Years ago, we used to enjoy watching diehard ARB-equipped off-road enthusiasts stubbornly (and slowly) fill up their tires using their own ARB on-board air compressors—even when another air source was near. While we admired the loyalty, there were better options to fill up tires back then. Those first ARB air compressors were originally designed for running air lockers, and the duty of filling large off-road tires was really more than the compressors could handle in a reasonable amount of time.
But that’s something in the past. ARB is very aware of how enthusiasts use their products once they come to market, and as tires got larger on 4x4s, ARB reengineered their compressor line to keep up with what today’s off-roader needs.
First the CKMA12 hit the market, able to not only run air lockers but also able to produce 2.18 cfm while under a 20-psi load. This was a high-performance mini compressor that was so impressive that enthusiasts started installing them solely for filling up tires. Now, ARB has finally released the highly-anticipated twin-motor CKMTA12 air compressor that more than doubles the air output of the single-motor compressor.
With 41.5-inch tires and two ARB air lockers on our ’03 crew cab Super Duty, we figured it was the perfect recipient of a twin-motor compressor that we’ll put through the paces over the next few years.
01. The CKMTA12 twin-motor compressor is still a 12-volt accessory, but it takes a fair amount of amperage (up to 50 amps) to run both those high-performance motors. The result is a whopping 4.65 cubic feet per minute of air when under a 20-psi load. We also got the optional solenoid manifold kit that gives us two ports to connect each of our ARB air lockers to, and an extra port to run an air line for filling tires or running air tools.
02. The CKMTA12 has a larger wiring harness and two large blade fuses since it has two of the same motors that the CKMA12 holds. The benefits of the smaller singe-motor compressor are its compact size and its built-in solenoid manifold while still being a high-output compressor. The twin-motor CKMTA12 does pump more than twice the air output (than the single-motor compressor), but also takes up more than twice the room and needs a remote solenoid manifold mounted somewhere in order to run air lockers.