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Old 11-04-2019, 02:33 PM   #1
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Gravel roads 'shake' you to great spots! HELP

Our 2003 E350 RWD conversion is so fun, took it to the Mojave National Preserve to see the biggest steam train ever built thunder through the canyons! Kinda like time travel, not much modern day 'stuff' in the snapshots, really cool.

Sooo, that washboard hard pack gravel just shakes the snot out of the van with my standard 70psi in the tires. Is that type of driving not advisable? What would it take to lower and then re-inflate the tires to get back on pavement? Would it make the driving on that type of surface more enjoyable? Worth the effort?

Can those 12v portable air compressors inflate this rigs 4 tires in a reasonable amount of time?


thanks!
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:28 PM   #2
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How much does your van weigh? When myself and 3 other vans did a forest service trail we aired down to 40-35 PSI. It made a huge difference, some of those vans were 10,000lbs. The heaviest I have been is just under 8k, I run 50psi in the front and 55psi in the rear on pavement. On gravel I drop it down by 10-15psi, I don't think a 12v would work very well as I have 33inch E-Rated tires and I think it would take a very long time. I have a VIAIR 400P compressor that I hook up to my starter battery and a ARB EZ Deflater.

I also have a Quigley which isn't exactly the most comfortable ride, looking at doing a Agile Off Road Ride Improvement Package in the near future.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:49 PM   #3
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How patient are you? How often do you expect to air up & down, and what size tires are you running?
Several options available;
Co2 tanks like Powertank & Smittybilt have a variety of sizes, but you'll have to find a shop that can refill occasionally. 10lb cylinder can air your tires up 2-3 times (depending on size & how low you go)

A 12v doc compressor that plugs into a cig lighter socket would take quite some time (May stop due to overheating)

Several "good" air compressor systems (offering both frame mount & portable options) like Viair and Extreme outback may serve you better based on power, output, and convenience. Add a 1.5 to 2.5/gal storage tank and your set.
If you drop the tire pressure you'll run considerably smoother, and keep the interior from rattling apart. How much to air down depends on you - for the points made above by Cyrull, I have a van at 12,00lbs when loaded and don't air down below 45 (unless on the beach).
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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All good advice. We have a single ARB mounted under the van. It airs up our 32 tires in a reasonable amount of time, meaning that some people I travel with are done airing up sooner others after me.

We run 55 psi front and 60 psi in the rear on pavement. Then drop it to around 32 for gravel roads. Van weighs about 9000 pounds fully loaded.
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:35 PM   #5
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I bought one of these after my oba setup died.

https://superflowair.com/products/hv...or-refurbished

Just needed something until I could rebuild the oba setup. Will fill up my 34’s from 25 to 50psi around 7-8 minutes each in 50-75 degree weather. Add another 5 min for when it’s above 80 out. They go on sale often and I picked mine up for just under 50 shipped. It’s worth every penny.
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Old 11-05-2019, 10:26 AM   #6
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so much useful info, thanks ya'll.

My tires are stock 245/75R16s @70psi the van has a 20" fiberglass high top but otherwise is no heavier than stock (I pulled 4 very heavy bench seats out of it and only added 2 light bunks and a kitchen/sink unit so far). We carry 8 gallons of water and roadside/campsite tools plus food & clothing. Only seats 2 so maybe around 7500lbs fighting weight.

7-8mins each tire sounds like a half an hour, hehe, would be interested in quicker if that doesn't get extravagant, $50-100 sounds like a bargain!

Is there a canister that can be mounted under the van (legally) that can fill 1 or 2 tires while a compressor works on the others? Maybe my 70psi would need too large a canister...

I think a trial run would be a good idea, lots of gravel roads in my area, I should find the one nearest a filling station with air.

thanks again!
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:51 PM   #7
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When you have an opportunity I would load your van up with what you typically take with you on a road trip and take it to a scale for weigh in. Once that is done I would determine if you have the correct load rated tires for your van.

I think your weight is going to be around mine, I'm typically around 7500-7800lbs
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:50 AM   #8
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I'm not a fan of the canister/tank idea because if it ever leaks or you forget to fill it...you're SOL. Been using a Viair compressor for about 10 years filling anything from 33s to 37s with good success.

I don't know how you didn't air down on that kind of road. I always air down on dirt surfaces if we are going to be on it for any extended period of time.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b. rock View Post
I'm not a fan of the canister/tank idea because if it ever leaks or you forget to fill it...you're SOL. Been using a Viair compressor for about 10 years filling anything from 33s to 37s with good success.

I don't know how you didn't air down on that kind of road. I always air down on dirt surfaces if we are going to be on it for any extended period of time.
I concur with this, you get an unlimited supply of air so long as you have power. It' easy to transfer the compressor from vehicle to vehicle or use it to air something else up. The tanks will air up quicker though.

If I'm spending more than 15-20 minutes on a bumpy road I am airing down.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrie View Post
All good advice. We have a single ARB mounted under the van. It airs up our 32 tires in a reasonable amount of time, meaning that some people I travel with are done airing up sooner others after me.

We run 55 psi front and 60 psi in the rear on pavement. Then drop it to around 32 for gravel roads. Van weighs about 9000 pounds fully loaded.
Larrie, Im interested in how you decided on those numbers (55/60 pavement). I have the 285/17 KO2s and have been trying to determine what a softer-but-safe pavement ride should be be. Im at about 7500 lbs, almost evenly distributed front and rear (rear = +50).
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