Seriously, who wants to inflate mountain bike tire with a floor pump? It’s 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- The Air-Lift maximum pressure is 100 PSI. Sorry roadies, no tire inflator for you.
- 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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- Bicycle Tire Inflator for Presta and Schrader valves (Buy from Amazon)
- Quick Connect Air Coupler (Buy from Amazon)
- Air Line Union T (push-to-connect) (Buy from Amazon)
- Air Hose with 1/4 MPT ends (we installed the 6 feet length) (Buy from Amazon)
- Valve for Air Line (push-to-connect) (Buy from Amazon)
- 1/4″ Air Line DOT (Buy from Amazon)
- Push-to-connect to 1/4″ NPT adapter (Buy from Amazon)
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:
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:
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!):
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:
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.
We’re using a Quick Fist Mount (http://amzn.to/2xVWgoi) to hold the air hose in place:
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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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, quit our jobs 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!
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