Recipe for a $56 ARB Compressor
Http:// Short Cuts

By: C. Andrew Zook. May, 2001.

The completed compressor

Total - $56.00

A few years ago I had heard something about the air compressors that power the air suspension on mid '80's Cadillacs. Soon after this, I was at the junkyard and thought I would look for one while I was there. I went to the Cadillac section of the yard and found one in the first car I walked up to! I took it to the checkout and found out that they only wanted $5 for it.

The front view

I took it home and played around with it a little, but I never did do anything with it. It sat around in my spare parts pile until recently when I installed an ARB locker in the rear of my truck and needed a quick easy way to get compressed air to power it.

I visited the local hydraulic/pneumatic store to gather the fittings that I needed to wire the compressor up. I came home with around $50 in parts, and soon had them assembled into a miniature compressed air source.

I was skeptical as to how well the small compressor would work to power the ARB, but I soon found out that it does a great job. When I flip the ARB solenoid on, the compressor kicks on for a few seconds, but it definately does the trick!

I started by removing the built in pressure regulator on the compressor itself. The 5/32" nylon tube coming out of the small storage tank located in the unit itself should run directly to the makeshift air manifold rather than into the regulating device as it originally did, or the compressor will only be able to achieve around 60PSI.

The pressure switch is set to kick on at about 70 PSI, and to kick off at around 90PSI. The compressor can compress up to 120PSI without a problem, but I did not want to make it work any harder than it had to.

There are four wires on the compressor, but only the two larger ones are used. I trimmed the smaller ones off as close to the top of the unit as possible. The Wires used for power are the black/green (positive), and the black wire (ground).

The black/green wire is wired into the pressure switch, which feeds from a relay connected to the AC switch on my dash (I no longer have AC installed in my truck). The AC switch is powered by a wire from the ACC circuit so that the compressor will turn off when the truck is not running.

The threaded fitting on the ARB solenoid is a BSPT fitting (British Standard Pipe Thread), but is close enough to the 1/8" NPT (Same thread pitch - slightly smaller diameter) to work without any strange adaptors.

This setup works great on the trail. It will keep me locked in until I have the time to install a belt driven AC compressor into my truck.

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