On-Board-Mountain-Bike-Tire-Inflator-Heading-(1600px)

Seriously, who wants to inflate mountain bike tire with a floor pump? It’s DANGEROUS and OLD-SKOOL (do we need to mention we’re being sarcastic here?). Let’s make things right and install an on board tire inflator. We’ll be using the air compressor from our Air-Lift suspension system.

But before we get too excited, there are a few things to know:

  1. We tap into our Air-Lift suspension system. We have the stock Air-Lift air compressor: it’s a mini-low-volume compressor, MINI-LOW-VOLUME. Don’t even try to inflate a car tire with that, the compressor will toast.
  2. A normal air-compressor has a large air tank. In our case, the air-bag acts as the air tank; it’s has a very small volume so after a few PSI is added to the tire, the compressor will kick-in. And there is few seconds delay for the compressor to kick-in. It’s not as sleek as a normal air-compressor system. 
  3. We operate our Air-Lift at 40PSI, which is more pressure than we inflate our mountain bike tires (28-30PSI max); it works, but it’s better when the pressure in the Air-Lift system is higher. Therefore, we crank the pressure in our Air-Lift system to 60 PSI before using the tire inflator (The Air-Lift controller has two preset which we programmed like this: Preset #1 is normal pressure of 40 PSI left/40 PSI right; Preset #2 is 60 PSI left/40 PSI right for when we’re using the tire inflator)
  4. The Air-Lift maximum pressure is 100 PSI. Sorry roadies, no tire inflator for you.
  5. And finally, when inflating a tire, the Air-Lift system will think that there is a leak. Of course, we’re taking air away from the Air-Lift system, just as a leak would do. The Air-lift remote will therefore display a “LEAK” warning, but it will keep working, so we just ignore it.

In other words: MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS! It works great to fine-tune the pressure in your tires (we run tubeless, so we frequently have to add a few PSI and it’s much better than using a floor pump), but has some limitations.

 

Alright, still with us? You might want to buy a real portable compressor (with a tank), do this upgrade like we did or keep pumping air like a LOOSER (here is some sarcasm again). You choose.

 

 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 2 hours (assuming you already have the Air-Lift System installed)

 

TOTAL COST : 100$ USD

 

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MATERIAL:

 

 

PREREQUISITE:

Air Lift 5000 Ultimate Air Springs Kit Installation

 

 

First of all, plan your routing. We tapped into our left air-bag, because this would make the shortest run from the Air-Lift to the tire inflator. Here is the final result:

Tire-Inflator-Routing

Note: The line from the Air Bag to the Valve was already installed with our Air-Lift system. For this project, we added the Union T and the air line running from the Union T to the Tire Inflator…

 

LET’S DO THIS!

Using the Air-Lift controller, reduce the pressure to 5 PSI (that’s the minimum pressure) so you don’t get blown away when cutting the air line:

Tire Inflator (2)

We’re tapping into the left air bag, so we reduced the pressure to 5 PSI in the left air bag…

 

Using a carpenter knife, make a nice and straight cut into the air line and install the Union T (it’s a push-to-connect (PTC) fitting; just push straight and that’s it!):

Union-T

 

Route your new air line from the Union T to the back of the van (or where you chose to install your tire inflator). Here is our routing:

Tire-Inflator-Routing

The air line is routed inside the pillar. We used existing holes (we had to remove rubber grommets)

 

 

The following fittings are added in this specific order (refer to picture below):

  • Valve (we were concerned that the tire inflator would constantly slowly leaks, turns out it doesn’t. We would still install a valve to shut it down for winter or if a leak happens in the future. We don’t want our Air-Lift bags to deflate.);
  • A short air line run (like 2 inches);
  • Push-to-connect to 1/4″ NPT adapter;
  • 6 feet (or else) Air Hose with 1/4 MPT ends (use teflon tape!);
  • Quick Connect Air Coupler (use teflon tape!);
  • Bicycle Tire Inflator for Presta and Schrader valves.

Tire-Inflator-(Parts)

 

We’re using a Quick Fist Mount (http://amzn.to/2xVWgoi) to hold the air hose in place:

Tire-Inflator-(1)

 

 

NICE!!

 

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT

Please read the introduction on top of this page! We think the tire inflator is a great upgrade, we use it very often. But don’t expect it to work exactly as a normal air compressor system!

 

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

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