Portable Air Compressor - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-07-2016, 08:46 AM   #1
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Name: Dean
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 679
Portable Air Compressor

Hi All,

I know it is not the most glamorous piece of RV Gear, but my OCD nature has me a little preoccupied with the exciting world of portable air compressors!!! To back up my OCD nature, I have examples of why a portable air compressor may be my next purchase:

1. Just listened to an RV podcast covering RV maintenance and the #1 item that all of us can maintain in our RVs is the tire. One of the most important items to maintain with tires is the proper pressure.

2. I attended the RV Safety & Education Foundation Conference in mid-May. It was hosted by Walter Canon. If you know anything about Walter, he is going to preach tire safety. Much of this safety involves proper tire pressure.

3. Laura and I completed a trip (460 mile round trip) to the Smoky Mountain National Park in mid-April. Within a mile of our house upon arriving home, I noticed a blister the size of a baseball on one of our tires. Upon further inspection, the other tire had tread separation. These six year old tires were not worn out, but they were OLD. Trailer tires age out before they wear out. I upgraded from 14″ wheels to 15″ wheels in order to accommodate newer tires that were 10 ply rather than 6 ply. I got tire religion without having a blowout!

Laura and I completed a 1900 mile 12 day camping trip in early June with our new tires and wheels. Worked wonderfully. I checked my tires every morning that we traveled. One morning I wanted to put a little air in one of the trailer tires. I took the trailer over to a nice large service station that had free air and a cool digital gauge. Guess what? The air pump only went up to 70 lbs and my tires hold a maximum of 80 lbs, so it did me no good.

I have been thinking about a nice portable air compressor. I like this companyís products based on my research:

VIAIR Corporation - Portable Compressors

A portable air compressor will run me from $60 to $250. In all likelihood, I would spend somewhere around $70 to $130. Given my tires require 80 psi, I will probably go with a unit that will provide at least 120 psi of pressure.

Do any of you carry a portable air compressor with you? If so, do you have a recommendation?



Laura & Dean | '05 Casita 17' FD | '09 Kia Borrego Limited V8 2WD
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:58 AM   #2
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2015 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 1,231
I carry a Viair. Cost me @ $220. I believe it is one of the best portable air compressors made and one of the best investments I've made. Haven't had to use it on the trailer tires but 3 times on the tow vehicle tires.

Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-07-2016, 09:13 AM   #3
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 4,608
I bought a Viair 0073 about a year ago to take on the road. $43 from Amazon. I've only used it a couple of times. So far so good. It requires a 20 amp fused outlet so check your owners manual. It's fairly quiet compared to most of the portable pumps I looked at. It has a gauge that matches my dail type hand gauge. They may both be off but they read the same. Raz
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:16 AM   #4
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
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By "portable" do you mean one that runs off 12 volts? Uses your TV's cigarette lighter socket? I have one like that, is small, and takes a long time, but will get you pumped up eventually.
More important is to have your own, accurate tire pressure gauge.
Do not rely on the ones attached to the compressor or air hose.
A dial type that will hold the reading, or a digital, is good.
The cheap, pencil style are not.

80 psi??? seems high. Do you know the actual weight on the tires?
Look up the LOAD/INFLATION chart for your tires, and adjust the air accordingly.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:19 AM   #5
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
Posts: 1,894
I got a larger Slime brand unit for under $100 so I could get my Sprinter E load range tires inflated and it has worked well for everything that I have tried so far!
I use it with a battery jump box mostly for the vehicles but I have an outside 12vdc outlet on the Casita that is real handy for the compressor there.

Not a Viair but a lot less money than the ones that I saw too.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:31 AM   #6
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Posts: 1,356
A fully loaded Casita 17LD does not require 80 psi in the tires. I know as I had one; normally ran 60 psi as recommended by the tire manufacturer.

Running 80 psi means you have to keep a screwdriver handy as the vibration on the road will unscrew the fasteners holding your benches in place!
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: https://RVWidgetWorks.com
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:39 AM   #7
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Name: Charles
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 295
I bought a Black&Decker about 25 years ago for 29.95 and it's still saving me and others. I have found that most gas station air pumps won't go much over 50 psi. This one still goes over 100 psi easily.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:53 AM   #8
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita 16SD
Posts: 15

I have a cheap small 12v compressor in every vehicle I own. They've saved the day many times. I also carry a tire plug kit (I know some folks don't think it's a good idea to plug tires but I've done it countless times over the last 40 years and 750,000 miles and have never had a problem).
The last compressor I bought came from home depot. It operates on 12v and 110v. Has a built in digital gauge and shuts itself off when desired pressure is reached. It's slow and noisy like most small units but works well.
Brand name is Husky and it was around $50.
What you allow is what will continue!
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:02 AM   #9
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Trillium 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 16
I always carry a Ryobi 18 volt compresser with me every day due also to the job sites that I frequent. Portable, cheap (as long as you have the batteries) and due to no cords very convenient to use.
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:32 PM   #10
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
SW Virginia
Posts: 1,618
My kids gave me a Viaio for Christmas last year. It's a 12v model with battery clips. I've used it several times and it works well. Other than it's a lot faster than the little cigarette plug models I've carried for years, about all I can say is it works fine and seems quite rugged.

