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Old 10-08-2007, 08:09 PM   #1
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Portable Air Compressors

Is anyone on this forum using a portable air compressor with their SMB? I know I need to get one sooner than later as my emergency one will be completely inadequate for my SMB and the excursions into the sand.

We will need one that can handle 4 285/75/16 tires. I was wondering if anyone had any real world experience with the portable units. The ones I've been able to find in my research are listed below with an approximate price.

Viair 400P Portable ~ $250
ExtremeAire Portable (Jr) ~ $300
ARB Portable Air Compressor ~$200
QuickAir II ~ $320

From everything I can tell, it seems like the Viair 400P could be the best one for our use, especially given the price. I do realize that an onboard setup would be more convenient in use, but I'm trying to keep the price/complexity of the van down as much as possible. As always thanks for the advice and help.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:11 PM   #2
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All the rage currently in the offroad world is to do double compressors for extra fast air up, no tank, not much plumbing. If you're not doing a tank for On Board Air (OBA) then you want to consider volume (you do even if you are running a tank I guess)... of course you're considering $50 in price difference I'm probably not going to talk you into doubling up.

anyway I have the QuickAir original and it will reseat a bead but it's slower than molassas. So it's plenty strong it's just not fast. The QuickAir II is much faster but I don't have real world experience with it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:22 PM   #3
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Thanks Jage - I know the amount of time it takes to air up your tires is important. I've also considered a C02 type inflator, but I don't want to have to deal with replacing the CO2 when it is empty (yes, I'm lazy that way, one of the reasons we omitted the propane on the van).

Hopefully someone has some real world experience with one of the compressors I listed or has another recommendation for a portable unit. I do know that all of them will be much better than what I have now (Xantrex 400).

Here is a basic review of some portable units:

http://www.offroadair.net/4WD-0502-Air-82-85.pdf

I will also probably get a set of Staun Tire Deflators.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:02 PM   #4
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I used the Quick Air II on my '96 van for years and it did a fine job, but it was still too slow for what I wanted and kept me from airing down every time I should have because I didn't want to have to wait for the air up time. I was running 265's and it took about 20 minutes to bring all four up from 20psi to 45psi. But, it did the job.

I now have the Warn PowerPlant 12,000 lb winch with the attached air compressor. All I can say is WOW. If you're even thinking of getting a winch (I wouldn't be without one cause of all the stupid places I go) this is the unit to get. I now air up my four 315's from 22psi to 45psi in less then 10 minutes. It's also great to blow off dusty boots after a hike and really cleans off the back of the rig after a dusty trail and before opening the rear doors. The $1,000 price tag gets your attention, but when you price a winch and a compressor it's in the ball park and puts out much more air then you'll get out of anything else I was able to find.

The Staun Tire Deflators are super too. I set 'em for 27psi and then adjust lower with a gauge as needed for the terrian.

That's my 2 cent ($1,000) opinion.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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Good stuff here.

I use the Stauns, too.

I determined that my OBA ExtremeAir Magnum is not working well. I noticed about two months ago that I couldn't air up past 30 psi (thought it was my gauge/air chuck), and today I tested everything. What an idiot I am for waiting. I found that the compressor is defective one day before a weeklong trip. SMB said they would send me a new one right away, but I'll have to install it when I return. So, I loaded in my PowerTank 10# CO2 tank from my Land Rover. That baby airs up a set of tires in under five minutes.

http://www.tellico4x4.com/product_info. ... s_id/22876
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:41 AM   #6
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Did you check the fittings on the actual compressor? When I got my QuickAir years ago they'd finger tightened all the fittings in the compressor (like the tube between the two pumps) and it would only inflate to a few PSI- only after shipping it back did they say that was the problem, seemed to think I should have known that somehow. At least they covered the shipping both ways.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:01 AM   #7
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I have the Viar 400p and it works amazingly well for how small and portable it is. For now when I air down I pull my valve stems very carefully mind you. Yes I do carry spare valve stems.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:01 AM   #8
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Thanks again everyone for the feedback.

It looks like I'm going to buy the Viair 400P after reading a bunch of reviews and doing a bit of thinking/soul searching. They have a very good deal on it here (http://www.4x4groupbuy.com/store/viair-400pautomaticÂ*-portable-compressor-44045-p-5579.html). This is an upgraded model over the standard 400P as it has an automatic shut-off function.

They also have good prices and free shipping on the Staun Tire Deflators and a Tire Repair Kit.

The winch setup would be great, but then I have to actually buy the bumbers as well , which is way more than I'm willing to spend right now. Who knows, maybe someday this will happen, but for now this setup should serve us well.

I did consider the power tanks (CO2) again, but like I said I don't want to deal with yet another "maintenance" item where I have to get the tank refilled periodically. Furthermore, the storage of the portable compressor will be much easier/simpler than dealing with the tank.

Once I get it and use it, I will post a follow up review.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:46 PM   #9
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I just received the Viair 400P today. I spent a good amount of time reviewing the various portable compressors and for the price, this seemed to be the best option. The one I purchased has an automatic shut-off to prevent overheating. With everything stored inside the nice carrying case (multiple pockets) it measures 11" wide x 13" long x 8" tall. It comes with a tire inflator / deflator with pressure gauge, 25' coiled extension hose with quick connects on both ends and 2 additional replacement air filters. The tire inflator has a lever that allows you to lock it down on the valve stem. It has a duty cycle of 40 minutes at 72F, so that should be more than plenty for airing up four tires. I believe it only weighs about 10 pounds.

It seems very well built and is incredibly easy to use. It shouldn't take you more than one minute to hook it up to the battery and have everything ready to go (leave the engine running). It also should have more than enough length to cover all four tires on an SMB.

I realize that an onboard compressor is a more optimal solution. However, if you are not going be constantly airing up & down during a given day, this will be more than adequate. The only other downside to this is that you will probably need to let it set for several minutes after use to let it cool down before packing it away. However, this is definitely a less expensive solution to onboard air and is much easier to service/replace if something goes wrong. We will probably never be airing down/up more than once a day, so a portable compressor more than fits our needs.

I purchased it from 4x4 Group Buy. Here is the link to the specific one I bought: http://www.4x4groupbuy.com/store/via...45-p-5579.html. Shipping was $25 (flat rate) and no sales tax.

Viair claims the times below. Independent reviews I've read have either matched or done better than this. None were slower than the claims made by Viair.

Begin/End PSI 31" X 10.5"
0 To 30 PSI 2 Min..28 Sec.
15 To 30 PSI 1 Min. 25 Sec.

Begin/End PSI 33" X 12.5"
0 To 30 PSI 4 Min. 00 Sec.
15 To 30 PSI 2 Min. 00 Sec.

Begin/End PSI 35" X 12.5"
0 To 30 PSI 4 Min. 50 Sec.
15 To 30 PSI 2 Min. 20 Sec.
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