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Phoenix

Air Compressors, which one?

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I'm looking for a 100% Duty Cycle air compressor solution for the Jeep and Trailer.

 

This is what I am looking for:

  • 100% Duty Cycle
  • Can be moved from my Jeep to the trailer, vice versa, or down the trail to someone that needs it
  • has a tank or can be connected to a tank

 

I really like Kobbs ARB Solution, it meets all my criteria, but frankly is on the top end price wise.

 

I found one from Extreme Outback that is capable of running with a tank, but doesn't include one.  This company gets high marks from the Overlanding crowd, but they also advertise over there.  Looks like a quality product.

 

Another option I was thinking about was grabbing Viar's Super Duty OBA Kit, but install it in one of the surplus military cases I have.   This comes with a 2 gallon tank.

 

The "value" option is Viar's 450 Portable Air Compressor, not sure if I can add a tank, but as it is several hundred dollars less than the others and can air up my tire from 15 to 30 PSI in under 4 minutes, I think I really need to consider it.

 

All of these solutions run between $300 and $800.  I think I can justify dropping this sort of coin based on the type of trips I want to take and the need to be capable of getting myself out of a jam.

 

Anyone have any comments or suggestions?

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I'm looking at similar, as in 100% duty cycle and possibly portable. The viair portable is towards top of my list.

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Is it worth spending $200 - $700 more to save maybe 15 minutes of air up time?

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Are you talking about waiting for the compressors at Rausch? I would like the ability to air up on my terms anywhere I want. Not jockey in line at that shed.

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No. Talking about getting a portable compressor that may not be a 100% duty cycle unit. Yeah, you'll be taking a little bit more time to air up, but it's not like you ever need to fill up with pit crew speed. Money spent better elsewhere - unless you have the money for such luxuries.

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Is it worth spending $200 - $700 more to save maybe 15 minutes of air up time?

If it's just Rausch, some other park or even the woods I'd say no but if you're over landing then yes. Sure you have a spare but what if that goes? You could be a couple miles from town or a days trip even by car.

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Now, I should clarify. My comments were geared towards just wanting to air up tires. If spending more money, I'd want to see the system be air tool capable.

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Is it worth spending $200 - $700 more to save maybe 15 minutes of air up time?

 

No.  But I can justify this if we were on a back road in Canada and things went bad.

 

Lets start with the $70 I wasted on my last compressor because I had no idea what a duty cycle was.

Then lets add in the possibility of a blown out tire because I don't air down when I should or it takes too long to air back up.  $225 + 70 = $295

Lets add in a few bucks for everyone's time if we need to fix a flat on the trail and I have to wait for a half hour for the compressor to cool down.  $295 + $100 = $395

 

I'm already up to nearly $400, and I haven't even gotten into helping anyone else or the possibility of running an air tool off a tank....

 

I can justify this stuff all day.  

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Now, I should clarify. My comments were geared towards just wanting to air up tires. If spending more money, I'd want to see the system be air tool capable.

 

Agreed.  The Extreme Outback and Super Duty state that with a tank, you could run an impact gun.

 

I'm also going with 100% Duty cycle also means better components and longer lasting compressor.

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The answer depends on your expectations and price sensitivity.  You don't need to spend $1,700 on a York setup, or $800 on an ARB dual-piston lunchbox, or even $400 on a Viar constant duty setup.  While these systems are undoubtedly nice, they are also undoubtedly luxuries.  Even when traversing the remote backroads of Alaska and Canada.

 

I've used $60 Q-Industries MV50 air compressors for over 5 years.  My first one lasted more than 4 years before it was stolen, and is probably still usable today.  I was so impressed that, although I was wiling to spend much more, I saw no compelling reason and couldn't resist the MV50's value.  No, it won't run air tools, but seriously, cordless electric power tools are just as good or better than most air tools, particularly on the trails, without the need for expensive compressor setups.

 

I will say that the ARB compressor Rick has is impressively fast.  I didn't time it, but I bet it is almost as fast as using my CO2 setup.  Maybe 3 minutes to air-up a 35 from 15 to 30 PSI?  The MV50 does that in 5 minutes.  So to air-up four tires, the $60 compressor is eight minutes slower than the $800 compressor. Impressive? Yes.  But worth the extra $740?  Depends on your financial abilities and preferences. 

