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Old 03-06-2015, 09:20 PM   #1
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Portable compressor for emergency air up

Does anyone carry a portable air compressor to air up the air bags in case the chassi compressor fails. I assume you would plug in to the emergency towing connection. Would that enable you to continue travel to a repair facility. If so what minimum air pressure would be needed. Would the air brakes still work...Thoughts anyone...thanks
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:06 PM   #2
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This is what I carry. It suits all my needs. I carry it to fill tires if needed and use a blow gun. I would think it could do as you requested if you wanted to, just never tried it. I would also think that if the engine driven compressor dies, you would not have air bag inflation or air brakes.

Unless it was in the next parking lot from you, I would never hook a compressor like this up to the air brakes for normal driving. Too big of risk of something going wrong. Just my $.02

Husky 4 gal. Wheeled Stack Tank Compressor-H1504ST2 - The Home Depot
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:37 PM   #3
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I carry a pancake style compressor from Porter Cable.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soneil422 View Post
This is what I carry. It suits all my needs. I carry it to fill tires if needed and use a blow gun. I would think it could do as you requested if you wanted to, just never tried it. I would also think that if the engine driven compressor dies, you would not have air bag inflation or air brakes.

Unless it was in the next parking lot from you, I would never hook a compressor like this up to the air brakes for normal driving. Too big of risk of something going wrong. Just my $.02

Husky 4 gal. Wheeled Stack Tank Compressor-H1504ST2 - The Home Depot
I saw that unit at Lowes. I'm only talking EMERGENCY to air up brakes and bags. May be a bad idea...
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
I carry a pancake style compressor from Porter Cable.
me to
its used to blow out the bag-less container for the shark vacuum
air stapler for projects


and of course air up tires or coach bags....
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:03 PM   #6
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"adamfolger"....I'm not an expert on air systems, but I would say NO to your question. I've seen people use a compressor to air up a coach because of a glitch in the valving. Once aired up the coach works fine.

To use a compressor to keep the bags up and the brake air up, would be dangerous/disastrous. There would be now way to regulate the air like your onboard compressor does. As noted above, it might work to drive across a parking lot, but not on a street or highway.
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:20 PM   #7
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I agree with Don, you would be able to air it up, but that is it, not for travel, as the air leveler's when moving/traveling let air out trying to hold ride height along with brake usage, and the air pressure will drop, and about 60psi, the maxi brakes will lock up.
I had the crankshaft in the engine air compressor snap in two, failing........left me on the side of the road(Parking lot luckily for us) and had to be replaced. A roadside assistance membership for towing is the best plan.........these trucks do not work cheap.......
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
"adamfolger"....I'm not an expert on air systems, but I would say NO to your question. I've seen people use a compressor to air up a coach because of a glitch in the valving. Once aired up the coach works fine.

To use a compressor to keep the bags up and the brake air up, would be dangerous/disastrous. There would be now way to regulate the air like your onboard compressor does. As noted above, it might work to drive across a parking lot, but not on a street or highway.
I'm with you. And to cross a street or parking lot... if there were brakes and no bags for some reason, I would go bagless and very slow for that little distance
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:10 PM   #9
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A pancake compressor put out about 2 cfm ( cubic feet per minute ) of air. A typical engine driven compressor is up in the 20 cfm range.

Probably end up, in the middle of the road, waiting for the air to build, every 3 or 4 brake applications.

Not good
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamfolger View Post
Does anyone carry a portable air compressor to air up the air bags in case the chassi compressor fails. I assume you would plug in to the emergency towing connection. Would that enable you to continue travel to a repair facility. If so what minimum air pressure would be needed. Would the air brakes still work...Thoughts anyone...thanks
I am by no means an expert on the subject but I can see nothing good coming out of this scenario. I subscribe to Good Sam Roadside Emergency for just such an occasion should it arise. Trying to circumvent these systems could end up with a bag of surprises you did not wish to encounter.
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
To use a compressor to keep the bags up and the brake air up, would be dangerous/disastrous. There would be now way to regulate the air like your onboard compressor does.
While I would not ry to do that, I have to disagree with Don and the others about the lack of regualtion. The onboard compressor merely fills the air tanks to about 125 psi. Air pressure to the suspension, brakes, etc, are regulated as needed from there. The air suspension has ride height control valves to send air to/from the bags as needed. Brake pressure is handled through the treadle valve and comes from the air tank.

