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How to Install Hella Horns 2008 - 2012 Ford Escape

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Created on: 2019-04-30

Learn how to upgrade to Hella horns for a louder, better tone. Upgraded horns improve safety, and they look cool too! 1A experts will walk you through it!

  1. step 1 :Removing the Bumper
    • Pry up the clips from the radiator shield
    • Lift the radiator shield
    • Remove the three clips from the center grille piece
    • Raise and secure the vehicle with a jack and jack stands
    • Remove the 10mm bolts from the splash shield
    • Lower the splash shield
    • Disconnect the fog light wiring harness
    • Turn the lock pin in the wheel well with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Pry the lock pin up
    • Remove the Phillips screw from the wheel well
    • Remove the three body clips from the grille and headlight assemblies with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Pry out the edges of the bumper cover on either side
    • Remove the bumper cover
    • Remove the vertical plastic trim mounted to either side of the bumper with the plastic fastener remover
    • Remove the three 13 mm nuts on each end of the bumper
    • Remove the ambient air temperature sensor with the plastic fastener remover
    • Remove the bumper
  2. step 2 :Mounting the Horns
    • The following steps involve some custom fabrication, so your methods may vary depending on materials sourced
    • The horn mounting brackets are too short to mount to the Escape bumper directly
    • Fabricate a mounting bracket extension with two holes, one to mount the horn, and the other to fasten the extension bracket to the bumper
    • Using the bumper cover mounting points as a reference, mark two evenly spaced locations on the bumper where you want the horn bracket to mount
    • Drill out those two locations
    • Use grease or oil to keep the drill bit cool.
    • Test fit your bracket extension and horn
    • Adjust your horn and mounting bracket as necessary
    • Tighten the bracket connections to complete mounting
  3. step 3 :Connecting the Horns
    • Create a ground wiring harness that has two connections for the horn end by splicing two wires together
    • Solder or crimp the splice and cover it with shrink tube
    • On the horn ends crimp on spade terminals and cover them with shrink tube
    • On the connecting end strip the wire to splice into the existing horn wiring
    • Repeat the process for a positive harness, using a different color wire
    • Connect the harnesses to the horns, tucking the wires as necessary.
    • Secure the wires with wire ties as necessary
    • Reattach the bumper with the three 13 mm nuts on each end
    • The original horn is located under the driver side headlight
    • Disconnect the horn electrical connector
    • Remove the original horns by removing the 10 mm bolt that secures the horn bracket to the body
    • Cut and strip the original horn wiring and add shrink tube
    • Splice the new horn wiring into the original wiring and cover with shrink tube
    • Cover the wiring from the splice to the bumper with wire conduit or electrical tape
    • Secure the wiring with wire ties as necessary
    • Test the horns
  4. step 4 :Replacing the bumper Cover
    • Lift the bumper cover up into place
    • Press the sides of the bumper cover in
    • Connect the three trim pieces to the grille and headlight assemblies
    • Connect the fog light wiring harness
    • Press the splash shield into place
    • Tighten the 10mm bolts to the splash shield
    • Tighten the clip in the wheel well with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Tighten the Phillips screw in the wheel well
    • Press the clips to the center grille piece
    • Insert the radiator shield into place
    • Press the seven clips to the shield

Tools needed

  • Hammer

    Socket Extensions

    Dielectric Grease

    Shrink Tube

    Metal Bracket

    Locking Pliers

    Stepper Bit

    Heat Gun


    Wire Terminals

    Plastic Fastener Remover


    Wire Cutters

    Marker / Writing Utensil

    Adjustable Wrench

    13mm Socket

    Solder Kit

    Measuring Tape

    Electrical Tape

    Cutoff Wheel

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    Phillips Head Screwdriver

    Drill Bit Set

    Center Punch



    10mm Socket

    Wire Ties

What's up, guys? I'm Andy from 1A Auto. In this video I'm going to show you how we install Hella horns on this 2012 Ford Escape. These horns are an upgrade from factory ones. They look good and they sound great. If you want to upgrade your vehicle's horns, check out 1aauto.com.

