I am going to write another blog post about our workspace, but we are gearing up for a monster day of work, and one of the items is our on-board air system. Compressed air has a ton of different purposes and uses on a overland journey. The big one is to inflate your tires if you have deflated them for off road driving or punctured and repaired them. But beyond that you can use compressed air to inflate air mattresses, rafts, blow out dust from the inside of the car, and my favorite; run air tools.
Things are going to break on this adventure, and while we are becoming decent mechanics, it would be nice to have some air tools to help. Imagine having a flat tire on the side of the road in Namibia, and just connecting your air hose to the side of the van and an impact wrench on the other end and changing the tire NASCAR style. Or needing to change a wheel bearing and being able to bust a castle nut from the axle with ease. Luxury some may say, I call it prudent planning!
When designing the air system for the van, we had to figure out where to put all of the components and what we needed to purchase. Initially we wanted to mount a 2.5 gallon tank under the van in between the chassis rails. There is a ton of empty space under Vanagons but we have already planned to utilize the outer rail space for an aux fuel tank and our water tank, and on the passenger side inner rail there are coolant lines and the shifter linkage running from the front to the rear of the vehicle. So that’s out. On the driver side inner rail there is some free space! But it’s not large enough for a 2.5 Gallon tank due to the vacuum reservoir for the lockers on the tranasxles. If we relocated the reservoir back a bit, it would indeed fit, but given my experience with Vanagons, I worry that our naïveté could bite us in the ass with some unforeseen impact of moving that reservoir. so instead we are opting to have two smaller tanks connected together. This set-up doesn’t sacrifice much capacity and allows easier mounting under the van. Can’t wait to get it all in and show pics!!
The components of the system are:
– Arb Dual Air Compressor
– 2 Viair 1 Gallon Air Tanks
– 1 Arb Air Manifold and Hose Kit
– Legacy fittings
– Goodyear Hoses
Here is the diagram: