How to Hook Up a Dixie Horn Relay

Written by mike aguilar
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How to Hook Up a Dixie Horn Relay
Your Dixie Horn might look like this one. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Your car's horn is technically supposed to be used to get the attention of other drivers in an emergency situation. However, many people use their horn just to get the attention of someone to say "hi" to them. There are a number of different types of horn that play music or make noises that are different from your car's stock horn's single tone. One of these is the Dixie Horn. Some types of Dixie Horns require a relay, due to an increased current draw.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wrench set
  • Socket set
  • Ratchet
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Wire crimpers
  • 12-inch ratchet extension
  • 4 Yellow female spade connectors
  • 1 red #10 ring terminal
  • 2 yellow butt connectors
  • 1 yellow ¼ inch ring terminal
  • 1 30-amp fuse holder with fuse
  • 12-inch piece of black 16 gauge wire
  • 4-foot piece of red 12 gauge wire
  • Drill with Phillips screwdriver tip
  • 1 self-tapping screw
  • 1 12V/30A relay

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  1. 1

    Open the hood. Loosen the battery terminal clamps by turning them counterclockwise with a wrench. Remove the cables from the battery.

  2. 2

    Rotate the battery hold-down bolt/nut counterclockwise with a ratchet, extension and socket and remove the battery hold-down. Remove the battery from the car. This step is only necessary if you need to remove the battery to access the spot you intend to mount the horn.

  3. 3

    Strip 1/4 inch of insulation from each end of the black wire. Twist the wire ends loosely. Insert one end into the red ring terminal until it stops and firmly squeeze it with the crimpers. Repeat this process with one of the yellow female spade connectors. Plug the spade connector into Pin 86 on the relay.

  4. 4

    Unplug the existing horn by pulling the wiring connector. Remove the bolt securing the horn by turning it counterclockwise with the ratchet and a socket. Plug the wire from the horn into Pin 85 of the relay.

  5. 5

    Cut a piece of red wire 2 feet long. Strip 1/4 inch of insulation from each end. Place a spade connector on one end of the wire. Place the yellow ring terminal on one fuse holder wire end. Slide the other fuse holder wire into the butt connector and insert the bare wire end of the red wire into the other end. Crimp both sides firmly. Plug the spade connector into Pin 87 of the relay.

  6. 6

    Hold the relay in place against the inner fender to the side or in front of where the battery sits when in the car. Place the self-tapping screw in the hole in the mounting flange on the relay and place the red ring terminal on the black wire behind the relay so that the screw is through the ring. Screw the self-tapper into the metal using the drill.

  7. 7

    Mount the new Dixie Horn in the same location as the old horn using the old bolt. Measure the power (red) wire from the horn to the relay and lengthen using the remaining red wire as necessary to make the connection between the horn and Pin 30 of the relay, using the spade connector on the relay end and a butt connector between the two pieces of wire. Remove the nut from the positive battery cable and place the yellow ring terminal and red wire under the nut.

  8. 8

    Replace the battery into the battery tray. Reinstall the battery hold down. Place the battery cables over the terminals and secure the terminals by turning them clockwise with a wrench. Enjoy your Dixie Horn.

Tips and warnings

  • Most 12v automotive relays are the same. The main exception are proprietary and speciality relays.
  • If there is a separate ground wire for the horn, place a ring terminal on the end of it and connect it to ground using the horn mounting screw.

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