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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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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.
Unfortunately I am on facebook, And over there they are recommending everyone air down their tires, That it is all but impossible to go off pavement without doing so. So now everyone is buying expensive 12 volt air compressors.

I have bought cheap 12 volt compressors for years the air up my threewheelers and fourwheelers. And I know the four wheel drive crowd has aired down for years.
 

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Fad? Ok. I learned how well airing down works years ago at lake Maconaughy in Nebraska. Big Res with soft white sand as far as you can see. We ran A big Windsurfing event there on the waters edge every year, 100's of vehicles in deep sand camping out!! And we had a fleet as well. I drove my E250 2WD extended anywhere I wanted with 20 PSI. 55 PSI? Stuck like chuck in 2 seconds. We brought a 110v compressor and a generator, for obvious reasons, lol.
 

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I sure hope the arguing about airing down is over now. Not an offroader, but we've aired down for really long dirt in the past and it was SO much better. But the crappy pumps we had made it not worth the trouble.

So... back to the pump. Viair 400P got a couple votes. No tank needed? Pretty sure my compressor at the house wouldn't do so well without a tank. These things will pump up those tires fast without a tank backing it up?
 

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These things will pump up those tires fast without a tank backing it up?
I've got Viair 400P automatic - haven't needed an air tank, never had a duty-cycle shut down. As I understand it, air tanks make a big difference with air tools: nailers, sanders, impact wrench, etc. But not so important for pumping up tires. Being free from air-tank saves space and gives flexibility, to use as a portable unit or mount under the vehicle, or swap back and forth. Make sure you get the auto-shutoff - absolutely critical.
 

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Cubic Feet per Minute of output plus Duty Factor are the most important specs for operating air tools, I found this out the hard way 40 years ago when operating air operated chainhoists in the 3/4 ton range.
I was just a young guy and my boss was not too bright, Increasing air tank size did nothing.
 

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I installed a 12 gallon air tank. Underside on passenger side . I use a Senco 1/2 hp compressor. The compressor struggles but works okay . I like to blow dust and dirt out of the van . Using a pretty good “ plug into cigarette lighter” pump takes too long to add 10 psi to the tires .
 

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This Campbell Hausfeld 12v can be run from a standard 12 v dashboard power outlet at only 15 amps. It can run 30 minutes without needing to cool down. The CFM rating isn't listed (?) but it has filled the 275/16s on my F-250 from stone cold flat to 80 PSI in a reasonable (to me) amount of time.
It's in the van at all times now. Should get a 2nd one for the truck. The small size fits nicely behind the seat of the single cab pick up.
 

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I've got Viair 400P automatic - haven't needed an air tank, never had a duty-cycle shut down. As I understand it, air tanks make a big difference with air tools: nailers, sanders, impact wrench, etc. But not so important for pumping up tires. Being free from air-tank saves space and gives flexibility, to use as a portable unit or mount under the vehicle, or swap back and forth. Make sure you get the auto-shutoff - absolutely critical.
Cubic Feet per Minute of output plus Duty Factor are the most important specs for operating air tools, I found this out the hard way 40 years ago when operating air operated chainhoists in the 3/4 ton range.
I was just a young guy and my boss was not too bright, Increasing air tank size did nothing.
Perfect. No tank needed, just a high output full duty cycle and auto-shut-off. Less to install! Love it! That'll accelerate buying it and make it easier to install under eventually. Thanks, y'all! (y)
 

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I have a Viair 400P and have have been really happy with, I used it on my E350 when I was running 33's. If you are going to be airing down and up frequently you may want to consider a deflator as well, I have an ARB EZ Deflator which cuts down on the time significantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I am going to try the Viair. I'm going to wait until next Monday to order and see if it goes on sale, if not go ahead and order it anyway. Then as soon as it arrives I'll do a test and see if I air down all tires to 15PSI if it can pump them all back up without needing a break.

Thanks!
 

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Not with Viair 400p automatic. The compressor shuts off if you engage a shutoff valve or quick disconnect in your airline. No tank needed.
The description sounds moronic, Why not just leave the compressor run when you go from one tire to the next tire?
This is how it works at the gas station after you put your quarters in.

 

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I have the Viair 400P without auto shutoff mounted under the hood of my truck but bought a cheap Harbor Freight portable, which pretty much looks the same, to use with the van. The Viair has held up well for several years including lots of underhood heat and dirt. The whole automatic/non-automatic/tank issue affects the type of inflation valve you use. Without a pressure shutoff either on a tank or in the compressor, you need an inflator which is always open and flowing air. That can be kind of annoying, but its workable and it’s what I have since I didn't want to add a tank and it was cheaper. If you have an inflator which stays closed until you pull the lever, like in a gas station the pressure builds up which could damage the compressor unless it triggers an over-pressure shutoff. With the always-open inflator, attaching it to the tire valve effectively turns the tire into a pressure tank which you fill until it reaches the desired pressure. To avoid the hose blowing air its easy enough to attach the inflator to the tire valve first, then switch on the compressor. I agree that a portable 110V unit with tank is versatile but that’s even heavier and bulkier.

As far as the need to air down … sure a good driver can maybe negotiate a particular sandy spot without airing down. Same is true for a good driver in 2wd vs you or me in 4wd; or a good driver in a stock 4wd vs you or me needing lockers and MT tires plus 4wd. But if you are out West and are covering 30-40 miles of gravel “road” in Death Valley or the Mojave Desert, airing down is more comfortable and less stress on the vehicle, cargo, and occupants.
 

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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.
On sale at HF for $110 (reg $140) this week.
 
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