Onboard Air System

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Onboard Air System

Postby 97cargocrawler [OP] » July 14th 2014, 7:59pm

I decided I needed more toys for my van. I wanted an air horn, air bags, a way to inflate my tires and adventure toys and maybe use air tools. I purchased a VIAIR 20001 package:

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viair system.JPG


Spec's:

viair 20001 specs.JPG


Inside the box:

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The bracket is purchased separately.

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There's also the coiled yellow air hose etc.

Some of the other stuff I bought:

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I kinda had an idea of what I wanted to do with the system and how I wanted it configured before I started building it. I'm still changing it and I'm on the like 100th revision. It seems no matter how much you plan there's going to be something you're missing (a fitting or whatever).

I quickly discovered that the fittings supplied are not the highest quality, be sure not to tighten them too much:

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That was a real pisser. Good thing I had bought two full units so I had another lead in pipe coupler to use after drilling out the busted one.

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One of many configs I started with:

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I hated how the instructions called for that big gray box (the pressure cut-off switch and relay) to be attached directly to the tank.

I thought about putting the compressor on top of the tank and mounting the entire unit inside the van. Especially once I read in the instructions that the compressor is not water or dust proof. Huh? I would hope the seals would at least keep dust out! Lame.

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After some debate I decided to mount the compressor and tank under the rear of the van. The compressor bracket would bolt to the side of the tow hitch:

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I Plasti-dipped the compressor to keep it from corroding and make it somewhat weatherproof:

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The tank bolted to the floor:

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I almost decided to bolt the compressor directly to the bumper but that would have put the compressor on it's side. The instructions clearly state "mount the compressor upright." Seems like it would work in any orientation but who knows. Maybe there is an oil chamber inside or something. The relay box needed to find a new mounting spot. I decided it would mount to the manifold used to split off air to all the toys.

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One of the first configs I tried for the manifold:

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I like to keep my stuff in pristine condition. So if all this junk was going underneath the van I wanted it protected and enclosed:

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I had planned to use the new compressor to also provide the air for my Rancho RS9000 air controlled shocks. The previous config worked great but I wanted to condense everything. My old Rancho MyRide config:

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The new enclosure would be slightly larger than the old one:

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Rancho brain included in the system:

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Note: It's difficult to find fittings and accessories that can handle 200psi. I had to go with a high quality and expensive Norgren air/water filter. When the box is bolted to the bottom of the van the filter will be upright and be able to eject water that has collected near the manifold automatically through the lid:

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Mwahaha:

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Goodyear 200 psi hose, made in USA for the stretch between the tank and the box:

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Feeds through the box with a liquid tight cord grip:

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Slowly getting it how I wanted:

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I replaced the fuel filter since it looks like I will never have access ever again:

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I had to reroute the purge valve and hose:

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All the air hoses enter the body through the cap-plug and venture up through the space between the side panels and then into the cab:

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I'm not too thrilled with the look of hoses zip tied to the bottom of the van...but what can ya do:

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The intake port on the back of the compressor has a hose that feeds into the body through the rear bottom corner of the floor. The filter attaches to the sidewall of the van. Sorry I don't seem to have a photo of that.

All sealed up:

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I'm also experimenting with some holes in the bumper that were previously useless:

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I'm using RapidAir stuff:

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The blue fittings will be for pure air, red for oiled air and I hope to use the green ones for non-potable water (camp shower, dishwashing etc.)

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All of those hoses come up into the cab near the pillar behind the drivers seat and route to other goodies:

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The smaller tank there is for my sputter horn. I discovered that a 200psi system doesn't hold air very well over a period of time so I wanted a separate tank for my horn, always full and ready to blast. Since I can close a ball valve and lock it off from leaking into the rest of the air system it holds air indefinitely thus far. I have three air lines and two switch wires feeding up the pillar to the roof. One air line is for the horn, another for the controller of my airbags and another for the system pressure gauge.

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All of those messy hoses and wires will be tidied up someday when I do the interior.

Sputter horn:

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If you're going to build an onboard air system be sure to plan ahead as much as possible. The basic system might be great for filling tires but it won't do much more than that without tons of accessories. The fittings and stuff add up realllllllly fast. I spent way more on regulators, manifolds and fittings than I did on the $500 boxed VIAIR system.

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I have not tried to inflate my 35" tires yet with the compressor. In fact I have done nothing with it except fill the smaller tank that I use for the horn. I can say that it is loud and it takes several minutes to fill the 2.5gal tank under the rear of the van. I have a bunch of leaks to chase down. At 200 PSI keeping a tight system seems impossible thus far. It's a work in progress. More pix and info to follow as the system expands and improves...
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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby Lumpy » July 14th 2014, 9:02pm

Thanks for the report. You know I've been eye'in onboard air as well. Glad to see you emphasize that the accessories often cost as much or more than the basic kit. I think that's true with onboard or shop air or any compressor. I ran those aluminum quick connects around my shop using Goodyear rubber hose instead of hardline. Works great. Stays at 150psi 24/7. If there's ever a leak it's at a threaded connection. Just needs another layer of tape and retighten. The hose stays intact, at least two years on mine.

