Alternative to Ford compressor?

BadlandsBroncoBen

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I would like to get a portable compressor I can use to air back up to drive home after driving a trail. My guess is that the aftermarket probably has something better and cheaper than what Ford is offering, but I know nothing about the off-roading world (I am one of those annoying Subaru guys, or have been). Any suggestions?





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I would like to get a portable compressor I can use to air back up to drive home after driving a trail. My guess is that the aftermarket probably has something better and cheaper than what Ford is offering, but I know nothing about the off-roading world (I am one of those annoying Subaru guys, or have been). Any suggestions?
ARB twin compressors.
 
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The compressor that Ford is offering is actually just an ARB kit. You can find it on Amazon for pretty much the same price.

That being said, There are plenty of other, cheaper aftermarket options. The first thing you'll need to decide is, Do you want a portable that you hook up to the battery terminals when you need it. That's how the Ford/ARB kit works. Or do you want to invest in an on-board air setup where you can turn it on with a flip of the switch.

ARB and Viair tend to be the "big" names in the off-roading" community. You can find compressors from other brands too. Take a look at the Toyota and Jeep on-board kits. The Bronco will likely have something similar.

ARB Kit on Amazon
 

Willwork4bronco

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Second the ARB double. If I was going more budget conscious probably a superflow. I’ve never used the newer 90 but I’ve had a 50 hooked up to an on board air system for several years not the fasted but hasn’t let me down with the onboard air or just filling the tire as a stand alone.
 

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I would like to get a portable compressor I can use to air back up to drive home after driving a trail. My guess is that the aftermarket probably has something better and cheaper than what Ford is offering, but I know nothing about the off-roading world (I am one of those annoying Subaru guys, or have been). Any suggestions?
Since you say you want a portable you can't beat the ARB double that Ford is offering - but if you shop around and are patient you can probably beat the price. IMO the only reason to buy that through Ford is if it is important to have it rolled into your car note (and that's definitely not the way for me).
 

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When it comes to compressors, the numbers you need to look at are CFM and duty cycle. CFM is straightforward; how much air can it move at a particular PSI. This is all about how long it will take to inflate your tires.

Duty cycle refers to how long the compressor can run at a particular PSI before overheating. That PSI is usually unrealistically high, like 100 PSI. I had the Viair 400H, which has a 33% duty cycle at 100 PSI. So for every hour of operation at 100 PSI, it would need 40 minutes of cooldown time. But you'll never operate it at 100PSI so it's moot other than a comparison number.

As an example, I've was able to inflate 12 33" tires (3 trucks) in one go at one point without issue.

Viair has a neat comparison chart of their various compressors showing these numbers as well as estimated time to inflate different size tires. By comparison, the ARB dual compressor can push something like 6 CFM, but you pay for it.
 

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Since you say you want a portable you can't beat the ARB double that Ford is offering - but if you shop around and are patient you can probably beat the price. IMO the only reason to buy that through Ford is if it is important to have it rolled into your car note (and that's definitely not the way for me).
Fords offering is on the ARB single with a carrying toolbox.
 

Karl_in_Chicago

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Fords offering is on the ARB single with a carrying toolbox.
Well screw that then. I thought it was the double with the tank (CKMTP12) - I haven't been able to see any accessories on B&P except the everything-Yakima stuff which, while I don't need, wouldn't be able to option anyway unless I wanted to kick the motor back down to the 2.3L (which I'm not). I'll be waiting to see what kind of room is in the bay and whether it's possible to mount the on-board twin (CKMTA12) in there as I don't *need* the portable; it is a nice piece of kit, though, but kicks the price up around another $250 or so. For someone that needs/wants the portable solution it's the best, IMO (but admittedly pricey).
 