We're going to open the hood. Just pull on that lever right there. There's a hood release over here. Slide it to the left and grab the prop rod. Put that in position there. Take a 10 millimeter socket. We're going to take these two bolts out on top here. Take this bolt out. Then the same on this side. Use the same 10 millimeter socket and ratchet.

I'm going to raise and support the vehicle. I'm using a two-post lift. If you're doing this at your house, you can use a jack and jack stands. I want to take some of these push clips off. There's one missing right here, there, there, and there. I'm just going to use this trim tool. We sell this at 1aauto.com. Just grab the center part of the clip, pry it out like that, and get behind the clip. Pull it out. Do that to the other ones. I'm just pulling the clips out of right here. From underneath here I'm going to use a 10 millimeter socket and a ratchet to take these bolts out. Take that bolt out. Take these two out. We remove this bolt as well. To make it easier I'm going to remove this whole piece. It's not completely necessary but it will be a lot easier. So I'll remove this bolt as well.

There's a push clip on the back side over here. It would be easier if you had the tire off to see this stuff, but it's not impossible to do with the tire on. Grab the trim tool and pull this clip out. Now from underneath on the front, there's some bolts right here. There's one here and one here. We are going to do the same on the other side. You can use the same 10 millimeter socket, and I'll use an extension and a ratchet. Once that's out, I grab this panel and slide it down so that I can pull this inner fender roll down a little more. I'm just going to take this Phi;lips head screw out right here. Pull it out. Just pull this push clip out as well.

The little push tab in here--it's there. If the bumper's never been removed, it's probably still there. If it has been removed, it may not be there because it's not something you would put back in. So I'm just taking a straight blade screwdriver. I just want to push it up. See, right there. Pull that out. When that's out, then you can grab the bumper and just pull it out, just like that. And just release it just like that. Then we'll do the same procedure for the other side.

All right, these fog lights are still connected. We want to disconnect these. Just push down on the tab and slide it out. Do the same for the other side like that. Underneath here there's a push-pin. Just use the trim tool. Pull that out. Be careful that was the only thing left holding the bumper on. This side should have one but it doesn't. Now I'm going to grab the bumper. Make sure both sides are released and just slide it off.

Our factory horns are right here. They're hidden behind the bumper. You can't see them at all. But we like the way these look and we're going to relocate them to over here, so that we can actually see them and they'll be awesome looking. They're bright red, really cool. To get the horns where we want them, we're going to have to remove this bumper. Pull this trim off right here. Just use the trim tool, slide it underneath here, slide that out of the way. And then same on this side on this. Slide that out of the way.

I'm going to use a 13 millimeter socket, extension, and a ratchet and I'm going to take these nuts off. There's three on this side. Three on the other side. We want to remove this down below here, this ambient air temp sensor. Just use my trim tool to pull this off. It'd probably be a good idea to remove this before you remove the bolts. Pull that out. I can slide the bumper right off.

I found some brackets that I'm going to try to use to make this work. They're not exactly what I want, so I'm going to make them exactly how I want. I'll use this bit right here. We sell this bit at 1aauto.com. It's a stepper bit. Try to elongate the holes a little bit. And that actually worked perfect.

What I'm doing now is these holes are not center for this plate. I have two of the plates. I have them on top of each other. I used some locking pliers just to lock them together. I stacked one going one direction and one going in the other direction and then I'm taking this stepper bit and going down the middle, and that will center the bit and then I get the hole in the center exactly where I want it.

Now this bracket's a little too long. I don't want it that long so I'm going to use a cutting wheel and just cut it down--trim it down. Now on the backside of this bumper, this is the lower side, I'm going to take this bracket and I'm going to drill a hole. I'm going to drill a hole right there, and I can mount it to the backside of the horn. And that'll hold the horn on. If I wanted to, if this doesn't seem strong enough, I could double up on these. Put one on the bottom and then take another one, get another one on top, like that. Make it a little more rigid. But I think it'll be okay with just one.

