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Budget 12v air compressor system

rlb

Member
Messages
127
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7
Location
United States
Thread starter #1
I'm working on a compressed air system for my 1994 Suburban. I'm always lugging one of those 5 gallon air tanks around for inflating tires etc... Viair sells a nice kit for about $400. I'm trying to get similar performance for about half of that.


Here are the major parts so far. I'll post later this week with some pictures and more detail, plus a full parts list of all the fittings.



Illuminated dash pressure gauge and on/off switch $30
http://www.viaircorp.com/images/manuals/10061_20062_Manual.pdf

Harbor Freight pump $60
http://www.harborfreight.com/12volt-150-psi-compact-air-compressor-69285.html

Firestone 3Gal Tank $63 with 3 ¼” npt fittings
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/fip-9148/overview/


90PSI OFF 110PSI ON switch $5
http://www.ebay.com/itm/370920437293?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649
 

DieselCash

Trust but, verify
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
6,418
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193
Location
Salado, Texas
Staff #2
Could you not get a tank at a semi truck wrecking yard for cheaper? I keep wanting to go that route but never seem to have the time and the money at the same time to do it.

Thanks for this thread. I am very interested in doing this with my truck. :thumbsup: On the cheap of course! :agreed:
 

rlb

Member
Messages
127
Likes
7
Location
United States
Thread starter #3
Probably, never thought to check.

The good news is that everything is coming together nicely. I bought all of the major components and hardware for $175. Spent $35 on misc stuff. Used another $30 worth of misc stuff I had laying around already, so i've spent $210 so far.

The bad news is the Viair system I thought was $400, I just came across on Amazon at $330 with free shipping. Had I known this last week, I would have just bought the kit! I saved $100 bucks but I've spent at least 5 hours designing the system and ordering parts.

I should have it done over the weekend. I have the compressor mounted, relay wired and just waiting on the tank to arrive today. Pressure switch and dash mount pressure gauge plus on/off switch arrive Friday.
 
Messages
5,686
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648
Location
Rural Clifton, Illinois
#4
Years ago we used to make air tank tube bumpers when we were 4 wheeling. We used a fairly cheap Accel 12 volt air compressor. We got the domed ends for the pipe and welded them on. They worked pretty good.
 
Messages
3,204
Likes
3
Location
chicago,
#5
id be scared of that harbor frieght compressor,,the viair stuff is rated at 100% duty cycle,i was looking at a 400/450? portable unit to air up car tires on my trailer
 

rlb

Member
Messages
127
Likes
7
Location
United States
Thread starter #6
id be scared of that harbor frieght compressor,,the viair stuff is rated at 100% duty cycle,i was looking at a 400/450? portable unit to air up car tires on my trailer
The Viair "Heavy Duty Onboard Air System" Ships with a 2.5 gallon tank, a 400C 2.2cfm compressor rated at 33% duty cycle. The whole kit is about $330. If you want the 100% duty cycle compressor, its $400 bucks and the CFM drops to 1.5.

My set up is a 33% duty cycle compressor with 1.5 CFM and a 3 gallon tank. If I ever want to upgrade I can, and keep the harbor freight compressor for another vehicle. I had one of these compressors for my jeep and it would take a set of 33's from 11 PSI to 30 psi without any complaints. I should be okay.

I got most everything mounted, plumbed and wired at this point. Just waiting on my Viair dash mount switch and pressure gauge to arrive (should be this afternoon).
 

rlb

Member
Messages
127
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7
Location
United States
Thread starter #8
Still a work in progress with a little wiring and tidying up left to do, but I have the air lines run and everything ready for the Viair gauge/switch. I'm going to move that regulator a bit after I pull up the carpet in the back and lay down some bedliner. If anyone has done this before let me know. Carpet is kinda nasty, I must have a leak somewhere because its a little bit damp.

Actually I wouldn't mind having the regulator mounted under the rear bumper if it was weatherproof. But this one was free.

