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Selecting an air compressor?

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Hi All,

I am trying to make up my mind between these two air compressors:



The Smittybuilt has, I think better CFM. It is hard to tell as the way they are measured isn't the same. I wish they had a real chart with CFM @ PSI. However, it uses non-standard air fittings. The Viair at least has standard air fittings to allow you to easily extend the hose. I will be running 245/70/R16, so not really big tires and I just want to be able to fill all 4 back up without having to wait for a cool down.

Also, does anyone know of a screw on deflator like the Staun that can be set for 40PSI? All the ones I see are for 30PSI or so.

Thanks!
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Airing down tires is the biggest modern scam there ever was, I did just fine and never got stuck in a whole afternoon of nonstop of riding in Florida beach sand/Sand dune sand in my 1975 Chevy C-10 pickup truck with Posi-Traction in 1980. The truck had about 500 pounds in the truck bed with new stock tires. My first time driving in sand, I had snow and ice experience.
Apollo Beach Fla, Today it is all condo's back then it was a still wild beach close to Tampa.
 

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Airing down tires is the biggest modern scam there ever was, I did just fine and never got stuck in a whole afternoon of nonstop of riding in Florida beach sand/Sand dune sand in my 1975 Chevy C-10 pickup truck with Posi-Traction in 1980. The truck had about 500 pounds in the truck bed with new stock tires. My first time driving in sand, I had snow and ice experience.
Apollo Beach Fla, Today it is all condo's back then it was a still wild beach close to Tampa.
I usually appreciate your opinions/insight here, but I absolutely disagree in this case. Coming from 20+ years in the Jeep/off-road scene, airing down makes all the difference. You may have lucked out in your C-10, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't have done even better had you aired down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Airing down tires is the biggest modern scam there ever was, I did just fine and never got stuck in a whole afternoon of nonstop of riding in Florida beach sand/Sand dune sand in my 1975 Chevy C-10 pickup truck with Posi-Traction in 1980. The truck had about 500 pounds in the truck bed with new stock tires. My first time driving in sand, I had snow and ice experience.
Apollo Beach Fla, Today it is all condo's back then it was a still wild beach close to Tampa.
I too have to disagree. Having driven the same wash boarded POS road both aired down and not there is a big difference. It helps in snow too. It isn't just about ultimate traction when stuck. And while I don't have a great aired down get unstuck story, it sure can't hurt. Try it sometime, you may change your mind.

Still looking for opinions...
 

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This board needs a clicky-button for "curmudgeon" and we could all compete to see who gets the most clicks. :LOL:

First, I'm sure hoping someone has a good answer. I keep delaying purchasing a good air-supply and tank. Mostly just for bike maintenance but potentially for long washboards.

Second, I had no idea there was a magic valve-cover that sets to a pressure! That is super cool! Now I want to try it just to try those out. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Myfirstford Those operate between 30 and 6 PSI. For wash boards and crappy roads I am going to be trying 45PSI on the rear on the KO2 245/70R16E that we are having put on.

@gregoryx They can be awesome. Some are really slow. My buddy has a set of Staun's and they are quick and fairly accurate. Or at least repeatable, the numbers had to be fudged a little but they would set the tires evenly and predictably.
 

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I have been using the single motor ARB for awhile now. if i was smart i would add a small air tank. Regardless i abuse it pretty good and its still kicking just fine 2 years in. i have never done a full air down but i have filled plenty of tires from flat and it never stops going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The fringe is influencing the mainstream with fringe idea's.
And while I think that is very true, I just don't think this is one of those ideas. I really have seen it make the difference between needing to go see a dentist after a trip and having a reasonably comfortable ride on wash boarded roads. It is also easier on the vehicle, you can feel it.

Try this, get a ball and air it down real low and bounce it. Air it back in increments. There is a sweet spot. And you can hear the difference in pitch when you bounce it and at a certain point it takes on a new sound that just sounds too tight.
 

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I went down researching the compressor rabbit hole but my buddies talked me into going the co2 bottle route since it's very fast to air up and my ADD wouldn't tolerate 20 minutes or more of waiting on a slow compressor to fill those big KO tires up. Be careful most compressors have a 50% cycle duty time meaning you need to wait between tires for it to cool down by the same amount of time you spend filling.
Screw this on a 10# bottle and should be good to go. All the local 4 wheel guys use these....I have not tried it yet so do your own due diligence.

 

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Consider a portable 120 volt AC compressor. I looked at all the expensive DC compressors that require high amperage DC power and required installation time. Decided on a HF AC compressor that I could use in the van or somewhere else.

What I bought:


Runs fine on my1000 watt house inverter and quality looks good.
 

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On washboard and rocky roads I air down to 20psi (K02 245 70 R16). Really improves the ride. Viair 400P, take power from jump-start connectors under the hood. I set up a dual-hose to air up 2 tires together, first fronts, then rears. Takes 5 mins for fronts, 5 mins for rears. Have never exceeded the duty cycle. Air tank not needed.
 

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I've had several of the VIAIR pumps (300P, 88P. 90P, 70P). The 300P stays in the van and mostly gets used for the 5 tire rotations. The deflator valve works ok and it's up to going from 40PSI up to 70PSI with it's limited duty cycle.

I'd probably go with orton's suggestion for simplicity and function if I was expecting to be airing up and down multiple times.

I've got these for the Tacoma ....

.... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N5MUXIE

.... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M0L7JS2

But haven't even used them mostly because between sea turtle nesting season and the minimal beach driving that's left in Florida I just don't spend enough time in that environment. I'll even side with Michael Ophus to an extent. Before the internet woke me up, I drove a '70 VW bus over the ramp and on the beach at Cape Hatteras - without airing down - and without any issues.

Kicking the ant pile isn't usually a good idea. Doesn't keep a kid from doing it anyway .... ;-]
 

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Airing down tires is the biggest modern scam there ever was, I did just fine and never got stuck in a whole afternoon of nonstop of riding in Florida beach sand/Sand dune sand in my 1975 Chevy C-10 pickup truck with Posi-Traction in 1980. The truck had about 500 pounds in the truck bed with new stock tires. My first time driving in sand, I had snow and ice experience.
Apollo Beach Fla, Today it is all condo's back then it was a still wild beach close to Tampa.
I normally respect your posts, but you've taken a single anecdotal experience and attempted to expand it to an across-the-board rule, which isn't how science works. There's plenty of good information out there about why airing down helps in certain circumstances (increases latitudinal contact patch, similar to tank tread), and deep silty sand is one of those situations. I've personally watched van after van, truck after truck, get stuck in Death Valley (including myself once) on a long stretch of outrageously fine particulate zero-humidity heavily perturbated deep sand. Airing down solved it every single time.

A truck with 500lbs cargo can run and gun over a lot of difficult terrain, which is what I did for decades in a 2WD SUV. Sometimes you can get away with that. You might even be able to get past that section in death valley (I did many times), but you'd have to keep considerable speed, and if you slow down for the hard-pack sections to avoid wrecking your suspension or damaging your cargo, you get stuck. With aired down tires, you don't have go as fast, which is easier on the vehicle and cargo when transitioning from sand to hard-pack. It also reduces the potential for sharp maneuvers that can send you off the road into rocks, shrubs, or a ravine.

In the singular case of a beach that may not have been trawled (recently or ever) and may have had mildly damp sand with plenty of humidity (very likely), going off the road may not have mattered much, but sand isn't only found on beaches and sand doesn't only come in one composition (humidity, particle size, recent perturbation, etc.). Believing otherwise is a good example of an anecdote, which can often lead to a false truth.

Regarding the air compressor and the OP, I recommend the Viair 400P Automatic. It's really nice having the compressor turn off automatically when you're changing between tires or different sides of the van, and I believe mine came with a much longer RV air tube. I got it like-new on a site competing with ebay. I think I paid $150. Works perfect, easy connections. You don't want any hassle when airing up/down, you just want it fast and simple. I plan to mount mine under the van, but haven't had time.

Cheers.
 

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I went down researching the compressor rabbit hole but my buddies talked me into going the co2 bottle route since it's very fast to air up and my ADD wouldn't tolerate 20 minutes or more of waiting on a slow compressor to fill those big KO tires up. Be careful most compressors have a 50% cycle duty time meaning you need to wait between tires for it to cool down by the same amount of time you spend filling.
Screw this on a 10# bottle and should be good to go. All the local 4 wheel guys use these....I have not tried it yet so do your own due diligence.

Is there a reason people go with CO2 and not air?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Is there a reason people go with CO2 and not air?
Easier to exchange for a full one. I do have some co2 tanks but don't want to have to try to fill when on a long road trip. Or if it leaks and then there you are with a dead can and low tires.

I think I'm going to go with the Viair and then do a test with it as soon as it arrives so if it is too slow or has to cool down too much I can send it back.
 

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I am thinking tire longevity, It is hard on the tire sidewall. And now everyone is doing it because it is the latest fad regardless of your choice of tire, Some tires are made for it but not all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am thinking tire longevity, It is hard on the tire sidewall. And now everyone is doing it because it is the latest fad regardless of your choice of tire, Some tires are made for it but not all.
It is true that not all tires are designed with airing down in mind and you can indeed damage tires that way. And it does increase tire wear. And yeah, I am also sure that there are idiots out there doing stupid things with their tires.

But the tire wear is well offset by less suspension wear and greater ride comfort. And not getting stuck or getting unstuck? Priceless.
 
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