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CO2 Inflator cartridge question -oil residue in there or not?(13 posts)

CO2 Inflator cartridge question -oil residue in there or not?Nigeyy
Apr 30, 2003 12:27 PM
So I shelled out an enormous $10 for a CO2 inflator complete with cartridge -based on reviews on MTBR. Reading the reviews before I purchased, quite a few people said you could buy CO2 cartridges from Walmart very cheaply, however one poster mentioned that these cartridges contained oil substances, which would damage the seals in the inflator.

So, the question is, does anyone know if this is true? Common sense would tell me it's not since CO2 cartridges can be used in CO2 guns (which would also have seals!) or carbonating drinks (I seem to recall there are some gadgets that do that) and obviously you wouldn't want oil residue in drinking fluids.

Granted at $10 an inflator I'm not going to exactly lose loads of money, but I also didn't buy the inflator to be a throw away item nonetheless. Help me out, anyone know if it's just CO2 in those cartridges?
Interesting. ??MR_GRUMPY
Apr 30, 2003 12:33 PM
Never heard of oil in CO2 carts. It would be interesting if someone could document this claim.
The carts from Wallmart look just like the ones from the bike shop.
Cycling forum urban mythterry b
Apr 30, 2003 1:01 PM
This has come up a couple of times here and on MTBR and the gist of it is there are purportedly two grades of cartridges, one oil free, the other not. Supposedly manufactured in separate oil-free factories whose greatly increased overhead justifies the $3 a piece pop you'll pay at the LBS.

I've been using Wallmart cartridges in the same inflator for 5 years and have filled 100s of flats (I live in Goathead country) and that inflator is still as tight as an eardrum. Don't worry about it.
Apr 30, 2003 1:08 PM
I was starting to worry about rotting out tubes, because oil and rubber don't mix too well.
That's what I would have guessed.....Nigeyy
Apr 30, 2003 2:28 PM
I'm going down to my local Walmart tomorrow and getting some. I had to post because you never know.... Thanks for the feedback!
uh... wait a minute!!Nigeyy
Apr 30, 2003 3:03 PM
I obviously have far too much spare time, check this out:

look under the heading of "CO2 guns" about 2/3 of the way down. This is also verified on a couple of other web sites if you do a search in google on "CO2 cartridge" or similar.

The bottom line is maybe it's prudent to use only CO2 cartridges manufactured for producing seltzer water -e.g.:

or similar. Then again, maybe the amount of "lubricant" in some of those non-seltzer cartridges is so little as to be not worth worrying about.
uh... wait a minute!!terry b
Apr 30, 2003 4:18 PM
Let's see - $5.55 for the seltzer cartridges (or $3 for the LBS version) to save the seals in your $10 CO2 inflator?

How does that math hold up over 10 flat repairs in comparison to the $0.40 Wallmart "oily" version.

Clean version:
10 flats * 5.55 = 55.55 + original cost of CO2 inflator = $65.55

Oily version:
10 flats * .40 = $4.40 + original cost of CO2 inflator + replacement inflator for hypothetically damaged seals =
$4.40 + $10 + $10 or $24.40.

Yea - makes sense to use those clean ones!
It's going to be less than thatMR_GRUMPY
Apr 30, 2003 6:13 PM
I think that even if cheap carts are bad for the inflator, it will take 100 uses to wreck it. One other thing to think about, would be that it might be smart to use a cheap thick tube as a spare. A $3.00 Performance tube would be perfect.
Unless I'm mistakenNigeyy
Apr 30, 2003 8:42 PM
It's $5.55 for 10 carts (10 per pack it says on that page). So really they are only 55 cents a cart. Plus that was just the first page I could find for seltzer carts -and not figuring in they get lower cost per cart the more you order.

What about these for a lower cost (assuming you have a store nearby and don't have to pay for shipping):

I'm going to go to my local kitchenetc and see if I can get some. Hope this helps somebody too.
ooops I should learn to read more bettererterry b
May 1, 2003 5:52 AM
well, that's certainly better. and better than the LBS price. Now all I have to do is add in the plane fare to find a kitchensetc. or pay the shipping.

still a better deal from Wally World though.
but the important question is, does it matter?jw25
May 1, 2003 7:14 AM
I mountain bike as well as road riding, and a few years ago, I tested a bunch of materials in different oils, to put my mind at ease over "seal swellers" and the like.
One of the materials I tested was butyl rubber from a punctured tube. I also used o-rings from suspension seals, and bushings and fork wipers.
The fluids used to soak these samples included ATF, Maxima racing fork oil, and Magura brake fluid. In other words, petroleum-based, synthetic, and mineral oil.
After soaking at room temperature for 2 weeks, none of the samples showed any difference in surface texture, pliability, strength - once the oil was wiped off, they seemed the same as before the test.
Any oil in CO2 cartridges intended for air guns is likely a light petroleum-based, similar to a basic spray lube. The main purpose is to prevent corrosion and keep seals lubricated, so there's no need for special additives.
So, from my experience from my own test, and in using CO2 inflators with standard, possibly oiled, 12g cartridges, I haven't seen evidence that any oil will negatively affect the inflator or the tube.
I'm still using tubes that were inflated with air-gun cartridges over 3 years ago, and they're fine.
I think this rumor got started from a motor oil spill that affected someone's tire. Motor oil is specialized, and contains solvents and other additives to prevent carbon deposit from building up, and neutralize acids, among other things. It's a far different creature from general-purpose oils, which are biased towards environmental protection.
Can't use those KitchenEtc cartridgesNigeyy
May 1, 2003 11:17 AM
I went to KitchenEtc and found out those cartridges were too small and unthreaded. I suppose I could use them by jamming something into the cartridge holder, but that's too much aggravation.

Looks like the Wally World specials are the way to go.....
You've seen the light! (just don't make WW a habit) (nm)terry b
May 1, 2003 1:31 PM