The air lines are high pressure, hard poly. 1/4 OD for the pressure gauge and supply from the harbor freight compressor. 3/8 OD from the air tank to the regulator. All 1/4NPT fittings. I had to get a 1/8 to 1/4 NPT adapter for the compressor. I followed the wiring from the diagram in the Viair manual. The on/off switch will feed 12v to the pressure switch. If the pressure is low, the 12v passes through the switch and activates the relay. http://www.viaircorp.com/images/manuals/10061_20062_Manual.pdf

I mounted the compressor in the engine compartment however I am a little worried about heat. The compressor shuts off at 170F. Its probably 120F after a long drive. We'll see how it does, I can always relocate it.

Note to use the harbor freight compressor I needed to add a check valve. Otherwise it will blow its fuse if you try and start it when its hooked up to something with a lot of pressure. For example, a 3 gallon air tank. 2nd photo is the pressure switch. A line comes up from the tank, where it T's off there I have another line run through the firewall to connect to my gauge/switch.
 

rlb

Member
Messages
127
Likes
7
Location
United States
Thread starter #9
Parts list from McMaster Carr. In addition to what I bought on the 1st post.


Line Product Ordered Ships Price Total
1 5053K37 Quick-Assembly Brass Compression Tube Fitting, Straight Adapter for 1/4" Tube OD X 1/8 Female Pipe 1

2.03


2 5053K48 Quick-Assembly Brass Compression Tube Fitting, Straight Adapter for 1/4" Tube OD X 1/4 Male Pipe 1
each today
2.34
each 2.34

3 5053K31 Quick-Assembly Brass Compression Tube Fitting, Tee for 1/4" Tube OD 1


4 50785K322 Medium-Pressure Brass Threaded Pipe Fitting, 1/4 Pipe Size, Female X Male X Female Tee 2
each today
5.42


5 50785K43 Medium-Pressure Brass Threaded Pipe Fitting, 1/4 Pipe Size, 90 Degree Male X Female Elbow 1
each today
2.50

6 7775K12 Quick-Opening Brass Check Valve, 1/4 NPTF Dryseal Female Connections, Buna-N Seal 1
each today
12.49
each 12.49
7 4921K16 Drain-Handle Brass Stop Cock, Wing-Nut Handle, 1/4" NPT Male, External Seal 1
each today
2.46


8 48435K72 Extend-Life ASME Pop-Safety Valve with Test Ring, Brass, Medium Flow, 1/4 NPT Male, 145 PSI 1
each today
5.26

9 50375K81 High-Pressure/Vacuum Polyethylene Tubing .170" ID, 1/4" OD, .04" Wall Thickness, Black, 25 ft. Length 1
each
2.75






1 5053K48 Quick-Assembly Brass Compression Tube Fitting, Straight Adapter for 1/4" Tube OD X 1/4 Male Pipe 2
each today
2.34

2 5053K53 Quick-Assembly Brass Compression Tube Fitting, Straight Adapter for 3/8" Tube OD X 1/4 Male Pipe 2
each today
2.77

3 50375K81 High-Pressure/Vacuum Polyethylene Tubing .170" ID, 1/4" OD, .04" Wall Thickness, Black, 25 ft. Length 1
each today
2.75

4 50375K82 High-Pressure/Vacuum Polyethylene Tubing 1/4" ID, 3/8" OD, 1/16" Wall Thickness, Black, 25 ft. Length 1
each today
4.50
 

Burning oil

LeroyDiesel.com
Vendor
Messages
10,268
Likes
1,747
Location
Houston
#10
Nice thing is you could put air bags on it now and inflate them with your system. I have an Air Ride set up and have thought about tee'ing in for emergency air.
 

Will L.

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,079
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7,296
Location
Boulder City Nv
#12
As for the under hood heat, mine is under my hood and no problems. Not a harbor freight, but still the heat generated by the compressor is far above heat around it.

Leroy definately add a qd for attaching a hose to. Way to useful. Get a 25' coil hose and throw under a seat if you don't have a toolbox. I use mine so often Im seriously considering a small auto retract reel for a 25' hose if I had a good spot for one. Constantly air kids & friends tires, blow out cab area after dusty run, and an impact for swapping tires on a run. Of coarse my truck eats tires so that's big to me. I have a new airbag for a freightliner that might turn into my new jack...
 

rlb

Member
Messages
127
Likes
7
Location
United States
Thread starter #13



The parts came in and I got it up and running. It will take the 3 gallon tank from 0-120 psi in about 2.5 minutes. Works pretty well.




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