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Old 09-03-2010, 09:08 AM   #1
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Best onboard air compressor?

Guys,

I'm wanting to add an air compressor to my Jeep for inflating tires and, with a storage tank, running air tools too.

Besides ARB, who else makes a compressor setup that's affordable, reliable and reasonably powerful?

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Old 09-03-2010, 09:12 AM   #2
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Man I dunno for sure, but I seriously doubt an ARB would do anything more than air up a tire. The problem is it has no storage, just straight pressure. Best thing I can think of other than a motor driven one would be a system from Viair.

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Old 09-03-2010, 09:23 AM   #3
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Man I dunno for sure, but I seriously doubt an ARB would do anything more than air up a tire. The problem is it has no storage, just straight pressure. Best thing I can think of other than a motor driven one would be a system from Viair.
Yeah, I figured most small compressors can't keep up with an air tool, hence the need for a 5 gallon (or larger perhaps) storage tank.

Does VIAIR make good systems? I see them on Quadratech but I don't know anything about them.

I was looking at this Smittybilt model:

Smittybilt Q89 - Smittybilt Dual Motor Air Compressor - Quadratec

I did just find this system from VIAIR:

Viair 10007 - Viair Constant Duty On Board Air System - Quadratec

$400 is kind of pricey, but it seems to have everything I would need to do what I'm wanting to do. All I need to do if determine if VIAIR is a good brand.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:27 AM   #4
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I personally have never used um, but I see alot of them used on helper bags on pickups. You might wanna go over to cumminsforum and do a search
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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Viair is a good brand. I come from a minitruck background (air suspension, etc) and the stardard compressors they use are Viair.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:31 AM   #6
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There ya go! I was gonna use one on my project, but found out they couldn't put out enough for what I need to do
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:34 AM   #7
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I had a ViAir system installed in my 03 rubicon this past winter, converted all the locker activators to run off it (sweet!) and also added quick disconnects, one on the front bumper and one just behind the rear roll cage pillar so you can reach it with the window down or rear trunk open. Pump itself is on the driver's fender well, in front of the master brake cylinder, air tank (2.5 gallon?) is on the rear drivers wheel well-MAKE SURE you place it 'in' enough so your softtop frame doesn't hit it! and the on/off switch is very neatly in the console under the transmission shifter, air guage is down in front of the 4w shifter and lighted. All looks like it was factory installed.
It will air up from 18# or so to 30# in a 33x12.5x15 tire in just a couple minutes, but the tank only holds enough to do 2 tires-you need to keep the engine idling. Hand throttle helps to keep rpm up to 1400 to keep the compressor going without draining the battery. Have not tried to run air tools yet, you have the air pressure (150#) but no CFM behind that power. One of these days I"m going to test it with an air wrench.
Others I jeep with run CO2 tanks or scuba air tanks, with 1000# or some ungodly amount of pressure-but I watched them 'remount' a tire that blew off the rim with a CO2 tank and it froze the air hose-not an insulated one...if they had moved it, it would have snapped. But that was an extreme amount of pressure usage...with a strap tightened around the tire to compress it on the rim-it worked!
Don't get the 'smallest' Viair-get the next one up. For the few bucks it's worth it getting the increased pressure output. And with $150 worth of parts you can run all your airlockers off it...
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:37 AM   #8
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You can also make one out of AC compressor that will keep up with your air tools. Jerry B can tell you about it in detail.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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I agree on not using the standard ARB air compressor for airing up tires, it's not up to the task and it doesn't have a sufficiently long duty cycle. Not to mention it wasn't designed to pump out air volume (the key to inflating big tires quickly) so you'd be there all day waiting for it to refill your tires. ARB does make a heavier-duty compressor but I wouldn't install it to perform double-duty if you also have ARB air lockers. For air locker reliability, you want to leave its compressor dedicated for locker duty.

Viair makes good compressors but you really need to stick with their higher CFM (cubic feet per minute) rated compressors since our Jeep size tires generally run so big. Their smaller compressors are more frustrating to use due to their slowness on big tires. And don't be fooled by some of the CFM ratings of the less expensive compressors. Some will quote unrealistically high CFM ratings that are only into 0 psi (no resistance) but drop down to nearly nothing when actually inflating a tire.

