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ExtremeAire OBA

My buddy Mike had been Jeepin' for a few years and decided he needed something more substantial than his ARB compressor for airing up his tires.  He had used it for a number of years on his 33" tires and now that he had switched to 35" rubber, the low airflow was r-e-a-l-l-y showing its short comings.  Mike had wheeled enough with me to know the limitations of my QuickAir2, which is also a low airflow compressor but not as bad as the ARB unit.  I honestly don't know if he had considered a CO2 system but I do know he was in no hurry to cram more stuff under his TJ's hood (no desire to do a York OBA).  That narrowed his choices down to an electric compressor but with reasonable enough airflow to fill the 35" tires without taking all day. 

Enter the ExtremeAire severe duty compressor from Extreme Outback Products.  In short, the ExtremeAire uses a 12 volt 3/4 horsepower fan cooled motor to provide continuous duty (100%) airflow.  With a max working pressure of 150 PSI and a 4 CFM free flow rate, the compressor does a pretty good job filling up tires at the end of the trail.  Another local Jeeper I share trails with has been using one for a couple of years now and I've watched it fill his 35" tires quite effectively.  The compressor also has a washable air cleaner on it to help keep the dust where it belongs (outside of the compressor). 

Mike stopped by my house on a Saturday to kick around some ideas of where to mount the compressor and the 1 gallon air tank he won at the 4AJUMR door prize raffle.  I had some aluminum strap in the garage and after exploring a few ideas, we decided that something similar to the above mockup could be made with hand tools and bolted into the rear of the TJ.  We took some measurements and wrote down the lengths and quantity needed to make Mike's OBA mounting rack.

Mike was off work on July 4 and after he called me about mid-morning, I headed over to his place to help with the rack construction.  While I drove across town to his place, he made a quick trip to a nearby metal store and picked up the 1.5" wide x 3/16" thick steel strap we would be using.  The owner was kind enough to pre-cut the pieces for Mike.  As it was, we ended up doing a little trimming on some pieces as we got into the project but better to be too long than too short.  So armed with some c-clamps, a bag of 5/16" fasteners fresh from the ACE hardware store, and the cut metal, we started building the mounting rack.

The first step was to rough out the location and spacing for the rack.  A piece of 2x4 held up one end while we checked for proper clearance on the compressor and tank.  Although Mike is running a hard top now, he wanted to be sure he could properly fold a soft top down along the side of the rack without hitting the compressor or air tank.  This was one of those projects where you wanted to measure twice and only cut once. 

After trimming a couple of the rack pieces to the proper length, Mike fired up the old drill press and put a few holes at what we hoped would be the correct locations.  As it turned out, our measurements were right on the money and no holes had to be slotted or elongated in order for everything to bolt together.

With the requisite holes drilled in the pieces, we staged the compressor and air tank on the floor with some bolts in the holes to make sure we hadn't missed anything.  A quick hardware count revealed we had actually gotten enough of everything needed except for one bolt.  We hadn't counted on the extra length needed for one of them that went through some extra brackets that were used by Mike's old tire carrier.  No problem, what we had would work for the test fit and he could pick up the rest during the next trip to the hardware store.

Here is the first test fit.  It all went just where we wanted it to go.  We drilled a half dozen holes into the fender well area to finish up the mounting points.  The last thing to do was the bracket to support the end of the rack.  You can see it attached to the bolt on the air tank.  At this time, Mike is not sure if he will need another bracket to support the rack under the compressor.  The bracket was formed by spending a few minutes with the vise and a very big hammer (yeah, not the most elegant manner but it did the trick and turned out nice).  Edit:  Since Mike had the material on hand, he bent another bracket, similar to the first one, and located it under the compressor.

Mike didn't need help with the disassembly and painting.  He will do that during the evenings when he gets a bit of spare time.  As with most of us, we work on the Jeep when time allows (unless it is your daily driver and you HAVE to get it fixed so you can get to work tomorrow).  After it is painted and installed, we will start plumbing the compressor to the tank and up to the air manifold (which we have yet to make).  Mike will pick up the appropriate sized electrical wire to provide power to the compressor as well as a power relay and fuse/circuit breaker.

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