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Old 08-29-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
cp5491r
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Default Horn relay?

Has anyone had much luck using a relay with your model a horn?
I've got a horn that works great when tested directly to a six volt battery. When I put on the car, it only 'tries' to turn... even with the engine revving.
I'm going to try new wire connectors and probably solder wires to the horn tabs, but is that likely to help?
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Cp, the suppliers have a small relay that hides in the horn cover, they do help. Be sure to oil the felt wicks in the motor, the front one is kinda' hard to see, and clean & shine the commutator. Then "play" around with the big slot head adjuster screw until it sounds right. Bill W.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Mines on a relay. Now it blows full force even with the car at idle and the spark retarded.

Headlamps also on relays.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Horn relay?

I agree, the relay is only a bandaid for a problem. Mine blows great with the old wiring but it was a bit slow for a long time. Earlier this summer I loosened the adjustment screw one click and now it's perfect. I tried that two years ago, but the perfect adjustment then seemed to be just half way between two clicks. A light sanding of the commutator with fine sandpaper or emory cloth is often a big help.

Some of the repro horn rods don't give the best connection to ground at the horn button. I know this because when I press the horn button for a few seconds I can feel the button heat up.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:26 PM   #5
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: Horn relay?

I've noticed that if one doesn't blow one's horn now & then, "especially" in areas of high humidity, after time, one may find that one day, the horn will not work when the horn button is pressed.

As stated above, if one just rotates the motor a few revolutions by hand, adds oil, & wipes off the commutator with a paper towel or a clean rag, being very similar to cleaning electrical ignition distributor "contact" points, the horn motor brushes will make good contact & it will be good to go again.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post
I agree, the relay is only a bandaid for a problem. Mine blows great with the old wiring but it was a bit slow for a long time. Earlier this summer I loosened the adjustment screw one click and now it's perfect. I tried that two years ago, but the perfect adjustment then seemed to be just half way between two clicks. A light sanding of the commutator with fine sandpaper or emory cloth is often a big help.

Some of the repro horn rods don't give the best connection to ground at the horn button. I know this because when I press the horn button for a few seconds I can feel the button heat up.
Dog here,
It ain't no BAND AID, Tom! It shortens the distance for the horn current has to travel by about 7 or 8 feet. Then the current up through the wiring & up through the horn rod is just a minute amount to enegize the relay pulling coil. Even if the horn button contact ain't too spiffy, it'll almost always contacts well enough to energize the relay coil! SO THERE!!
Buster T. (Yes, Ol'Bill hepped me with this one!)
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
Dog here, It ain't no BAND AID, Tom! It shortens the distance for the horn current has to travel by about 7 or 8 feet. Then the current up through the wiring & up through the horn rod is just a minute amount to enegize the relay pulling coil. Even if the horn button contact ain't too spiffy, it'll almost always contact well enough to energize the relay coil! SO THERE!!
Buster T. (Yes, Ol'Bill hepped me with this one!)
If the horn button is not spiffy then something is wrong and the relay is a bandaid SO THERE BACK AT YOU!
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Horn relay?

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Originally Posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
Dog here,
It ain't no BAND AID, Tom! It shortens the distance for the horn current has to travel by about 7 or 8 feet. Then the current up through the wiring & up through the horn rod is just a minute amount to enegize the relay pulling coil. Even if the horn button contact ain't too spiffy, it'll almost always contact well enough to energize the relay coil! SO THERE!!
Buster T. (Yes, Ol'Bill hepped me with this one!)
That's true, but it shouldn't be needed.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:22 PM   #9
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Horn relay?

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That's true, but it shouldn't be needed.
BUUUUUT, iffin' yo' got better voltage & amperage to thu horn, it'll last LONGER! Buster T.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by H. L. Chauvin View Post
I've noticed that if one doesn't blow one's horn now & then, "especially" in areas of high humidity, after time, one may find that one day, the horn will not work when the horn button is pressed.

As stated above, if one just rotates the motor a few revolutions by hand, adds oil, & wipes off the commutator with a paper towel or a clean rag, being very similar to cleaning electrical ignition distributor "contact" points, the horn motor brushes will make good contact & it will be good to go again.
We should all "blow our own horns now and then".
Thanks for the thoughts- they re-enforce mine (checking the horn bottom, wire connections, etc.). If all else fails, I'll look into the relays. I just hate to add non-original parts when they aren't needed or because they fix a problem from a bad-reproduction part like the horn button.
Take care.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:51 PM   #11
Art Bjornestad
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Default Re: Horn relay?

The best thing I did for my horn was to replace the 2 thin paper shims on either side of the diaphragm. Sounded better than it had in years
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Test: Try putting your arm in a sling for (3) months, then use this arm to tighten the nut to 100 foot-pounds on your Model A rear axle.

