Air starter tank

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by Cohendmr, Sep 17, 2020.

  1. Cohendmr

    Cohendmr Bobtail Member

    Nov 12, 2019
    Hello all, I'm in a bit of a pickle. I currently have a 94 w900b daily work truck I am restoring as I go. Contrary to what some believe I was switching it over to air start like one of my past trucks for the reliability of cold start and weight saving. I had pulled the air starter and tank off my old COE Freightliner and had the starter re manned and all hoses I would need made.
    I go out on the road 5 to 7 weeks then take 1 to 3 off. During one of my out times last spring someone decided they needed all the tanks sitting behind my shop more than I did. I was upset but didn't think it was that much of an issue until I tried to get a new air tank.....
    1st major issue is I no longer had the vin info on my old Freight Shaker and apparently if I dont have a vin it was never available. I ran into that same problem with every other manufacturer, to the point I had a MACK parts guy tell me trucks never came with air starters........
    So I think what I am asking is if there is anyone out there that has a tank or has a 90 something truck with air start to please send me some info. What I need to have to get any answers would be...
    Make, model, year, last 6 of vin. And if possible the dimensions of the tank mounted on said truck
    I know they can be still ordered on some new heavy trucks but a couple sales men said they cant get the part number until the truck is ordered.
    Thank you in advance , Dave
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  3. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    Just go to any parts house and buy a generic air tank with the volume needed to supply the air starter and the right size ports. Its just a tank, nothing special about it.
  4. haycarter

    haycarter Road Train Member

    Jun 9, 2012
    Here's the Dimensions (In MM) of a typical Mack Air start tank from here in Australia.. (Not My Pic)

    SmallPackage, Hulld and 650cat425 Thank this.
  5. HoneyBadger67

    HoneyBadger67 Road Train Member

    Dec 15, 2018
    Champaign, IL
    Now I need to go listen to an old air start! I used to work around them (can't tell you make because it was so long ago) and they were very distinctive and memorable. I heard one a couple years ago but they were gone before I could get over to them. You've got me waxing nostalgic
    "semi" retired and Roberts450 Thank this.
  6. Brandt

    Brandt Road Train Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Maybe call Pittsburgh Power they know about older trucks and they might be able to help. They have website, they build high power diesel engines. They know how the the older stuff works. Call their free radio show. They answer questions on the satellite radio. Anyone can call in ask questions.
  7. Roberts450

    Roberts450 Road Train Member

    Feb 6, 2016
    I was a marine/boat mechanic for Cat for a while and LOVE the sound of the air starters on the big main engines.
  8. "semi" retired

    "semi" retired Road Train Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
    Wait a second, why in 'tarnation would you want an air start? Even gas cans don't use them anymore. I didn't think they even had those today. I thought gas cans used them before vapor recovery, as a spark from the starter would blow you to Kingdom Come. I remember years ago as a kid, we'd hear this ungodly whine in the night, and always wondered what that was. Not sure of the weight savings over electric, electric start is the way to go. Always wondered, if you are in the boonies, and an air leak, how do you start the truck? IDK, big tank, hoses, I'd think it's a PITA.
  9. haycarter

    haycarter Road Train Member

    Jun 9, 2012
    That's easy......
    You have a Long air hose with a Glad hand fitting one end & a Tyre chuck the Other. Have a Gladhand fitting on the air start tank. Assuming every Tyre is 100psi.
    Hook the Glad hand to the Air tank. 1st Tyre puts 50 psi in tank 2nd one 75 psi 3rd one 82.5 psi...

    Whoosh..... you're good to Go then hook glad hand end to the Trailer supply line & pump your Tyres back up.!

    Every single Mack Truck ever sold in Australia up until the Mid 90's was Air Start..for that very reason. If you get Flat batteries you're stuck there until someone comes along (Provided they've got Booster cable with them !!) along as you had that air hose you were Never stranded..
  10. kemosabi49

    kemosabi49 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    Jan 13, 2013
    SW Arkansas
    First time I ever heard an air start I was walking in front of the truck that used it. Didn't have a clue was it was but it was loud. I 'bout crapped my pants and the other guys were busting a gut laughing at my reaction. Good memories.
    uncleal13, spsauerland and Roberts450 Thank this.
  11. SmallPackage

    SmallPackage Road Train Member

    Dec 20, 2019
    Marion Texas
    White Trucks just used a 5 gallon air tank mounted close to or behind one of the brake system tanks in the frame rails. Fed by that tank with a oneway valve. They were the same tanks nothing special. They installed them the same way on Autocars and FL’s back when they were building them unless customer speced larger or external mount. You Should be able to buy any size tank that turns you on at a truck salvage yard.
    The Texas/ Oklahoma oilfields used to be littered with Whites, AutoCars, and Mack R models with air starters.
    650cat425, spsauerland and bigguns Thank this.
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