Make Some Noise

In­stalling Kleinn’s loud­est train horns on a ’16 Chevro­let Colorado

Diesel Power - - Contents - Words by JOHN LE­HEN­BAUER + Photos by JOHN LE­HEN­BAUER

STOCK HORNS on new trucks are ad­e­quate at best. Many of them aren’t even loud enough to get a per­son’s at­ten­tion—es­pe­cially if they are pre­oc­cu­pied with some­thing else. To­day’s ve­hi­cles have su­per-quiet in­te­ri­ors and nu­mer­ous elec­tronic dis­trac­tions, so many driv­ers don’t even no­tice ex­te­rior noises like honk­ing horns. If they do, few truly pay at­ten­tion. So when a mo­torist’s fail­ure to re­act to a warn­ing honk from the blasé stock horn on our ’16 Chevro­let Colorado nearly re­sulted in dis­as­ter, we knew a change was nec­es­sary.

After con­sult­ing with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Kleinn Air Horns about the com­pany’s dif­fer­ent horn sys­tems, we opted for Kleinn’s Slim­line kit for our mid­size Colorado.

Upon ex­am­in­ing the com­po­nents in the large box that ar­rived weeks later, we dis­cov­ered we re­ceived the HK9-Slim­line Triple Train Horn kit, which is ac­tu­ally the big­gest, loud­est lo­co­mo­tive-horn setup Kleinn of­fers. While call­ing the horn pack­age “slim” is a bit of a stretch in our opin­ion, there’s no deny­ing it’s per­fect for get­ting the at­ten­tion of driv­ers, pedes­tri­ans, and any­thing else that needs to be aware of your pres­ence. (And, in fair­ness to Kleinn, bolt­ing this kit on trucks and SUVs smaller than full­size pick­ups is ex­actly what de­vel­op­ers had in mind when they named the sys­tem).

Now, with that be­ing said, it’s im­por­tant for you to un­der­stand that while train/ air horns are “cool,” they re­ally should be used pri­mar­ily as a warn­ing or alert that will hope­fully avert an ac­ci­dent or other mal­ady. We would be re­miss if we didn’t note that per the train­horn.us web­site, in­stalling and us­ing such sys­tems on pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles is il­le­gal in var­i­ous ar­eas of the U.S. and may

re­sult in fines or failed ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion. Se­ri­ously, blar­ing any loud horn sys­tem ir­re­spon­si­bly—such as to star­tle se­nior cit­i­zens in cross­walks or awaken quiet neigh­bor­hoods in the wee hours of the morn­ing—isn’t funny or cool at all.

Thank­fully, shows and events held at venues where blast­ing train horns isn’t just con­doned, it’s en­cour­aged, are ma­jor el­e­ments of the diesel-truck scene (there may even be loud­ness com­pe­ti­tions for the ac­ces­sories). All we want to stress is that it’s im­por­tant to use good judg­ment with your train horns, as not do­ing so could end up be­ing em­bar­rass­ing… and ex­pen­sive… even haz­ardous.

While we ac­knowl­edge the rules, we still loaded ev­ery­thing into the back of the Colorado and took a drive to Gear Driven Au­to­mo­tive in Northridge, Cal­i­for­nia, where Saul “The Sur­geon” Gu­tier­rez helped us in­stall the big horns on the small truck. Given the size of the sys­tem, we knew it would not be a sim­ple bolt-on pro­ce­dure. But Saul made it hap­pen, and our 2.8L Duramax-pow­ered Colorado now packs 158.8-deci­bel train horns that, when used for our pri­mary in­ten­tion (as a warn­ing sig­nal), will hope­fully avert po­ten­tial dis­as­ters that could re­sult from a stock horn that sim­ply wasn’t heard.

“While call­ing the horn pack­age “slim” is a bit of a stretch in our opin­ion, there’s no deny­ing it’s per­fect for get­ting the at­ten­tion of driv­ers, pedes­tri­ans, and any­thing else that needs to be aware of your pres­ence.”

Saul “The Sur­geon” Gu­tier­rez of Gear Driven Au­to­mo­tive mounts our ’16 Chevro­let Colorado on a twin-post hoist for easy ac­cess to the truck’s chas­sis, where Kleinn Air Horns’ train-horn sys­tem is be­ing in­stalled.

Get­ting a train-horn kit in­stalled on a ve­hi­cle with lim­ited space re­quires test-fit­ting the trum­pets and air tank in a few dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions.

Kleinn’s HK9-Slim­line Triple Train Horn Kit is laid out on the work­bench to make sure all the needed parts are present. The HK9-Slim­line setup is uni­ver­sal and in­cludes the De­mon Model 730 Triple Train Horn set, a high-per­for­mance air valve, 150-psi...

The mid­size Colorado def­i­nitely does not have many clear-cut ar­eas for mount­ing large XCR 2.0 spun-steel trum­pets, an air tank, and com­pres­sor. The air-tank’s slim de­sign of­fers more mount­ing op­tions on small and mid­size rigs.

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