You never know when you’re going to need compressed air to inflate tires, run a rattle gun, or get yourself out of some backbreaking work. (We were reminded of this at SEMA when our dolly tires went kaput and there were 50,000 some boxes of calendars to be transported. The fine folks at Viair pulled out a compressor, filled us up, sent us on our way, leaving us longing for portable compressed air.) An air compressor is one of those shop items that everyone dreams about taking on the road. But as much as we advocate for bigger is better, we didn’t want to carry a big generator & shop compressor, and really liked the idea of having a compact 12 volt compressor with a small tank that was simple and could be also be attached to our pickup truck, a Ford F-250. That solved the problem of where to keep it and how to transport it to various races and events.
After reading up on the subject (and with the memory of all of those calendars we didn’t have to haul across the floor by hand), we decided to go with the Viair Constant Duty On Board Air system: http://www.viaircorp.com/oba-constant.html.
The compressor itself arrived quickly and proved to be a small but solid (and heavy) unit, well made and sturdy, with extra nuts and bolts, and all the required air lines/wiring and other parts to complete an install.
After mounting all the fittings to the tank, the first task was where to place the system. The obvious location on our truck was the frame, but the system can be installed anywhere it will fit. Overall, the compressor and tank were easily installed on the truck, but there are a few things to consider in the installation process:
1) There are no plates provided, so you’ll need to order them separately like we did.
2) We also didn’t want to drill the frame, so we created some brackets.
3) There was no mounting template provided to mark drill holes for our brackets, but we were able to make one from some schematics we found on Viair’s site, and we suggest you do this if installing such a system. The schematic can be found HERE.
Basically, your comfort level with this much DIY installation may vary. But if you’re the kind of person who wants his or her own small air compressor, the odds are high that creating a template for drill holes is no big deal.
Overall, the system works really well. There is enough air to rattle on/off one wheel at a time, and it quickly inflates tires.
To see this install inaction, check out this video of the same system being installed by one of our other contributors: