ARB High Output On-Board Air Compressor Under the Hood JK Installation Write-Up

Airing down your tires for the trail is an essential part of off-roading and one that will give you significantly better traction on the rocks and will also offer a much more comfortable ride. However, getting your tires aired back up at the end of the day can be somewhat of a problem especially if you’re still a ways off from a gas station with a working air compressor. Of course, the best solution to this problem is to bring your own source of air but a good hard mounted compressor or CO2 air tank can take up a lot of space inside your Jeep and most of the basic portable units simply don’t have what it takes to fill up four over sized tires in a reasonable amount of time. And, that’s why we decided to get an ARB High Output On-Board Air Compressor for our old 2009 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited.

Compact and powerful, the ARB High Output On-Board Air Compressor is affordable and can be installed with ease under the hood. With this setup, you’ll have a reliable source of air with you at all times and without taking up any space inside your Jeep.To find out how easy it really is to install the ARB High Output On-Board Air Compressor on your Jeep JK Wrangler, simply follow the instructions below.

ARB High Output On-Board Air Compressor Under the Hood JK Installation Write-Up


  1. Eddie,

    You make everything seem so easy with your write ups. Thanks for taking the time to put them together. I have learned so much from them.

    This is a cool addition and hopefully I will be able to add one in the future. This would also be good for airing up tubes for boating and stuff.

  2. glad to know that my write-ups have been helping you out. regarding performance, i have to say that i’m very impressed with it. certainly, it performs just as well as the powerplant i have on my white jk if not a little better. i’d say that i can bring my 35″ tire from 14psi up to 28 psi in about 3 minutes or less. hope that helps.

  3. Great write up.
    I’m in the middle of this install right now and am wondering if you have advice about the rocker switch light installation. The instructions say to “splice the red wire with yellow stripe to the positive wire of the outlet pair.”
    Then splice the blue wire with a white stripe onto an active illumination supply wire.”
    Did you just not connect the switch light, or could you help me out with which wires would be best to splice into?

  4. HI Eddie,

    This is very good project. It is very clear including pix. Would you mind letting me know the size of the bracket. I could not find it in Australia.
    I have spoken to ARB, they have no idea.
    I would like to custom make one for myself

    Thanks in advanced.


  5. Nice write up. What are your thoughts about adding a remote two or two and a half gallon air tank to this set up?
    Do you think the compressor and small tank would provide enough air to run an air tool such as a drill or rachet?
    Thanks for this forum, it has really helped me to get the most out of my JK.

  6. Thanks Mike,

    I have a friend make one for me after I have measure and draw it on a cardboard.
    I have it install now under the hood.

    One more problem, this device have 2 cables that ARB said to connect to Ignition cable and one to Dash illunition. I have connect the second one to car body. I do not know what color is Ignition cable (RED?)

    Please help

    Thanks in advanced

  7. Hey Eddie, you installed the mounting bracket in front of the m/c right? Not between the m/c and the booster…

    Nice write up!

  8. Quadratecs site indicates that it will run air lockers. Hope it will run air tools, I just ordered a kit from Northridge. If you can plumb a line and run a seperate tank you should be able to use air tools. I mean if warns powerplant says it can run airtools of its small tank than so should this set up.

  9. Very interested in the ability/difficulty of a tank set up with this, and wether or not its needed (air tools) TIA. JEEP ON

  10. Hey, thanks for the great writeup! Helped me so much, never would have done it myself without this. I have the same question as terry though, I’m stuck on the last two wires…. one goes to the ignition (its a red/yel wire) and one goes to the dash lights.

    Anyone have any luck with those? Everything I think is in the right places but I assume its not working (it doesnt) till I get those two in place.

    Thanks again!


  11. I’m having the same problem with the last two wires that need to be spliced into the ignition…


  12. make sure your ignition is on or it wont work.also does anyone know how to rewire the switches so you can run the front locker independantly without the rear locker on?thanks in advance.

  13. I have the same questions about the ignition and light wires. Have everything hooked up just like you write-up but still no go (yeah I have the ignition switch on lol)

  14. I had the same issues about the ignition and light wires, so I grabbed my handy dandy Fluke multimeter and took myself to school.

    Here’s the answer:

    First remove the center console bezel to gain access to the wiring loom.

    Switched Power:
    Use the included scotch lock connector to connect the red-yellow wire into the blue-violet accessory power lead that runs to the cigarette lighter connector. Note: do not tap into the aux power port on the passenger side. it is always on.

    Illumination Dimmer Lead:
    Use the included scotch lock connector to connect the blue-white wire into the orange-beige ilumination power lead that runs to the square multi wire connector that attaches to the AC/Heat controls.