Besides, pancake and other tank compressors (as opposed to tankless) do have regulation, usually adjustable. The compressor fills the tank and a regulator meters it out as needed to maintain the set pressure. The compressor itself cycles on/off as needed. To substitute for the onboard compressor, it would have to produce at least 125 psi (150 is better).

But it is true that most portable compressors will be woefully short on air volume (SCFM) at high pressures. Onboard compressor run upwards of 15 scfm, though I suspect in an emergency you could get by with much less. Once the onboard tanks were filled, you could probably-maybe manage to drive cautiously for a ways.

But why in heavens worry about a failure in such a reliable component? You are far more likely to have another component in the air system fail than the compressor itself. A main tank line, the air dryer, an air bag, the brake treadle, etc. are all more likely to go out. At some point the wise thing is to call a road service. That's why we have Coach-Net, Good Sam, etc.
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:47 PM   #12
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If the diesel air compressor stops working, your brakes will lock up as you use and loose air pressure. Best to call ERS to do repairs before moving out. WHY PUT OTHERS ON THE ROAD AT RISK?
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamfolger View Post
Does anyone carry a portable air compressor to air up the air bags in case the chassi compressor fails. I assume you would plug in to the emergency towing connection. Would that enable you to continue travel to a repair facility. If so what minimum air pressure would be needed. Would the air brakes still work...Thoughts anyone...thanks
adamfolger,
Well Sir, I don't know if you've ever tried to air up your bags and, all the tanks for that matter, with a small, portable air compressor or not but, I'll tell you now, it would take you some serious time. I know because my rig leaks air on a weekly basis. I can park it in it's home, with a full system, approximately 130 psi and, within about, oh two days, it's down to 100. If I let it go, it will creep down to about 60 in about 3-4 days more.

If I don't do anything about it at that point, it will be down to around 30 in 3-4 more days. Now, if it goes that low, and I don't want to fill the inside of both garages up with diesel fumes. I will MANUALLY fill the system myself. I have a 30 gallon, 3HP Sears, 220V Compressor in the garage. Now, first of all, if the system is below "air buzzer pressure" which, is normally around 65 psi, I cannot fill the air system through the front air accessory components air chuck. It just doesn't fill. I have to crawl under the coach and, fill the system through the shrader valve, that's attached to the bottom of the air dryer.


I have seen inexperienced tow truck drivers try and fill the air system through that front air chuck and, get frustrated because the system will simply not fill. I had to tell them, the only way to get air in at that point in system pressure (below 65 psi) is to do it through the shrader valve on the air dryer.

And, that compressor of mine is a fairly stout CFM compressor. I don't have the numbers right now but, I've painted cars with it. Anyway, using that compressor, it will take me approximately 6-8 minutes to bring the system up to around 120 psi. And that's with the compressor cycling 3-4 times. Those air systems have considerable volume to fill, including the air bags and air tanks.

So, if I tried to do it with the little Sears, 150 psi portable that I carry in the coach, it would take me half a day and, I'd most likely burn that thing up trying.

Now, in a scenario like you're asking about, a small air compressor may, just may, get your coach to a point that you can move it but, you better plan on lunch while you're attempting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
"adamfolger"....I'm not an expert on air systems, but I would say NO to your question. I've seen people use a compressor to air up a coach because of a glitch in the valving. Once aired up the coach works fine.

To use a compressor to keep the bags up and the brake air up, would be dangerous/disastrous. There would be now way to regulate the air like your onboard compressor does. As noted above, it might work to drive across a parking lot, but not on a street or highway.
No, filling an air system on a coach manually, is not disastrous at all. As stated above, I've done it a zillion times at home. I've even tried to over fill it and, the governor popped when it was supposed to. Now, I certainly agree that, trying in some weird way, to keep an air system filled while limping it to a safe point for towing, with a small, portable air compressor, WOULD be disastrous, FOR THE COMPRESSOR!

