Beginners Guide to Train Horn Kits
Everyone knows when they hear the sound of a train horn it means danger, get out of the way. If you want the same kind of respect when you drive your private vehicles, then you should install train horns on your automobiles. When you blow your horn people will get out the way. This makes train horns more than just a novelty item. Price is a factor if you are looking for a high quality train horn with the authentic locomotive sound and want it professionally installed. However, good train horns can range in price from as low as $60 to over $2,000.
The cost of train horns depend on a number of factors. If you buy a basic kit that doesn’t have an air horn compressor and air hoses, you can find a decent one for less than $100. In fact there are train horn kits starting as low as $20. But like anything else, you get what you pay for. So although an inexpensive train horn will sound kind of like a train and may get you noticed, if you want authenticity and volume you should be prepared to pay a little more. There are some decent kits sans compressor and hoses that sell for around $60.
A Step Up
If you want the type of volume that will make people jump out of their skins, you’re going to need an air tank and an air compressor. Depending on the type of vehicle you have, you may already have a compressor. If not, you will have to buy a kit which contains one. This can make the price rise dramatically. Kits containing all the necessary wiring along with both an air tank and an air compressor prices begin at about $200 and quickly go past $300 and $400 if you want powerful authentic train horns. Here are picks for the best train horn kits in this price range:
1. Viking Horns V103C
The Viking Horns V103C is built around a three-horn chord system. By playing a chord instead of a single note, the three horns help better penetrate over distance, as well as feeling louder due to the harmonic nature of the sound. The horns themselves are chrome plated, giving them an excellent appearance as well as resistance to rust and weather. They can easily be mounted on any truck cab with just a few bolts, and are tough enough to withstand everyday scrapes without getting dented or bent. When activated, these horns blare out at 170 decibels, which is as loud as a jet engine and can be heard from miles away, even in dense woods and urban areas.
The horns are powered by a five-gallon air tank which allows them to be blown for several seconds before a recharge is needed. While the unit will need to be installed in the cab, it is small enough to fit under most front seats, especially on older vehicles. The air compressor refills the reservoir at 200 PSI in seconds, enabling the horn to he blew again after only a quick recharge. The components and tubing are designed to be easily installed in almost any truck with the mounting brackets already provided. All of the components are standard sizes, so that standard tools can be used on them and replacement parts can be found in any auto shop or hardware store. The kit integrates into any existing electrical system and can be connected to an independent horn activated by the provided button, or as a replacement for the car’s existing horn.
Vixen Horns VXO8330
The Vixen Horns VXO8330 uses four chrome horns, designed to add style to any roof line as well as produce an even more harmonic chord. This, when combined with a slightly lower level of decibel volume, makes the Vixen Horns VXO8330 ideal for trucks and SUVs which are going to be driven in an urban environment, where noise regulations may be a point of concern and where buildings may break up the sounds of other horns. The horns are chrome plated in order to ensure maximum longevity and appearance. Mounted flat, they can be installed on any roof with just a few bolts.
Because it needs to power four horns instead of the usual three, the reservoir is a full three gallons instead of the usual two or two and a half. While this does increase recharge times, the compressor has also been beefed up to 200 PSI to help compensate for this, and the reservoir can be refilled in a matter of seconds. Both the reservoir and the compressor are designed to be installed in the cab and integrate into the existing 12V system and use standard sized mounting points and hardware to help make them easier to install and easier to find replacement parts for if needed. The horn can be installed as either a replacement horn or supplemental horn thanks to a button-activated start, and all necessary mounting and integration hardware is included.
4. Wolo 847-858 Siberian Express
The Wolo Siberian Express is, as its name implies, intended to impersonate a train horn in both volume and appearance. At 152 decibels it isn’t the loudest horn under $300, but it more than loud enough to be heard in even the most well-insulated car interior or even at a distance. The three-horn chord is designed to be heard even though forests and buildings and will reverberate in tunnels or other enclosed areas. Rather than using brass or other metals like most horns, the Wolo horns are made of ABS plastic, ensuring they will not rust or degrade over time, although this does mean that owners must be careful not to crack them if they load anything else onto the roof.
The horns are powered by a 2.5-gallon reservoir designed to be installed in the cab. This enables them to be blown for several seconds at maximum power. Industrial strength hosing connects the horns to the reservoir, and each end uses a standard-sized socket to ensure that replacement parts are readily available if needed. The pressure tube is coiled so that it can take up less space inside the cab, although since both connections are standard sized, an uncoiled replacement hose can be used if it is going to be run in a concealed manner. The 100 PSI compressor can refill the reservoir in seconds, enabling the horn to be blown again as fast as needed. It uses a magnetic motor to ensure that it will be maintenance free for the life of the unit. It is capable of being hooked up to any 12V DC system, and the button enables the unit to serve as either a supplement or replacement to an existing horn system.
Top Quality Train Horns
The number of decibels the horn puts out, the number of psi the compressor produces, the length of the blast and the speed with which you can blow the horn a second time all play a role in the price of the train horn. The intricacy of the necessary wiring also adds to the price. The quality of the materials used and the finish it has also drives up the cost. It’s not unusual to see a loud, powerful, durable, good-looking train horn kit for between $699 and $1,500. Add the cost of installation and it’s a sizable investment. But a fun one if you can afford it.
Want bring the sound of a real locomotive horn to any kind of vehicle? One so loud you can damage people’s eardrums and their sanity? A horn that can shatter glass will set you back between $1,900 and $2,500. But you’ll enjoy every single dime of it.