Fitting a real
horn to your Vmax
by Tim Jackson-
Johannesburg, South Africa.
I have a stock '97
Max which I love dearly! Fortunately for me, the weather here is such that one can ride
all year round.
I'm not someone who likes to use the horn on my bike at any time other
than in an emergency. When I do use it though, I want it to work and to work
LOUDLY! I got tired of the mosquito frightener fitted as standard equipment.
Shortly after getting my Max, I fitted a pair of Fiamm horns, which has made a huge
difference. Now when I hit the horn button people actually hear the horn!
I ran a single wire in a PVC
sleeve from the battery, along the same path as the existing wiring harness, to where I
fitted a relay behind the left side "air scoop". I fitted an in-line 20A fuse at
the battery end of this new wire.
Be sure to use a heavy enough wire for this job.
Around 13 AWG (2,5mm2) will do it.
The ground connection for the new horns was taken from an existing bolt in the chassis
an inch or so from the new relay, behind the plastic mounting plate that all the relays
and stuff are mounted on.
A pair of Fiamm horns
mounted between the front exhaust headers.
They are relatively out of the way and not too
conspicuous while still being sufficiently out in the open to allow good
volume, which is what I wanted to achieve.
Close-up view from
The horns do not like water in them! They don't seem to suffer any
permanent damage but they definitely cease to function until they dry out fully. Because
of this they're mounted with the opening facing downward to try and avoid water getting
into them. There's a good spray in this location from the front wheel when riding in the
wet so aim the horns accordingly.
Close-up view from
Each horn is mounted to its "tag" with a single nut and lock
washer. They're very easy to remove if you need to do this for any reason.
When you make up the mounting bracket (next pic) make sure the "tags" are
long enough for the horns and mounting nuts to clear the exhaust headers.
is a simple affair made from a strip of mild steel about 3/32" thick and about
1" wide. The outer ends of the main horizontal piece are secured by existing chassis
bolts (next pic) and two "tags" (made of the same size steel) were welded onto
the main horizontal to carry the horns.
The horns require that this
tag be able to resonate with the horns in order to work correctly so the
steel used for the tags shouldn't be too thick or too rigid.
Left hand side bracket mounting point using existing bolts. The right hand
side is pretty much a mirror image.
View from below
should be enough space between the horns and the oil filter to allow easy oil filter
The mounting bracket is higher than the oil filter so it shouldn't get in the way
during filter removal.
If the horns get in the way of removing the filter
they can easily be removed seeing as they are each secured with just a
single nut and lock washer
The new horn relay gets installed behind the left "air
After removing the "tank" cover, remove the left "air scoop" (two
hex mounting screws circled).
the left air scoop there's a bunch of electrical stuff. Lift off the flasher relay
(circled) to reveal the perfect spot for the new horn relay (next pic).
The horn relay is already installed in this pic, behind the flasher relay.
new horn relay is mounted using an existing screw found in this spot. It all fits very
neatly. Once the new relay is fitted and wired, the flasher relay simply clips back into
place again and it looks like the previous pic.
I got the ground connection for the new horns from an existing bolt directly behind the
flasher relay mounting tag although almost any point on the chassis will do.
The pink and brown wires are the original horn wiring, disconnected from
the original horn and re-routed (pulled back) up into the area where the new relay is
fitted. The lugs on these two wires should fit straight onto the new relay. Nice and easy.
The yellow wire is the positive feed from the battery.
pic shows the area on top of the battery, under the seat.
The new connection is made in the area of the battery positive terminal on the left
side of the bike.
battery positive terminal (A) feeds into the main fuse (B). The main fuse
feeds out on a red wire (C) to the ignition switch.
The new horn fuse (D) should be fed (E) from the same point on the main
fuse as the ignition switch (C) rather than the side that's connected to the
battery. This way you get the benefit of the main fuse's protection. From the horn fuse, a
wire (F) feeds the horn relay.
Wire routing top
Here's the route I followed from the battery to the new horn relay. This route
follows the frame tubing as well as being the same route that the existing wiring harness
Wire routing side
Another view for clarity
Use PVC sleeving
The new horn
wiring, from the relay to the horns, is run in a PVC sleeve and runs
the same route as the old wiring did.