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Discussion Starter #1
As an avid off roader I’ve wanted to be able to air down and back up anytime, anywhere and do it quickly but I’ve always been put off by the high price. My goal has been to come up with a solution that is equal to or better than the CO2 tank system suppliers at the lowest possible cost. Here’s what I’ve come up with for me – hopefully you’ll find value in this info:


Build Your Own CO2 Air System

On board CO2 tank systems offer incredible convenience to users who can air up tires faster than most any other way even when out in the middle of nowhere. No more hoping a gas station has air or a working compressor and no more buying/carrying air compressors that are costly and take quite a while to air up tires. You can use these at home and use them to power air tools anywhere you take the tank. A 35 x 12.5 tire can be aired up from 5 lbs. to 30 lbs. in under 2 minutes per tire and you can inflate a 35” tire approximately forty (40) times using a 10 pound tank. It’s easy and convenient to refill your tank. CO2 tanks and refills are very common – they’re used in the beverage industry, off roading and paintball as well. Beverage companies and industrial gas companies will refill these tanks. The cost to refill typically is in the $8-$12 range (YMMV). Google “CO2 tank refilling” for more info.




The Good News

You can pick and choose and put together the best, most cost effective system for your needs. If you want a 10# (pound) tank, which is the most common, you can get it. And if, for some reason, you want a 15# or 20# tank, you can buy them too. It’s your choice.

Start with the tank, then choose your regulator with hardware,

Power Tank and Outback Air are the two primary companies involved in selling on board air systems. Tanks are available in different capacities (weights) and the most popular tank size is 10 pounds (which holds 10 pounds of C02). Here are some of the packages these CO2 system companies offer – these are the package prices to beat:

Powertank
PT10-5200 Basic System with 10lb. tank (“bottle”) is $389.95
POWERTANK - CO2 Air Systems
And if you want a boot and a mounting bracket the package (PT10-5240) is $439.95
POWERTANK - CO2 Air Systems


Outback Air
Outback Air XD CO2 System Combo (includes a bracket) is $265.00
Outback Equipped | Outback Air CO2 Systems | "Is Your Rig Outback Equipped?"

Both companies offer 15lb. tanks which are even more costly.

Powertank offers a gauge – shouldn’t the regulator have a gauge? The Powertank regulators typically come with a gauge on the regulator but the truth is no gauges are necessary since tank pressure is constant at ~800 psi when there is liquid CO2 left in the tank (the regulator will read full up until it’s empty). How do you know when to refill? You can measure what's left by weighing the tank. An empty tank with a regulator attached weighs ~15 lbs. and 13 lbs. without the regulator. So a 10lb. air tank and regulator with a fresh charge of liquid CO2 weighs ~25 lbs.

What I’ve come up with is an a la carte solution, a menu that allows us to pick and choose and buy what we want – here are the details:

Tanks


10# tank shown (above)

These are brand new aluminum tanks with a CGA-320 valve (this is a standard tank and valve – the same as those used by the above industry suppliers). These are brand new aluminum CO2 tanks not reconditioned steel tanks. Every CO2 cylinder is produced from high strength aluminum alloy 6061-T6. These tanks are popular because they are not as heavy as steel tanks and they do not rust. A carrying handle is included on the 10, 15 and 20 lb. cylinders. The service pressure is up to 1800 PSI/124 BAR with a test pressure of 3000 PSI/207 BAR. These cylinders are stamped with required U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada Markings. The 320 Valves are CGA approved, and have a male thread for Co2 Regulators. Note that this supplier is in California so CA residents will be charged tax.

Tanks from BeverageFactory.com call 1-800-710-9939 ask for Jesse Glancy
Be sure to tell him MagicMtnDan sent you and he’ll work to ensure you get the lowest possible cost.

10# tank is 7" diameter x 20.5" high 1800 psi – cost is $86.40
10 lb. Aluminum Co2 Tank | BeverageFactory.com

15# tank is 7" diameter x 27" high 1800 psi – cost is $91.15
15 lb. Aluminum Co2 Tank | BeverageFactory.com

20# tank is 8" diameter x 27.5" high 1800 psi – cost is $109.20
20 lb. Aluminum Co2 Tank | BeverageFactory.com

5# tank (ideal for use in your SxS Rhino, RZR, etc.) $56.00
5 lb. Aluminum Co2 Tank | BeverageFactory.com



15# tank shown above


Regulators

After a lot of Googling, the best regulator solution I have found is from Outback Air. Their regulators are set at 150 psi and besides being an excellent value, they don't have the unnecessary gauges which will read the same up until the tank is empty. Static regulator complete with fitting and automatic quick connect coupler included. Outback Air regulator $55.00 Outback Equipped | Outback Air CO2 Systems | "Is Your Rig Outback Equipped?"

