Copyright The Off Road Reference 2016
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As I’m sure you know, REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups are made from two completely different, unrelated products, each great on its own, but absolutely fantastic when combined. “Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together.” In similar fashion, thanks to countless hours of product research, I’ve created the Reese’s Pieces of JK onboard air, by combining two awesome, but completely unrelated products, each great on its own, but that work unbelievably well together.
The Springtail Solutions M-PAC JK Side Rack and the Extreme Outback Products High Output 12 Volt Compressor are two BEST OF BREED products that work so well together it’s like they were made for one another!
Onboard air is the Holy Grail of self sufficiency, because it provides capability you can’t otherwise pack, or manufacture on the trail. Whether it’s simply airing up tires, activating lockers, powering air tools, blowing off dust, or turning a regular water tank into a pressurized sink, onboard air is a high priority for any wheeling rig, and an absolute necessity for any true expedition / overland rig.
I’ll follow this up with detailed reviews on each product, but I chose the ExtremeAire High Output 12 Volt Compressor after literally years of research, and based on some very good personal recommendations. For the ~$430 price point nothing else on the market comes close to being as heavy-duty, rugged, reliable, and user-serviceable. Nor do any of the competitive options in that price range provide the same level of pure air output. In short you get a fan cooled, 3/4 horsepower, 100% duty cycle motor that flows 1.5 cfm @100 psi (continuous 150 psi, 200 psi max) from a company completely focused on vehicle mounted air compressor solutions. Simply put, all the numbers mean the ExtremeAire 12V High Output compressor can quickly air up the biggest off-road tires, fill the highest-pressure RV tires, or run air tools, WITHOUT having to stop.
Why Haven’t You Heard of Extreme Outback Products / ExtremeAire Compressors Before?
Though focused solely solutions for mobile based compressor needs, these relatively small, recreational, off-road compressors are just a tiny part of their overall business. The fact is, Extreme Outback Products is primarily focus on providing OEM badged compressors for large scale heavy equipment, industrial machinery and military vehicles. Think CAT, Volvo Construction, John Deere Construction, the U.S. Military, and the Australian Military, just to name a few.
How Was I Going to Fit That Relatively Big, Heavy Compressor In The JK?
Ok, the Extreme Outback Products High Output 12 Volt Compressor was an easy decision. The hard part was figuring out where and how to mount it in the JKUR. There is no way this monster will fit in the engine compartment. I wouldn’t mount it there anyway; heat kills these things. Likewise, I didn’t want it under the rig, because then the compressor itself, critical electrical wiring, and the primary air line would be subject to the elements, and susceptible to trail damage. Strategically, I wanted my ExtremeAire mounted safely and securely, somewhere inside my JKUR, but without taking up too much of the already limited cargo space. A tall order indeed…
The Springtail Solutions M-PAC JK Side Rack
Like many Jeepers, I’m into a lot of outdoor activities, and I’m a Boy Scout Leader, so I believe in being prepared. 🙂 This means I generally keep all kinds of things in my Jeep: extra fluids, tools, stuff to get unstuck, bug spray, bug out gear, and a First Aid Kit. Now, anyone with a Wrangler knows how hard it is to keep lots of “everyday” stuff neatly organized and accessible in the back of your Jeep, and leave room for other, trip specific gear. Since I’m always on the lookout for better solutions and new ideas, I actually discovered Springtail Solutions a few years ago, while researching vehicle based, rip-away first aid pouches.
Poking around their site led me to the M-PAC JK Side Racks. Since the Outback Adventure Products tailgate table was already in my plans, the M-PAC JK Side Rack seemed like the perfect solution for mounting MOLLE gear, and the 6.9 x 13 x 3.5″ top cubby looked like it made excellent use of otherwise completely wasted space. Even know I’d never seen any of their products in person, I wanted to give this great looking product, form this little known company a try. Thanks to a very generous gift form my in-laws, who I’m sure had some help from my beautiful wife, a JK driver side rack found its way into my hands…
The Chocolate Falls into the Peanut Butter, and Greatness Results!
One day, as I laid out a bunch of upgrades for a previous post, I got an idea. As it often happens with one of those thousand-plus-piece jigsaw puzzles, two seemingly unrelated pieces looked like they might actually fit together after all. A few quick measurements and a test fit later, and it was clear the ExtremeAire High-Output Compressor fits so well into the Springtail M-PAC JK rack, it was like they were made for each other!
The fit was so good I knew whatever challenges remained would be easily resolved with a little creativity, and a few power tools. In reality, aside from drilling some mounting holes in the bottom of the cubby, and calling Extreme Outback to ensure my plans wouldn’t void the compressor’s warranty, it only took a few pieces of PVC to get everything perfect.
Constructed of thick, 11 gauge steel and held together with stainless hardware, including Nylock nuts, the Springtail Solutions M-PAC Side Rack is seriously heavy-duty, and it mounts very securely to the JK, so it has no problem keeping the Extreme Outback Compressor safely and securely in place. Obviously, mounting the compressor securely is paramount to ensure it neither walks off, nor becomes a health hazard while out on the trails.
After getting the compressor hard mounted to the M-PAC, and the M-PAC bolted in the JK, the rest of the install was very straight forward. I followed Extreme Outback Product’s Tips and Instructions to the letter. The recommended, resettable 50 amp circuit breaker and 100 amp relay are hooked up as directed and securely mounted in in the engine bay. Almost 50 feet of red and black, heavy, 4 AWG battery cable (that I cut, terminated and shrink-wrapped myself), runs from from the battery, through the firewall, alongside the factory JK harness down the driver’s side of the tub, and back to the compressor.
Honestly, the install looks factory, and the compressor is very easily controlled by a “Passenger Eject” Contura V rocker switch, from OTRATTW, that lives in a lower Daystar panel. (While not at all loud, it sure makes unsuspecting passengers jump every time I hit the switch – which my kids get a kick out of…)
Hit me up if you’re interested in this fantastic setup for your JK! I’ll be happy to walk you through the process and if there enough interest I’ll work on putting together a complete, packaged solution. Aside from completely fabricating your own mounting structure, you’re not going to find a better solution that installs so easily and works so well!
Wheel Safe. Wheel Smart. Have Fun. Hope to see you on out on the trails.
Copyright The Off Road Reference 2016