 

I can't speak to differences in reliability, but my first MV50 lasted over 4 years before it was stolen, with no signs of impending failure.  And I never had it cut out due to thermal overload, not even after airing-up eight 35's. My experience with the MV50 is not unusual, either.  Use Google and you'll find many, many others are equally happy with this inexpensive unit.  But failures can and do occur, even with much more expensive set-ups.  If you are wheeling alone in remote places you should have two air sources.  I'd rather spend $120 on two MV50's than $1,600 on two ARB's.  Of course you can bring one ARB and one MV50 and only spend $860. :-)

 

Also note that constant duty electric compressors are not constant duty forever.  Typically they are only rated to run a maximum of 1 hour continuously.  I doubt that's anything worth worrying about, because if you haven't aired-up or fixed whatever you need to in an hour you're probably not going to do so in two hours or longer.  The user manual for the MV50 says you need to let it cool-down after 30 minutes of continuous use.  So half the run-time for the $60 MV50 versus the $400 Viair constant duty compressor.  Shit, buy two MV50's -- you can air-up two tires at once and cut your time in half. 

 

What I would like is on board air.  Not because it's faster, though that's a nice side benefit.  But because it saves space and is more convenient.  When my first MV50 got stolen I came very close to buying the Viar constant duty kit with 2.5 gallon tank.  It's only $370 on Amazon.  But then I thought, $60 is a tremendous value for a compressor that never let me down in 4+ years.

 

Personally, if I was looking to spend $800 for an air compressor I'd do a York.  You can buy a remanufactured York 210L with clutch on eBay for around $150.  ORO makes a York install kit for JK's for $239.  You'll need an oil coalescing filter, around $100, plus pressure switch, regulator, fittings, connectors and hoses to the tune of another $100, and $70 for a tank.

 

But even with on-board air, if I'm going someplace where my life might depend on being able to air-up a wounded tire, I'm still going to throw my MV50 in the back as a spare. 

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Some excellent thoughts here.  I'll reason why I liked the ARB. Speed was mentioned, but also the ability to bring air and an airbag to a busted rig that either 1) doesn't have air; or 2) doesn't have engine or battery power.  Air tools are nice, but I have 18V stuff that is more convenient.  The other reason I like the idea of a tank is the possible ability to re-seat a bead.  You can definitely do this with Co2 and the right regulator.  I know one can do this explosively with a little gas, but I'm not that fun a guy unless there are no other alternatives.

 

Another nice feature of a set up with a tank is the ability to use a blow gun.  Shop air is nice and while most of us still have snorks, it would be much easier to blow the water out of a cylinder or air box than the turkey baster method.  Maybe a little compressed air to clean out a fitting, blow out a water line, etc.,etc.  In the parking lot at RC this isn't a necessity, but AOAA has no shed nor does the woods at BESF or any backcountry or overlanding destination.

 

As for Martin, it's six tires that may need airing up and down.  It's not bad when they're 35's, but if he ever moves up to 37s, the additional volume of air is incredibly significant and the use of a smaller compressor might be painful.

 

I do agree with Bump that a small "get-home" backup is still an excellent idea given the critical nature of the equipment.

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Bump,

 

According to the folks at Extreme Outback 100% cycle duty means the fan on the air compressor is adequate to keep the air compressor cool enough to run as long as you have the power for the compressor.  They did mention that this standard is based on an ambient temp of 70 degrees and also up to 50 PSI.  The duty cycle on the MV50 is 50%, half hour on, half hour off.  This is how my MV 50 failed.  I had no idea of what a duty cycle was, and the compressor got handed around the parking lot till it failed.  I think it was 4 Jeeps.

 

I agree about having a back up if I'm going someplace where one is needed.  I have selected Rick as my back up air compressor source.   :lol: Rick, please be prepared to take weeks of vacation at a moments notice.  Seriously, I can see going down this road in the future, just not for my trip in June.

 

Regarding OBA vs a compressor in a box, I think I'm going to go with something mobile.  Primary reason is that not every person that may join me on one of these adventures will have the space or cash flow to carry a compressor.  I would like to be prepared not only for myself, but for those that have joined me on one of these trips.  The travel and the destinations are certainly a part of my desire to explore.  Sharing these experiences with others, and the ability to do it with friends, that turns these trips from something I did, to life time memories that are shared.  If making someone else feel a little more comfortable about stretching their boundaries, I think that is money well spent.

 

Bump and Rick,

 

You both make excellent points about 18V or 20V tools being available.  That may change my thoughts on having a tank.  Although the idea of a blow gun and reseating a bead are good reasons to buy something capable of adding a tank.

 

I really appreciate the comments.  I have till early June to make a decision, so if you see anything interesting, I would greatly appreciate future comments.

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Well, while I will be in Maine during your event, I will be on the other side of it at a wedding. You can borrow the ARB box if you like. I've never been to a wedding that requires compressed air.

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Well, while I will be in Maine during your event, I will be on the other side of it at a wedding. You can borrow the ARB box if you like. I've never been to a wedding that requires compressed air.

 

Depending on bonuses this year, I may take you up on that.

