INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TRAIN HORN KIT WITH PROPER INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE
We pride ourselves on making sure our kits are always made with the highest-quality components and that our train horn kits and onboard air systems are built to last for years. In fact, many of our customers that purchased their kits 10+ years ago are still using the same kit to blast loud and proud today.
However, just like any other machine, proper maintenance is of the utmost importance for the longevity and functionality of your system. While our kits don't require a ton of maintenance, the maintenance they do require can make the difference between them lasting months or a decade. Installing our kits according to instructions not only makes maintenance for your system easier, it will also go a long way to making sure you are blasting your horns for years to come.
SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS
You have been waiting patiently for your kit to come in the mail. Your boxes finally come in and you can’t wait to get you horns on there and take them through the neighborhood for a test run. As bad as you want to get it on there and get out and honking, taking your time with the install and doing it by the book (literally) is hands down the best way to make sure that your kit outlasts the vehicle that it's installed on. Hopefully, before you even got your kit, you did a little planning on where your kit is going to fit on your vehicle.
If you are going to pick up one of our installation brackets, you are already ahead of the game. You can install your kit on to the bracket from the comfort of a workbench or table. If you decide to go without an installation bracket, the very first thing you want to do, before you even purchase your kit, is to take measurements of the major components in the kit you want to purchase and decide where they are going to mount on your vehicle. You can find measurements and weights (along with a ton of other useful info) for all of our products in the Specifications Tab on the product page for that item.
Rushing your install and forcing your components to fit in places they don't is a sure-fire way to damage your kit or make it difficult to maintain or troubleshoot if needed. Take your time and make sure everything is in its proper place. The single best piece of advice that we can give you on how to best install your kit is to follow the instructions. Unlike other horn manufacturers that assume everyone is a certified mechanic, we ensure that that our instructions are detailed and easy to read, even if you aren't very mechanically inclined.
Now, we get it. No one likes to go by the instructions when you are putting something together and its almost as bad as having to ask for directions. Even if this isn't your first horn kit install, you still want to go over the instructions to make sure you're not installing your kit in a way that could potentially damage it and void your warranty. Just in case you still want to figure things out yourself, here are a few important points to note about installing your major components that will make sure that your kit is installed in the best way to ensure longevity for your system.
Air Tank: Your air tank can be positioned any way that will fit best, however you want to make sure that you install your drain cock on the bottom-most port to allow the tank to drain moisture properly. If you ordered one of our tanks or got a tank with one of our kits, you should have a port on the top, bottom, ends, and side of the tank, ensuring that you are able to properly drain your tank however you decide to orient it.
Speaking of fittings, make sure all of the fittings that you need are plumbed into your tank. If you have a HornBlasters kit, you will have everything you need. If you are doing a custom kit, make sure that you have a drain cock, safety-blow-off valve, pressure switch, air gauge, and compression fittings. All of your ports need to be plumbed or your tank will not hold air. If you find yourself with any extra ports, then you will want to plug those with a brass plug.
Air Compressor: Your compressor is the heart of your system. In fact, installing your air compressor improperly is one of the fastest ways to ruin your system. Your compressor should be installed in a way that it is oriented upright. This allows the heat to dissipate quickly, keeping the compressor cooled and ensuring that it runs a full efficiency and stays doing so down the road. If you find that you are driving through a lot of rain or dust, it may be a good idea to relocate your air filter. All of our kits come with an Air Filter Relocation kit and they are also available on our website should you need to move it somewhere high and dry.
Some compressors are sealed, while others are not. If your compressor is not sealed, it needs to be installed somewhere dry and free of debris. Common install areas for non-sealed compressors would be the trunk of a car, a toolbox, a bed with a topper, or the cab of the vehicle. Installing a non-sealed out in the elements will not only void your warranty but is a sure-fire way to render your compressor inoperable. Not sure if your compressor is sealed or not? Our 127H and 228H series kits are non-sealed and should be installed out of the elements. If you have a 2MC, 2HB, 232 or higher, you can install the entire kit outside the vehicle. As a general rule, most tank-mounted compressors are not sealed (other than our 2MC air source unit).
Pressure Switch: Almost as important as your compressor, your pressure switch is the fitting that plumbs into your tank that controls when your compressor turns on and off. This means that if your pressure switch is malfunctioning, your compressor won't be able to turn on or (even worse) won't be able to turn off. While some pressure switches can be waterproof, most are only water-resistant and should be treated as such. While it is still fine to install a water-resistant pressure switch outside the vehicle, if you find your vehicle getting especially wet or dirty, you can relocate your pressure switch just like your air filter by using a tee and air line to move your pressure switch somewhere dry.
Air Valve: Your electric air valve controls when your horns go off. Your valve is a simple mechanism, that is closed by default and opens when it receives power. While there is nothing complicated about installing it, there are a few things to note that will help your installation go smoothly. First off, the most common mistake that people make is putting the valve on backwards. All of our in-line valves are directional valves, meaning that they are designed for the air to flow in only one direction. If installed backwards, your valve will not be able to close all the way and will constantly let air through. If your horns are constantly humming, this is a good indication that your valve is on backwards. On our brass inline valves, you will find an arrow etched into the valve itself. Make sure this arrow is pointing in the direction of the airflow (pointing towards your horns) and you will be good to go!
Another question we get asked about with our solenoid valves is, "Which wire is positive and which wire is negative?” as both of the wires on same are the same color. Our valves are dual-polarity, meaning that either wire can be positive or negative. Just hook one to power and ground the other and you are all set!
If you have installed your system according to instructions, all of the hard work is done! We design our kits to be as worry-free as possible, so there really isn’t a ton of maintenance to be done as long as it was installed correctly. While maintenance isn’t complicated, it is highly important to do as failing to do so will significantly decrease the lifespan of your system or render it inoperable altogether.
The number one enemy of any electrical component is water. Even if you install your kit perfectly, water still gets into your system naturally through the moisture in the air. That moisture then collects as the bottom of your air tank. As that water sits and builds up, moisture can spread throughout the system and get into your electrical components as well as corrode your tank and fittings. This can be prevented by simply draining your tank on a regular basis. You should drain your tank at least once a month, if not more often if you live in a humid climate. If you have a drain cock on your system, all you need to do is loosen it by turning it counter-clockwise. You want to let it drain all of the air and water out of the tank. Don't forget to tighten it back up when you are done.
Don't want to crawl under your vehicle to drain your tank? We don't blame you! That's why we have designed our Electric Drain Valve Kit so you can drain your tank from the comfort of your vehicle. Just because you have to do it, doesn't mean it can’t be fun!
Other than draining your air tank, the only real maintenance that you need to do is change your air filter on your compressor. Your air filter prevents debris from getting into your compressor. Debris build-up will cause your compressor to work harder to build pressure and can cause it to overheat faster and take longer to fill, ultimately causing it to fail altogether. It's recommended that you change your air filter every three months. This will ensure that your compressor stays running fast and clean for years down the road.
BUILT TO LAST
When you purchase a HornBlasters Kit, know that you're not getting some toy by a fly-by-night company. You are investing in a premium system built with the highest quality components available that is designed to last just as long as the ride that you install it on. Just like your ride, the better you take care of it, the better it will take care of you. One of the most rewarding things for us is hearing from customers that are still enjoying their kits decades after their initial purchase. We even have some customers that have gone through several vehicles but are still using the same kit they bought all those years ago. With proper installation and maintenance, there is no reason that your train horn kit or onboard air system can't outlast your ride as well!