You can order online and the contact there is Tony. You can call him at 1-800-503-0244 and you can email him at [email protected] Tell him MagicMtnDan sent you.




Hoses

There are many (many) hose options. I’ve done a lot of searching and contacted some people and here’s what I came up with:

A1 Coupling (A1 Coupling) is in Oregon and they claim to provide or have provided hoses and hardware for both Powertank and Outback. I have been working with Dee Evans.

25’ Recoil Air Hose (PURC-14-25R-S-BR-QC) with quick coupler steel, 6-ball and plug steel industrial or automotive style. This is a spiral (coiled) reinforced hose with steel coupler plugs and brass tire chuck. 250 WPSI 4 TO 1 BURST. The hose has reusable fittings with bend restrictors both ends and the hose is reinforced. Available in a variety of colors including red, blue, yellow, and black. Hoses are made in the USA. It’s 1 to 3 days for shipping – most of the time they ship next day. The coupler plugs are steel and they are most of the time because the SS balls in the couplers will pit a brass plug and will be hard to get apart. If you happen to want a brass 6 ball coupler it will cost about $1.00 more. Dee Evans at A1 Coupling thinks most people would use the industrial style couplers. If they want a universal coupler in brass that will work with either one it’s about $2.00 more. The contact is Dee Evans and you can call him with questions and to place orders: 1-541-914-0606. Tell him MagicMtnDan sent you. The price per hose is $20.95 each.

Other hose options:

25’ Coilhose Pneumatics PU14-25B-B 1/4"ID x 25' Blue Flex Coil Hose With 2-1/4" MPT in neon green only $25.00 (from BigJ – he’s on Ford Raptor Forum - SVT Offroad | F150 Forum | F-150 SVT Raptor Blog – The Ford Raptor SVT website)

25’ UltraBraid braided straight (not coiled) hose with removable air chuck and coupler assembly $28.95
http://www.virtualoffroadcenter.com/25-UltraBraid-Straight-Hose-Assembly_p_34.html

Reference info & pricing from the “Big Guys”

Outback Air - 20’ Polyurethane coil hose (not UltraBraid) with removable air chuck is $50.00
Outback Equipped | Outback Air CO2 Systems | "Is Your Rig Outback Equipped?"

Powertank - 25’ SuperFlex Braided High Pressure Coiled Hose HSE-8080 $44.95
25' SuperFlex Braided High Pressure Coiled Hose Our price: $44.95 POWERTANK - CO2 Air Systems


Accessories

Deluxe inflator with gauge – 100psi gauge includes rubber gauge guard and storage bag. I recommend using Outback's Deluxe Inflator which enables you to check pressure when inflating so you don't need to switch to a separate pressure gauge and you can let CO2 out if you put in too much pressure.

$55.00 - Outback Equipped | Outback Air CO2 Systems | "Is Your Rig Outback Equipped?"

There are cheaper solutions – usually kits with a variety of cheap stuff in them – available at Lowes and Home Depot and the auto supply stores. There are also more expensive solutions (see Powertank & others).


Tank Boot

Protects the bottom of your tank and has flat sides to keep tank from rolling when lying down.
$18.69 - Amazon.com: Power Tank TBT-6090 6.9" Diameter Tank Boot for 10 lb. and 15 lb. Tanks: Automotive

Mounting Brackets

There are many tank brackets available including some designed to mount the tanks to a roll bar (popular in Jeeps).