 

Although I can imagine that an air compressor at a wedding could be a good time....

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Although I can imagine that an air compressor at a wedding could be a good time....

 

Ha, yeah, there might be call for one if Nascar ever gets married.  I'm imagining Otnoc playing "Here comes the bride" on an impact gun.

 

And yeah, I'm good for the last minute multi-day vacation.  :up:

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Bump,

 

According to the folks at Extreme Outback 100% cycle duty means the fan on the air compressor is adequate to keep the air compressor cool enough to run as long as you have the power for the compressor.  They did mention that this standard is based on an ambient temp of 70 degrees and also up to 50 PSI.  The duty cycle on the MV50 is 50%, half hour on, half hour off.  This is how my MV 50 failed.  I had no idea of what a duty cycle was, and the compressor got handed around the parking lot till it failed.  I think it was 4 Jeeps.

 

That might be what the folks at Extreme Outback say.  But actual manufacturer specifications say different.  Refer to page 5 of the Viair compressor user manual (PDF) for the 450C constant duty compressor, where it states a maximum runtime of 1 hour.  I can't find an online user manual for the ARB, but even with its fan, I suspect that there is still a maximum runtime, given that there is no lubricating system.  That is the reason why an air conditioning compressor can provide true constant duty: there is an oiling system.  I'm not aware of any electric compressor for mobile vehicle use that has a lubricating system.

 

But from a practical standpoint, if you are airing-up tires, you are giving the compressor at least a short break between each tire and vehicle.  Possibly a fan can accelerate cooling of the cylinder and motor so the runtime can be extended.  Adding a reservoir (tank) will also allow the compressor to cycle and reduce its use cycle. 

 

The MV50 user manual does specify 30 minutes of rest after 30 minutes of use (though, empirically, it seems that the compressor will run much longer than 30 minutes before overheating).  Unfortunately, few people read or take that to heart until they experience a problem.  The only negative I see about the MV50 is that it apparently has no built-in thermal cutoff.  A shame, really, because that would add about $2.50 to the manufacturing cost.  Perhaps that's worthy of a new mod.

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Regarding OBA vs a compressor in a box, I think I'm going to go with something mobile.  Primary reason is that not every person that may join me on one of these adventures will have the space or cash flow to carry a compressor.  I would like to be prepared not only for myself, but for those that have joined me on one of these trips.  The travel and the destinations are certainly a part of my desire to explore.  Sharing these experiences with others, and the ability to do it with friends, that turns these trips from something I did, to life time memories that are shared.  If making someone else feel a little more comfortable about stretching their boundaries, I think that is money well spent.

 

I agree that the ability to render assisstance to others is one of the admirable traits of most off-roaders.  Yet still, I feel the benefits of a fixed OBA system outweigh a portable system.  As mentioned, a fixed system utilizing a York AC compressor is truly 100%, unlimited runtime.  Being permanently installed, it is never something you have to worry about forgetting to pack.  A suitable length of air hose can be used to provide air to other vehicles.

 

Each person has his/her own priorities.  Mine is to address the vehicle upgrades, tools and spare parts so that I am self-sufficient, so as to not be a burden to others on the trail.  As a byproduct, those tools and spare parts are often useful to others when they break-down on the trail.  So, having a reliable air source is important to me, which is why I still carry my MV50 most times, even though I have CO2.  Right now, OBA is lower on my priority list.  In terms of tools, my priority list is:

 

1. Heavy duty C frame for pressing u-joints

2. 18V electric angle grinder

3. Portable welder

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Bump:  Here's the link to the ARB compressor specifications:  http://store.arbusa.com/Assets/PDF/compressorTechnicalSpecifications.pdf

 

The double pumper has two fans, one on each pump.  It's also thermal overload protected.

 

The specis for Viair 450C also say 100% duty cycle, but only for a max of 60min.  I'd check your user manual to see if there's any specifiy maximum runtime.  Or, we can just let it run for 24 hours and see what happens.  |;^)

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I looked into the York for the Pentastar.  The only kit I know of for the 3.6L is the ORO kit and that's $1,900.  ORO seems to indicate that traditional placement is not possible because of the 3.6L unit's proximity to the radiator. They actually direct attach it to the crankshaft balancer pulley without a belt.  This also presumes that the disabled rig requiring air has a functioning motor. 

 

EDIT:  It seems that Q-tec is selling a bracket kit for $500 for a York setup (sans compressor or tank).  It's definitely cool.

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the thing I keep weighing is CO2 vs the Viair and I'm really torn

 

I'm selling my Co2.  PM me and I will take the pain away from your decision.

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Make sure you have a place that's reasonably priced to fill CO2.  Fucker by me charges $28. 

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