V8 horn - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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V8 horn

So I finally picked up a V8 Esprit a month ago. Loving it so far. While driving it in Houston today, a pickup truck cut me off. In righteous indignation, I slammed down on the horn, only to hear ... the weeniest horn sound I've ever heard in any car in my life. I was actually embarrassed that my car had made that sound. It sounded a bit like an '80s alarm clock. Do all Esprit's have horns like this, or is it just mine? I'm wondering if the horn's air compressor needs to be replaced.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 05:14 AM
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I don't know about the V8's horn, but I got tired, years ago of my air horn being iffy when I needed it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes, like you said, it just sounded wimpy, puny and pathetic. I found a used Maserati horn on Ebay. Simple, electric, horn. Works EVERY time and nice and loud. No air hose, no compressor, I'm sure lighter, sounds classy. Never have to think about it now. I know it will work when I need it.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 07:11 AM
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Esprit Horn <---air horn pictures

I don't know if V8s still used the air horns as on earlier cars, but when working properly the air horns are loud.

Our '88s is working great. (Of course, New Jersey drivers are required by State Law to use the horn every 5 miles, aren't we?)

+++++++++++

I'd first try to verify that your present horn(s) have adequate grounds. If the circuits include relays (see item D below), make sure that is OK and that their socket connections are tight. (Typical Lotus issue = loose spade connectors on the wiring side).
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Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 07:20 AM
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EDIT The Esprit Fact File says that starting in 1993 Esprits used electric horns, so check those connections!

The Official Lotus Esprit Fact File

In PROCEDURES is a tutorial on replacing the electric horns with proper air horns. I've copied them below (thanks KFM!) but the original pages had pictures.

Installing Air Horns
Background

Prior to the S4, the Esprit had nice, European-sounding air horns that were in character with the car. The horns didn't always age well leading to the dreaded disease I call Sad Cow Horn. So in late 1993 Lotus replaced the horns with electric units. The problem is they make the Esprit sound like a Buick. So many owners have decided to replace the horns on their newer cars with the proper air horn sound.

On a Difficulty Scale of 1 to 10, this procedure rates a 3.

Procedure
1 The electric horns are located in the front left corner of the bumper. To access this are, you must go in from underneath the car. If you have a post-92MY car, you will need to remove the lip spoiler. Then you will need to remove the plastic under panel.

2 In the front relay compartment is a horn relay. Your relay location may vary depending on the Esprit model. Check the relay location in your Owner's Manual or Service Notes. I recommend you remove the relay while working on the horn circuit to avoid any electrical problems that may occur by accidentally shorting the wires. This also relieves you from having to disconnect the battery which is a bigger hassle.

3 Here you can see the electric horns in place. You need to remove 2 electrical connections from each horn and the then remove the bracket holding the horns in place.

4 In earlier cars fitted with air horns the compressor was located in the front compartment next to the left headlamp pod. In my installation I chose to mount the compressor under the car simply because I didn't see a convenient way to pass the short air hose to the compartment down below without drilling a new hole into the fiberglass.

5 Here's a picture of the air horn kit. These are sold in many auto parts stores. I bought this particular kit in AutoZone. Although sold under many names, most kits seem to be manufactured by Fiam in Italy. The compressor and trumpets in the original Esprit air horns were also made by Fiam.

6 I toyed around with a location for the air compressor and finally decided to use one of the mounting bolts for the left front fog lamp simply out of convenience. It had enough clearance and was close enough to the trumpet compartment for the plastic tubing to reach.

7 Here's a shot of the simple mounting bracket I made for the compressor. I just used a metal piece I had laying around the house. Improvise!

8 I decided that I could mount the compressor behind the driver side fog lamp. Here's a shot of the bracket sans compressor in the location where it will be mounted.

9 The original setup had a pair of electrical connectors per horn. Only one pair of electrical connections is needed to drive the compressor, so I simply taped off the other pair with insulating tape. I also didn't need to use the relay supplied with the kit, since the car already has a horn relay.

10 Here's a picture of an extension wiring harness I made to allow the electrical connections to reach my new compressor location.

11 Here's the compressor mounted in it's new location.

12 I was actually able to reuse the electric horn mounting bracket to mount the trumpets. It was a tight fit, but it worked. Again, improvise!

13 Replace the relay and test your horns to make sure they work. Then replace the covers, lip spoilers and you're done.

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 07:35 AM
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I just replaced mine. This is what I used. Fit without any modification.





1999 Esprit V8 Twin Turbo (box stock except for 02 OZ 16 spoke nova wheels, Lotus Evora steering wheel, HKS blowoff valves and LED headlights)
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 10:54 AM
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As others have mentioned, the V8s don't have the cool air horns. They are instead a rather disappointing off-the-shelf Mixo pair that are common on quite a few "normal" cars. They are very similar to the Fiamm units used on many American cars: just a common high and low electric horn. I would describe the sound more as "just like every other car" rather than "80s alarm clock" -- so maybe you do still have a problem.

The connections for them run up from the area behind the air inlet screen where the horns are mounted into the front trunk above, through a grommet in the body. They are a minor pain to reach, but you can get in there by loosening up the front of the closing panels beneath/in-front-of the radiator shroud.

I replaced mine at some point, but I aimed them a different direction so they weren't scooping up rain and bugs from the road.

Jake in St. Louis
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