Have you ever been out somewhere and wished you had an onboard air compressor with you? 4 wheeling, camping, changing a flat tire? Well with the help of a heavy duty on board compressor, we have been able to add this exceptional feature of onboard air to Project Responder.
We first had to find a suitable compressor to mount onboard. We decided to use a York air compressor because of it's internal oiling system which does not require oil in the lines for compressor lubrication. This makes it perfect for the onboard air solution. Once we purchased the onboard air compressor, we then set about to have the necessary brackets manufactured to be able to mount the onboard air compressor to the engine. With the help of a local machinist, Keith Simmons of Simmons Tool & Die, we were able to accomplish this task.
We had quite a lot of room on the passenger's side of the engine with the L & L brackets securing the A/C compressor and power steering on the driver's side of the motor. The big question was how to mount the onboard air compressor? Two obstacles were in our way. First, the water pump pulley only has two sheaves. The crank shaft pulley has four sheaves but it is not accessible at the angle from which the air compressor will be installed. It was finally decided that the power for the onboard air compressor would be taken from the alternator pulley since the onboard air system will only be used infrequently and should not interfere with the operation of the alternator.
Next, we determined the necessary mounting locations based on the threaded mounting points available on the engine. We needed the mounting plate to pivot, allowing the belt to be tensioned properly. One of the great features of the York air compressor is that it can be mounted from the vertical to the horizontal position without any negative impact on it's performance. With the onboard air compressor on it's side, we carefully aligned the brackets and brought the inner sheave of the compressor in line with the outer sheave of the high output alternator. Fortunately, the L & L alternator pulley has two sheaves.
Now we needed to figure out how to tension the mounting plate. With the alternator nearly touching the engine block, there was little room for the tensioner. However, we found an angle that just cleared the alternator and gives us just the right support. A spacer had to be manufactured as you can see in the fifth photo. The end of the spacer is conical to allow for the angle of the tensioner and the rotation of the mounting eye without binding. The mounting point on the onboard air compressor plate also has a conical mount for the very same reason.
After all of the parts were completed and the installation was tested and approved, the parts were sent to a local powder coating facility, Spectrum Industrial Coatings, to be powder coated in yellow to match, as well as possible, the color of the powder coating on the L & L brackets.
All that was left was to connect the lines and the pressure switch to control the operation of the onboard air compressor.