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466 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The Stebel is a great and popular modification and there are tons of posts about it. I have tried to consolidate a lot of the best ideas into one post as a resource for future installers (sorry the indentation scheme didn't translate from Word into this format - need a .pdf for that):

**Update 8/5/07** - posted some clearer pictures and additional information (finally got the Macro function working on my camera)

Decision Making Process:
1.Make an informed horn purchase decision by doing the research.
a.Premise for change – “OEM horn sucks” (and potentially dangerous due to the minimal (sucks) sound level).
b.Overwhelming feedback on this forum and the Internet is that the chrome Stebel Nautilus Compact Air Horn (Part # SNH-02 for Chrome / Part # SNH-01 for Black) is a good choice - from an ease of installation, cost, documentation, size, performance (sound volume and tone), and looks perspective.

Purchase Decision Process:
1.Where to buy it?
a.If you have a preferred vendor (and they sell it), buy it from them.
b.I bought mine from BikerHiway (as have many others here). I found them excellent to deal with. Great communication, shipped it right away, free stuff – i.e. no brainer. Free shipping with code – MG610611. They also provide a free installation kit.

Installation Process:
1.Preparation and Planning
a.Use all of the wisdom accumulated by those that have gone before you. Review the related “Stebel” posts on this site using the “Search” function.
b.Review Special Ed’s Stebel Installation .pdf that is posted on Briman’s site (link immediately below). This is the definitive installation document. This post is just to augment that document and summarize some additional tips and comments to make the install even quicker and easier.

Updated link 12/14/07:

c.The standard instructions are a good starting point – relatively straightforward but generic.

d.Most people mount the horn to the accessory frame mounting bolt on the shifter side of the bike. There are three bolts (top to bottom) that you could use. So you could mount it as high or low as you wanted. I mounted mine offset down from the top hole. Keep in mind, for proper operation, the horn should be perpendicular to the ground (no more than +/15 degrees from straight up and down).

Some people mount it behind the side cover. I think in the front, facing forward on the shifter side is easier, looks cool, and is more effective (but this thing is so loud that it probably doesn’t matter).
i.So before you start:
1.figure out where you want to mount the horn or fabricate a mounting bracket (at least one VR member sells it or check any home store) any additional required materials
4.Run the bike until the gas tank is almost empty (as if you need an excuse for a ride!)
2.Tools and materials
i.Wire stripper/crimper
ii.Metric ratchet set
iii.“Star” screwdriver
iv.Metric hex key set (6mm hex key to remove the seat mounting bolts)
v.Heat gun (or lighter)
vi.Caulking gun
vii.Soldering iron (optional - if you prefer soldered joints)
i.Stebel Horn
ii.Mounting bracket (you can get as elaborate as you want – basically this is just a steel strap of reasonable thickness to be rigid and two holes, one for the bolt that mounts to the frame and one for the bolt to mount to the horn)
iii.Stebel Install kit (included for free from BikerHiway)

iv.Heat shrink tubing
v.¼” I.D. clear vacuum tubing
vi. solder (optional)

vi.¼” snap-on wire protector

vii.Black, white, or red 14 gauge stranded wire (pick your favorite two colors – both different colored wires will run back to the battery)
1.the supplied wiring in the kit is too short for contiguous wire runs from the battery to relay and horn (you don’t want wire splices under the tank).
viii.(2) insulated ring tongue lugs
1.the supplied lugs in the wiring kit are inadequate
ix.Clear silicone sealant
x.“blue” locktite
xi.electrical tape
xii.6” wire ties
3.Basic Installation Sequence (assuming front, left mounting location)

The Big Picture (red - horn positive (power) circuit, green - horn negative (ground) circuit, purple - control wires from original horn circuit):

a.Remove seats
b.Disconnect the battery – don’t forget this step – don’t do anything related to the wiring with the battery connected!
c.Remove the tank completely or just remove the rear tank mounting bolt to allow the tank to move up.
d.Remove the left side neck cover
i. the neck cover mounts at two points - the top edge close to the tank and in the center towards the bottom of the cover (see below). first grab the cover and pull the bottom portion straight away from the bike, then pull the top portion straight up.

Front view:

Back view:

Grab here and pull towards you (only an inch or so):

e.Disconnect the existing horn wires (remove existing horn - optional)
f.Mount new horn on bracket
g.Mount bracket on bike
h.Run wires from battery to relay and horn.
i.Connect everything (don’t heatshrink any connections until AFTER testing).
j.Test it!!!
k.Reinstall everything that you removed in reverse order.
4.Installation tips and hints (much of this is from other members here and common sense but some of it is my own stuff):
a.General wiring:
i.Try to eliminate as many wire splices if possible – for example, run the negative wire from the negative terminal on the horn to the negative terminal on the battery (continuous, no splices). You only need one wire splice for all of your wiring – where the in-line fuse holder connects to the power wire running from the battery to the relay. Make sure you make this connection under the seat where it is accessible.

You should not have any junction points (wire splices) where they are inaccessible – i.e. under the tank. There is no reason to and it’s not a good idea if something works loose – you have to remove the tank.
ii.You may be tempted to just connect the negative terminal of the horn to the frame bolt just next to the horn – it is, in theory, the same electrical point anyway. But theory and reality sometimes don’t align. This ground tends to be “noisy” and is subject to corrosion, etc. It’s more reliable just to run the negative connection all the way back to the battery.
iii.Double crimp all butt splices and ring/wire connectors.

iv.Battery connection:
1.Only use insulated ring tongue lugs to connect the wires to the battery terminals.
2.The wiring kit comes with (1) ring tongue lug and (1) spade lug. Toss them. The hole in the ring tongue lug is too large and the battery terminal bolt head almost fits through it. Buy a small package of ring tongue lugs from the Home Depot (or whatever store is near you). Home Depot sells two types of ring tongue lugs to handle the #14 gauge wire. One with the same hole size as supplied in the kit (too large) and one with a hole size that fits perfectly around the battery terminal bolt shaft diameter – buy that one. Use insulated ring tongue lugs for connecting the wires to the negative battery terminal and the positive battery terminal (don’t use spade lugs!). Attach the ring tongue lugs over the existing battery wire connectors. The head of the battery terminal bolt will secure it nicely.

Cut a small notch in the side of the red cover for the positive terminal for the new horn power wire.

Run the horn positive and negative wires in the same path as the existing battery cables, so they can be tie wrapped together. This just makes working with the battery easier after the fact and ensures the seat support doesn’t rest on the horn wires.

3.Dress up and protect these wires with ¼” snap on wire protectors.

v.Connection from the battery to the relay and horn.
1.You need to run two wires from the battery, under the tank to the front, left of the bike. This can be done two ways (each has its advantages and disadvantages – first run the tank until it’s almost dry):
a.Remove the tank. Pros - this allows the best visibility and access to run the wires where you want. Cons – takes more time and is much more involved.
b.Remove the rear tank mounting bolt to allow the wires to be run underneath. When you remove this bolt, the tank surprising can be moved up and side-to-side quite a bit. Pros – this is very quick and easy. Cons – visibility is poor and you may not run the wires in the optimal path.
2.Regardless of which method you use, run the wires inside a vacuum tube to protect from abrasion and heat. I used a ¼” inside diameter (you can buy this from any home store or auto parts supplier). This fits the (2) #14 gauge wires in it perfectly.

You may want to spray some silicone in the tube to make the wires slide easier. Run the wires through the tube and then fish the entire thing from the opening under the back of the tank to the left side neck cover.
vi.Wiring the relay

(The Stebel instructions say to mount the relay within 8" of the battery. This isn't good advice because it lengthens the control circuit wires, this adds impedance and will reduce the voltage to the relay coil. It probably won't be a problem, but mounting the relay in the neck cover is better because the control wire length isn't increased - you use the existing horn wires only. The power circuit wire length isn't affected either way.)

1.The relay has two circuits (control and power).
a.The control circuit is connected to terminals 85 and 86. This connects to your existing horn circuit. When you press your horn button you energize the coil in the relay and the coil closes the contacts that connects the battery positive terminal (i.e. power) to the horn. The nice thing is, if you mount the horn in the front, the existing OEM horn wires will reach the relay in the left neck cover. No splices, even the existing connectors can be used. Just cut the small plastic clip that holds both connectors together and plug the connectors into the new horn relay terminals.
b.The power circuit is connected to terminals 87 and 30. When the relay coil is energized, the relay’s power contacts connect the horn to the battery + terminal. Run an unspliced wire from terminal 87 to the in-line fuse holder under the seat.
vii.Wiring the horn
1.Run the positive wire from terminal 30 on the relay to the positive terminal on the horn.
2.Run the negative wire from the negative terminal of the battery (unspliced) all the way to the negative terminal of the horn. Don’t ground to the frame. See previous comments regarding this topic.
3.There is a fair amount of mechanical stress at the horn terminals because the wires bend 180 degrees close to the mounting connection points. I would recommend applying clear silicone to solidify these connections.

b.Mounting the horn
i.The mounting of the horn is a little unique.
1.Apply blue locktite to the horn mounting bolt.
2.Buy a shorter horn mounting bolt than supplied in the kit.
3.Silicone the top hole to keep crud out of the horn mount.

4.Silicone the little tub where the head of the horn mounting bolt sits. If the bolt ever came loose, the horn may slip out. It may still stay with the bike if the wires are secured strongly enough. Why take a chance? Silicone the bolt head and it will stay secure even if the mounting bolt loosens during riding. Quick and easy insurance.
5.First mount the horn to the bracket, then mount the bracket to the frame bolt.

Safe Riding, Fast Freddy

P.S. Please post comments and any other best practices re the Stebel install on this thread and a Special Thanks to "Special Ed" - the mother of invention.

Also could you resize your posted pictures to 600X450 (800X600 max) using your photo software (Photoshop, etc.) or the free software "PIXresizer" (link below)? Make sure to maintain the same aspect ratio.

This makes the posts more readable in standard resolution (don't need the scroll back and forth to read each line) and makes the printed document complete without portions cut off (reasonably large text without having to "shrink to fit" etc.).

Thanks, FF

679 Posts
I whish I would have had your write up when I installed mine. Very nice job. You would do very well in technical writing.

780 Posts
Stiebel horn

Excellent job, FastFreddy!! Its sure to be a bestseller topic/reference on Steibel horns in the VR forum...

52,315 Posts
Nice write up!

About the only thing that I would add would be to solder all terminals to the wires. Crimps either work loose, or allow corrosion to lessen conductivity.

989 Posts
I just get done installing my Stebel, come in for a break, and this is what I find! :lol: Where was this post yesterday??? :lol:

Nice job writing this up. Excellent photos and work :applause:

I have some photos I'll add later.

2,836 Posts
Excellent reference manual and pictures for a Stebel install. I'll refer to this as I install my wife's new Stebel. Thanks,


989 Posts
So ....I have my new Stebel all mounted and ask the better half to help me lower the bike from the wood bike lift.
Wife and youngest son (17) are standing in the garage with me, and wife says'"So let's hear this fancy horn."
Now I have told both of them repeatedly how loud these horns are.
I turn on the key, reach over and touch the horn button.
They both jump and cringe. Wife immediately asks,"WHY do you need one THAT LOUD?"
Heh Heh Heh. :twisted:

I grounded my Stebel to the main upper frame, and ran a wire back to the negative battery post.
The black wire (left) goes down to the Neg Stebel terminal. The brown wire ( right) returns to the neg battery post.

Connection I made to the existing horn terminals.
The top wire (orange w/green stripe) with the ignition switch "off", shows continuity to ground.
With the ignition switch "on" shows 12 volts when metered to ground.

The bottom wire (black w/blue stripe) shows nothing with ignition switch on or off.

I soldered male spade connectors to the wires and they connect right to the existing horn female ends.
I can easily restore the bike to factory specs this way.

The aluminum bar stock I used for mounting my Stebel horn.
I place another bolt through the aluminum bar stock above the Stebel mounting bracket.
This prevents the Stebel from unhooking and falling off if the main bolts becomes loose.
A couple zip ties keep the wires from rubbing on the front jug.
I mounted the horn as high as I could, to keep it away from road debris.

Close up of the bottom bracket bolt.

You can see how high on the bike the horn is mounted.
It appears that I need to make a slight adjustment to make the horn more verticle. (The bottom is angled to the left)

12 Posts

Thanks for putting this together! This was a big help for me. I now have a nice chrome horn that's sure to get attention! :D

466 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Re: Thanks!

Arkydude said:
Thanks for putting this together! This was a big help for me. I now have a nice chrome horn that's sure to get attention! :D
You're welcome. That's why I did it. I also got lots of help from others on this site, so just paying it forward.

Now let's see some pics!

Fast Freddy.

17,974 Posts
I grounded mine to the frame behind the neck cover, like Snorky did. Works fine.

As for the bracket: A brushed steel shelf bracket from Wally World, modified
with my dremel.


1,093 Posts
Nice writeup Fred. I can verify the quality of his work, I saw it and heard it earlier today. My ears are still ringing, that thing is loud. Actually my ears ring all the time anyway, does anyone know a cure for that? It was a pleasure seeing you again Fred.

466 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
dentman said:
Nice writeup Fred. I can verify the quality of his work, I saw it and heard it earlier today. My ears are still ringing, that thing is loud. Actually my ears ring all the time anyway, does anyone know a cure for that? It was a pleasure seeing you again Fred.
Same here and thanks for the great repair work on the car door dings!


466 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Here is a shot of mine with the 'almost' famous :wink: BIKERPOP SSS strap. [ see strap in swap meet ]
Been checking some of the Stebel posts and I've got to give BIKERPOP the award for most aggressive marketing campaign of his product on this site.

Good for you.

Fast Freddy
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