The small + large tank is an idea that I too was considering. At 7 minutes to fill the big tank, I might be out of the driveway and at my destination before it ever comes up to pressure. Seems logical to use the smaller tank for horns, shocks, bags. Then if you ever do want to air down then back up, you have the luxury of time to fill the big tank. Likewise for air tools, if it truly will accomodate those. I've been considering a 3/8 drive Earthquake impact gun from HFreight. I have the half inch, it's built like a tank. Reviews seem excellent for the 3/8, esp for removing lug nuts. You don't really need 300 ft/lbs of torque to remove lug nuts and the smaller gun is lighter.

It looks like that initial failure in the threaded fitting was the fault of the FITTING, not the welded bung? That seems easy enough to work around, of course. But it sure would be nice if for all the money they want for something like that, they'd include some quality brass instead of ChinaSoft parts.

Find some rubber snap on dust caps with retainers to fit those aluminum female quick connects. Then let me know the part numbers, please.


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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby meetthespeakers » July 14th 2014, 9:16pm

I have the same system accept slightly different and I went with a accuair manifold later down the road. I can see yours kinda.... got intense, lol! Impressive with all those fittings, etc. I used mine to air up my air ride suspension I fabricated in my Mini. I was able to contain all of it in the spare tire well. Back when I was running air on my Astro I had a damn 12 gallon tank with dual 480c viair compressors. Took ages to fill, especially since it was a 200psi setup as well. I later downsized to a stainless 7.5 gallon tank. Everything was mounted underneath where you mounted your tank. You probably don't get freezin conditions like we do, but if you do, add some air brake antifreeze otherwise, unless you have good water traps? Anyway, very cool, I miss my train horns on my Astro.

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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby 97cargocrawler [OP] » July 14th 2014, 10:03pm

I believe those female quick connects are all zinc plated steel aside from the colored sleeve. They are heavy and didn't mar when I cranked them down. Im 99% certain they are steel. The male parts are aluminum.

qr fittings.JPG


That plated brass fitting was a turd but it was my fault torquing it too hard. The bungholes in the tank kinda suck too.
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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby Lumpy » July 14th 2014, 11:01pm

I think you're right about the fem connectors steel body and alum sleeve, males all alum. I think they're great. Never had a problem even with frequent on/off connections like air tools. They just plain work their mechanism easier than the brass or nickle plated QCs. Plus, of course, the cool factor.




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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby The Drummer » July 15th 2014, 4:41am

Nice stuff , as always ,cant help but laugh when i see how rust free your rig is underneath , especialy after working most of the day on my rusted rig , i too installed some air ride stuff today , on a much more smaller scale tho , cant take up space inside the van ,drum bearly fits .
''USE THE TORQUE LUKE ''




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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby 97cargocrawler [OP] » July 18th 2014, 5:42pm

I bought some "trick tabs" from Ballistic Fabrication to act as protection plates for my quick connects:

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I'm going to weld those to the bumper. The goal is to prevent the connectors from being stepped on and snapped off.

I was pleased to see that Ballistic didn't charge a separate "packaging fee" of $6 for my tiny order this time. Maybe they lost some business after I railed them for it on Facebook.
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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby The Drummer » July 19th 2014, 4:38am

Very nice kit , how fast does that kit raises the van and how many inches ,max air in shocks etc , thx .
''USE THE TORQUE LUKE ''




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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby The Drummer » July 19th 2014, 4:44am

Very nice kit , if you feel like it i be interested in some specs , how fast does it raises/lowers the van ,max air in shocks ,how many inches up/down etc , i d love to have a kit that could go from almost stock height to as much lift as possible but no other mods ,how many inches etc , you most definetly are ready for WW10 :) , .
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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby 97cargocrawler [OP] » July 19th 2014, 5:01am

The Drummer wrote:Very nice kit , how fast does that kit raises the van and how many inches ,max air in shocks etc , thx .


So far I have only tested the air bags, they are not bolted in yet. I need to modify the brackets to get the bags where I want them. My goal is to use the air bags to gain clearance for snow chains and for leveling the van while camping.

Here are my test shots:

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Bag deflated:

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Bag inflated to 100psi (note I only inflated one side. It's possible there could be more lift with both sides inflated). The wood block represents the bracket thickness I need to fab up:

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I get 12" of clearance above the tire. Hopefully soon I will cut the fender a bit and gain more clearance fore and aft as well.

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Basically I hope to get about 2" of lift. It takes about 2 seconds to fill one bag to 100psi. It's fast! That's just using air stored in the tank. I'm not sure about a tankless systems fill rate. Lowering takes half a second. I guess that rate could depend on the length and diameter of the hose and the valve.

My snow chains are thick. I need lots of clearance:

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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby 97cargocrawler [OP] » July 20th 2014, 8:35am

Making some progress on the air tools part of my system.

The oil jar is attached to the manifold:

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I wanted the manifold mounted some place I could shut the valve off easily and refill the jar so I rivnutted it here:

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So far I have only run the oily air line to the rear:

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The protection plate keeps the connector from getting stepped on and busted off:

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I will have another connector on the front bumper.
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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby Astrosport » April 13th 2015, 10:36pm

CARGO crawler , did you paint your alloy wheels yourself? What did you use for the paint?
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Re: Onboard Air System

Postby 97cargocrawler [OP] » April 14th 2015, 12:00am

Astrosport wrote:CARGO crawler , did you paint your alloy wheels yourself? What did you use for the paint?


Nope, purchased in flat black. I have however painted alloy wheels before. I used muriatic acid (available for pool care) to etch the aluminum and then painted with my favorite Rustoleum flat black. The result was just as good as the purchased wheel, though to do repaint them every few years.
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