Power Tank Tire Air-Up Race

    The Turtle & the Air

    Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

    If you harken back to the earlier days of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road about 20 years ago (OK, now I feel old), you might notice a black-and-white ad in the back of the book for a little outfit called Power Tank from Advanced Air Systems. Power Tank was started by Steve Sasaki in a quest for a fast and portable way to do something we all do just about every time we go off-road; namely, air tires back up after a trail ride.

    Back to the present, and a few of us are still here. 4WOR and Power Tank are still two names in the off-road industry, although we’ve both changed a lot. Sasaki built his idea into the Power Tank brand and even got involved in some of our earliest Ultimate Adventures to test his product (with help from an iconic red Toyota 4Runner). Our nostalgia overfloweth. Since then Power Tank has grown and grown. We still see Sasaki and Power Tanks all over the off-road world from events and construction sites to RVs, the back of trail rigs, and off-road race cars.

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    The idea was (and still is) to use a tank of liquid carbon dioxide to product CO2 gas to air up tires and run pneumatic tools. The uses are many: filling tires after patching a tire; filling trailer or RV tires; running air tools for construction and plumbing; using compressed CO2 to clean parts, run air lockers, and seat a tire bead on the trail; and more. And the Power Tank is fast—really fast.

    That’s why we’re bringing you this story. A Power Tank is a super-fast way to air up big tires at the end of a trail ride. Our plan is to use our 42x14.50R20-wearing 1949 Willys Truck to show you how fast a Power Tank setup is compared to a high-end electric air compressor. But before we get started we have one question for Sasaki: Where is that red 4Runner?