Past owner of 1995 13' Casita, 1994 16' Casita, 2012 Parkliner, 2002 17' Bigfoot.
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:52 PM   #11
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Name: michael
Trailer: 2008 Escape 17B
British Columbia
Posts: 11
air compressor

I have a SMITTYBILT. It the compressor of choice for off roaders. They deflate their tires when offroading and then have to fill back up when going home and do NOT want to waste time filling the tires up again. It runs twelve volts and connects to your battery with the red and black clamps. It has a very accurate guage a very long, coiled pressure cord (approx. 15 ft. maybe longer) and an air filter. It goes up to 150psi. I purchased mine for around $100 at RT Tires on 152nd street on the Surrey/Whiterock border.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:05 PM   #12
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Name: Randy
Trailer: 1980Trillium 1300
Posts: 373
If one usually camps with hook-ups and also bring toys, it's worth to have a mini air compressor around. It works fast for inflatable boats, car, trailer tires and doesn't blow a fuse like a slow-poke 12VDC compressor. In photo, you could see a blue color, on the ground at rear of Trillium wheel. It cost 50bucks Canadian brand-new on sale, rated 2gallon, max 100psi. Just a share...
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:25 PM   #13
Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 40
We run a Viair 60 something. Good for about 120psi it airs up our big meaty e rated tires right quick, well right quick compared to the cheap tire inflator a we keep on the motorcycles.

We use a made in the USA wilco iirc brand truck stick style gauge. And I have a blue point dial gauge at home.

A couple of points to remember keep the pump up off the ground and away from dust and let it cool off ever so often while running, the smaller the compressor the more they need to cool down.

I also use a digital thermometer to check the tires temp. Especially on a new to me vehicle. While figuring out the right tire pressure.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:30 PM   #14
Name: Pete
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 68
I also have the larger Slime 12v compressor. Small, not to noisy, and surprisingly quick. But it does not have an auto-shut-off, so you have to watch it so as to not over inflate a tire.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:59 PM   #15
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 1,704
SuperFlow MV50 - Air Compressor | O'Reilly Auto Parts

This is the Air compressor I use. I also carry it in my offroad excursions where we air down our tires and have to refill the tires after our trip. I bought 2 of these about 10 years ago. I keep one in my offroad rig and the other one goes with me on trips. They have worked very well for our needs and they are cheap in price for the performance you get. They draw too much power to plug into a cigarette lighter so it has clips to attach to a car battery. It is wise to run the engine while the compressor is running unless you're filling up something small like a bike tire. It's about the size of a pair of soft hiking boots. Small and easy to stuff in cramped quarters. It all comes in a small bag included.

Just add a good tire gauge and your off and running. We have used these for several trucks at a time running for over an hour without having to shut down to cool off. I would buy them again in a heartbeat if I needed another one.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:14 PM   #16
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Name: Sergey
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 16 layout 4, 2018 Winnebago Revel 4x4
SW Florida
Posts: 694
Originally Posted by Material Guy View Post
I always carry a Ryobi 18 volt compresser with me every day due also to the job sites that I frequent. Portable, cheap (as long as you have the batteries) and due to no cords very convenient to use.
Ryobi compressor is very light duty. It dies (plastic parts on the gears melt) if the compressor is up for more than 10-15 minutes. I use it ( a seconds one, the first one died) for bicycle and to add air to car's tires only. Forget about inflating utility trailer tires to 90 PSI, the compressor will die.
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:07 PM   #17
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter 'til I buy
Denver, CO
Posts: 944
Harbor Freight, Wal Mart & others sell little 12V compressors the size of a brick.They are much less weight & bulk and run only $10-20. If one failed I'd just replace it. Neither of mine has failed. They are noisy, but it is no issue. Carried them in ATV box over a decade.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:06 PM   #18
Name: Thomas
Trailer: 22' Home Built
Posts: 49
Recently, on our return from Florida, towing our (new to me) fiberglass trailer, I had developed a bit of sway every time a semi passed us. One of the rear tires on my tow vehicle was low - about 35 psi vs the other side which was 42 psi. We stopped at 3 different places, all had compressors from "Air America". $2.50 at each one to use it. I used our quarters set aside for laundry, not wanting to put one of our credit cards on their system (paranoid, maybe). Not one of the compressors worked and none returned my money. I did call the company asking for a refund- turns out you need the exact time and the code number marked on the machine to get a refund, not the store name and location of the machine. And you can't actually get to a company employee- the calls are transferred to operators. But, now I carry a compressor. I never did find out why the tire was low, but airing it up solved the sway problem. I finally got air from a tire service truck that was changing a semi's tire in a parking lot. The service truck's operator would not take any money for the air.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:03 PM   #19
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
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Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
Laura and I completed a trip (460 mile round trip) to the Smoky Mountain National Park in mid-April.
Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
Laura and I completed a 1900 mile 12 day camping trip in early June with our new tires and wheels.
Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
I upgraded from 14″ wheels to 15″ wheels in order to accommodate newer tires that were 10 ply rather than 6 ply.

1) I am envious. You are getting a pretty fast start for someone who was going to buy a trailer 'in a few years'; I need to get out more!

2) I recently purchased a ViAir as my tow vehicle has a "collapsible" spare tire. I needed to use it within weeks of purchase when a plug repair (with no patch inside) failed in the middle of an 800-mile trip (not towing).

I like the ViAir. Mine is the 85P and has a 60 psi limit. I like the aluminum head which dissipates heat well. As others have noted, these little compressors (most/all brands) generally have a limited duty cycle such as fifteen minutes.

I too am curious regarding 80 psi in the tires. Please tell us more about these new ten-ply skins.
~ "This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects." ~
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:10 PM   #20
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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I also carry along a cheap, off brand 12 Volt compressor and have used it on the road in Labrador patching and inflating the TV tire. Otherwise I use it when I inflate the tires after wintering on jack stands and at reduced pressure.

80psi seems very high for a light trailer, the tires do not have to be at the maximum rated pressure to carry your load. Somebody mentioned the rough ride that probably results.

Also, the tire pressure monitors are neat, I recently bought the TST "starter pack" - two sensors and the read out ($160). Put it on your B-day or Christmas wish list!

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