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Unread 08-19-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
LSU_TJ
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How to use your CO2 tank laying down or standing up.

Ok, I had some people asking me how I was going to make my CO2 tank useable both standing up or laying down. It is done and working. Here is the write-up. As always these are all in my build thread but I know most dont follow that and I thought this might be usefull to others who may not see it there so here it is.



I wanted to leave my CO2 tank strapped to the back without having to pull it around to each tire to fill them up. Since the coil hose I went with would stretch past the front of the jeep from the back the hose was not the limiting factor but instead the inherent nature of liquid CO2 in a tank. You simply cannot lay a standard CO2 tank on it's side and use it for this purpose. You would be dispensing liquid CO2 into your tires instead of gas, not good. So time to use that thing on my shoulders my dad always said was not just for holding my ears up.....

I did however also want to be able to unstrap the tank to take it out and use it vertical to air up someone else's tires or for other purposes. I designed a tube that would allow me to use my tank both standing up or laying down and supply CO2 gas in either position. Problem solved. Here is exactly how I did this for just a few dollars.



When using a CO2 tank for airing up tires you want to use the CO2 in the gas state which is always at the highest part of the tank not the liquid. Since I want to use my tank in the horizontal and vertical positions and draw from the gaseous area inside the tank I needed to make an internal tube that will do this.

I did a bit of research and found that a CO2 cylinder with a full fill contains only 3/4 of its volume as CO2 in the liquid state. So, there it is. I just needed to be able to draw from the top 1/4 of the tank in two positions. Here is what I came up with.





This will work as long as you know which way is up for the tube when the tank is horizontal. To do this all you need to do is mark this relationship on the valve and position this as up when the tank is laying down. Here is what I used and how I made the tube.


First you have to make sure the tank is EMPTY!!!! You have to remove the valve from the tank so open the valve all the way up after it is empty to make sure there is no pressure inside the tank while you are unscrewing the valve. This valve will be a bear to remove. It will more than likely have loctite on the threads so eat your wheaties before putting a wrench on this thing. I tried several different methods of breaking the valve loose and this one worked like a champ.


Find a solid/fixed object to strap the tank to. I used a car hauler ratchet strap and ran it around a 4x4 post on my deck and tightened it down as much as it would go. I also placed a piece of 2x4 behind the ratchet to keep from scratching the paint on the tank.





I then took a big crescent wrench and tightened it all the way down on to the valve body. Went and got my handy cheater pipe to get some more leverage and pulled. It broke loose right away and then the valve just unscrewed with ease. It has standard threads so loosen as normal, counter-clockwise.








As you can see below. The inside of the valve body has threads so this will be easy now.





Here are the supplies you will need:

1/4 OD Soft Copper Tubing
1/4 OD x 1/4 MIP Brass Compression Fitting
Tubing Cutter
Thread Seal Tape
4 PK Guinness





Here is what the packaging looked like from Lowe's







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Unread 08-19-2009, 01:10 PM   #2
LSU_TJ
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The Process:


Measure about 12" down on the copper tubing and cut with the tubing cutter. Fit this piece of copper tube to the brass compression fitting and make it bend about 5" down from the end of the threads as you can see in the picture below. Do not kink the copper tube or you will restrict flow. Just make a nice smooth bend. Copper tubing is soft so it is very easy to bend and also easy to kink if you bend to tight of a radius.





Next just screw this in to the valve and hold it up centered to the tank to eyeball where to make the cut on the other end. You just want it close the tank wall but not touching so you can turn the valve to tighten it without it rubbing and so you don't restrict flow into the tube. You can get specific if you want and measure but eye balling will be close enough.





To measure take the radius of the tank, subtract about 3/4" and cut this dimension from the centerline of the tube coming out of the compression fitting. This should place the inlet of the tube close to the inside wall of the tank without restricting flow yet be well within the top 1/4 of the tank where the gas will be. My measurements are for a 20# tank so will be slightly different than a 10# but here is what I went with. You can see in the picture below the end of the tube lies 3 1/2" inches from centerline of compression fitting, which is also the center of the valve.





Next screw this tube you made up into the valve to test fit before taping the threads and final tightening. Insert the tube and valve into the tank and screw the valve in a few turns. You are wanting to make sure you can make a few revolutions without anything rubbing on the inside.





Once you know you are good here and everything is clear tape the threads of the compression fitting with thread sealant tape and tighten everything up really good to the valve. Now here is one of the very important parts. You need to mark the relationship of the end of the tube on the valve so you will know which part of the tank needs to be up when it is laying down otherwise the end of this tube will be in the liquid and will suck liquid and not gas CO2. You also want to turn the tube to orient it close to the regulator threads so the regulator will be up when you have the tank on its side. I turned mine slightly Up (about 30-45 degrees) from this position so that my gauges will angle slightly toward the back of the jeep with the tank laying down and the tube inlet standing straight up. This just makes it easier to read the gauges standing at the rear of the jeep. You can just make it in-line with the regulator threads so the gauges are straight up and you would then know to just always make the gauges up to have the tube in the up position also. I marked my up position on the valve with an arrow with a silver paint Sharpie.





Then it is time for final fitting of the valve to the tank. Here is mine tightened down and you can see the arrow. When I lay the tank on its side this arrow is pointed up.





Here you can see with this arrow up my gauges are angled more toward the rear of the jeep so I can see them better when standing behind it.