Like the old saying, "Use it or Lose it".

So many people on this Forum have experienced & kindly shared the knowledge that many Model A's suffer a lot when they are not used.

Like Tom W. so keenly expresses so often: Even the paint job suffers a lot when a Model A sits in a garage unused.

Hope this helps to keep both Model A's & Model A owners from resting too much.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:43 PM   #13
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Default Re: Horn relay?

The lights and horn on my 28 station wagon that I restored several years ago never worked very well. I removed the headlights and removed the paint from where the headlights attach to the headlight bar. Wow! What a difference. Lights are good. Horn blows strong. The ground wasn't making good contact.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Dog here, Let's take a "PAWS" as this thread is soundin' like them little kid racsals across the street, argueing over nuttin'!!
Paint don't go bad in a good garage, Shirley, down the street has her Pop's Black, '64 1/2 Mercury Comet, Caliente thet's got only 26,000 miles & was last waxed in 1966 & it looks showroom NEW. Her sister has Pop's '30 Model A Coupe, last waxed in 2000 just before Pop died & it looks ready to SHOW!!
Folks ask fer help & when sum one offers help, sum body argues & here it goes-------??? Dogs don't do thet. If sumptin' aint right, they jist GROWL & iffin' thet don't do it, one jist bites the crap out uf the BAD Dog & it's over.
Do whatever diddley thing you want to do with yo' horn-----Ours OOGAHS real GOOD, I don't even know what brand it is, Ol' Minerva's horn wuz a Stewart Warner, who was he? Good name fer a MOVIE STAR! Ol' Bill says he's agonna' stick a BIG BAND AID on Vermin's Hooter & a little round BAND AID on the horn button, jist fer MIKE V! & Y'all will be mostly HAPPY!! LOL Bill's agonna' see if he can find a Dog barker horn, also, cuz he likes me!
Buster T. (This is ALL approved by Ol' Bill, jist as though he wrote it!)
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Horn relay?

[QUOTE=Tom Wesenberg;716003]I agree, the relay is only a bandaid for a problem. Mine blows great with the old wiring but it was a bit slow for a long time. Earlier this summer I loosened the adjustment screw one click and now it's perfect. I tried that two years ago, but the perfect adjustment then seemed to be just half way between two clicks. A light sanding of the commutator with fine sandpaper or emory cloth is often a big help.

Tom,
Just curious.....isn't half way between two clicks about the same as one click?
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: Horn relay?

yea im going to agree on both ideas:

Use of a relay does wonders even on modern cars headlight systems and horn systems(alot of times they use 18ga wire or smaller that runs from the fuseblock, thru the headlight switch back out to drivers side headlight then over to the pass side headlight) so when you beef it up to all 12ga wire straight off the battery it makes then a whole lot brighter.

BUT

if the horn works fine off the battery but not in the car either a poor ground (too much rust/paint) or poor wiring connections, or poor horn button continuity.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Horn relay?

[QUOTE=green30coupe;716322]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post
I agree, the relay is only a bandaid for a problem. Mine blows great with the old wiring but it was a bit slow for a long time. Earlier this summer I loosened the adjustment screw one click and now it's perfect. I tried that two years ago, but the perfect adjustment then seemed to be just half way between two clicks. A light sanding of the commutator with fine sandpaper or emory cloth is often a big help.

Tom,
Just curious.....isn't half way between two clicks about the same as one click?
It's only half a click away, but one click on the adjustment screw can make a big difference.

BTW, years ago I bought a horn with a very rusty diaphram, and new gaskets and a diaphram from A&L fixed it just fine.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:09 AM   #18
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Default Re: Horn relay?

I guess I'm lazy. I remove the horn cover and put a yardsick between the steering wheel rim and the horn button. Then I spray the armature with nonflamable electrical cleaner. As I do this I can see/hear the motor turning faster. Then I oil the felts a little and it stays loud for a year or two. I've been doing this for about 25 years on both of my Model A's.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:55 AM   #19
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Default Re: Horn relay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by glenn in camino View Post
The lights and horn on my 28 station wagon that I restored several years ago never worked very well. I removed the headlights and removed the paint from where the headlights attach to the headlight bar. Wow! What a difference. Lights are good. Horn blows strong. The ground wasn't making good contact.
But the horn doesn't ground on the headlight bar, right? If that were true, it wouldn't work when I just hold the horn in my hands and test it on a battery.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:59 AM   #20
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Default Re: Horn relay?

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But the horn doesn't ground on the headlight bar, right? If that were true, it wouldn't work when I just hold the horn in my hands and test it on a battery.

Yes that is correct, it does not ground on the headlight bar.
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