ARB HD Single Onboard Air Compressor System for 5th Gen 4Runner: What to Consider
Something I have pondered and researched heavily over the past year is an onboard air system. The debate for me and many other folks have always been a CO2 tank vs an air compressor. CO2 tanks are the hot item for airing up your tires right now, but I beg to differ that an air compressor still reigns supreme.
In this article, I hope to outlay a few reasons on why I chose an air compressor, how I built my system, and the gear I use…maybe even a little information on airing down as well.
Air Compressor vs CO2 Tank
There are two main options for airing up tires after going off-road: an air compressor or a CO2 tank. There is technically a third option of finding an air station (such as ones you’d find at a gas station), and maybe even a fourth option such as using a bicycle pump, but this isn’t very feasible for off-roading.
Let’s quickly focus on the CO2 tank. CO2 tanks are the fastest way to fill up your tires, there is no debate here. However, they only have a limited supply of capacity. You need to be diligent about refilling and topping off your CO2 tanks. In addition, it can be difficult to find a good (and affordable) spot to fill up your tank.
There are DIY tank options and pre-built options such as PowerTank; however, there is one huge flaw with using a CO2 tank…you have to fill it up, and there is only a limited capacity of air available.
You see, an air compressor might not be the fastest option, but it doesn’t require refilling. You don’t have to be efficient with saving the air, and you can put an air compressor under the hood of your 4Runner and never know it is there (unlike a CO2 tank which would require a special mounting spot that takes up cargo space).
Find it Online
- ARB Single Compressor
- M.O.R.E. Air Tank Mount for 5th Gen 4Runner: Check Price
- Power Tank Super Bracket: Check Price
- 10-lb Power Tank: Check Price
Something to Consider
With a CO2 tank, you will always face this decision of “should I top off my tank or do I have enough?” too. You won’t have this issue with an air compressor.
I decided an air compressor would better suit my needs because I wanted unlimited air, I didn’t want to refill, and ultimately I didn’t want a big tank in the back of my 4Runner. As such, an air compressor was what I set my eyes on. Which one though?
|Air Tank (CO2)||Air Compressor|
|Faster Air Up Time||Slower Air Up Time|
|Limited Air Supply||Unlimited Air Supply|
|Takes Up Space||Takes Up Less Space|
The ARB Single Air Compressor
Quite a few companies make onboard air compressors, but ARB most notable leads the way. I have several ARB products and all of them have had outstanding quality, design, and performance. The only thing I had to decide was if I needed the single air compressor or the dual air compressor.
Single or Dual Compressor?
The dual air compressor puts out an incredible amount of air and will fill up your tires the fastest. It also has a 100% duty cycle, meaning it can run non-stop. However, the dual air compressor comes in at twice the price of the single air compressor. After researching air-up times, I decided the ARB single air compressor would suit my needs well.
It is small and compact, yet it packs a powerful punch. The only downside in my mind is it has a duty cycle of 50% / 50%. This means it can run continuously for 30 minutes, but will then need to cool off for 30 minutes before running again. While this does seem like a bit of a downside, it really isn’t when you consider how most people will be using the air compressor.
To cut to the chase, I air down my Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT (285/70R17) to 20 psi…sometimes 16-18 on rugged terrain. On the road, I run 35 psi. So the question is how fast I can air up from 20 psi to 35 psi. The answer is about 1 minute 27 seconds per tire (which this time will of course be quicker if you are running a smaller tire than me). Nonetheless, this is pretty quick.
The actual operation time of the air compressor is 5 minutes 48 seconds for all four tires. This means I could air up my tires from 20 to 35 psi 5 times (continuously) before my single air compressor needs to cool down. So, while a 100% duty cycle is better, it is by no means necessary as I really don’t need any more runtime than 30 minutes continuously.
Once again, a CO2 tank will be faster at airing up tires than a single air compressor, and so would a dual air compressor. However, I am saving a lot of money going with the single air compressor over the dual, and having an endless amount of air is extremely nice in comparison to the limited air capacity of a CO2 tank.
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How Did I Mount My Air Compressor?
I ordered a PowerTray to fit my ARB compressor and my sPOD BantamX. Overall, the PowerTray is a great option and has been very sturdy; however, the mounting holes for the BantamX were not positioned correctly on the bracket, so I had to drill my own holes. This wasn’t that big of a deal considering I was able to use the mounting template from sPOD to quickly drill the mounting holes.
Another problem I ran into was clearance. No, the air compressor does not fit under the hood with the PowerTray unless you tilt the manifold assembly down to a horizontal position. Even after doing this, I had to install a special tee fitting too, as the fitting that ARB supplies would stand up too tall and not allow the hood to close. So, I attached a tee fitting to the manifold, with one end connecting the air hose quick connect and the other end connecting the pressure switch.
Using the PowerTray has been great other than this! The fit is tight…but it all functions perfectly and takes up little space. I think it looks awesome too. So clean!
Using my sPOD BantamX was a huge help during the installation process, as I was able to eliminate a ton of wiring I would have used otherwise…yet another reason to purchase an sPOD system.
In addition, sPOD customer service was a huge help in providing assistance for wiring the pressure switch correctly.
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What Gear I Use to Air Up
The air compressor is of course at the core of airing up, but you also need a few other items: an air hose, inflator, and deflation tool.
#1. Deflation Tool
Let’s start with the deflation tool. I use an ARB digital tire deflator to drop the pressure in my tires from 35 psi to 20 psi quickly. It works great…like all ARB products. This article is about airing up though, so let’s cut to the inflation gear.
#2. Air Hose
I purchased an ARB inflation kit, which includes an air hose and various air fittings (such as an air needle, chuck, etc.). This kit is a great buy, and the ARB air hose is high quality. I highly recommend this hose and I think you will be happy choosing this hose as well.
I also use an AstroAI Digital Tire Inflator, and overall it has been a great buy. The price is hard to beat on this inflator, but it also had great reviews. I was skeptical, but I decided to give it a chance and it has worked flawlessly.
The chuck works great and holds securely to the tire valve, unlike some other tire inflators I have used in the past. This is really nice because you don’t have to hold the chuck on the valve non-stop. If you are going to be airing up tires, a tire inflator such as this one is a must in my opinion. You can quickly check air pressures and easily make adjustments as needed.
Find it Online
- ARB Digital Tire Deflator: Check Price
- ARB Inflation Kit: Check Price
- Astro AI Digital Tire Inflator: Check Price
The ARB single air compressor has worked great for my application. I air up a few times each month and I am always amazed at how well the air compressor works.
In addition, I have found the air compressor works great for other things, such as:
- airing up tons of balloons for a birthday party;
- inflating beach toys;
- inflating an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP);
- and so many other things you wouldn’t think of when you purchase an air compressor for airing up tires.
You really can’t go wrong with an ARB air compressor. They are just that good and reliable.
I hope this article helped you understand why I think an air compressor such as the ARB single air compressor works great for airing up the tires on your 4Runner after a day of hitting the trails. Having unlimited air is such a luxury that I don’t want to give it up for slightly faster inflation times you would likely find with a CO2 tank. If you are looking for an air compressor, look no further than the ARB single air compressor…it is an absolute workhorse.