The Power Tank, from Advanced Air Systems, was our "Tool of the Month" in March 2001. Since that time, it has gone everywhere with us. Dave Coleman was able to repair his rally car after crashing and go on to win the second day of the event not once, but twice, because of the speed Power Tank provided. When Dan Barnes helped sister magazine Sport Compact Car strip a Nissan Sentra from 2,762 lb to 1,674 lb in a day at the drag strip, Power Tank was there. When the power and speed of an impact wrench are needed at the Pick-A-Part, Power Tank comes along. It is one of the best tools we have in our arsenal.
Power Tank is a compressed CO2 tank, with a regulator, hose and fittings, that makes the power of an air compressor available virtually anywhere. Power Tank is available with 5-, 10- or 15-lb capacity tanks, weighing half as much as an equivalent steel tank or aluminum scuba tank. Because the CO2 is stored in liquid form, a Power Tank packs three times the energy of the same size nitrogen tank, and the 10-lb Power Tank stores 20 times the energy of a 5-gal. air tank filled to 125 psi.
Advanced Air Systems sent us one each of the 10- and 15-lb tanks to try. We've found it convenient to refill the extra at our leisure, not to mention having a backup when the one we were using faded. The increase in capacity with 15-lb tanks versus 10-lb tanks is greater than the increase in size and weight.
Power Tank is better for intermittent use than for continuous uses such as running a grinder or sander. In cool or humid weather, continuous use of the Power Tank will result in condensation, or even frost, on the outside of the regulator.
Power Tank is safe if used carefully, but with that much energy stored and changing forms, definitely follow the instructions. The tanks themselves are probably the safest part, as they are rated to about three times the maximum pressure they are likely to see and have a safety valve to ensure they never approach the limit.
With the Power Shot, Advanced Air Systems has reduced the cost to obtain a working system for those who just want to air up their tires. It is just like the Power Tank system but replaces the regulator with a non-adjustable unit set to 150 psi. That will shorten the life of most air tools but is excellent for adjusting tires.
Advanced Air Systems * (916) 691-6806 * (800) 641-3206 * www.powertank.com
Schroth Quick-Fit Harness Belts
Controlling any car precisely requires that hands, feet, arms and legs be used for directing the car, not just hanging on. There are more important things to do when balancing a chassis at the limit than keeping oneself from sliding into the center console. BMWs are better than most cars for performance driving in many ways, including their seats, but no standard three-point safety belt can come near the support provided by a good four-point shoulder harness. This is especially true when the forces developed by brakes, suspension and tires have been increased beyond factory levels.
For some track driving enthusiasts, the solution is to install competition seats and harnesses. That works great on the track, but climbing into a shell seat and putting on a four-point harness quickly becomes a nuisance in the car you drive every day. Installing most seats and harnesses in a street car without compromising its useability can be a challenge. Furthermore, while some people may be impressed by the look, Officer Bob sees it as evidence of premeditated intent, if not an outright equipment violation.