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Thanks for y’all’s input! How much does an onboard setup generally run? Being able to air up and down from the cab sounds fancy and expensive... or is there an under hood hose that you manually pull out to reach each tire? Part of my issue is that I already own a decent compressor for running my nail guns and other air tools, it’s just sort of big to lug around for off-roading duty and doesn’t have battery leads, but it makes me hesitate to buy essentially the same thing again. Having said that, I also understand the utility of keeping a small one around with tire plugs for just general roadside use so I may just buy one. I’d rather not roll the price into my note, my build is already expensive and I was figuring there might be cheaper or at the very least better options in the aftermarket. Again I really appreciate the advice. Also I was under the impression that airing down was standard operating procedure for off-roading but someone was saying they don’t air down, was he just messing with me?
 

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Thanks for y’all’s input! How much does an onboard setup generally run? Being able to air up and down from the cab sounds fancy and expensive... or is there an under hood hose that you manually pull out to reach each tire? Part of my issue is that I already own a decent compressor for running my nail guns and other air tools, it’s just sort of big to lug around for off-roading duty and doesn’t have battery leads, but it makes me hesitate to buy essentially the same thing again. Having said that, I also understand the utility of keeping a small one around with tire plugs for just general roadside use so I may just buy one. I’d rather not roll the price into my note, my build is already expensive and I was figuring there might be cheaper or at the very least better options in the aftermarket. Again I really appreciate the advice. Also I was under the impression that airing down was standard operating procedure for off-roading but someone was saying they don’t air down, was he just messing with me?
Yeah, a pancake compressor isn't ideal for offroading. They're bulky, heavy, and as you mentioned, they need a 110v outlet to refill. I have a friend that tried to go this route. He got through 1.5 tires before exhausting the air in the pancake. Then we had to wait for nearly 30 minutes for it to refill itself via the 4Runners 110v outlet (the amperage just isn't high enough for it to operate at full capacity) and he still didn't get all the way through. We ended up filling the rear tires and skimping a bit on the fronts until we could get down the road to a gas station rather than wait longer.

For onboard air, the cost really depends. There are brackets designed for the ARBs and some Viairs, They can run anywhere from $75-150. Or you can fab up your own. That's what I did on mine. There's the wiring, which is negligible, and possibly a relay. You don't need to worry about a switch with the accessory switches in the Bronco. So, worst case, $175 and some of your time and effort? That's all in addition to the compressor itself.

If you're not comfortable doing that kind of work, it'll cost more for someone to do it for you. A portable compressor will be cheaper, just not as convenient.
 

Karl_in_Chicago

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Thanks for y’all’s input! How much does an onboard setup generally run? Being able to air up and down from the cab sounds fancy and expensive... or is there an under hood hose that you manually pull out to reach each tire? Part of my issue is that I already own a decent compressor for running my nail guns and other air tools, it’s just sort of big to lug around for off-roading duty and doesn’t have battery leads, but it makes me hesitate to buy essentially the same thing again. Having said that, I also understand the utility of keeping a small one around with tire plugs for just general roadside use so I may just buy one. I’d rather not roll the price into my note, my build is already expensive and I was figuring there might be cheaper or at the very least better options in the aftermarket. Again I really appreciate the advice. Also I was under the impression that airing down was standard operating procedure for off-roading but someone was saying they don’t air down, was he just messing with me?
You still need to run the hose(s) to the tires with an on-board. The mounting options are typically in the engine bay, under a seat, or somewhere in the back cargo area - with tradeoff's for each. Engine bay pro is out of the way, no noise inside, con is exposure to heat and elements. Both inside mounting options have a pro of avoiding the exposure issue, cons are one more thing for an a-hole to steal if/when they break-in (or incentivize them to do so if they can see it) and, depending on how it's mounted *may* contribute to heat issues. If all you intend to do is air up your *own* tires and also not power tools you can get by fine with a single compressor unit. It doesn't have the almost limitless duty cycle of the dual but that really only matters when you're that guy that's airing up all your friend's tires or you intend to operate air tools on the trail.

Edited to add: Unless it's easy to mount an on-board solution in the engine bay of the new Bronco - and since I'm getting the V6 I'm dubious about available space - I'll most likely be going with an ARB portable.
 

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