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  1. #1
    Jr. Mechanic
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    Connecticut
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    Default Anyone know alot about train horns?

    I have a 5 gallon 200 psi air tank and compressor for my 2 train horns that I have on my truck... what is the difference between 2 horns and 3 or 4 or 5 horns? and what about the airline? the bigger the air line to the horns the louder?

  2. #2

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    What kind of horns do you have? Are they real train horns (Nathan, Leslie, Prime,WABCO) or are they plastic or chrome? 200 PSI is a lot, but quite a few people do it on the real ones. You will probably blow the diaphragms apart in a short time on the plastic ones. It's really not good on the real ones either.
    The difference in the number of horns is that each play a different note (some have octaves) to make up a specific chord. Some have a pleasing or haunting quality to them, whereas some are just dischord and annoying. Most railroads use either 3-chime or 5-chime horns. The lower pitched notes carry further, where the high pitched notes sound louder. The mix gives a recognizable sound which stands out from background noises (i.e. car engine running or radio).
    A good rule of thumb is the bigger the airline the better. That way you don't starve the horns of air, especially on a 5-chime. Better to have higher CFM than to have ridiculous PSI (200). I run 3/8" I.D. DOT line on both my 3-chimes, at anywhere from 120-145 PSI, and they sound great and are plenty loud. Most people say you need at least 1/2" I.D. to get the full sound, and that may be true on a 5-chime, but I have no problems with mine. Hope this helps.
    -Sal


    2008 Silverado 1500 LT 5.3L Crew Cab
    Desert Brown Metallic

    Century top, Yakima roof rack, 2.5" front lift, Readylift 3" rear blocks, Line-x bedliner, step bars, AVS vent visors, Weathertech floor liners, door sill guards, power tailgate lock, tailgate damper, KC light bar w/ PIAA 525s, rear mini-light bar, rear LED reverse/utility lights, dual batteries (Cole Hersee isolator), DIC upgrade, 20" GM wheels, Cooper Discoverer A/T3s, 26 gal. onboard air (twin Viair 480Cs), Nathan Airchime K3HA / Old cast 2nd Gen. P3 Horns, Graham White valve, bell

    Past Chevys: 1985 S-10 ext.cab, 1963 BelAir sedan

  3. #3
    Jr. Mechanic
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Connecticut
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    Default

    Yes it does help, I have chrome horns and they can handle up to 300psi believe it or not.. Where did you buy your hose? Now i'm assuming you have the same type of tank with the tiny 1/4 ID hookup.. how did you change it to 3/8? If i need to take pic to show you what i am talking about i will

    ---------- Post added at 03:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:02 PM ----------

    I have 2 horns, i think one is 19 in long and one is 17

  4. #4

    Default

    I'm running DOT airbrake lines, with Eaton DOT compression fittings. Not the cheapest way to go by far, but probably the safest and I've never had a leak, not even a small one (knock on wood). I got all the fittings and hose at a local Mom & Pop truck store (tractor trailer & HD trucks). My 2 small tanks all have 3/8" ports, and my 20 gal. tank has 1/2" ports. If the bungs on your tank are big enough, you may be able to drill them out and rethread them, but make sure there is enough material that it is safe to do. By the way, what is your tank rated at since you are pushing 200 psi? The more cfm you can get to the horns, the better, but you may not need to upgrade your air lines. Does your horn have a solenoid built in? If so, whatever size thread the solenoid accepts will be your limiting factor, no sense to go bigger. The throats of the chrome style horns are relatively small compared to those on a Nathan K-horn, so it won't eat the air up as fast. If they sound loud enough with the 1/4" lines, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you ever want to upgrade to a real train horn though, you will definitely have to go bigger. Click on my profile & go to my truck album to see my horns if you want. Good luck!
    Last edited by troutbug; 09-17-2010 at 01:48 AM.

  5. #5

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    I have 3 horns - each has its own solenoid and I am running 1/2 inch lines.


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  6. #6
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    Default

    There is only 1 soleniod and i do not know the size or how big i can go, i'd have to look at it. My tank is rated for 250 psi. When I get a chance i'll try to get a video of the sound. They are very loud, but i think i want a little bit of a lower tone so they can be heard further away

  7. #7

    Default

    You probably aren't going to be able to lower the tone much by varying the cfm. The tone of a horn is characteristic of it's length and flare, among other things. If your horns are really harsh sounding, maybe by dropping the psi some it will sound cleaner, but you probably won't produce a lower note thanwhat it already makes. I never owned a set of the chrome or plastic horns, so I don't know much about how they voice. My P3's sound the same whether I've got 120 psi or 90psi. The K3's drop in volume a lot faster, but maintain the same pitch throughout (does that make sense?). If you don't like the tone of your horns much, go on Youtube and find a set you like. There are tons of videos of all brands of horns.

  8. #8
    Jr. Mechanic
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    Connecticut
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    Default

    Theres so many choices to choose from, thats the only problem.. Not to mention just the horns are like $250.. But i'm gonna keep looking and see what i can find. My horns are loud, don't get me wrong, but seems like other are louder

  9. #9

    Default

    Haha...yeah they are a bit pricey. Save up another $150 or so and get yourself a real set off ebay. You won't be disappointed. Leslie RS3L's and Nathan K and P horns are always popping up, sometimes way overpriced and often mislabeled, but you can catch a good deal if you check often.

  10. #10
    Jr. Mechanic
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    Connecticut
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    Default

    I actually just bought the Shocker XL's from hornblasters, but I bought them cheaper off ebay instead off the website. Hopefully I will get them soon, I hate waiting for packages haha

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