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Thread: 12 volt air compressor

  1. #1
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    12 volt air compressor

    I am in need of a compact 12 volt air compressor for use in out of the way places. I won't pay the $250 to $700 I have seen for some, so does anyone have one that works well enough for occasional use? I thought our resident mechanic and the 4 wheel guys may have a few suggestions. I have one I carry for my bike, but it would not pup a truck or trailer tire.

    I was looking at the $69 one at Northern in their Klutch brand. Not too many reviews, but it has 120 psi with 2.1 cfm capabilities (not 2.1 at 120 I am sure, probably 2.1 @ 0 psi)

    That is about my budget, but I could stretch just a little if I need to.

  2. #2
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    Since you asked I'll drop my .02 on this. I've used compressors for years now and if I can offer any advice it would be to buy the absolute best one you can afford. I have one portable Viair setup. Two are in OBA configuration and they can handle up to 35-37" tires on continuous cycle. In other words I can air up all four tires after airing them down without stopping. I like that feature because when I get off of a trail I'm usually beat and airing back up, re-connecting sway bars and general maintenance you might have to do can take an hour or so. The on-boards I have are ARB, they are very expensive but are solid units. Both of the OBA configurations have spare 5 gallon tanks to run air tools on a very limited basis with. What you need to watch out for with for inexpensive models is they have a tendency to over heat very quickly as they aren't designed to run very long or fill anything other than a single tire and that's generally a top off but it sounds like that might be what you are after. When they overheat they will either shut down or brake so you really have to watch them. I understand not wanting to spend a ton of money especially if you aren't going to use it very much. I have no knowledge of the Klutch brand but they look very much like Viair so it would not surprise me if they are under the same manufacturing licensing. Here is a Viair option that may be interesting for you: https://www.aircompressorsdirect.com...UaAoraEALw_wcB Another option you can go to is an air tank like "Power Tank". Those things will sit idle until you need them and will air your tires multiple times over before needing a fill. You can also run air tools off of them all you want as there are no moving parts to over work. This is their small version: https://www.polyperformance.com/powe...0aAjMJEALw_wcB

    I may have done nothing more than add to your conundrum and hopefully that's not the case. I love my on boards because it sure makes things simple. If someone has a compressor failure after a run usually we park two other vehicles next to them and air them back up in no time. I've even used them for stranded people who get a flat or a slow leak to get them where they need to be. The look on someone's face is priceless when you pull out a air hose and have them moving in a couple minutes, they think it's some kind of voodoo.
    Hold my beer and watch this

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  4. #3
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    that Viair is something like what I am after. What I want it for is the occasional flat, a low tire, maybe an inflatable mattress or whatever. I don't fourwheel, though it looks fun, so airing all 4 tires is not at all likely. I am after that "get me back to town" or ooops, it is 10 lbs low, or crap, I just got a flat at the camp site compressor, not something for overland trails.

  5. #4
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    One piece of advice, if possible jack the car up before starting compressor so it's just inflating the tyre and not inflating it against the vehicles weight.
    As an example, the first time I put pre-puncture into the tyres they were on the ground and it took around 10 minutes to inflate the front tyres from flat and the compressor was hot. When I jacked the wheel up it took less than 3 minutes per tyre and the compressor was cool at the end of inflating all 4 tyres from flat.

  6. #5
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    Some off roaders install an air conditioner compressor without any lines and use the air off that to re-inflate their tires after rock crawling. Had a buddy in Arizona that swore by it. Just need room under the hood for another bracket.

  7. #6
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    I use the one that came with my Hyundai all the time. I'll try to remember to look at the brand in the morning. I don't know how good it would be for an air mattress , but it's been great for tires. It has no storage tank, just a small, direct compressor .
    Drinking from the skull of your enemy is more eco-friendly than plastic cups.

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