Making Our Ramp Truck Self-Sufficient

Update by Tim Suddard to the Ford F-350 Ramp Truck project car
May 31, 2016

Without the compressor on top of it, the air tank fit nicely behind the left rear wheel of the truck. We would have to run a high pressure hose from this tank to the compressor, itself.
We knew we would have to dismantle the portable generator and duplicate its cage into our tire rack that we were in the process of building.
Our first step would be to figure out where we could fit both a compressor and a generator. Notice how tall the compressor (left) is, while the generator (right) fits surprisingly well.
We finally decided to split the tank from the air compressor and mount only the compressor up on the truck’s deck. We would then build a mount to stick the tank underneath the truck and out of the way.
We hid the tank with this panel that incorporates the original compressor controls. We never knew we would be going into the truck body business!
We just cut the original plastic compressor switch panel down and then incorporated it into a recessed panel that we would design and build.

We decided early on we wanted to have an air compressor located somewhere onboard our project ramp truck. We also wanted be able to run other power tools without relying on an outside power source. This would require a generator.

After measuring and searching for some budget alternatives, we found a medium size compressor with an 8-gallon air storage tank at Lowes for $179.

We then grabbed one of the surplus generators we had in our storage room—which we used during hurricane season. We figured we were just borrowing it and could just drive the truck to the office if we needed that generator back.

Since this portable generator was held in its own frame, we would have to duplicate the mounting points for the generator itself, the fuel tank, and power panel on the framework of our tire and fuel jug rack.

We used 1-inch square tubing, carefully measured and then welded the framework together to hold the gas tank and power panel, but still allow the generator to be removed for service or replacement.

The air compressor would be another story. While not terribly large, it was tall. We soon realized that it wouldn’t fit in our tire rack and began to search for a location to mount it. After trying a myriad of locations with no luck, we finally separated the compressor itself from the tank.

We mounted the compressor on the truck’s deck underneath the tire rack on the left side of the truck. We then mounted the tank underneath the deck, behind the rear wheel. From there we took the original controls and air nozzle and mounted them into a recessed panel that we welded onto the side of the truck behind the left rear wheel.

Once it was all said and done, our ramp truck could operate as an island with its own power and compressed air. It was becoming a great track support vehicle.

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View comments on the GRM forums
44Dwarf UltraDork
6/1/16 10:26 a.m.

A lot of the 4x4 crawler guys use an A/C compressor and air tanks bolted under the body. The biggest problem is the A/C units mostly are small displacement so it can take some time to build up pressure, but there is one BIG York they all love.

revrico HalfDork
6/1/16 10:39 a.m.

That's an awesome idea, both mounting the genny and the remote compressor.. I may have to borrow it when I finally get a support vehicle.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
6/1/16 10:00 p.m.

will you hard pipe the connection between the compressor and tank or use hose?

Wall-e GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/5/16 9:00 p.m.

Plastic air lines like commercial trucks use would probably be the best to use. They're fairly easy to plumb and are suited to live under a truck.

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