Having an air compressor in your vehicle for off-roading or overlanding is a “must have” tool. I will have a blog post about tire pressure and why it’s important to deflate your tires when on the trail, but having the ability to inflate your tires is a necessity. The alternatives of relying on assistance, limping to the ‘nearest’ gas station, or essentially being stuck are not as attractive as this small investment.
There are many options for air compressors. Expedition Portal has a great review article about air compressors. They test many different compressors and give you their expert opinions. (See below)
I have had three air compressors over the years. I first had the “Little Red Compressor.” That worked well for many years – it was slow in inflating my 35” tires – but it worked, regardless. “Little Red” died at the worst possible time when I was at Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree in 2016. I then upgraded and got my next compressor from a friend who had a ViAir. That was great – it was quick, and I was happy. When I got my 2018 Rubicon I wanted to go in a different direction on the build. I wanted to organize and slim down my gear. Being able to conceal the ARB Dual Air Compressor under the passenger seat was just the way to do that. I measured the pro’s and con’s to permanently mounting the air compressor in the Jeep. Overall I came to the decision to mount the compressor inside the Jeep.
There are many options where to mount the ARB Dual Air Compressor including under either the driver or passenger seat, or on a bracket that is in the cargo area on the 4-door JKU/JLU. You can also mount them in the engine bay. I initially wanted to install it in the engine bay, but the custom bracket conflicted with where I have my fuse box. I “settled” on buying the Innovative JK Products under passenger seat bracket and air up system. Their system is fairly simple to install.
Pro Tip: If this is your first time running wire through the fire wall, use a long drill bit and clean out the hole. (Instruction 4C on the Innovative JK Products instructions for the JKU.) Where the fender meets the fire wall there is a “T” section of fender that makes it difficult to run many or thick gauge wire through.
Pro Tip: If you want to be able to run different air hoses or attachments, other than the Innovative JK Air Up Air Down system, contact them to get a universal attachment.
The directions and customer support from Innovative JK Products is outstanding. I was able to email him a few times about install questions/issues I had, and he got back to me right away.
I chose to get the universal adapters for the air up system, that way I can use the ARB hose and generic air hoses to blow up other inflatables (pool toys, etc.), or other deflated tires on Jeeps!
Overall, I am very impressed how quickly it inflates four 35” tires. What used to take me 5+ minutes a tire, connect/inflate/disconnect/repeat, now takes less than half the time. I am airing up all four tires (15 psi to 28 psi) in about 7 minutes flat… pun intended!