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Old 12-10-2017, 03:33 PM   #1
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Another tire compressor thread - sorry (lol)

I've spent a lot of hours on Irv2 and other sites researching a more reliable method for topping off my tires occasionally after we've been at a campsite for 7+ days. I've read about normal variation due to ambient temperatures, sunlight exposure prior to measuring, and 3 different (and viable) ways to top off. To me, the 3 viable methods are a "typical" pancake cheapo compressor from Home Depot or Lowes, a "higher end" Viair (like the 400 or 450), or enhancing the pressure from my DP with an SMC booster regulator. Here are my thoughts on each technique - please feel free to chime in with your latest recommendations and experiences and if my observations are right.

1) "Cheapo" pancake compressor - easy, relatively competent, and fairly fast. Problem - I've had two of them go bad since they're cheaply made and easily break. My so-called cheapo units are getting expensive! I'm hesitant to blow another $100 on these poorly built units. By the way, my two Husky units easily handled my front pressures of 105-110psi when topping off. My weights did not require me to go higher. But the damned things don't last long

2) Viair - I like the reviews and reports of the complete 450 "RV" kit and can get it for around $220 if I shop around enough. I'm not as crazy about it only being a 12v setup. My questions about it are:

a. How quickly are others finding it can top off from around 100psi to 110psi in real world conditions?

b. If I don't have a toad battery nearby, is it easily hooked up to the coach batteries? If so, will they handle the draw as long as I've got my float charging enabled from the 30 or 50amp service (or generator)?

c. Anybody have experience with a water trap/desiccator for the Viair?

3) SMC booster setup:

a. If the coach is already aired up, can I get enough air out of the bags with the engine turned off? In other words, will it only work if the engine is running and the compressor is running?

b. I can find these units pretty cheap if I'm willing to buy used. Most used ones only come with the booster itself - no vales, attachments, etc. What's the minimum setup to safely use this system?

Again, sorry for another thread about this. I would have stuck with my cheapo pancake compressor if they were more dependable. I'm intrigued with options 2 and 3, but I admit I'm not thrilled about having to run the coach to top off the tires.

Thanks for any input...
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:42 PM   #2
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I can get 120+ psi from the on board compressor, but I do the front tires first right after the compressor stops. Sometimes I need to pump the brakes down to get the compressor to fill the tanks back to 120 psi.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvguy02 View Post
I've spent a lot of hours on Irv2 and other sites researching a more reliable method for topping off my tires occasionally after we've been at a campsite for 7+ days. I've read about normal variation due to ambient temperatures, sunlight exposure prior to measuring, and 3 different (and viable) ways to top off. To me, the 3 viable methods are a "typical" pancake cheapo compressor from Home Depot or Lowes, a "higher end" Viair (like the 400 or 450), or enhancing the pressure from my DP with an SMC booster regulator. Here are my thoughts on each technique - please feel free to chime in with your latest recommendations and experiences and if my observations are right.

1) "Cheapo" pancake compressor - easy, relatively competent, and fairly fast. Problem - I've had two of them go bad since they're cheaply made and easily break. My so-called cheapo units are getting expensive! I'm hesitant to blow another $100 on these poorly built units. By the way, my two Husky units easily handled my front pressures of 105-110psi when topping off. My weights did not require me to go higher. But the damned things don't last long

2) Viair - I like the reviews and reports of the complete 450 "RV" kit and can get it for around $220 if I shop around enough. I'm not as crazy about it only being a 12v setup. My questions about it are:

a. How quickly are others finding it can top off from around 100psi to 110psi in real world conditions?

b. If I don't have a toad battery nearby, is it easily hooked up to the coach batteries? If so, will they handle the draw as long as I've got my float charging enabled from the 30 or 50amp service (or generator)?

c. Anybody have experience with a water trap/desiccator for the Viair?

3) SMC booster setup:

a. If the coach is already aired up, can I get enough air out of the bags with the engine turned off? In other words, will it only work if the engine is running and the compressor is running?

b. I can find these units pretty cheap if I'm willing to buy used. Most used ones only come with the booster itself - no vales, attachments, etc. What's the minimum setup to safely use this system?

Again, sorry for another thread about this. I would have stuck with my cheapo pancake compressor if they were more dependable. I'm intrigued with options 2 and 3, but I admit I'm not thrilled about having to run the coach to top off the tires.

Thanks for any input...


I first went with the pressure doubler for the onboard coach air. Itís ok but you will have to crank the engine if you need much air. Also, it seems that something else like bike tires need air frequently.

With those things in mind, I sprung for the Viair 450. I didnít get the RV version so only got the standard one pressure hose. It will take a 315/80 tire up about 5 psi in a couple of minutes. It comes with alligator clamps to attach to the battery & I regularly use the coach battery and the towed battery.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:46 PM   #4
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Another tire compressor thread - sorry (lol)

I have a DP with a hose tapped off of the compressor and is of course only good when the engine is running but my thought for you is, if your topping off your tires why not make it one of the things you do during the warm period unless of course your leaving at zero dark thirty.....once the compressor blows off, you can top all six tires in under a couple minutes. What does topping them off if your not about to pull out do for you?

WDK
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:53 PM   #5
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I have a Viair 400p-rv. Bought it after talking with various class a owners and what they do, and watched the RV Geeks about the compressor on utube. Hook it to my Toad battery. It takes me about 1/2 hour to do all 8 tires on my motorhome. Would buy it again, it works great.

