By Barry Ricks
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When it came time to decide on an “On Board Air System” to run the ARB Air Locker I was putting in the front axle, I went with the PowerTank CO2 system. It made more sense to me then getting a tiny 12V air compressor because the PowerTank can do more. Not only will it run air lockers, but it will air up your tires in seconds compared to minutes, it’s portable and it has enough power to run air tools. I ordered a 10lb tank with the option “A” package which included the tank boot, regulator bag and mounting bracket. I also ordered the ARB kit to run the air lockers from, this included a manifold to split the air lines for front and back, air pressure gauge and a 100psi safety relief valve.
Now where to mount the tank so it will be out of the way, easy to get to and not get damage? I did some searching to see how and where other people had mounted them, but I could not find anything for Cherokees. I had added a rear bumper with a tire carrier so I could carry a full size spare and this left a space on the inside where the factory spare was with its mounting brackets bolted to the side and floor of the cargo area. I decided to use this space and see if I could utilize the factory spare tire brackets. I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have because I was more concerned about getting it done. Once I had it together, I didn’t want to take it back apart either.
Drill and drill bits
10mm socket and wrench
Angle grinder with cut off wheel or hacksaw
1 – ¼” x 20 bolt, 1.5” long
1 – ¼” x 20 nut
2 – ¼” washers
– ¼” sheet metal screws, 1” long
PT-10 Package A
I started out by holding the PowerTank bracket up to the side of the cargo area where the spare tire was mounted. The top bracket for the spare tire needed to come off the side, so I removed the Phillips screws holding on the side molding and removed the lower bracket by removing the four 10mm bolts. Then I popped the molding loose from under the side window. This allows you enough room to shove it out of the way and remove the two 10mm bolts that hold the top bracket in place behind the molding. Once this was removed I was able to put the bracket up flush to the side of the cargo area over the lower bracket. The lower bracket is curved to fit the contour of the spare tire and this was not a flat enough surface to mount the PowerTank bracket to. I took the angle grinder with the cut off disk and cut the top mounting holes off the lower bracket and then cut two ½” relief cuts where the bracket curves. The relief cuts allowed me to bend the bracket down until it was 90° from the side. This now gave me a flat surface to set the PowerTank bracket on. I bolted it back in place just using the lower two 10mm bolts and I put the top two bolts back in to plug the holes. Once I held the PowerTank bracket back in place, I noticed that it came about ¾” from touching the lower spare tire bracket because it rested on the fill tube to the gas tank and the fender well. I then took a piece of a 1” x 4” board that I had lying around and cut it to fit over the spare tire bracket for a spacer.
Now the PowerTank bracket sets perfectly in place and I drilled a hole through the bottom of the PowerTank bracket, the spacer board and the spare tire bracket. I then marked and drill two holes at the top beside where the top spare tire bracket use to be. There were already two holes in the PowerTank bracket at this location. I then bolted the bottom by using the ¼” x 20 bolt and screwed the sheet metal screws in at the top. The PowerTank bracket is now bolted securely in place and not taking up anymore room then the factory spare did.
You also may have noticed that I mounted the ARB Manifold Kit to the side of the PowerTank mounting bracket. Since I am using a pneumatic switch from Gulf Coast Rovers to switch the ARB locker, there wasn’t any benefit of mounting it away from the tank. This allowed me to run an air line from the tank to the manifold, from the manifold to the switch and from the switch to the locker. There are no electrical parts or solenoids in the system. The manifold has a 100psi safety release valve on it that will open if you apply more pressure than 100psi. This is a great safety feature because the ARB Locker has a max air input of 100psi and a operating pressure of 80-90psi. The PowerTank’s regulator goes from 0 to 200psi. I think it would be very easy to connect the PowerTank up to the locker after airing up a tire and before adjusting the pressure back down. I ran the air line from the manifold up through the side molding, through the door jam and up under the drivers seat to the center console where I mounted the switch. I then ran the air line from the switch through the firewall where the hood release cable goes through at and down to the axle leaving enough slack for axle movement when it is flexed.
I only mounted one switch for now because I have not installed the ARB Air Locker for the rear yet. I did leave room to mount the second switch and it should be easy to split the incoming air line before the switch instead of running a second line.
you have any questions, please email me at