ARB On-board Air Compressor Install


Finally, I had some time to finish this project.  I have chosen ARB CKMA12 High-Output Air Compressor model for my on-board air compressor. Unit comes with full wiring harness, mounting hardware, pressure limit switch and detailed instructions.

Although this model is compact and highly configurable, it was still a challenge to find a spot to mount it under the hood of the Ram 3500. I found just big enough space behind the driver side headlight. Here is step by step instructions;

1. Remove these two bolts

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 1

2. Pull the plastic cap in the wheel house to reach and remove the 3rd bolt.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 2

3.  With a soft tissue wrapped flat tool give a little nudge to pop the headlight out.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 3

4.  Remove the harnesses going into the headlight.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 4

This is the bar where I am going to mount the compressor. To give myself more room to work, especially for drilling, I decided to remove the windshield washer reservoir and the big air hose.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 5

5.  This is first of 2 bolts that hold the reservoir.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 6

6.  This is the second bolt. After detaching the sensor cables, just lift the reservoir and lay it down to the left.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 7

7.  Loosen the clamps on both end of the hose and remove it out of the way.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 8

8.  Use the metal base plate that comes with ARB Compressor as a guide to drill the holes.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 9

9.  Prep the compressor. I am using ⅛ male to ¼ compression adaptororange teflon tape and 150 psi rated air tubing.  Rotate the manifold to create best angle so the hose is not bent.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 10

10.  Attach the air filter and the pressure sensor. Use generous amount of orange teflon tape.

ARB Onboard Air Compressor Install

The bar I am going to mount the compressor is 2” thick. I am using 2.5” bolts, self locking nuts, locking washers and plastic washers. I have primed and painted the base plate black to prevent corrosion.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 11

11. After removing the 4 bolts that holds the compressor (yellow arrows), I mounted the base plate and mounting bracket to the bar. I used plastic washers to dampen the vibration and the noise.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 12

12.  Attach the compressor body to the mounting bracket.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 13

13.  Attach the ARB cable harness to the compressor.  I used 1/2 inch split loom to protect the cables.

ARB Onboard Air Install Step 14

Project Difficulty Rating     Easy Medium Hard

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  1. Have you been happy with the compressor? I like ARB’s fashion; because it was meant to drive lockers I still think it’s maybe a bit dubious otherwise.

    1. Hi Paul,
      I haven’t pushed the compressor really hard yet. So far it works like a charm. Ask me again in a year, once we have some miles on rough South American dirt roads, and I will give you a full report.


  2. One of the most common questions we receive from people installing an Air Lift on-board air compressor system is, “where should I mount my compressor? contains the parts needed for specific areas of onboard air installation. Thanks for the informative post.

    1. I am glad someone is reading and it is helpful! One thing I found our later that, if I had removed the wheel housing the installation would be much easier.

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