And pay no attention to when they scream about the high air pressures they can achieve, like over 200 psi. Even the cheapest tiniest compressors can do that so pay no attention to any of their psi ratings, that is a useless rating where our kinds of uses are concerned.

The king of the compressors for big Jeep size tires is when you convert a belt-driven a/c compressor over for use as an air compressor. They put out so much air that it's amazing. My last TJ had a belt-driven York F210 a/c compressor converted for use as an air compressor and I could take all four 35" tires from 8 to 26 psi in about five minutes total. Not to mention it could run air tools on the trail. I paid $35 for the compressor out of a junkyard and the rest of the items including the air tank to make it work made the whole thing total up to just over $300. It's not a difficult project if you are handy and can figure stuff out on your own.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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Tried the Vairs and others. Even tried a 110 volt portable compressor with an inverter. Too bulky, too slow, and will not keep up with an air tool. (But do you want to give up the space for air tools? Are you that lazy?)

I finally used an AC compressor - a Sanden or Mitsubishi - the small round one that Chrysler uses for AC. It's much smaller than a York and has almost the same CFM. If your Jeep doesn't already have AC, get the stock brackets for one - sure makes it easy. Else new brackets are easy to make.

A check valve, a cut-off switch, and a gauge - all for cheap from Grainger. Junkyards have the compressors cheap.
Mine will run an impact wrench or butterfly without a tank. 35x12.5 from 5 to 28lbs in slightly over a minute - at idle.

Pictures on request.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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Jerry or anyone - I have several Sanden type AC compressors you can have for free - condition probably OK. I think I may even have some mounts made for them. Local pick-up only.

I'm purging my garages.

PM me if interested.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:21 AM   #12
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Jerry or anyone - I have several Sanden type AC compressors you can have for free - condition probably OK. I think I may even have some mounts made for them. Local pick-up only.

I'm purging my garages.

PM me if interested.
Thank you and that Sanden offer is tempting but I just don't even see how to get another mounted onto my '04 without getting real creative. It was much easier on my '97 to get my York installed the way its alternator and a/c compressor was mounted, thanks very much for that offer though.

Actually, I just picked up a C02 tank & regulator for airing up my tires from a friend (Blaine Johnson) earlier this week. He has long been a proponent of C02 and always good-naturedly chided my York setup so he was only to happy to set me up with C02. $13 to fill it up at the welding shop.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:24 AM   #13
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Jerry or anyone - I have several Sanden type AC compressors you can have for free - condition probably OK. I think I may even have some mounts made for them. Local pick-up only.

I'm purging my garages.

PM me if interested.
dang! why couldn't you have York 210s? I have the Kilby Bracket kit (for TJs with factory AC) just sitting and waiting for when I find a good deal on one or I find the time to get out to the junk yard to pick one up.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:35 AM   #14
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Matt, York F210 compressors are easily found in the junkyards. I went to my local yard up in Oceanside and they had close to a dozen sitting up on the shelves to choose from.
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:46 AM   #15
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The advantages to the CO are it's fast! And CO doesn't expand with heat near as much as air.

The disadvantage - where to put it? The tank uses up valuable space. Where most strap it to their cage, my Redi-Welder goes there.

Another disadvantage - it runs out after about 4 sets of 35's. That pretty much eliminstes the line of guys saying "me too?" -- Hmmm, maybe thats an advantage!

The Sanden type is smaller - an advantage in the tight underhood space, especially with a 2nd battery, cut off switch and winch solenoids. And unlimited air - (a disadvantage?)

The belt drive - I welded another serp pulley onto the alternator pulley (after I cut out the center to be able to reach the nut.) Then used a short belt from it to the Sanden's clutch.

I've done several for friends like that, but I'm out of that business now. Too much for an old guy like me.