    Straighten up all the wires so they are neat and out of the way, button it up and be prepared for a bit of compressor noise.

    This worked for me on a 2010 Rubi…I’m not making any guarantees. Splice into your shiney new JK’s wiring at your own risk.


  15. Thanks WOL. My last question is, how durable is this setup? Is it relatively water proof for those of us who do some stream crossings/deep puddles?

  16. Eddie,

    Can you run air tools off this compressor, or is the Viair system better for that. I’d like to do both.


  17. not really. if you want to run air tools, you really need to have a tank. i do know of some people who have a tank installed and run a line to it and that seems to work. the same goes for viair. if you get a tank with it, it can be quite useful.

  18. Hey WOL, awesome write up. I just ordered the Compresser and Hose kit this evening, and I noticed on your write up that you say the Brake Booster mounting bracket is required. Is it necessary or just a bonus? I couldnt find it anywhere on the Northridge Canada site, should I call them in the morning to add it onto the order if possible, or can I get away with not having it? Whtat does it do anyway? Thanks a bunch. Would be lost without some of your write ups!

  19. I picked up the compressor and bracket from Northridge Canada, and installed it today.

    Brett (the gent with the multimeter), your description of the lines to splice into was very helpful.

    To whomever suggested bolting the compressor to the bracket prior to mounting the bracket…thank you! I’ve got great big gorilla mitts, so trying to tighten up those nylock nuts underneath the bracket once it was mounted would have been a long, painful process.

    If anyone is like me and did not get the Daystar switch panel because they have a six speed, the ARB switches will fit quite nicely just inside the driver’s side door – just above the speaker. I have one there right now, but I’m sure that you could fit all three if you wanted to run lockers.

  20. So how well has this unit performed in the time you have had it installed? Also, I do not want to replace my dash panel with the Daystar switch panel, how exactly does the supplied switch function? Does it push in and stay in for “on”, or does it push in and return out turning the pump on.
    An example would be the factory traction control switch or the Hazard light switch. I suppose I could always order one of the option switches that I do not have like sway-bar disconnect, fit it into the factory slot in the dash panel and use it.

  21. well, i’ve had and used this thing for quite a while now and so far, it’s still working like a champ and i love it. as far as switches go, it’s just a basic rocker that stays in one position when on or off. but, it is connected to a relay so you could use just about any switch you want.

  22. Great write-up! It saved me from RTFM by ARB. I would suggest adding to the original writeup about the last two wires for ignition and dash illumination. I jacked with all the connections until I came back and read the follow ups above and realized I need to connect them! I wanted to do this to my 2000 TJ Sahara but waited for my new 2011 Rubi.

    On switch placement, I also didn’t want to change to the Daystar switch panel. On my 2011 Rubi Unlimited, there is a cut-out that is hidden by the glove box on the left side. It was round, but I trimmed about an 1/8″ from the top and bottom and the switch fit perfectly and is hidden when you close the glove box but doesn’t interfere with the switch operation. Since I have a Rubi, I didn’t need the locker connections but wanted to On-board Air. Next I will add the 2.5 gallon air tank.

    Thanks again!

  23. So I installed the ARB on board air kit this weekend. I am very happy. I did install more to my taste a bit. I found an unused foam covered firewall hole just to the right of the brake vacuum booster and down a few inches, this brought me into the drivers section perfectly and allowed me to run my remaining loom from that point. My kit contained to plugs for the air locker solenoids that I just taped off nicely under the hood with electrical friction tape. Since I do not have power window switches, and never will, being equipped with factory half doors, I measured and cut with my dremel the opening for the ARB supplied switch perfectly between the center air vents. I then tapped into the lower left keyed Cig lighter 12V wire to poewer the switch, and picked up 12v from the small climate control connector for my dash lights. My ARB kit was shipped with the quick release collars already installed onto outlet fitting, so I screwed the chuck release to the end of the outlet tee, and put the high pressure switch in the middle facing the firewall, and the tank with tee was rotated to the right drivers fender a bit to clear the hood when closed. I did learn that trying to fit hands and body parts under the dash, and behind the center trim panel tends to incite a real bad attitude before too long.

  24. I followed these instructions last night with the aid of Brett’s wiring notes and I think I am almost there. I was able to find the wire for Switched Power he mentions however, the Illumination Dimmer Lead wires did not match up in my 07. Is it ok to leave this wire not spliced into anything? I ran the compressor last night for a while and everything seemed to work fine.

  25. Hi Eddie,
    For information only:
    After half year I find problem with reccomended place – on booster bolts. Weight of ARB compressor make a bent of outside booster’s cup with two bolts and as postponse is likage between two parts of booster body.
    Strongly not recommend this place

  26. ARB’s directions say if installing on a 12V system that you can combine the two black wires to attach to negative battery terminal. Why do you not need a ground in a 12V system? I hate electronics! Thanks in advance- Mike

  27. Great write up! Is there one for the 2006 TJ somewhere? The directions from ARB are confusing because I am not using the lockers, just for airing up tires….

