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Old 10-29-2009, 11:38 AM
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Air compressor off auto engine?

I have heard of people installing an additional air compressor under their hood that runs off the auto engine. Then they just rig it with a valve to accept a compressor hose that they can use to run tools or inflate tires. I would think an auto engine would put out a lot of CFM for running the more demanding tools like a grinder and wet sander.

I am looking for a way to carry around an air compressor without having to take up my whole truck with a huge, heavy compressor. I need to be able to work in different houses so I need a mobile compressor but all the tools I use require at least 12 CFM of air which means a shop size compressor.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks,

Ernest

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Old 10-29-2009, 12:13 PM
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air compressor

ya i've seen it done. it worked great for tires. but you need a tank. it wouldn't run air tools.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:49 AM
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It will work to fill a tank and use tools for a short time, but they don't have a very high SCFM rating so you could fill the tank, use a tool for a short time, then wait 15 minutes for it to refill the tank.

The other hurdle is that HVAC compressors require constant oiling. In an A/C system, it pumps it around constantly and returns back to the compressor. In an air tank, the oil would all get pumped into the tank and have no way to return to the compressor. I have seen folks rig up a catch tank to let oil fall back into a reservoir and then it returns to the compressor, but its never perfect. You would have to constantly refresh the oil, and atomized oil will always make it into the tank... which is fine for air tools, but it means it will make it into your tires, air bags, and anything else you use it for. The other big issue is that HVAC systems are closed and dry. Using an A/C compressor to source atmospheric air will draw in large amounts of moisture which will get whipped into colloidal suspension with the oil. That means you will be destroying compressors constantly.

I suggest finding a York air compressor from a medium duty diesel/air brake vehicle. They are basically a smaller version of the compressor on a shop compressor with an isolated lubrication system. All of the air, none of the oiling issues.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73
I suggest finding a York air compressor from a medium duty diesel/air brake vehicle. They are basically a smaller version of the compressor on a shop compressor with an isolated lubrication system. All of the air, none of the oiling issues.
There is also the York-style A/C compressor found on the '70's, early '80's cars that can be used. It has it's own oil supply, and is a popular upgrade for the off-road crowd, so decent supply of parts to make it work. An example is here

Another A/C compressor that can be used is an old Mopar RV2 compressor - this has it's own oil supply as well, but is heavier and larger than the York compressors (cast iron V-twin, instead of aluminum inline twin. The pistons in the RV2 are quite a bit larger than the York also, but I think the stroke is slightly shorter).

This has also been discussed on this board, so a search will turn up some information as well, but I don't know how do-able this will be with the 12 CFM requirement.
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