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post #1 of 9 Old 12-02-2013, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Group W Bench, VA
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Dadgum it - Stebel died

Well, after almost 5 years of faithful service in the hectic commuting world of Washington DC, waking groggy lane-crossing commuters and causing untold numbers of typos as hapless texters receive well-deserved audible punishment for their mobile sins, my Stebel Nautilas air horn seems to be croaking, both figuratively and literally.

This is my second bike with a Stebel and the first one was still working when I sold it after four years of use. I'd heard these will eventually die but always figured it would never happen to me. When you have the thrill of watching people jump in surprise and spill coffee on themselves with just an easy tap of your horn button, being a denialist is easy...

So short of locating a couple of car horns from a 70's Buick Electra, what are the alternative LOUD options out there these days? Preferably anything that supports dual horns or tones? I don't know if Fiamm still offers anything current (pardon the pun), but I'd be interested in non-pneumatic standard horn options, as long as they instill fear and panic tout suite when called upon. I'll do fine looking out for myself with defensive riding techniques until a suitable replacement(s) can be procured and installed, but I'll miss delving out the appropriate audible chastisement in the meantime.

Thanks in advance fer any of yer enlightened suggestions!
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 05:26 AM
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Join Date: May 2013
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Why not buy another Stebel? 5 years of service is not so bad. You already have your mounting bracket and connectors in place so an easy swap out. You can find the same horn at Harbor Freight under Wolo Bad Boy name. Use a 25% off coupon and get it for only $30.


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post #3 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 09:46 AM
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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I bent out the tabs and serviced mine. I had a severed brush lead. Yours may need new brushes - might be available at Ace Hardware.

Worth looking into.

'03 DL1000 : SpeedoHealer, DIY TRE, rear spacer, pair delete, external fuel filter & headlight relay mod, RC51 calipers, MSR bars, Hepco & Becker tank guards and luggage racks, Caribou (Pelican) luggage, Anakee 3's
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 11:25 AM
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The FIAMM Freeway Blaster pair is a good choice. They are also sold under the NAPA label.
Motorcycle Horn Comparison Review - webBikeWorld

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

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post #5 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 12:19 PM
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When mine died, I sprayed WD-40 in it. Let it sit for 10 min. and tested it. Worked better than ever and still is 2 years later. Total lifespan so far, 6 years and 80,000 mi.

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post #6 of 9 Old 12-04-2013, 09:55 PM
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Location: Indy
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Lube It

Remove the horn from the pump/motor unit and stick a couple of drops of air tool oil in the air pump intake.

Put a rag over the output, plug it in, and operate the motor.

Marvel at the unholy gunk that emerges.

Repeat until reasonably clean.

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1983 Suzuki GS850G, Cosmic Blue
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-05-2013, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the above info, I definitely appreciate the advice. Here's what transpired and it may be of interest to anyone troubleshooting a similar problem:

In a series of events this week, the horn is working fine once again without being touched. Seems I had a bit of an electrical problem, the root cause was traced to what seems to be a bad wiring harness for my Gerbing heated gloves. It evidently had a short in it that started dragging the battery down. It's relatively new and didn't give me any trouble the first week, but in the last couple of days the bike became sluggish and slow to start; there was nothing much else evident to point to a battery or charging problem since the headlights remained bright (probably due to the H4 relay kit mod from Eastern Beaver). Although, on the very last night I did notice some vary faint flickering in the intensity of the gauge display.

When I got home that night the starter would not turn the engine over, this was after an hour commuting home, when it should have had a nice fresh charge. I also lost heat to my gloves on the last day or two which was a clue. So I decided to remove the last thing I'd added; after removing the heated gloves wiring harness from the battery, she started right up! I reinstalled and removed the harness twice more to be sure. With it in place, the engine would barely turn over and would not start. With it off, bike fired right up. Nuff said.

Unfortunately, even though the bike started just fine after that, the very next morning it would barely turn over and not start again. Knowing it started just fine 10 hours earlier, I reasoned that the battery was no longer holding a charge, and I'll bet the flickering I noticed in the display on the prior day was likely due to an intermittent short in the gerbings harness, which looked like it helped kill the battery (the battery is almost 5 years old and 40K miles anyway, so...).

To make a long story just a tad longer I replaced the battery with a fully charged one the next night, bike started up instantly the next morning (it almost started before I hit the starter button, I swear!) , ran very strong all day, and the Stebel Nautiless is back to tooting louder than ever.

So I guess it also doubles as weak battery and intermittent short detector. I'll give it some routine maintenance as outlined in some of the posts above as a way to reward it for trying to tell me something was wrong.

Gerbings has pretty good support and a new harness is being sent out. Can't fault 'em, stuff happens.

Thanks for the tips.

"Ignorance is a powerful tool if applied at the right time, even usually surpassing knowledge." - E.J. Potter
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-05-2013, 11:28 PM
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Location: Langley, BC, Canada
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I think you might be experiencing a coincidence. Probably the battery was toast, not the Gerbings harness. Did you test the harness?

I don't like the Stebel anyway. Mine died within months. I run Fiamms now.

Also, from what I've read elsewhere, the Wolos are an inferior knockoff.

DL1000K6 Two wheels good; four wheels bad.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-06-2013, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: North East PA
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I can vouch for the fact the Wolo horns are a cheap knock-off. I have had 4 Stebels, one got knocked off a bike and crushed and the three others are still on the bikes and never had a problem.

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