  28. Great write up. Finally got the chance to begin the project on our 2007 JKU 4 door. Placed the high out put air compressor just in front of the battery. Removed the battery tub and through bolted the mount to the tub. Ran the wiring harness through the existing wiring harness, and up across the dashboard using the large gap at the base of the windshield to the drivers side ‘A’ post. I used a Rugged Ridge switch plate and mounted all three switches there. I tied the dimmer blue wire with a white stripe to a orange and beige wire on the back of the instrument cluster. The red / yellow ignition wire was wired as described above to the drivers side cigarette lighter blue / violet wire. Worked perfectly. Next project is the front and rear lockers, and air tank. Thanks again for the reference and great write up.

  29. I have a 2012 JK Rubicon 2 door, will this mount the same way on my jeep ? It looks nice and neat and I would like to install one for my self but I don’t see a bracket for the 2012 models.. Pleas help… 🙂 Thank you…

  30. Can someone please tell me if the wheel shown on the pic is the stock wheel? what tire is used on it? Thanks guys

  31. Yes, those are stock wheels with 1.5″ spidertrax wheel spacers. The tires are Goodyear MT/R’s with Kevlar but, I wouldn’t recommend them.

  32. Brake Booster Mounting Bracket on the install. Which is is it? I cannot find matching model online? will these instructions work on a 2013 Unlimited?

  33. I just did the install on a 2013 JKUR. The write-up is pretty much dead on with just a few things different because of the jeep’s model year. The 2012+ bracket is different and actually has a 3rd mounting hole that adds additional support (even better!). On a 2013, this hole is right above the vehicle’s horn/bracket on the fender so you will have to re-mount the horn (easy to do, but not in the instructions that shipped). You may need a Dremel to modify the horn’s bracket when you relocate it. This bracket does not leave a lot of room for the bolts that are used to mount the compressor to the bracket after it is sitting above the booster, so plan on having to trim those bolts down once installed.

    Also for the ARB compressor switch wiring which Brett spoke about above: On a 2013 you will use the cigarette lighter’s blue/violet wire for your 12V DC and for the dimmer function tied into your vehicle’s panel lights use the orange/gray wire (slot 2 in the pin-out) coming off of the power mirror knob (the HVAC control doesn’t contain the correct wire on 2013) which is on the far left of the center dash. Hope this helps anyone who is looking for the right wires to use.

  34. Daltex those changes with the new pentastar wiring scheme were spot on; thanks for the detailed update my 2013 Rock Lobster Rubi install went perfectly.

  35. ty Eddie! Been reading all your write-ups to fix all my trail mishaps…from a busted axle shaft, changing out a wheel bearing, doing my own alignment, swapping in steel brake lines (and bleeding em), to fixing my deadly DW with your helpful torque charts…all in my driveway within the past 6 months lol and continuing in this frigid winter! And the best part is like everyone has said, you make it seem much less intimidating.

    Exploring my options with OBA now, finally reading about something that isn’t broken ha! TY again!!

    Fatima M, Chicago

  36. So this was really helpful, but now I’m running into an issue. I had everything connected and working perfectly, outside of the switch panel. I disconnected the switch from the wires, placed the switch in the panel, and reconnected. The switch still turns the compressor on now, but doesn’t light up. Could the small led in there really be fragile enough that I could have busted it? Or is there something else that I could have done to kill the light?


  37. I just installed ARB CKMA12 compressor in my 2012 JKU using the EVO bracket. So far only the mechanical part is installed.. (Compressor mounted to bracket and bracket mounted under the hood)… So far all looks good 🙂

    Next step would be to connect all wires and harness and actually make it work. I bought the complete kit from…

    I will be using this compressor STRICTLY for airing-up my tires, so I want my switch under the hood next to compressor. I will not be using it for lockers..

    Now my question is, do I still need to use the “pressure sensor? and the “three way splitter? or can I just attach the “ARB air compressor valve? directly to side port on the tank (on black bracket)

    Some people mentioned it before in this thread that they connected the compressor directly to battery. If that’s safe, i am OK with that… again. I want to have this compressor under the hood and once switch is flipped, compressor start to work, once switch is flipped again to off position compressor shuts off… I am looking I guess for a very simple architecture… So what do I do next and how do I connect it.

    1. Do I use the three way splitter ?
    2. Do I need to use the pressure sensor ?
    3. do I need the relay ?
    4. do I need the fuse ?

    Thanks in advance…

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