Build Your Own CO2 Tank System – High Quality & Lowest Cost (1 Viewer)

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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
http://www.powertank.com/products/sfID1/13/productID/76
And if you want a boot and a mounting bracket the package (PT10-5240) is $439.95
http://www.powertank.com/products/sfID1/13/productID/18


Outback Air
Outback Air XD CO2 System Combo (includes a bracket) is $265.00
http://www.outbackequipped.com/products.asp#combo

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
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/tanks/co2/C10.shtml

15# tank is 7" diameter x 27" high 1800 psi – cost is $91.15
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/tanks/co2/C15.shtml

20# tank is 8" diameter x 27.5" high 1800 psi – cost is $109.20
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/tanks/co2/C20.shtml

5# tank (ideal for use in your SxS Rhino, RZR, etc.) $56.00
http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/tanks/co2/C5.shtml



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 http://www.outbackequipped.com/products.asp#combo

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 info@outbackequipped.com 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 (www.A1Coupling.com) 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 www.SVTOffroad.com – 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
http://www.outbackequipped.com/products.asp#combo

Powertank - 25’ SuperFlex Braided High Pressure Coiled Hose HSE-8080 $44.95
25' SuperFlex Braided High Pressure Coiled Hose Our price: $44.95 http://powertank.com/products/productID/48


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 - http://www.outbackequipped.com/accessories.asp#inflator

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 - http://www.amazon.com/Power-Tank-TBT-6090-Diameter-Tanks/dp/B003ELL6JQ

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 http://www.powertank.com/products/sfID1/17

I found a Kidde brand #366424 10lb. Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Bracket online for $28.00 http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=10%23+fire+extinguisher+bracket&hl=en&safe=off&cid=6250159163476156080&os=sellers# A 15# tank bracket can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Extinguisher-Vehicle-Bracket-Shells/dp/B003AOJLI0

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: http://www.powertank.com/mounting.ideas


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!
 
Joined
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That's cooler than mine: $40 for an out-of-date 20lb cylinder from CL, $40 for a test-and-fill at a welding shop, $20 or so for a hose barb, 4' of hose a couple hose clamps and a schraeder valve filler from the hw store.

1800lbs pressure fills tires really fast, and my "regulator" never freezes up. I do have be be careful to have the filler on the tire valve when I open the tank valve or bad things (tm) happen. It was only $100 though.

I'm due for a fill now and I'm going to try to swap my tank for a 10#. The 20# lasted about three seasons and it's heavy.
 
Last edited:

Josie'sLandCruiser

Stop calling it a "FJ."
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Hi All:

Thanks for posting.

I built my own "power tank" system a couple of years ago using a 20 lb. CO2 tank, fixed 90 PSI regulator, and a yellow flex hose. Pretty cheap, less than a $100 IIRC.


Regards,

Alan
 
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I also am in the process I got a hook up through coke a Cole and got a tank and regulator for free now all I need is to mount it and get some air hose, super cheap and got a 20# tank. Sweet
 
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anyone who buys a powertank or the like are fools.

owner tank $100 or less, yellow coily hose and fittings at HF $10.
 

Southeast Overland

Get lost! Go explore!
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I'm due for a fill now and I'm going to try to swap my tank for a 10#. The 20# lasted about three seasons and it's heavy.
I have a 10lb tank and it gives me around 4 fill ups from 18 psi to 40 psi on 33s. Just filled the tank this morning for $12.
 

rusty_tlc

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That's cooler than mine: $40 for an out-of-date 20lb cylinder from CL, $40 for a test-and-fill at a welding shop, $20 or so for a hose barb, 4' of hose a couple hose clamps and a schraeder valve filler from the hw store.

1800lbs pressure fills tires really fast, and my "regulator" never freezes up. I do have be be careful to have the filler on the tire valve when I open the tank valve or bad things (tm) happen. It was only $100 though.

