Air On Board

Air compressor & tank

LandCruiser 200

Step-by-Step installation

With a camper-trailer that uses airbag suspension, an air compressor was near the top of my accessory list for the 200. Even without the airbags though, the need for an on-board air system with a range of accessories should be a high priority for any touring build.

Whether for inflating tyres, blowing out air filters or operating diff locks, having compressed air readily available is a very useful accessory for any 4WD.

Selecting and installing an air compressor and reservoir

After investigating the options available and the possible installation locations, I decided on a kit from Melbourne company Air On Board, comprising a 12v electric air compressor, 6-port aluminium manifold and 4-litre air tank.

The compressor features a 100% duty cycle and 1.4cfm output, but is small enough to fit into the rather cramped engine bay of the 200. This makes it excellent for general tyre inflation, running tools and inflating airbag suspension. AOB also sell a range of 5-8cfm engine driven compressors if you really need high volume, but at the time of writing they don't have a fitting kit available for the 1VD-FTV engine.

The compressor is installed on custom fabricated brackets, on the right side of the engine bay against the firewall. There are detailed bracket designs given below. The excellent 6-port aluminium manifold bolts on to the top of the compressor, and is currently fitted with the pressure gauge, pressure switch and air bleed fitting, which are all included as part of the kit. I've also added my preferred Jamec-Pem air fittings for accessories, and run a permanent air line from a press-in fitting back to the reservoir.

The 4-litre air reservoir tank fits very neatly against the chassis rail inside the wing of the rear bumper. Rather than drill holes in the chassis and use the tank's standard brackets, I decided to weld the tank to a 2mm steel plate, then bolt that plate into existing welded/captive nuts already in the chassis rail. It's up out of harm's way, but still provides easy access for bleeding.

The reservoir tank provides five threaded ports. I have blanked three of them off, while one port receives the line from the manifold, one the last port uses the supplied air line to provide a connector for my camper-trailer, while the last port is fitted with the supplied combination pressure-relief valve/bleed valve, very important both for safety and to drain off water buildup.

The rocker switch supplied as part of the kit almost fits into the standard Toyota blank switch plates adjacent to the steering wheel, with some minor expansion of the rectangular holes required.

Update May 2015: I have also added an AOB gauge/control panel to control a pair of Firestone helper airbags in the rear of the 'Cruiser. See the details and step-by-step installation here.




IMPORTANT

The "Installation" section should not be taken as instructions. It is simply a documenting of the procedure I followed for my own installation. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy of the information, and/or whether it applies in your situation or to your vehicle. If you're not qualified and/or don't have the correct equipment, get the compressor fitted professionally.

  • There are potentially lethal dangers involved whilst working with compressed air;
  • There are potentially lethal dangers resulting from failure due to improper installation;
  • There is the potential for expensive vehicle and/or suspension damage from improper installation.

If you undertake your own compressor installation, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Equipment required 

  • An electric or battery drill
  • Flat and phillips screwdrivers
  • Assorted spanners and sockets
  • A sharp knife (for cutting air lines)
  • Air fittings of your choice
  • Thread locking fluid (eg Loctite 243 or 263)

ebay-unit-1024X160

Installation

Click images to enlarge

Fabricate brackets:

The diagrams here can be used to fabricate the steel brackets required to mount the Air On Board compressor in the engine bay, against the firewall adjacent to the ECU.

There is also a diagram of a mounting plate which can be welded to the 4-litre reservoir, and used to mount it to the chassis inside the right-side rear bumper wing.

 

These brackets are reasonably simple to fabricate if you have basic metalworking and welding skills. Otherwise, they can be made by any small engineering workshop.




Mounting the compressor and manifold:

Mount the fabricated compressor brackets to the inner guard as shown, using 6mm metric bolts.

 

You can then mount the compressor to the brackets. In order to mount the compressor horizontally as shown in the picture, you'll need to remove the standard mounting brackets from the compressor and rotate them 90º before reassembling the compressor.

Mounting the air reservoir:

  • Remove the diff breather hose, and remove the bolt holding the brake lines to the axle, just above the differential. This will allow the axle to drop without straining the breather/brake lines.
  • Lower the axle on the jack, until the springs are loose.



Wiring and connecting airlines and fittings:

The compressor can be wired using the included wiring loom and instructions. I suggest wiring through an accessory fusebox rather than direct to the battery.

 

Running the wiring through the firewall to the switch is best accomplished by going through the blank nippled provided in the Toyota grommets.

 

The rocker switch supplied as part of the kit almost fits into the standard Toyota blank switch plates adjacent to the steering wheel, with some minor expansion of the rectangular holes required.

 

When installing fittings into the tank and reservoir, I recommend using a sealant rather than thread tape, to reduce the chance of tape fragments making their way into air tools etc.

 

When running wiring and airlines down the chassis, ensure they are well secured using cable ties to prevent damage to themselves or other components. It's also good practise to run wiring inside some split tubing to offer additional protection.




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