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On Board Air (OBA) compressor & tank mounting locations?

Discussion in 'Chevy Truck Accessories' started by SurrealOne, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Has anyone done on board air (OBA) -without- placing the compressor or tank in the engine comparment, cab, truck box, or bed? If so, what size tank did you use and where did you mount it? How about the compressor? If using Viair, which kit?

    Inquiring minds want to know!
  2. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I've got air systems on two of my trucks, the Tacoma and the Rock Crawler, they both use 4 gl suasage tanks mounted on the outside of the frame rails.
    Since the crawler see's a lot of beating and banging I built a cage to go around the tanks, that system uses 2 Schedule 40 PVC tanks, the sched 40 takes vibration and beating a little better.
    The tank on the Tacoma is from Western Air Industries (I dont think their in buisness anymore) and came with 3 welded in bungs, inlet, outlet, pressure gauge.
    It's much easier to find a spot on the outside of the rails than the inside. Both systems are plumbed with Tephlon braided hoses to cut down on vibration, hard lines tend to crack after a while. The system on the Tacoma is filled by a VIA Air 350C and has the storage tank and also runs the front ARB locker.
    The system on the crawler runs a VIA Air 650C and has two storage tanks and maintains 4 Firestone 500 airbags for the suspension.
  3. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Good info, but it sounds like you've got nothing on a GM vehicle. :( Got a link to the hoses/material you used? I'm also curious if you've got a link to the 4gl tank. Viair seems to only have 2.0 and 2.5gl tanks and something bigger would be nice but I'd need it to be longer/thinner than the fat/squat 4-5gl tanks I'm seeing.
  4. troutbug

    troutbug Rockstar 100 Posts

    You're not leaving many options for mounting locations! Haha. No really, my dad has 2 three gallon tanks mounted on the outside of his frame rail (passenger side), underneath the cab area on his 2006, so I would think you would have plenty of room there. Not sure of the specs on the Viair tanks...his were some we ordered online years ago. As for the compressor, his is mounted above the wheelwell in the bed, but you should have room along the frame rail also, being that your truck is a longbed. If I were you, I'd fabricate a bracket to mount the compressor upright, so moisture doesn't collect in the cylinder head.

    My big tank and compressors are in the bed, with 2 three gallon tanks on the inside of the frame rails, in the spare tire area. (The tire was relocated.) I didn't have as much room underneath along the sides, or I would have possibly put the tanks there.
  5. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    I just don't want to give up functionality anywhere else on the truck -- and my engine compartment has no spare space as I've got dual batteries, a battery isolator, 300 amp ANL fuses on properly-rated ceramic fuse blocks, and the like already under there.

    Fabrication of a bracket isn't my forte as I can't weld and don't have a cutting torch. I can likely spec something and get it done, though. I'll scout the suggested locations this weekend and take some measurements. I will say I'm a little worried about -outside- the frame rail as it could be ugly if someone side swipes me ... so I'll also be scouting -inside- the frame rail. I presume self-tapping bolts are how I'd need to go for mounts to the frame rail?
  6. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    i dont know that id go taping into the frame rails, dont want to weaken things. id look into some sort of compression clamp or u bolt to attach things. not sure how much clearence you have in the long bed, maybe in front of the cross tube that is in front of the spare tire mount. Maybe use the cross tube itself? weld the ends shut, tap for some air lines and a water drain.... now thats a thought.

    Alex
  7. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Yea, I'll be looking tomorrow to try to narrow down tank sizes and locations. I can't weld (want to learn, eventually; it bugs me that I don't know how) and am not terribly trusting of others working on my stuff (I'm picky), so welding's probably out unless I can find a local recommendation for someone who is good.

    I'm thinking it's going to be a York EDC rather than an electric unit. The CFM are looking better and better to me from one. I'm also liking Viair less and less as I do my homework ... because aside from the compressors they're really spendy for what you get. Guys with bagged and lowered trucks who have them seem to exhibit buyer's remorse in other forums ... and want to go EDC for the reliability and CFM.

    If I go down the EDC path it means a custom bracket needs to be made to mount the York. 07XCSB is providing guidance on possible approachs, as he's got some OBA experience and it's all new to me. This one's going to be fun (I'll learn a lot) ... and slow to complete (because I'm way out of my element/comfort zone.)
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012
  8. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    advice on welding. start with wire feed, its more forgiving and easier to learn on then stick or torch welding with fill rod. i wont type it all out here, you can find out more then I can begin to cover online. just start small, on some scrap metal that you dont care about messing up. after doing some welds, you will get a feel for it. just dont get discouraged. sometimes even crappy looking welds will hold just fine.

    Alex
  9. Jimmeh

    Jimmeh Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    If you really are worried about strength on the frame, you could get a piece of plate on the other side of the frame rail and through bolt it with the "bracket" or whatever you plan on using. Though, I have seen guys drill holes to install sliders on their trucks without weakening strength, and I doubt even a couple of half in holes are going to reduce the strength of the frame by that much. Hell, you might even be able to find some factory drilled holes on the frame where you want to locate the tanks.

    Keep us posted on the progress, Surreal. I am also interested in adding in an OBA, but have been considering just getting one of those cheap pumps that you hook up to your battery for that kind of stuff, since it'd just be for when I air up or down.
  10. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Well, another consideration is cost. A junked York compressor will run about 35-75 bucks (US) depending on who pulls it and where. That's a big compressor (compared to electrics) for not much money. DIY EDC should be a heck of a lot cheaper AND better than electric. The drawback to it is maintenance, as EDC's need to be lubricated. They have an oil sump though ... and it can't be hard to fabricate a reservoir with a dipstick. That's what has me looking at EDC's -- better airflow/output ... for less money if you DIY.

    I -might- have found a bolt-on for our trucks (99-04), but it's questionable, as they claim it's bolt-on for 99-04 Silvy's and Sierras. I've had issues with vendors claiming 1:1 compatibility among those years, before, so I pinged them to be sure. Waiting for results. If it fits my truck, that kit is right about 1k -- which is absurd compared to DIY costs.

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