What has not been done at this point is to torque the valve to the correct specs. Since your tank is empty and you now have to take it to be filled have them either do a hydro test and get your tank re-certified for 5 more years or tell them you want the valve to tank seal replaced and they will remove the valve and seal it to the tank correctly for you. This way you know your tank is safe for a fill and everything is torqued down properly. Make sure to let them know you have a draw tube inside that needs to be kept in relation to the mark you have on the valve and to not turn the tube from this mark. Tell them this tube needs to be oriented up to draw GAS not liquid when the tank is full and laying down. They should know exactly what you are talking about. If they do not understand bring your tank somewhere else to get filled, they don't know what they are doing. You can also just bring your tank and this tube to one of these fill places and they should be able to do the entire install for a fee. Do this install at your own risk but this worked perfect for me. My tank is now installed in the back of my jeep laying down and I aired up all 4 of my tires after a ride last weekend and did not have to remove the tank, just stretched the coil hose around to each tire and filled them. Worked great. I also stood the tank up after the fill and hooked the coilhose up with a nozzle air gun and no liquid came out just gas, laid it on its side oriented with the silver arrow up and again no liquid came out, just gas.

Drink the Guinness.......
Nothing to it.


.

Last edited by LSU_TJ; 08-19-2009 at 01:40 PM..
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Unread 08-19-2009, 02:57 PM   #3
RYANSTULC
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Nice write-up. I've been wondering how to mount my 15LB tank sideways since I bought it.
Question: What happens if the liquid CO2 does escape via the new 90 degree brass tube? Will it harm
the valve? Will it harm a person?
Simply curious.

It appears as though the tank when horizontal (and full) would have to be pretty damn flat in order to prevent the liquid from excaping the tank?

Anyhow, nice write-up. Let us know how it works on the trail.
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Unread 08-19-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
LSU_TJ
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Works perfect on the trail and after some serious wheeling. Unless you are upside down......


Used it last weekend with a full fill. Worked perfect.


You would have to stand the jeep up over 45 degrees and use the tank at the same time with a completely full fill to come even close to the end of the tube being in the liquid........

Mine don't do wheelies, especially while I am airing up my tires........


.
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Unread 03-28-2010, 08:33 AM   #5
Project1
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So hows the tank holdin up ... I think ill be going this way soon!
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Unread 03-28-2010, 09:20 AM   #6
Alawrimore
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Don't try to screw the valve out of a steel tank they are tapered and won't come out so easily. Also most places have to send tanks out for a Hydro test I would not be surprised for some places not to be able to guarantee how the valve gets treated and reinstalled while its gone. I worked with high pressure tanks for years and your asking an awful lot for something theres really not a lot of profit in. It will work if you can get it set up like that though.
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Unread 03-28-2010, 09:56 AM   #7
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Nice write-up, older, but nice.

A few things I would caution folks about.

It was stated that a 45 angle could be achieved before dispensing gas instead of air. I had a mental image in my head based on the line drawings that it would be much less, so I took a clear plastic water bottle and filled it about half full of water and tilted it. The angle before the draw tube is covered is actually about 10 of tilt before the liquid Co2 covers the end of the tube.

If I were going to do it and get the max angle, I would make the draw tube extend to half of the depth of the tank that way you could lean it both directions equally.

I would also orient the draw tube so it lined up with the port the regulator screws onto and not depend on a mark.

Gauges on Co2 tanks are pretty much useless, so orienting them doesn't matter so much.
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Unread 03-28-2010, 08:15 PM   #8
LSU_TJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Project1 View Post
So hows the tank holdin up ... I think ill be going this way soon!

Has worked flawlessly and has been used for airing up tires mainly but also used running power tools and frame gun doing some light building at our local trail site.


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Unread 03-28-2010, 08:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
If I were going to do it and get the max angle, I would make the draw tube extend to half of the depth of the tank that way you could lean it both directions equally.

This configuration would not work for me as I also use it standing up off the jeep, hence the title. Having the draw tube halfway down the tank would put it directly in the liquid portion while the tank is upright unless the tank was low and then no real way to tell how low the liquid is. The way I designed it it is always out of the liquid laying down or upright.


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Unread 03-30-2010, 09:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSU_TJ View Post
This configuration would not work for me as I also use it standing up off the jeep, hence the title. Having the draw tube halfway down the tank would put it directly in the liquid portion while the tank is upright unless the tank was low and then no real way to tell how low the liquid is. The way I designed it it is always out of the liquid laying down or upright.


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A great idea! I'm onboard soon.... thanks alot man.. you solved a problem for me
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Unread 03-30-2010, 10:06 AM   #11
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can I just say that I love LSU_TJ's avatar. It never gets old.

sorry for getting off the subject.
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Unread 03-30-2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by spdnjoe View Post
can I just say that I love LSU_TJ's avatar. It never gets old.

sorry for getting off the subject.
I'm always perplexed at her expression like:

"I just woke up from my nap and look what I found"
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Unread 03-30-2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by spdnjoe View Post
can I just say that I love LSU_TJ's avatar. It never gets old.

sorry for getting off the subject.

Hopefully you never outgrow that, or you'll wake up one day and find your outside the closet........ . .


Quote:
Originally Posted by 05RubiLJ View Post
I'm always perplexed at her expression like:

"I just woke up from my nap and look what I found"

Kinda like the teet fairy.

Yea, that look is the definition of admiration.


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Unread 03-30-2010, 12:28 PM   #14
LSU_TJ
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Originally Posted by Project1 View Post
A great idea! I'm onboard soon.... thanks alot man.. you solved a problem for me

Absolutely. Glad it helped. Let me know how it works out for you.



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Unread 03-30-2010, 03:20 PM   #15
Project1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSU_TJ View Post
Absolutely. Glad it helped. Let me know how it works out for you.



.
I'll keep you posted and post some pics for sure .. thanks again man !

Quote:
Originally Posted by 05RubiLJ View Post
I'm always perplexed at her expression like:

"I just woke up from my nap and look what I found"

HAHAHA ... I'm still laughing about that 5 mins later!!
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