I'm due for a fill now and I'm going to try to swap my tank for a 10#. The 20# lasted about three seasons and it's heavy.
Why pay for a test? Just exchange it. I always use exchange tanks, it's faster than waiting for a fill. For CO2 its the same price if you fill or exchange
 
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A lot of the places to get gas will normally exchange and not refill on site anyway

In my mind that is a good reason to skip buying a fancy pretty tank that you will want to keep.

If you just need to seat beads and fill tires... a cheap bottle that will get swapped and reswapped... an adapter fitting so you can fit a quick connect air fitting... and air hose and a chuck... that is all you really need.

If you want to run air tools there are pretty cheap fixed pressure regulators. But be careful and don't get one with the low flow rates that are meant for welding. A few years back when the LCML was a lot more active we did a group buy from a company that made them for balloon inflation.


Mark...
 

Josie'sLandCruiser

Stop calling it a "FJ."
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Hi All


Hey Mark W can you explain this a bit more?

I bought the fixed 90 PSI regulator I use from a welding supply shop. Any memories of that "group buy" regulator?

Thanks!

Alan

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mark W wrote:

If you want to run air tools there are pretty cheap fixed pressure regulators. But be careful and don't get one with the low flow rates that are meant for welding. A few years back when the LCML was a lot more active we did a group buy from a company that made them for balloon inflation
 
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The non adjustable regulators for welding purposes will have a set flow rate based on welding needs. Depending on what you get, this may be a pretty low flow, and may not push some air tools to full speed/strength.

I never paid much attention to the buy of regulators back then. I am sure that there must be a couple of people here on mud that got in on it that would know more about the unit they got than I did.

IIRC "Ragman" may have been involved with it.


Mark...
 

rusty_tlc

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I use a dual gauge "beverage" regulator. It works fine, and is cheap, very cheap in my case the company we share the loading docks with is a Beverage dispenser manufacturer, they gave me a gauge from a refurbished unit for free. :grinpimp:

This was my first set-up for the FJ40



I use a bigger tank in the 40 now, #10 IIRC.


I also have one similar to the one in the picture I keep in my FJ60 and take with us when we travel in my wife's car. I found the tank for that one in the bargain basement at at restaurant supply store for $20, it's brushed aluminum.
 
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I use a dual gauge "beverage" regulator. It works fine, and is cheap, very cheap in my case the company we share the loading docks with is a Beverage dispenser manufacturer, they gave me a gauge from a refurbished unit for free. :grinpimp:

This was my first set-up for the FJ40



I use a bigger tank in the 40 now, #10 IIRC.


I also have one similar to the one in the picture I keep in my FJ60 and take with us when we travel in my wife's car. I found the tank for that one in the bargain basement at at restaurant supply store for $20, it's brushed aluminum.

That's what my setup looks like. Beverage regulator fully adjustable from coke

I think I want a ten pound tank though. 20 is too big
 
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I have a buddy that has a 20# bottle.

He roofed his house with it. Took two fills. about $25 in CO2.

He just put it in the top of his chimney and used a 20 foot hose to roof the whole house.
 

rusty_tlc

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The little 5# aluminum tank I have is great with a brad nailer for trim work. I also used it to do some clean up work with a framing nailer on a project when we didn't want to fire up the real compressor.

For running air tools CO2 is great. We did a differential swap on my FJ40 one time, one of the guys had a York in his truck. We used my CO2 to run the air tools since we were working on and off all day and he would have run out of gas trying to keep the tools going with his truck.

Don't get me wrong, a mechanical compressor is far and away the most efficient method, but CO2 has it's advantages.
 

rusty_tlc

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Just hit your local homebrew store for CO2 tank and regulator and harbor freight for hose and fittings. You could hit Home Depot for hose and fittings if you want to go up scale.
 

Josie'sLandCruiser

Stop calling it a "FJ."
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Hi all,

I would always recommend that folks interested in a CO2 set-up use the standard 20 lb. tank.

Most places just swap the tanks straight across - empty for full.

The 5, 10, or 15 lb. tanks are odd balls that require sending in to the depot for filling.

And a 20 lb. CO2 bottle is heavier, but does not require any larger "foot print" in my trail rig than one of the smaller CO2 bottles.

My US $00.02

Regards,

Alan
 

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