4WD MODIFICATIONS - TYRES & WHEELS
Every off-road traveller knows that there are times when you need to deflate and inflate tyres. Here are two devices that can make the job easier for those who have to do this often.
Dropping tyre pressures and re-inflating them is a time-consuming job that requires lots of walking, knee bending, gauge reading and stop-and-start pressure measuring.
A tyre deflator gauge can make the pressure-dropping job a tad easier, but it’s still a valve-by-valve operation. Individual, pre-set tyre deflator valves can automate the deflation process, but inflation is still a valve-by-valve operation.
Help is at hand
We’ve come across two devices that use a four-way, pressure-equalising, manifold connection, to take the work out of this task, but they’re not cheap. The Maxtrax unit sells for around $330 and the Clearview one for around $390. On top of that, you’ll need a high-capacity air compressor.
Both devices can deflate and inflate one, two, three or four tyres at the same time. For those who run different front and rear pressures, the deflation and inflation can be done with different pressures, front/rear and for those who run the same front and rear pressures the job can be done across all four tyres at the same time.
Many Outback Travel Australia subscribers are familiar with the Indeflate system that can inflate or deflate two tyres at the same time, but the Indeflate 4 is a relatively recent addition that can do the same for up to four tyres.
The Matxtrax Indeflate 4 is designed and made in South Africa to inflate or deflate four tyres simultaneously using a dump-valve mechanism that automatically equalises the pressure between the four tyres.
The Indeflate 4 features a quality 700kPa (100psi) combination pressure gauge that displays tyre pressures while inflating, deflating or equalising them.
The patented Maxtrax Indeflate 4 dump-valve mechanism is made from precision engineered Mil-Spec hard-anodised aluminium and features four three-metre flexible air hoses that are abrasion and ozone resistant. The hose material is designed to withstand pressures of up to 2000kPa (300psi) and temperatures of -10ºC to +60ºC.
Clip-on valve chucks allow easy connection to tyres’ valve stems and a Schrader valve that’s the same as the valves on tyres makes it easy to connect to an air-compressor hose.
The Maxtrax Indeflate 4 packs into a durable carry bag to make it convenient to carry and store.
Clearview Tyre Spider
The Clearview Tyre Spider functions in the same way as the Maxtrax unit, but has an air tank as the ‘splitter’ point in the four-way hose network.
It comes with two five-metre hoses and two eight-metre hoses, making it suitable for long-wheelbase utes and light trucks. Where the Maxtrax unit is portable, the Clearview one is designed to be hard-mounted.
The Tyre Spider tank mounts four individual valves: one for each tyre and one main valve. The main valve controls inflation, deflation and pressure-equalising functions.
By opening and closing the main and the tyre valves at the tank it’s possible to manipulate any pressure variation that’s required.
Indeflate 4 on test
When checking out Hino’s wide-single tyre option on its 817 4×4 light truck range, we used the Maxtrax device to drop pressures for off-road driving and then to re-inflate them for highway sections.
We dropped these truck tyre pressures from 95psi to 50psi and then re-inflated them. Apart from a compressor pressure valve issue that had nothing to do with the Indeflate 4 components, both operations were done across all four tyres in only a few minutes. Once the hoses were connected to the tyre valves the whole operation was done from a central point, just by pushing a button.
However, in the case of large-volume tyres, such as the 305/70R19.5s on the Hino, we’d opt of the largest capacity air compressor we could afford or have packing space for.