Powertank offers a variety of brackets POWERTANK - CO2 Air Systems

I found a Kidde brand #366424 10lb. Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Bracket online for $28.00 Kidde 366424 10lb. Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Bracket A 15# tank bracket can be found here: Amazon.com: Fire Extinguisher Vehicle Bracket - 15HB Heavy Duty - 7.25"-7.5" Dia. Shells: Home Improvement

Here is a real clever solution that will allow users to mount the tank at an angle still allowing the tank to be used (they should not be used lying down) involving a mounting bracket attached to a piece of bent steel: http://www.powertank.com/graphics/mount.2.jpg You can see a number of mounting ideas here: POWERTANK - CO2 Air Systems


The Savings

By going with the a la carte purchase plan here’s a package you could put together:

1. 10# tank $86.40
2. Regulator $55.00
3. Hose $20.95

Total cost of the above 3 items is $162.35 - add the $30.00 bracket and the cost is $192.35. Compare this to Outback’s $265.00 combo and you get to save $72.35


The Fine Print

Prices were correct and accurate at time of compilation of information (4/25/11). Prices, as you know, can change at any time. Prices do not include shipping or tax where applicable.

Disclaimer: I did this for myself and figured I’d share it with others who might be interested in being able to air up anytime, anywhere. I am not benefitting in any way from this except, like you, getting the lowest possible cost on a system that I can put together. I am not affiliated with any of these companies.

Let me/us know if you find other products for these systems that you’d like to recommend. This will ensure everyone has access to the latest greatest products. Now go air up!
 

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Thanks for all the parts finding.

If folks don't mind, i have seen used beverage tanks for a good bit cheaper, which is usually the best place to save on the total pricing (though keep in mind that tanks need to be hydro tested every 5 years). Though, they usually aren't very pretty on the outside.

For reference, i have been using a Source tank system for about 2 years now with no problems. TRDparts4u sells the 10lbs setups with bracket, hose, tire chuck, and fixed regulator (same as you have above) for 210.

Source CO2 air Tank System Kit (yellow) OA-KIT10YL
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Powertank systems typically come with two gauges. Their marketing information on their website isn't very clear about what they do but here's what I understand...

One gauge will tell you the output psi (as you mentioned) and the other gauge can tell you how much pressure is left in the tank. But as I mentioned in my write-up, that doesn't work. The gauge will show full until it's empty so it's virtually useless.

The way you can tell how much CO2 you have left in the tank is to weigh it.
 

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Great write up MagicMtnDan. I like your organization and detail. The links were a nice touch too. :cheers:

Thanks.
 

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Powertank systems typically come with two gauges. Their marketing information on their website isn't very clear about what they do but here's what I understand...

One gauge will tell you the output psi (as you mentioned) and the other gauge can tell you how much pressure is left in the tank. But as I mentioned in my write-up, that doesn't work. The gauge will show full until it's empty so it's virtually useless.

The way you can tell how much CO2 you have left in the tank is to weigh it.
Its not to tell you how much is left in your tank, its to indicate if your tank is within normal operating pressures. A safety feature if you will, if its above a certain pressure you are not supposed to operate the tank.
 

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Thanks for taking the time and effort to research and put this information up. This should help help those who want to save some $$$...

Here is a tip that may be useful..

I found a local beverage co. that you can walk in get a 10,15,20 LB. full cylinder for a small deposit + cost of Co2 for less than half the cost of buying a new unfilled tank. Most Pepsi or Coke beverage places have this service. What's real nice is you bring it back empty and just exchange out for a full tank...cost of Co2...and in the end if you no longer have a need for the tank, just return to get your deposit money back. I found this from a delivery driver who services the beverage islands for gas stations, 7 Elevins etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Its not to tell you how much is left in your tank, its to indicate if your tank is within normal operating pressures. A safety feature if you will, if its above a certain pressure you are not supposed to operate the tank.

If you knew this then why didn't you post it instead of saying you were "confused by your statements on Powertanks guages" (sic) and, "What "guage (sic) offerings" are you reffering too?" :boohoo:

Furthermore, if you feel the need for a gauge to tell you that the tank is "within normal operating pressures" go for it. What're you gonna do if it's not?

There are two gauges - you saying both are to tell you "that the tank is "within normal operating pressures?"
 

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If you knew this then why didn't you post it instead of saying you were "confused by your statements on Powertanks guages" (sic) and, "What "guage (sic) offerings" are you reffering too?" :boohoo:

Furthermore, if you feel the need for a gauge to tell you that the tank is "within normal operating pressures" go for it. What're you gonna do if it's not?

There are two gauges - you saying both are to tell you "that the tank is "within normal operating pressures?"

Chill out there buddy :simmadown:.


From this statement it wasn't abudantly clear what you were saying, hence why I asked you about the gauges and noting I was confused by your statements and seeking clarification. It appeared you were saying there was only one gauge and it didn't have a purpose.

