How critical is air line length?

I finally got my K6 installed last night. First impession, it has a much fuller sound than the K3 (obviously) but not quite as loud. My only problem is that the 1L is not really sounding as loud as the others. I have it mounted on the other side of the truck from the rest of the horns and the line going to it is quite a bit longer than all the others, probably 4-5 feet vs. 1-2 feet max for all of the others. Some are as short as 8 inches. Do you think I could just lengthen all the other lines to match the 1L’s length and would that force air to the 1L or at least equalize what goes to the horns? Thanks in advance

^^ That is an option. At least you’d know that part isn’t causing problems.

You could do some testing first. Maybe swap bells. Put a different bell on the long airline and the 1L on a short airline. Then listen for the sound difference.

What size is your main airline feeding the manifold?

You would think if there was plenty of air volume to the manifold, that a little airline difference wouldn’t matter. Your K6 needs double the air as the K3 (obviously). I am a firm believer that if you properly feed each bell that it should be louder than a K3.

Thanks for the input. Sounds like a plan. I will update this weekend

Pushing air down the line is no different to pushing electricity through a wire. The longer the distance, the more resistance you have to deal with (just try blowing down the length of a garden hose to know what I mean). Different resistance equals different flow rates, so naturally the longer line will show less flow than the short ones. If you have a factor of 4 to deal with (i.e. 1 foot vs 4 feet) you will no doubt notice a difference, keeping in mind that air (just like electricity) will choose the path of least resistance.

How have you got it setup… do you have the 1L down the back and the others near the front of the car or why the large disparity in hose length? If you want all the horns to sound at the same flow pressure and in unison, you’ll have to aim keeping your lines to roughly the same lengths. With six hungry bells to feed you really need to push a lot of air down the line.

Consider that the main restriction is probably a central feeder line (i.e. the one leading to your solenoid.) Temptation may be to go to a large bore hose (e.g. 3/4") up to a central point close to the bells and go shorter lengths of 1/2" into each horn. Problem is though that the tank you’re feeding from is probably pushing out from a single 1/2" port, so going to the larger hose won’t necessarily give you better results because the port is the smallest initial point in the circuit. If you want more flow over those longer distances you should look at feeding a big hose using two ports from the tank (e.g. twin 1/2 lines to -> 3/4 manifold & 3/4" solenoid; or twin 1/2 solenoids -> manifold and then 1/2" into each bell)

Thank you guys for the input! Great info. My setup is on a Dodge ram 2500 and I had to mount the horns wherever I could find a spot. They are on individual mounts, the 1,2, and 3A are mounted outside the frame rail (driver’s side) facing the rear in a horizontal line. The 4A and the 5 are on the driver’s side, inside the frame rail, both facing down. The 1L is all by itself across the truck on the passenger rail facing the rear. Tank is in the toolbox with a 1/2" line running to my graham white. The supply from the manual valve comes out below the driver’s seat and is basically right in the middle of the 5 horns on that side. I don’t have a manifold, just basically a trunk line running through with tee’s wherever I need to tie in a horn. Everything is 1/2" ID all the way.

First thing I did tonight was add length to hoses on the 4A and 5. This made a noticable difference in the 1L. I think all I need to do now is the same to the 1,2 and 3 and I should be good. One thing is for sure, I NEED MORE AIR!!! This thing is much more hungry than the K3. :frowning:

Here’s some additional aspects for you to consider:

First off, have a look at the air chart for the K series Airchimes. Since there is no K6, note that I’ve put in a hypothetical (in gray) which shouldn’t be all that far off the mark given the existing figures.

You’ll note that if you want to hit the same loudness as a K3, your likely airflow requirements are going to start stretching to 120 CFM. Now… here’s the other thing:

The amount of air you get flowing through an opening at pressure is summed up nicely in this chart:

Now before you go looking for the 120 mark, consider that the Graham White valve has a maximum flow rate of 70 CFM @ 140psi.

You can start to see the issue here. You will need to start pushing a sustained 150 psi air through the valve to get it flowing enough air to cater for 6 bells in order to get them up to the same kind of loudness. The Viair 400, you’re running is obviously 150 psi and if you have a gauge you’ll know how quickly the pressure drops away from you once you start yankin’ that handle.

If you switch to a solenoid solution you can see that you should see a much increased flow rate. For example, 1/2 opening all the way from tank to horn will see you maintain flow rates that keep up with those horns right through the pressure range.

I reckon, try two things if your budget allows:

  1. Upgrade to 200 psi compressor(s)
  2. Run a secondary 1/2" line through a high flow solenoid and straight to the horns, and keep your GW circuit as is. I used the same dual line approach on my setup (have a look at the circuit in the signature). That way you can still have some fun with the Graham White, but is also gives you the potential options of thundering out a ‘brown note’ at the press of a button.

Thanks for the info DBO. and I forgot to mention that I have a 1/2" solenoid that ties in to the trunk line also. :o. It is slightly louder off the solenoid than through the graham white but the gw sounds so much better:o. Thinking of Viair 480’s at 200 psig with a regulator set at 150. What do you think of that? Really need more air!!

I remember having about 9 gallons on my K5. It goes real quick.
It was 200psi unregulated. Always wondered how much more time a regulator would get me.

Just for reference - I could blip the horns at 200psi and it was only a second or two to drop to 150.

When funds allow, I think I’ll get 2 480’s and try running a regulator at 150. Will update when that happens.