Bought it on ebay for $209.99 in April.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:53 PM   #6
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Why do you have to top off tires after sitting for only a week, or even a month? I start 5-10 psi more than what the load chart calls for from a six position weight. I travel in different altitudes and temperatures. I have gone as long as 10 months and 8000 miles before adding air.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:57 PM   #7
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Damn noisy back there with that Clatt-a-piller! Don't want to air up with the engine running. I'll air up w/my pancake in the AM before the sun has a chance to hit the tires.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvguy02 View Post
I've spent a lot of hours on Irv2 and other sites researching a more reliable method for topping off my tires occasionally after we've been at a campsite for 7+ days. I've read about normal variation due to ambient temperatures, sunlight exposure prior to measuring, and 3 different (and viable) ways to top off. To me, the 3 viable methods are a "typical" pancake cheapo compressor from Home Depot or Lowes, a "higher end" Viair (like the 400 or 450), or enhancing the pressure from my DP with an SMC booster regulator. Here are my thoughts on each technique - please feel free to chime in with your latest recommendations and experiences and if my observations are right.

1) "Cheapo" pancake compressor - easy, relatively competent, and fairly fast. Problem - I've had two of them go bad since they're cheaply made and easily break. My so-called cheapo units are getting expensive! I'm hesitant to blow another $100 on these poorly built units. By the way, my two Husky units easily handled my front pressures of 105-110psi when topping off. My weights did not require me to go higher. But the damned things don't last long

2) Viair - I like the reviews and reports of the complete 450 "RV" kit and can get it for around $220 if I shop around enough. I'm not as crazy about it only being a 12v setup. My questions about it are:

a. How quickly are others finding it can top off from around 100psi to 110psi in real world conditions?

b. If I don't have a toad battery nearby, is it easily hooked up to the coach batteries? If so, will they handle the draw as long as I've got my float charging enabled from the 30 or 50amp service (or generator)?

c. Anybody have experience with a water trap/desiccator for the Viair?

3) SMC booster setup:

a. If the coach is already aired up, can I get enough air out of the bags with the engine turned off? In other words, will it only work if the engine is running and the compressor is running?

b. I can find these units pretty cheap if I'm willing to buy used. Most used ones only come with the booster itself - no vales, attachments, etc. What's the minimum setup to safely use this system?

Again, sorry for another thread about this. I would have stuck with my cheapo pancake compressor if they were more dependable. I'm intrigued with options 2 and 3, but I admit I'm not thrilled about having to run the coach to top off the tires.

Thanks for any input...
I have option 3...

The one I have doubles the input pressure. Occasionally, I have to air up first...but usually not. It will depend on how much air your tires need. The cost of doubling pressure is using part of your air to run the piston. I cannot say what the minimum ďsafeĒ setup is. Your tanks already are regulated...so I think my unit is overkill. Mine starts with a plastic air hose with a quick connect that plugs into the coaches manifold...from there it goes thru a regulator which I can adjust, and I keep that set to pass 80psi thru to the doubler. Next is a ball valve to switch the unit ON or OFF. The air then enters the doubler...the output is around 160psi and goes into a brass manifold. On the manifold is a quick connect for connecting your air hose which you use to air the tires. There is also a 200psi overpressure relief valve. I added a muffler to the working exhaust port to diffuse the air and make it a little quieter. I mounted it under the front hatch...so Iím not lugging stuff around. Just hook up my hose and tire inflator...

When at home...I connect my shop compressor to the doubler. My shop compressor modulates around 100 psi...and 120psi max...so it alone is a bit weak for airing the steer tires. The quick connect on the doubler attaches to my shop air hose...and off I go! It keeps me from having to run the engine too early and bother my neighbors. My shop compressor is in the garage and they probably canít hear it running.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:03 PM   #9
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I store it with IT'S inlet quick connect secured into the output quick connect. That keeps the Air line from flopping around.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:11 PM   #10
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what kinda cheapo pancake one are you using? Husky? well no wonder... HD has about $3 tied up in the things...including shipping.
My porter cable has be indestructable... will air whatever I ask it to. Clip the fitting on the valve stem and set the regulator a few psi higher than I need. Can do the same thing with my 60gallon just quicker.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:16 PM   #11
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Like Crasher said, why do you need to air up your tires evey trip.

Sure, check them if you want, but a few lbs isn't even measurable with most gauges.

Hang some TPMSs on them and overinflate them a few psi. When they drop 5 to 10 psi, add some air.

I add about 5 psi every 6 months. If I needed more then that, I'd be looking for a leak.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:31 PM   #12
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Option #2 here. Complete RV system. Hose, extension hose, carrying case, etc. Airs up coach and/or toad tires in very little time. And itís quiet. Runs off 12V so house, chassis, or toad batteries. Hereís what I ended up with and been happy..

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004B68XGC?ref=yo_pop_ma_swf

Astro 3018 Digital Tire Inflator with Stainless Steel Braided Hose https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002PUTC0M?ref=yo_pop_ma_swf
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:34 PM   #13
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Why do you have to top off tires after sitting for only a week, or even a month? I start 5-10 psi more than what the load chart calls for from a six position weight. I travel in different altitudes and temperatures. I have gone as long as 10 months and 8000 miles before adding air.
Me too!

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Old 12-10-2017, 08:48 PM   #14
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Thanks for all of your responses... I should clarify/correct my original comment about my tires getting low after a week (perhaps a senior moment )... We store our coach in a climate-controlled warehouse during the off season. After it's sat for 3-4 months it tends to lose a few pounds at most in the cooler temperatures. Typically we use it during the summer, store it from September to December, and then take a Christmas trip with it. We see some slight changes in pressures as we head south from Chicago to the warmer climate for Christmas. After our winter trip, it sits again until the summer. We also load our coach more heavily for a long summer trip, hence our tire pressures are increased a bit.

I'll take a look at all of your input and try and make the best decision for my occasional use. Thanks again for your input.
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