by anyone.

Martin S

.

The laughter provoked by use of the horn is usually louder than the horn itself.  I'm convinced that Lotus only fit a horn because its a legal requirement!.  The weedy horn just doesn't measure up to the car to which it is fitted - and as an aid to conspicuity, its hopeless!

Levity aside, I have been looking at this project for a while - but am yet to complete it.  If you're using a "compact" Air Horn (such as the Stebel Compact Tuning - as I mentioned in a previous contribution), it transpires that there is "just" sufficient space to sandwich the Stebel in-between the chassis leg of the front left-side (UK near-side) wheel arch and its plastic wheel arch lining - just aft of the secondary radiator (Exige S only - not fitted to the 350 variant).  This situates the horn relatively close to the main fuse/relay box located within the front services bay - however, two challenges remain...

1) You still have to fabricate and install additional wiring and relay - which will be extremely difficult with the front clamshell in-situ

2) Unless you risk drilling into something unknown, so as to mount the Air Horn, you'll need to be creative in fabricating suitable  brackets, between existing mounting bolts, upon which to install the A/H.

Potentially installing in this location serves three primary benefits.  It keeps the compressor unit upright (mounting within a few degrees of vertical is usually prerequisite) - dry and protected from dirt - and it keeps the new auxilliary wiring loom and its routing as short and easy as is possible to route within the confines of the available space.  It goes without saying that you have to remove the inner wheelarch liner to gain access.

A repeat word of caution.  Having studied the official wiring diagrams in some detail, don't be lured into using the existing oem wiring and relay with an uprated fuse to feed an uprated horn.  That single fuse protects not only the oem horn wiring, but also the wiring to the horn buttons and steeering wheel clock-spring.  If you burn-out any of those, it'll be major and very expensive repairs.  The only way to do this is to use the original wiring to drive an auxiliary relay and additional wiring dedicated loom.

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Thanks Derek, think I'll leave that alone for now.

Had the car a few weeks and am just getting small things done to make it more usable in general prior to getting more serious things done.

I do find it funny that this modern car has the same problems (and more) that the VX220 had when that was designed 15 years ago, luckily, coming from then Vx I was ready fro them and am comfortable dealing with them.

Martin S

 

 

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24 minutes ago, MartynB said:

If anyone is considering the Stebel Compact Tuning horn, be aware that it is quoted as drawing 18A at 12v, requiring 2.5mm2 wiring (i.e. would need a relay etc)

Martyn.  Yes, absolutely correct.  As outlined in my post of June last year (above) you must use a seperate fused relay feed, wired with at least 2.5mm supply and earth connections.

Martin.  For such a small, low and potentially invisible car, an effective horn is an absolutely essential safety device - that might just save your life.  For the "relative" pennies required to fit a decent horn and wiring, the current oem horn fitted by Lotus is simply inadequate.  For info, I have succesffully fitted Stebel Air Horns on other small mid-engine sports cars - and have always found it necessary to add secondary wiring.  That said, other than Lotus, I have never found a horn fed with only 1mm wiring! 

As for the Stebel Nautilus and Tuning Compact (the very smallest), both volume and tonal quality are considerably beyond any expectation of such a small/compact units.  Due to their design, reliability and longevity also surpass other alternatives.  Both options fit the general small and light-weight design ethos of Lotus.

And no, before anyone asks, I have no affiliation with Stebel!

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Oh, this is what I ended up with:

http://www.piaa.com/store/p/392-Automotive-Superior-Bass-Horn-330/400Hz.aspx

Very straightforward install. Each horn is 2.7A so it's well within the 10A wiring threshold. Lot louder too! Even my local dealer asked me what I did as they've been wanting to change theirs after they almost got sidewiped by a bus <_<

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