Trailer Axle Driven Compressor?

I’ve asked a few exorbitant things here before but after doing some more research, I found out the CFM delivery for York 210’s at higher pressures is simply too low for what I’m trying to do. That includes runbys in the hills, yes.

I ended up buying a massive two stage compressor that puts out 27.5CFM at 175psi, and I have an option of buying another if I really want to get crazy. I have not bought the motor for the compressor yet, which for most people would be a large horizontal gas motor. However, this is where my silly ideas come in again.

Why not run a dual compressor setup that is trailer axle driven? I see the potential issues right off the bat though. Trying to get 55CFM off a trailer axle would require about 30 horsepower in gas measurements, which is a lot. I’m thinking the trailer weight wouldn’t be more than 250 pounds, though I doubt that’s enough weight to compensate for potential wheel skidding, especially going over bumps or on dirt roads where the trailer wheels may temporarily lose compression with the roadway. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a setup where someone drives their car with a trailer that has a motor producing resistance on the axle. It sounds like something that would be tried in Mythbusters, and I have no clue if it’s even safe or not. Even the guy at my local automotive store said it sounded like a ‘hold my beer’ scenario.

Essentially the setup would save me a lot of weight and space in the car if it was practical enough. A rather tiny sized trailer like this could fit in the back of my SUV and keep up with a 40 gallon air tank and there wouldn’t be nearly as much obnoxious engine noise. It’s that versus a 420cc gas motor powering a single compressor and 80 gallons of air plus having to stop a few times during the runby to regenerate air pressure.

That is probably what I will do in the end, but it’s an interesting thought if something like a trailer axle driven compressor was safe and possible. I certainly don’t have the funds to find out if it is or isn’t. I know something like this has been tried by one of the members here, but in more miniature fashion. Lol. Feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

I hate to ruin the idea, but almost all trailer axles aren’t. They’re a solid metal tube with spindles welded into them, and that’s where the bearings ride for the hubs.

What I’d suggest you look at a small diesel engine (Deutz 3 cylinder diesel, maybe a Honda or Onan gasser from a generator from an RV?) to run a compressor that size.

Make it belt driven and it should run like a champ; on/off run from the pressure switch, then you could easily fill a 40 plus gallon tank.

It would be similar to this, except a lot smaller.

You could also see if there is something on the GSA Auction site.


Thanks Kris,

I debated it for a bit after reading your response and ended up going with a simple 420cc motor to run the compressor for now. Likely I will get a 60 gallon auxiliary tank to stuff in the back of the car eventually for when things get real. Almost anything else I’d be buying from the U.S. (I’m Canadian), and the exchange rate is awful right now, meaning everything I buy from there is 30% more in price.

It’ll be exciting when I got it hooked up. I spent 45 minutes filling up 25 gallons with my Viair 480c earlier this week for Canada Day (Canadian equivalent of July 4th). I’m sure the whole town heard me, but all the noise lasted a mere 30 seconds and that was it. Then again, that’s probably all everyone was willing to tolerate. :smiley: I got a few honks back which at least put a smile on my face.

The 420cc will run with the compressor which should generate 23.5CFM at 175psi, which will be where the pressure switch shuts off. Even the engine ended up going on sale, so I took that as I sign that I was being too ambitious and to just go with what’s right in front of me. At least now I’ll be able to fill 25 gallons in under two minutes.

Can you source a York 210 compressor and an electric winch motor?

For what you’re doing, this might be a better setup.


I’ve considered potentially getting something smaller as indeed, there is quite a lot of weight involved in this setup. A winch motor and York would require a couple of golf cart batteries which isn’t a big deal. The only problem I see is the cost.

The 23.5-27.5CFM 420cc Gas Compressor setup will be around $1100 because both the compressor and engine were on sale. A York winch motor setup would be approximately the same cost with the added oil filter and batteries, and the air flow would be between 7-15CFM. I’ll definitely do more research though, as the noise from a small block gas engine and two stage compressor will be quite a lot to handle. From what I’ve heard, York’s are very quiet compared to most compressors, and a winch motor I’d imagine would be like a table saw.

Thanks for the advice.