Powertank offers a gauge – shouldn’t the regulator have a gauge? The Powertank regulators typically come with a gauge on the regulator but the truth is no gauges are necessary since tank pressure is constant at ~800 psi when there is liquid CO2 left in the tank (the regulator will read full up until it’s empty). How do you know when to refill? You can measure what's left by weighing the tank. An empty tank with a regulator attached weighs ~15 lbs. and 13 lbs. without the regulator. So a 10lb. air tank and regulator with a fresh charge of liquid CO2 weighs ~25 lbs.

If the tanks overpressurized it either needs to be cooled down or pressure needs to be vented accordingly...so that's what I'd do.


To your last point, no, I am not saying both guages tell you it is within normal operating pressure. 1 gauge tells you if the tank is within typical operating pressures. The other gauge displays the reading off of your regulator/how much pressure you are outputting downstream. For example I'd run a different pressure from the regulator to run a locker than I would to run an air tool. Thats the whole value in having an adjustable regulator.


All I was doing was trying to understand that point in your excellent write up and add clarification if needed. :bigthumb:
 

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Very good write up!

Personally, I think it's cool to build your own <insert FJ mod here> rather than buy one off the shelf. A lot more personal pride and I think you really get to understand how it works more intimately.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update on the DIY CO2 Tank system:

Thanks to Zach (aermotor) on another forum who provided us a new source for the regulator at a lower price and flat-rate shipping saving us another $14.00 :rocker:

Regulators – Updated 6/12/11

After a lot of Googling, the best regulator solution for the money that I have found is a fixed pressure regulator which is set at 150 psi. Besides being an excellent value, they don't have the unnecessary gauges which will read the same up until the tank is empty. Static regulator complete with fitting and automatic quick connect coupler included.

The recommended supplier is Wheeler's Off Road as they charge $49.00 for their HyperFlo CO2 Regulator plus $7.00 flat-rate shipping ($56.00 to your door). Click this link and scroll down to see the HyperFlo regulator: OffRoadAir CO2 Air Systems from Wheeler's Off-Road Thanks to Zach (aermotor) on J-KForums.com for this vendor and pricing information!

Note: Previous recommendation was Outback Air ($55.00) but I understand they’re charging $15 shipping for each item!

 

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Cool. Thanks for creating this thread.
Are you going to take ideas from the conversation and add to/modify the OP?
Not that you need to, but just curious.

At any rate, there's a cheaper option for getting the tank mounted. I wouldn't have gone this route if it were just up to me, but since my father-in-law wanted to take a shot at it, I got a great deal.

For those that are handy, this is another area where they can save money on this kind of project.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Cool. Thanks for creating this thread.

At any rate, there's a cheaper option for getting the tank mounted. I wouldn't have gone this route if it were just up to me, but since my father-in-law wanted to take a shot at it, I got a great deal.

For those that are handy, this is another area where they can save money on this kind of project.

I like what you did there with your custom tank installation. Looks good! Your FIL does nice work.

So did you buy the tank and other items after reading this thread or had you already purchased them?

 

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I like what you did there with your custom tank installation. Looks good! Your FIL does nice work.

So did you buy the tank and other items after reading this thread or had you already purchased them?

Ya, I'm very fortunate that he's a master craftsman, and is willing to spend time helping me with stuff like this when we get together (it's become a tradition now, after one project on each trip over the past few years).

I didn't notice your thread until after I got my stuff. Since I had 'forum bucks' to spend, I went with a local shop that is also a forum vendor so that I could just pick it all up here.
 

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One suggested update: you can get the ARB inflator from Amazon (0-100 PSI) for $25.93, with free shipping if you are a PRIME member.

ARB ARB605 Blue Inflator with Gauge and Braided Hose : Amazon.com : Automotive

This is the one I use, I had a ~$10 Harbor Freight one before this and the PSI gauge was 0-200, hard to get very precise on the pressure when you're trying to get TPMS light to shut off.
 

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The only thing I've noticed when at off road events are the lower budget regulators always freeze up. My Powertank was blowing at 135 psi to inflate 8+ tires in a row till I ran out (forgot to refill prior to the event- typically 13-16 refills depending on tire size for a 10 lbs tank) and never stopped flowing.

To me its money well spent. Now I run both an ARB comp and have the tank as back up (much faster than the compressor)
 
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