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I'm with you. And to cross a street or parking lot... if there were brakes and no bags for some reason, I would go bagless and very slow for that little distance

Well Sir, one of the things that you must consider in your statement about if you had to cross the street bagless but, with brakes is, you'll have to remember that, your bags hold the coach UP. And, when it's up, it's got the correct wheel well clearance. That means you got clearance for turning the front tires. But, if you were "Bagless", that would mean you're almost sitting on the frame and, your front and rear tires would be tucked up inside the wheel wells. Guess what would happen if you were to move that rig and turn it, "to get across the street" with no air in the bags? You'd most likely result in some damage to the front fiberglass wheel wells.

Now, each coach builder is a bit different so, clearances between tires and fender wells may differ, depending on size of tires, original clearances, and more. But, I know darn good and well, on mine, I'd definitely damage the fender wells if I tried to move it without airing up the bags. Now, also, some would argue that with the bags empty, the drive line alignment is totally different than when aired up. Well, yes it's different but, I doubt you'd do damage to that drive line, in a slow speed crawl, to get out of traffic, providing other operable conditions allowed the move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
While I would not ry to do that, I have to disagree with Don and the others about the lack of regualtion. The onboard compressor merely fills the air tanks to about 125 psi. Air pressure to the suspension, brakes, etc, are regulated as needed from there. The air suspension has ride height control valves to send air to/from the bags as needed. Brake pressure is handled through the treadle valve and comes from the air tank.

Besides, pancake and other tank compressors (as opposed to tankless) do have regulation, usually adjustable. The compressor fills the tank and a regulator meters it out as needed to maintain the set pressure. The compressor itself cycles on/off as needed. To substitute for the onboard compressor, it would have to produce at least 125 psi (150 is better).

But it is true that most portable compressors will be woefully short on air volume (SCFM) at high pressures. Onboard compressor run upwards of 15 scfm, though I suspect in an emergency you could get by with much less. Once the onboard tanks were filled, you could probably-maybe manage to drive cautiously for a ways.

But why in heavens worry about a failure in such a reliable component? You are far more likely to have another component in the air system fail than the compressor itself. A main tank line, the air dryer, an air bag, the brake treadle, etc. are all more likely to go out. At some point the wise thing is to call a road service. That's why we have Coach-Net, Good Sam, etc.
Yes Sir, good answer. As I stated above, using anything less than the engine driven compressor to fill the air system on a coach, is very time consuming, especially if it's a small home unit. A commercial unit, as in 100-200 gallon tank, Three stage types, that will fill the bill nicely. But, who's got one of those hanging around in the time of need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggy Daddy View Post
If the diesel air compressor stops working, your brakes will lock up as you use and loose air pressure. Best to call ERS to do repairs before moving out. WHY PUT OTHERS ON THE ROAD AT RISK?
Well Sir, you are correct I the fact that your brakes will come on when you loose air pressure. However, they, (the parking brakes) will not automatically activate until the system drops to close to 30 psi. As has been stated, a full system hovers at or near, 120-130 psi, plus or minus. If any portion of it ruptures, is damaged, and you begin to loose air, unless you're looking at your air gauges at the time, you will not know you're loosing air 'till the system bleeds down to close to, 65 psi. At that point, your "low air" warning system will be activated.

You have from that point to, around 30 psi, to get that rig to a safety zone, along side the road, a parking lot, off ramp, whatever, before the air system is, no longer capable of holding back the seriously strong springs that are in the secondary section of the rear chambers, take over and do their job of applying the parking brakes.

Just some information here for ya.
Scott
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:34 PM   #14
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Thanks for the wisdom from just the guys I hoped would respond. You just saved me about $200.

Some have stated that they carry a portable for airing up the tires but wont the air chuck in the fuel compartment suffice for that. I just modified the factory connection so it is easier to access. It was way up in the corner behind the main propane line. I also added a 1/4" brass ball valve so I could change fittings, without dumping all the air.

I do seem to have a leak in one of the systems ( front or rear ) One air needle will stay up around 100 for days but the other drops to about 60 overnight if I don't dump for a short overnight, like wmart. The leak seems to stabilize at 35 after two days. They both air up to 120 in short order with engine running. Should I just always dump on shut down for the day? Should I check all air fittings with soapy water or crawl under (scary) and listen... Still learning the huge curve... Cleaning the air conditioner condensers tomorrow.
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