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Old 06-25-2011, 04:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

There was some interest in a "how to" in the I made it myself thread, so here's some detail on how I built my dual tire inflator + tire pressure balancer.

What's the point of this? First, it lets me inflate my tires with half the effort. Instead of moving the compressor from tire to tire and adjusting pressure individually, I can connect the front two or rear two tires and inflate two tires simultaneously. Second, I only have to fiddle with the tire pressure once for the front and once for the back and I know that the left/right sides are balanced.

There used to be a product called the Psiclops with the same idea, except it had a pressure gauge as well. The Psiclops is currently no longer on the market, so this is next best thing. I kinda thought I could build the same thing myself anyway, so I did. While I was at it, I threw in an air tool line dryer in a poor man's attempt at haivng "dry air" in the tires.

Functional parts:


The whole shebang:


The main parts:


The most important part:


Parts needed and where I bought them

Qty 1 - 3-port 1/4" NPT manifold (aluminum, blue) - Harbor Freight
Qty 2 - 1/8" NPT male Shrader valve - Hardware store/Automotive store
Qty 1 - Pipe adapter - 1/8" NPT female to 1/4" NPT female - Hardware store
Qty 1 - Pipe adapter - 1/8" NPT female to 1/4" NPT male - Hardware store
Qty 1 - Pipe coupler - 1/4" NPT male to 1/4" NPT male - Hardware store
Qty 1 - In-line air tool line dryer - Harbor Freight
Qty 2 - 1/4" barb closed Euro-style tire chuck - eBay
Qty 2 - Oetiker ear clamps - eBay
25 ft 1/4" NPT air line for roofing - Harbor Freight
Teflon tape - Harbor Freight

Note about the manifold: Harbor Freight markets it as a 3-port manifold, but it's machined for 4 ports with 1 port sealed with a hex socket plug. With a little heat and muscle, you can loosen the plug and have access to the last 1/4" NPT port. In the pictures above, the plug was on the short end where the line dryer is installed.

Important note about the tire chucks: You'll definitely want to hunt down a chuck that (1) can clip onto the tire valve and (2) is normally closed. It's essential that the chuck is normally closed; othewise, you'll lose most of your tire pressure before you know it. I used Euro-style chucks because they're easy to pop on and off. Unfortunately, the rubber seals in the ones I bought were too hard and sealed poorly. I ended up replacing them with sections of silicone hose for better compliance against the tire valve. I had some red silicone hose in the garage, so that's why the inside of the chuck is red in the photos.

Quick note about the ear clamps: You can use whatever you want, really. If you can salvage some of those spiral/spring clamps that they use on portable tire inflators, that would work well (but kind of annoying to work with). Or regular hose clamps if you want something readily available. I used Oetiker clamps because I didn't want the clamps to snag on anything and/or scratch my wheels.

Quick note about the line dryer: I have no data showing that it helps. But if you're building this yourself, why the heck not?

Assembly

Assemble in the following order below. Make sure you use Teflon tape on all fittings, especially if you're using crappy Harbor Freight parts that I am.

Inflator end:
1/8" NPT male Shrader valve
Pipe adapter - 1/8" NPT female to 1/4" NPT female
In-line air tool line dryer
Pipe coupler - 1/4" NPT male to 1/4" NPT male
3-port 1/4" NPT manifold (aluminum, blue)

Bleeder/Gauge end:
1/8" NPT male Shrader valve
Pipe adapter - 1/8" NPT female to 1/4" NPT male
3-port 1/4" NPT manifold (aluminum, blue)

Tire end:
The roofing air line is terminated with two 1/4" NPT male connectors. Slice the line somewhere in the middle at lengths appropriate for your car. (I made one short and one long line because I inflate my tire from the side of the car; if you inflate from the front or rear, you'll want the lengths to be even.) Put an ear clamp over the free end of the hose, push the hose over the barb on the tire chuck, and close the clamp. I turned the clamp so that the ear is under the chuck's clip release so that it doesn't snag on anything.

Use

To inflate: Attach the end with the line dryer to a tire inflator. Connect chucks to tire. Fire up the inflator!

To check/adjust pressure: Use the spare Shrader valve you installed on the manifold. If you need to let air out, stick a fingernail into the valve core.

Hope someone finds this useful...
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

That's an awesome thing you've created

However, are the lines equal length? If not wouldn't one tire theoretically get more air than the other?
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corifto View Post
That's an awesome thing you've created
Thanks!

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Originally Posted by Corifto View Post
However, are the lines equal length? If not wouldn't one tire theoretically get more air than the other?
Nope. The pressures will equalize just as long as there's a passage for the air (the manifold in this case). I've measured the pressures individually and both tires were the same pressure.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

There is normally no flow, no restriction, and therefore no difference.

Totally making one of these + Gauge.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

This is excellent, thanks for posting!

Wonder what happened to PsiClops, many of my autocrossing buddies loved the product's idea.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

My shopping list from McMaster-Carr:

5469K113
Manifold, 3/8" NPT In X 3, 1/4" NPT Out

3845K13
Gauge - 1% Accuracy 2-1/2" Dial, 1/4" NPT Bottom port, 0 - 60 PSI

6140A62 x2
Air Chuck Angled & locking, 1/4" Female NPT Connection

54075K18
Hose W/Male w/Male Fittings, 10', 1/4" ID, 300 PSI, Blue

54075K18
Hose W/Male w/Male Fittings, 5', 1/4" ID, 300 PSI, Blue

7793T1
Air Dryer, 1/4" Pipe Size M&F, 3-3/4" H X 1-45/64" W

44705K281
Pipe Fitting 3/8" X 1/4" NPT, Male X Female, Hex Reducer for Dryer to Manifold inlet

8063K38
Brass Air Fill Valve Straight, 1/4 NPT

I'll report back once it's all in and note changes if needed.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketAce View Post

Wonder what happened to PsiClops, many of my autocrossing buddies loved the product's idea.

Evidently not enough to buy it...


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Old 06-26-2011, 06:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by brandini View Post
My shopping list from McMaster-Carr:

5469K113
Manifold, 3/8" NPT In X 3, 1/4" NPT Out

3845K13
Gauge - 1% Accuracy 2-1/2" Dial, 1/4" NPT Bottom port, 0 - 60 PSI

6140A62 x2
Air Chuck Angled & locking, 1/4" Female NPT Connection

54075K18
Hose W/Male w/Male Fittings, 10', 1/4" ID, 300 PSI, Blue

54075K18
Hose W/Male w/Male Fittings, 5', 1/4" ID, 300 PSI, Blue

7793T1
Air Dryer, 1/4" Pipe Size M&F, 3-3/4" H X 1-45/64" W

44705K281
Pipe Fitting 3/8" X 1/4" NPT, Male X Female, Hex Reducer for Dryer to Manifold inlet

8063K38
Brass Air Fill Valve Straight, 1/4 NPT

I'll report back once it's all in and note changes if needed.
Are those chucks closed? If not, once you hook up one tire, you'll lose air through the other chuck.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

As far as I know they are but it didn't have enough detail. I'll find a use for em if they're wrong. It's one of thsoe things when you order from catalogs, even the big awesome mcmaster-carr. I just sent them an email to double check now that they'll be getting in the office.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

Just got an email back, it's a closed valve.
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dual Tire Inflator + Tire Pressure Balancer

Just got the invoice, ran the tracking number and they already attempted delivery once. Holy hell that was fast.

Got roommate at old place to sign delivery tag so I'll let everyone know how it goes later this evening or weekend.
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