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Old 03-18-2023, 03:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 82
Portable 12v air compressor for inflating tires

I know that letting air out of our 4x4 tires when in sand or soft surface is sometime advisable and I'm wondering how to re-inflate the tires when back on more solid surface out in a forest somewhere. Anyone aware of a 12v portable air compressor to plug into a cigarette lighter socket with a long cord or hose that will allow filing tires to at least 60 lbs? Or is there a compressor already on my 2006 E350 4x4 that I haven't noticed? Or, any other solution? Thanks

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Old 03-18-2023, 03:51 PM   #2
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Location: West Central Mountains, Idaho
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You've chosen a pretty common question that gets asked here. Instead of looking up multiple threads and posting them for you. Copy the following search directly into Google and it will show you where to find the threads already in existence. You just have to toggle down past the adds.

Air compressor

FWIW, after reading through all the various threads - I purchased an ARB single pump and it has worked out well for me. Not the fastest and not the slowest and certainly not the cheapest.

Cheers! -steve-
2001 Sportsmobile RB50 7.3
West Central Mountains, Idaho
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Old 03-18-2023, 03:54 PM   #3
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If you have a 2006 6.0 Van, look under the frame rail area on the drivers side (I've heard of a couple mounted under passenger side - never seen this myself through). If Sportsmobile installed one it's more than likely an Outback Extreme.
There are plenty of 12v air compressors that work either off their own batteries and/or the cig lighter socket, but I don't think you'll be impressed with them. Suggest you look at some portable compressors that are more robust (Preferably one that has 100% duty cycle):
Extreme Outback

Really boils down to how much you plan on using it - more demand should steer you towards better quality & reliability.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:32 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2020
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the harbor freight 12 volt air compressor is small and you can plug it into the cigarette plug (cost about 40 dollars) but it is very slow for large tire.

Smittybilt has two models the the 2080 (30 amps) and the giant 2081(45 amps) these are more expensive in the 200 dollar range but will fill up your tire quickly, they connect directly to the battery and you need the engine running for best results.

There are similar compressors like the smittybilt from different manufactures that look the same. Masterflow and Gobege, these are in the 160 dollar range.

I have the harbor freight one and also the 30 and 45 amp models. The 30 amp one is the one I been using for over 10 years and has worked great. The harbor freight I rarely used. I bought the 45 amp one to replace the 30 amps one, but its overkill for my astrovan tires. Its a very large inflator that takes up alot of space, it would be a great inflator for large tires. I also recommend the Jaco tire inflator chuck, they aint cheap at 25 dollars but it makes the job of inflating the tires go quickly without losing any air.

30 amp inflator
Attached Thumbnails
masterflow mf-1050.jpg   a jaco tire chuck.jpg  
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Old 03-23-2023, 12:33 PM   #5
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Location: CDA, Idaho
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X2 on the Smittybilt. It's a decent compressor and I have it permanently mounted under my rear bench seat and hard-wired to my house battery.

I also have an ARB single air mounted under the passenger seat hard-wired to my starter battery. This gives me redundancy and speed when re-inflating. I always air down if I know I'll be off pavement for a while. Having a good compressor set up will make it less painful to air back up, so you will air down more often.

Airing down is highly recommended when off pavement not only to smooth out washboard and rough road, but it also makes your tires less prone to damage/getting a flat if you air down properly. Airing down gives you increased traction, and if you are in sand, it is absolutely necessary.

You should research how much to air down in different circumstances. The tires you have, the conditions you are driving in and the speed you are driving are all important factors. Not airing down enough will provide little benefit, but airing down too much can be dangerous depending on conditions and your speed.
2001 E-350 V10 EB50 Penthouse
4.56 gears w/ARB Rear Locker
4X4 Quigley
Agile RIP
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Old 03-23-2023, 01:47 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Thanks for all the info.
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