We want to get a rough idea of where we want this horn to go, so right around there probably somewhere, somewhere in between these two. So what we can do is find somewhere on the bumper that we can measure from. This is the bumper cover. We're just going to take a tape measure and measure over. There's a little hole right here that mounts to the bumper cover itself. Get underneath here, and say from there it's about six inches. I'm going to on the bumper itself. I'm going to go over six inches from that hole on both sides.

So here's where that mounts to. We're going to go six inches from there, right about there. Then we'll do the same on the other side, right there. Six inches right there. I want to take my bracket and get it roughly where I want it. Then I'm going to take this little punch. Take a hammer and give it a hit. We'll do the same on this side. Just take the drill bit. I'm just going to start with a small hole. There we go. It's a good idea to use a little bit of grease so that keep the drill bit cool. There we go. Now I'm going to use a step bit and make the hole bigger. Put a little more grease on it. I don't want it to overheat.

Now those holes are made. Make sure you have a bolt and nut that is going to fit. I can actually take this from the inside if I wanted to, whatever is easier. Install it like that. Just take a couple wrenches. Obviously this is going to change based on what kind of hardware you have, what size you have. It would be a good idea to put a little thread locker on these, just so it doesn't loosen up on you. I'm just doing the same with the other side.

The way this bracket is, it's not exactly how I wanted it. I want the horn to be closer, more like that. What I'm actually going to do is position the bracket so that I tighten it down like that. I can just take a hammer. Get this in this position about there. Then try to line the horn up with this like that. And that looks pretty good. I think that's going to work out for me. Or I could even just move the bracket there and drill a new hole in my bracket. But we'll do it this way and see how it works.

I'll do the same with this. Just put the nut in the bolt through there. Line that up how I want it. So check this out. It's not even on the car and it already looks awesome. The brackets are on. They're nice and secure. Grab the horn. They don't wiggle loose. Nothing. If you had a bracket that had three bolts it might be a little stronger. If I was going to do it again a different way. I'd probably do that, but this is pretty strong. I think we'll be happy with the results.

All right, before I install this bumper back on the vehicle, I want to do some of the wiring so that I can fish the wire underneath here. That way it's a lot easier to do it now rather than once it's on the vehicle. It'd just be easier.

All right, so these are the wiring harnesses that I made up ahead of time. They're actually pretty easy to make. You want to make sure you use fairly thick wire. You don't want anything really thin. Now we need a splitter because this is going to hook in to where the horn, where the old horns plug into on this side. One's going to be positive. One's going to be negative. Preferably the black one being negative and I'll use positive for the white one.

The ends, I have some terminal ends that I was able to get, and then I crimped them onto these wires and then I put some shrink wrap on the back side. Then I spliced these together. There's a little crimp right there. It crimps them together. You could solder them together. That would work too. Then I'm just going to take a little shrink wrap right there and heat it up, shrink that. On the other end I actually put a terminal like this to plug in, but on this vehicle it does not have the same plug in. So what we're going to do for this vehicle, the terminal is corroded on this vehicle. We're actually just going to cut it and hardwire it in.

These HELLA horns actually come with this relay. Now, if you we're going to hardwire these in, not use the old relay that comes with the vehicle, you wire it in with this. But since we have a relay in the vehicle, we're just going to reuse the one the vehicle is equipped to it and just hook it into the old one system. We're not going to use that.

All right, so now I'm going to attach these. I am going to use a little dielectric grease because these aren't sealed very good. It's not sealed that good there. I believe we're going to get some corrosion over the years. So a little dielectric grease will get us a little bit longer. Just slide this in here, hook one end on this side, and one on this side, just like that. Same with the black one: one on this side and one on this side.

Now I want to secure this, so I'm just going to use some cable ties to hide the wires a little bit. You could use some electrical tape on these wires. I prefer not to. I feel like the electrical tape is going to retain a lot more moisture so I just leave them out in the open like that. I'll secure one right here. Okay, so they're all wired up in the back. Now we can install them. Make sure our wires are going to fit, which is awesome. Just check the back side to make sure you're not going to go through the condenser or anything when you go to mount this up. There's plenty of room back there so I don't have to worry about that.

