Monday, May 31, 2010

Diving under the bonnet for fun with my horn

I know, I know, I must stop it with the Carry-on gutter mentality but I watched Carry on at your convenience recently (I'm not really sure why) and it's affected me!

I like air horns, the louder the better. There's something fundamental about a car horn that's been lost over the years. I mean nowadays it's a polite little "peep" in a sort of camp "Yoo hoo!" way. Horns should be loud in a sort of "Oy! Get the *$%# out the way!" style, more of a warning device than anything else.

So I had been looking out for a nice set of Fiamms or maybe some Maserati air horns but these things don't come up too often, when they do they are expensive. I've had a few bids in recently and been frustrated so I just bought some cheapo air horns off eBay and thought I'd fit them up whilst I keep looking for some nice period ones.

So when Tim came over for an afternoon's car fettling he asked what jobs there were to do and, seeing as he could totally see where I was coming from on the whole air horn thing, he decided that would be his task - in no time at they were fitted. Whilst the metal mounting bracket is the best I could find it's not ideal although it does serve a purpose in that it removes the need to drill a hold in the inner wheel arch which I'd rather avoid. We joked about the stingy length of tubing the kit provided but it was enough for a compact installation.

I was always a little paranoid as to whether an air horn would pass an MOT or not so I was going to wire it into a selector switch and retain the standard horns, as it happens we have one standard and the air horns together at the moment. I'll live with it and see how it goes. I'll keep a look out for a better bracket but it's quite solid as it is.

There were a few other jobs to do but one that I'd been meaning to do for a while and kept fannying about over was the fitting of the correct Mk 1 2.5pi under-bonnet sound pad. I'd acquired some stainless steel pipe to make up some better fixing bars and together Tim and I sorted it into two bars, drilled and fitted up with the hard to find but a little tatty fibreglass pad (thanks again Tim).

I had intended to restore the pad in some way but to be honest it's a bit of a nightmare - it's made from what looks like compressed fibreglass loft insulation (aka Rockwool) with some sort of light surface treatment to keep it together. I'd done some experiments with thinned down resin that could be sprayed before curing but how to re-compress the bits that were damaged? In the end we fitted it as it was and it looked OK. However, I then decided that at the least I could give it a light coat of black UHT paint to make sure it was all one colour and I'm glad I did, here's the result which looks really good in the photos.


I'm indebted to Tim for coming round and getting stuck in, I've been spending more time in the garage and enjoying working on the car again after far too long of not getting anything done.

I also managed to change out the fuel pump, sort out some wiring in the boot and build another fuel pump yesterday.

Although only small jobs it was good to have someone to blame for when things didn't go to plan.

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