Onboard Compressor

Besides the traction boards and the come-a-long, I still have an issue with deflating and inflating of the tires, in case I get stuck in mud or sand or when I drive over long stretches of washboard road.

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Not long ago I decided to bring along my old, but oh-so good working 110V Campbell compressor by improving the compressor hose system with a new chuck and pressure dial.

Lingering doubt about this resolution remained and I came up with the following solution.

Inflating and deflating my tires for convenience has never been on my mind, yet a future of frequent driving for long stretches on washboard roads seems undesirable. A practical setup thus appeared on my shopping list.

From the top-rated 12V compressors, the ARB was the most appealing to me; small in size and highest flow rates would do the trick. Price was a stumbling block though. From what I understand, the company does offer very good service and warranty and does a heap of testing on its components.

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Then there is the Chinese version of it, one that likely pre-dates ARB’s, but one that seems identical at a much lower price. Yeah, but also one with questionable warranty, documentation and service. Everybody will make a different choice between the two, I went for the cheap one. What would you expect from a cheapskate?

With onboard compressors, there is an opportunity to fit them into the engine compartment of my Ford Transit 250. Looking around, I found an ideal location below the air filter. This solution would spare my the use of some precious storage space inside the van and would simplify its use with a dedicated 12V connection to the van’s battery.

The compressor is installed to the side wall with a back plate and four bolts (and lock washers and lock nuts). I needed to cut up the back plate into two pieces, because a rib in the metal was in the way. The holes were mostly drilled from the front wheel housing, due to the ease of access.

I also needed better access to the actual location in the engine compartment and for that, I removed the air filter cover and air inlet housing.

After the back plate was fitted with the four bolts, I added the compressor and bolted it down. To create a simpler install, I disassembled the compressor and now it was time to put all the parts together again.

A washable filter and a pressure switch will complete the setup, with adding an extended wire loom, but that’s for another video.

I finish this part by protecting the bolts and reinstalling the air filter cover and air inlet housing.

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