Now I'll install these nuts. There's three on this side and three on the other. I'll snug these up using a 13 millimeter socket, extension, and a ratchet. Those are good and tight. All right, so if you have the horns connected, just disconnect the horn. I'm going to remove this. We're going to remove these ones since we're not going to use them anymore anyway. I'll take that 10 millimeter bolt out. Just use a 10 millimeter socket, extension, and a ratchet. Pull that out. There we go. Weight reduction. It's a good idea to just double-check. Make sure you don't have power there. It would be better just to disconnect the battery. Make sure there's no power, so you don't arc anything out. We got no power so that's good.

This terminal is all corroded anyway, so we're not going to use the terminal. I'm going to peel back the wiring right here. This orange and red wire, that's going to be the power, and the black wire, black and green is going to be the ground. Now I'm just going to cut this wire, and we'll cut this one as well. We need these wires to go to these wires. So cut these wires as well. Peel back on the wiring. Peel back on the insulation.

I am going to use some shrink wrap, and I'm going to solder it. You don't have to solder it. You can use the crimping type terminal connectors and shrink wrap, or that. I just prefer to solder. I feel like it's a better, better fix. I'm just going to tie these together a little bit and twist. Do the same with this one. I'm going to wait for the soldering iron to get hot. The soldering iron's hot. I just put a little solder on the iron just so it heats up the wires better. It's just a technique I use and then trying to get the wires hot. You don't want to add too much, enough to keep the wires together. It's pretty good. Looks good. I'll do the same for this one. Take the shrink wrap, place it over the solder. I would have liked this solder to be a little bit less, but it's okay. It's going to work fine. Then I'm going to shrink wrap those. I'm just going to shrink wrap this.

We'll tape up this area where it's shrink-wrapped, just to keep it secure. Just use some electrical tape. I wrapped up this wire the best that I could. I would have preferred to use a conduit or a wire insulation, but I don't have any, so I'm just going to use just electrical tape. And then I'm going to just use some cable ties and try to secure this. Try to be careful around any sharp edges because you don't want the wires to get cut over time because there is going to be vibrations and it's going to rattle. Just get this out of the way. Put this right here.

At this point you're going to want to check the horn before you put the bumper back on--make sure everything's connected properly. Oh don't worry, ours works. We'll show you at the end what it sounds like. We're going to take this piece. This needs to get installed. Push the pushpin down, secure this at the top, like that. Do the same for the other side. You want to remember to reinstall the ambient air temp sensor. Just line this up with the holes and push it in. It's good.

I'm going to put the bumper on. Just be careful. If you need a partner, you can have someone help you. Put this on. Just get that positioned. Push it in. That little tab we pulled out, we're not going to be able to get it back in. But it's okay. It's going to stay secure. Then we'll do the same for the other side. This is one of those pins. But after you take this off, you can't get that back in.

We're going to install the push-pins in here. Get these lined up. All right, I'm going to take this panel and slide this in position. The back pipe's going to go over the axle and this part is going to slide up here. Take the bolt. I'm going to stick it in my socket using an extension. Same with the other one. Get this pushpin pushed in in the back. Get these two bolts started. Once I have all those bolts started I can go back with a ratchet, a 10 millimeter socket and extension and snug these all up. Take the fog light. We want to connect the fog light connector. Just line it up and lock it in place. Do the same for the other side.

Then we're going to put these pus-hpins in on this side here. There was one missing here, so I'll put a new one in right there. Put a push-pin right here. Phillips head screw right here, use a Philips head screwdriver, and snug it up. There's another pushpin right under here.

Now I'm going to do the same procedure for the other side. I'll take these two bolts up top. One goes here. One goes on the other side here. To get it started take a 10 millimeter socket and a ratchet and then snug them up. Check them out. They came out awesome. Nice and bright red. Just because you don't have a hot rod doesn't mean you can't have cool parts on your car. Get yours at 1aauto.com. These work great.

Thanks for watching. If you want the parts to do it yourself, check out 1aauto.com, the place for DIY auto repair.

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