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Kilby Enterprises - Onboard Air
November 26th 2006 @ 8:00 pm Hidden Gems

Onboard Air - Kilby EnterprisesYou don’t have to be into Jeeping long before the subject of onboard air (OBA as it’s usually referred to) comes up and Kilby Enterprises is probably the most well known supplier of onboard air parts and accessories. There are others (the most notable in my mind are Powertank and Sun Performance) but the big onboard air website has always been (appropriately enough) onboardair.com, operated by Kilby Enterprises. There you’ll find everything from complete engine-driven and 12 volt air compressor systems to all the tiny little parts you need to plumb it into your Jeep, such as NPT fittings, oil coalescing filters (especially important for York compressors), air manifolds, pressure switches, relief valves, air hoses and even valves for operating your ARB air locker using OBA. Kilby also manufactures special brackets for mounting engine-driven compressors in Jeeps, Chevys and Dodge trucks. Unless you’re good at fabricating mounting brackets, you’ll be buying one of these.

I installed an onboard air system on our YJ project Raptor a few years ago and never once regretted it. I took the long route and bought a used junkyard York 210 compressor. My next step was to diagram how I wanted my system to run (an example can be found on the Kilby site), where each component would be located (like the tank and manifold) and then figure out what parts I needed. Although some parts I could have gotten locally, I didn’t want to make 20 trips to home depot and there were already some parts I needed from Kilby. There were also a few parts I could have bought cheaper locally. Harbor Freight, for instance, sells a cheaper oil-coalescing filter but I’ve seen comments online where the cheaper filter cracks when subjected to Jeep abuse. Ultimately I saved up and bought the more expensive filter from Kilby. Two years later I’m glad I did. I must have placed five orders over the course of a few months. Each time my order was shipped very quickly (same day in some cases), the order was always correct and the parts were top quality.

The website has gone through a few design revisions since I first visited. Kilby is now marketing their OBA air business with the brand “Air Boss”. Once you click the brand name, you’re then given the choice between air compressor systems and replacement parts on a page that looks like it’s asking your what kind of rig you have. Both links eventually get you to the same menu system and from there navigation is easy. I’m not sure why they opted for this more confusing layout but once you get to the main product menu its easy enough to figure out.

I’m listing this link as a “Hidden Gem”, mostly because in the 5 years the link has been in our database, it’s been visited only about 1,200 times and that surprises me. Perhaps the title or description need improvement. It’s not for lack of interest in OBA systems, that’s for sure. Every time I go on a trail run and offer to fill up tires at the end I get a crowd of admirers. My York 210 system fills 33 inch tires from 10 psi to 28 psi in less than a minute, WAY faster than most electric compressors. I’m almost always asked if I sell the parts myself or do installs.

JeepsOnly also has lots of how-to links to websites showing various ways to install engine-driven and other kinds of onboard air systems. Check out the Jeeps Only Onboard Air how-to category.


Post author: Bill

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