Here's a picture - when I was still running the K&N.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:03 PM   #16
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Where's a good place to get a tank for CO2, I was just going to run a SCBA tank from a fireman friend...but he's kinda slacking on tracking one down, so curious to see where else people get them? other than buying a new one from viair or similar company.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:22 PM   #17
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find your local welding supply house...Airgas, etc.-any supplier for oxygen, acetylene, etc. will have CO2 tanks in various sizes.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:40 PM   #18
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Or go with a small air compressor, with a small generator.
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:14 PM   #19
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I have an "L" and a "M" size tank filled with compressed air. They will drive tools and fill a lot of tires. Go to your local welding or gas shop and ask about used tanks, they should have quite a few. Sometimes you can find a place does tank exchanges where you only pay for the air. Of course you'll need a hose and regulator. Good luck.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:55 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Thank you and that Sanden offer is tempting but I just don't even see how to get another mounted onto my '04 without getting real creative. It was much easier on my '97 to get my York installed the way its alternator and a/c compressor was mounted, thanks very much for that offer though.

Actually, I just picked up a C02 tank & regulator for airing up my tires from a friend (Blaine Johnson) earlier this week. He has long been a proponent of C02 and always good-naturedly chided my York setup so he was only to happy to set me up with C02. $13 to fill it up at the welding shop.
Jerry, how large of cannister would it take to fill my 4 35's from 9 psi to 30? Also, I'm running heavy Toyo Mt's on 18 x 10 inch wheels. How low could I go before these things come off?
Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:18 PM   #21
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I have a constant duty pump by Zenith. Never a hitch, and I run a three gallon tank mounted inside the left frame rail. The pump was for ARB front and rear lockers, airing up tires, and now runs a lot over the last year or so running 150 db train horns. The compressor is mounted on top of the right frame rail in front of firewall. Can take pics if you are more interested.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:26 PM   #22
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Personally would never use an ARB pump. They are only good for lockers. And in talking with the techs at ARB, they say that an air tank is the best way to go. I can say that the guys I know have a hard time airing 33's with that pump. With my setup, I can air from9# to 24# in about four to five minutes.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:42 AM   #23
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I has a viair 400c in my last truck. It worked fine, but cost $$. Then I found the mv50s and they look and perform nearly identical to the viair. For $65 you can't beat it. Buy 2 and you have redundancy and quick fill ups. I have a 2.5g tank I'm going to mount and then plumb both pumps to. Guys will bash it as 'cheap' but I had one on my last jeep, and 2 for this jeep and I've never had an issue. For the price of a viair 400c you can buy 4 of these and use one for each tire!
Comparison: Superflow to Viair Compressors
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:09 AM   #24
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Jerry, how large of cannister would it take to fill my 4 35's from 9 psi to 30? Also, I'm running heavy Toyo Mt's on 18 x 10 inch wheels. How low could I go before these things come off?
Thanks.
The most commonly used size C02 tank on the trail is 10 lbs. which means it holds 10 lbs. of C02. They're very common, you can even find them sold on eBay for $90 or so. I just refilled mine for $20 and it was only down to 4 lbs. from 10 lbs. after refilling my four 35" tires 4-5 times. I should have just weighed the tank to know I still had enough C02 for another couple trips.

It's hard to say how low your can go with your Toyos, especially without knowing their size.
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:04 AM   #25
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i have a Viair 460C, 100% duty cycle with a 1 gal. tank mounted under the tub. works well for me, even when I didnt have the tank.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:01 PM   #26
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The BEST OBA is going to be a york based system. Going with any electric is not going to let you run an air tool for more then a few seconds.
The Viair you linked to (@$400) has a CFM rating of .9 @90 psi. even with a 5 gallon tank you are going to run your air tool for 15 seconds at full power then wait 10 minutes for the tank to refill. Electrics are a waste of time and money, IMO.
If you dont go with a York based engine driven system, go with a CO2 tank. At lest then you can still run the air tools you are wanting to and you wont be wating your time airing up tires.

CFM @ 90 psi
Viar Constant .9
Viar xtreme 1.56
York based 6.0

Time to fill up the systems 1.75 gallon tank to 145 PSI
Viar Constant 2 Minutes 30 Seconds
Viar Xtreme 1 minute 56 seconds
York based 16 seconds
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #27
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Just ran across some lost money, so i'm building my air tank setup I've been wanting!
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:25 PM   #28
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is it possible to run a york off a small electric motor?
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:40 PM   #29
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is it possible to run a york off a small electric motor?
No, but there was a model that came with a BIG electric motor.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:25 PM   #30
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Just ran across some lost money, so i'm building my air tank setup I've been wanting!
Sweet! Will you have it done b4 this weekend so I can see it?!

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