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 Adding an onboard York air system to the Dodge Ram

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Adding an onboard York air system to the Dodge Ram

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By Nick Mata

Air supply for tools, tires, air lockers, balloons....I researched for about 9 months before I did this. The owner of Kilbey  Enterprises makes brackets for many kinds of vehicles including the Dodge V10, but no one makes brackets for the Dodge 360 or 318 so I made my own.

Finding an Air Conditioning Compressor:

First I found a York 210 from a doner 1980 Volvo sedan. I pulled all the brackets and as much hose as possible. Be careful when removing the compressor because the system may still be pressurized. Check the clutch by connecting the battery to the only wire on the compressor and grounding the compressor. You should here it click. After cutting the hoses put your thumb over either hose and turn the pulley with the clutch engaged - you should a suction or pressurization. If the compressor seems OK, take it home. I paid $25 for mine from a junkyard. A rebuild kit is not worth the expense because they can cost up to $200 - just find another $25 compressor. For York compressor information, the site has identification info and service manuals online.

compressor.jpg  My York 210 cleaned up for installation

Compressor Installation

compressor mounted
I needed to find a place to mount it. The most obvious choice to me was next to the alternator. I got the idea from seeing a super charger installed on a Dodge.
original alternator bracket
To begin the design process, I pulled the alternator (bracket photo on left) and used some of the stock bracket to make my own. I had to make two brackets - one to mount to the alternator (NO.1 - photos on the right) and another to mount the AC (No.2).
new alternator bracket new alternator bracket

Bracket NO. 2 is not a guarded military secret, I simply got wrapped up in work and forgot to take pics of it.

alternator with combination pulley alternator mounted
While the alternator was out of the truck, I installed a v/serpentine combination pulley from I got the 9 groove pulley, which had a lip on the back that had to be ground for clearance. An 8 groove pulley would not work for me and I ran around town for about 2 days trying to get the right pulley. The left photo shows the pulley on the alternator, the right photo shows the alternator with the new pulley installed on the engine with bracket NO 1.
compressor mounted compressor mounted Alternator pulley added
Any way it looks really clean. In the photos the belt has flipped off of the V-pulley - I didn't realize it when I took the pic. I adjusted the compressor and the belt stays on the pulley now.


rocker switchrelay At Autozone, I bought a rocker switch made by Painless Wiring. I didn't take a photo of the wiring because it is difficult to see what was original and what was added, but the wiring diagram shows the compressor control circuitry. I went from the battery through a relay (part no.PA520 - installed inside the stock PDC under the hood), through a fuse, and then to the to the compressor. To activate the relay I ran a wire from the battery, through the relay coil, to the rocker switch (installed in the console) then through the  pressure switch and to ground. I would like to find an idle controller to increase idle speed when the compressor is running with the truck is in park.

Air Tank and Plumbing

bumper air bottle
I planned to use the front bumper as the air tank, but it leaked (in left photo you can see the pressure gauge used for the leak test). Back-up plan No. 2: I went to a local company that fills air bottles for the fire department, and they gave me an old metal bottle. I tapped a hole in the bottom of the bottle for the discharge line of the compressor and tapped a hole in the side for a T fitting.
releif valve T fitting
A pressure relief valve (left photo) was installed into one side of the T (right photo) and a pressure switch from Sun Performance was installed in the other side of the T.
quick coupling drain valve
From the neck of the bottle I used 3/8 tubing to run to quick connects (part no.PA515) mounted at the front and rear bumpers. A drain valve (part no.PA513) was installed on the bottle for removing water.
pressure switch pressure switch pressure switch
The pressure switch (left photo) was chosen because it only cost $19, was set for a good all around working pressure, and was a nice small size when compared to a standard switch (center photo). Another option is a small 120/100psi switch available from Rickson Truck Acc for $17 (right photo).
Air filter Kielby Air filter
On the top of the compressor you can see the silver part of the discharge line (left photo). The red hose connects the compressor's suction side to a filter. The Kilbey filter shown in the right photo may be quieter than the filter I used.
console console
An air line run from the bottle to a glycerin filled 0-160# 314SS gauge mounted to the console just below the 2 Rancho 9000 gauges in the cab (photos on left - the Rancho installation another write-up).

Between the compressor discharge and the bottle are a 316SS check valve to prevent back flow and quiet the compressor, and an inline oil separator. Both are rated for above 150#. I have blown my tubing once because it came too close to the manifold while under pressure.


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This page was edited on: May 3, 2004