WABCo Train Horns Maintenance
For many train horn collectors, acquiring a WABCo train horn can be a tedious, but worthwhile experience. So now that you have your hands full with your prized possession, you must be able to learn a thing or two about how to keep your train horns in good condition.
The A Series
One thing to remember with WABCo’s A Series train horns is that they are tough, as if they are built with the very purpose of enduring the test of time. These train horns have a single bell with a nozzle, diaphragm disk, a mounting foot and a back cap. The A-2 and the A-6 varieties have bells and back caps that are made using cast iron, while their weighted diaphragms are made of stainless steel. On the other hand, the bell’s nozzle and diaphragm housing unit of the A-1 variety is made of bronze, while its bell is made of brass. Common in all A Series hours are back caps that are attached to the bell.
When taking care of the A Series, just make sure that the surface of the nozzle is flat, and that there are no scrapes or cracks on the diaphragm. The train horn, too, should be pieced back together. A Series horns are assembled in a way that the diaphragm fits the housing or bell with much of its weigh on the bell. A small rubber gasket must be placed around what appears to be the horn’s mouth to seal the parts in place. The back cap must then be placed over the housing unit of the diaphragm with six screws or bolts attached to it.
The B Series
The B-7 variety of the B Series WABCo train horns resembles the E-44 horn. Both types have either a single or two diaphragm disks with a back cap. The bell, nozzle, and diaphragm housing all form part of the mounting foot. Aside from the nozzle that is made of stainless steel, these horns are crafted using aluminum. The B-6 horns are quite the same in appearance as the A-6 horns.
If you have a B-7 train horn, look at the diaphragms carefully, and position the side that is least overused against the nozzle. Remember to keep the nozzle flat and free of any scratches or anything of the sort. Do not forget, too, to voice the horn. This can be done by pulling the back cap to tighten it. Next, blow air into the horn using about 20-30 pounds below operating pressure, tightening the back cap as you do so until you are satisfied with the pitch. Fasten the back cap, then, and try the horn once more, this time, by using full pressure. Adjust if you feel you have not gotten the right pitch.
The D Series
Horns belonging to the WABCo’s D Series are quite the same as most truck horns. The diaphragm of this variety is small and single. The back cap, too, may be fastened by using only four bolts. A defining characteristic of horns belonging to this series is the presence of a spring-loaded tensioner that can be adjusted and locked.
The E Series
A variety of the E Series train horns, the E-44, is constructed in roughly the same manner as the B-7 horn, so the tips in taking care of the E-44 horn are basically the same with those of the B-7 horn.
The E-2 train horns of old were made using cast iron, but in later years, aluminum was used to manufacture E-2 horns. The diaphragm on an E-2 horn is a complex housing unit composed of fourteen parts. The unit has three main diaphragm disks, and a clapper formed by a combination of six smaller disks. Because of the complexity of this housing unit, owners of the E-2 horns are well advised to keep it as it is, unless there is an ultimate need to disassemble the parts. In the event that disassembling the parts become inevitable, for instance, there is considerable damage on the clapper disk, the top clapper disk can be interchanged with the other one below it. It is important to remember, however, that the three main diaphragm disks may not be interchanged.
Now, you may assemble the train horn and give it its voice by following the same steps as if you are voicing the horns of WABCo’s B Series. This means pulling the back cap, and blowing air into the train horn with just about 20-30 pounds below operating pressure. Tighten the back cap as you go along to a certain degree until you have reached the desired pitch. Then fasten the back cap.