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Author Topic: is changing propane shut off a DIY project?  (Read 4279 times)
belfert
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2008, 11:14:08 AM »

Try an actual location owned by Ferrell Gas, Amerigas, or other big propane outfit.  You don't want the guy who has a tank out back that he uses to fill BBQ tanks as a small part of his business.

In the past, Suburban Propane (Now owned by Ferrell Gas) would change valves and do other work on tanks.
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2008, 11:47:24 AM »

Gus,
     You mention that you use 20 gallon portable tanks.  Are they horizontal or vertical tanks?  What are the dimensions?  It seems that they would weigh over 100 pounds each and would require a good, strong back. 
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2008, 01:29:32 PM »

John,

I'm not sure what you mean by auto-shutoff valve since there are two distinct auto valve features. I think both features are now built into all newer tank valves. One prevents overfilling the tank and the other shuts off the gas if the system suddenly starts to leak. I'm sure that both are required now and don't think any LP dealer will fill your tank without at least the first feature.

I definitely would not want to be without both types, LP is a nice big bomb that these two features can keep from ruining your day!

One note, if you get the gas auto shutoff valve type it must be turned on very slowly as it is designed to shut off if gas suddenly flows (A leak). However, all you have to do if you turn it on too suddenly is turn it off and start over.

Lin,

Well, that 20gal statement was a really big goof. I meant to say 20lb which is 4.75gal as I remember.

Quite a difference, but very easy to carry, which is the reason I use them. The 30lb tank is better if you have the vertical bay space and can carry the extra weight, I'm too old for that!

They are the same as BBG grills used to be but I notice they are now down to 16-18lb at the same price!

I got the 20s initially so I could just exchange them for full ones at the nearest quick stop or drug store. About the time I did this they were downsized so now I take them to the nearest LP filling station which I have found to be easy to find. I don't want to go any smaller than 20lb.
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John Z
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2008, 02:56:49 PM »

Gus, sorry but i had only heard about the auto valve to prevent over
filling. And i just heard that when i started to call around looking to get
this situation fixed. I ran out and took a picture of my tank and valve. The
valve is very simple. I am sure it is quite old, so perhaps the whole set up
needs to be redone. The 80% valve is the small one to the right. Regulator
is in the left part of picture. I really like this tank setup, as it lasts
all year, and i find it no problem to get it filled. Almost every truck stop
(i like Flying J) i have been at has been able to easily fill it. Here at
home there are a couple different places i can just drive up to get filled.

BTW, called Ferrel. They asked if it was a bulk tank or a cylinder. I told them a 50 gallon bulk tank in the basement of an RV. They told me to pull the tank and bring it in!!!
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Dallas
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2008, 03:08:27 PM »

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but that looks like a home use tank, not a DOT approved RV tank.

I really, really hope it isn't a home use tank, but if it is, I can understand why none of the LPG places will mess with it. It's a totally illegal installation and could leave them open to beau-ceaux liability by even allowing you to move it that way.

Sorry, I have a healthy respect for what propane tanks can and can't do. A non DOT rated tank isn't built for movement and isn't made of as heavy steel as the DOT tanks are. Aside from that, it's sitting cocked on it's side so any readings for filling will be incorrect as to what's in the tank.

Scary
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2008, 04:23:27 PM »

Gus,

Well I'm sort of glad to hear you meant 20 lb tanks.  You had me really feeling like a wimp imaging you walking with those 20 gallon tanks on your shoulders.  Now I'm feeling kind of macho with my 7 gallon tanks.
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John Z
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2008, 07:37:00 PM »

Dallas, what do i look for to determine if it is a home use or a DOT tank? If it is a home use i will replace it. So are you saying the 20 lb barbque tanks are DOT? Or even the larger cylinders so many people are using? Also, what do you mean it is sitting cocked? It is sitting square on all four legs and it has been filled several times. The gauge works just fine. Even if it is a home unit, that has had nothing to do with the places not working on it, as none of them have seen it.  Thanks.
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Dallas
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« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2008, 07:58:52 PM »

John,

A DOT certified tank will have the Letters "DOT" and some numbers stamped somewhere near the fill valve. The small BBQ tanks have it stamped on the shield around the valve where you pick the tank up.

If it isn't cocked on it's side, I am really surprised since the lifting eyes are usually set on the to so that if the tank is lifted and hits something, the valves will be protected. The valves being as exposed as they are lead me to believe that it's normal position is upright with the valves on top. Maybe it's just the photo's and the way I'm looking at it.

By the way, just as a piece of uninteresting information.... the small tanks like the 20# and 30# tanks must be recertified every 11 years, so if you go to trade off a tank at one of those quick change places, check the certification date on the hand hold/shield. If it's earlier than todays date 11 years ago, it needs to be recertified and many propane places won't fill those tanks without the certification being done.
I think this includes everything up to the 50# tanks but I'm not sure, I don't have my book handy. Also, not all of the tanks with OPD valves can be filled at a standard filling station. We've found that the ones from "Blue Rhino" that are retrofit with OPD valves are a real PITA to fill and must be filled slowly because of a check valve inside the fill valve. If you try to fill them too quickly, the check valve shuts the flow off just as if the tank were leaking out the other way. Bummer!

Good Luck, and I hope I helped.

Dallas
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John Z
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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2008, 08:09:11 PM »

Thanks Dallas. I want to do this just once, and i want it to be right when i am finished. I will be looking for the DOT info on that tank first thing tomorrow. I appreciate the info.
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2008, 05:12:35 AM »

John,
 
NO offense intended with my comment here on this thread but please have a LP dealer look at your set up and see if you are leagal and SAFE.  I do not know anything really about the LP Gas set up at this time but this just does not look safe to me, but again what do I know.  Those hoses are susceptible to being damaged, (cut, nicked etc.) with tools etc. and deterioration from age. If your LP dealer says you are good to go and for us to mind our business then that is what I intend to do.  Just have this LP dealer inspection done before using your LP gas system much as it now is, oh and let us know what they said as well.

Gary
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Gary
Dallas
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« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2008, 06:44:54 AM »

I must make some adjustments to some statements I made earlier.

* Recertification of DOT tanks is done every 12 years.. not after 11 years.

* DOT AND ASME tanks may be used for mobile applications such as RV service, However, DOT tanks MUST be placed         
   vertically and ASME tanks MUST be placed horizontally.

* DOT tanks 40# and less, built after 1998 must have an OPD valve.

* ASME tanks must be visually inspected by a qualified service person everytime they are filled.

I only looked up these items, so if I missed something else, someone correct me, please.

Dallas
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John Z
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« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2008, 11:15:26 AM »

Dallas, my tank is stamped with an ICC number. No other markings on it. It is definately made to be sitting just as it is. The feet on the bottom are all original. Plus, if it was made to stand on end the 80% valve would be a 100% valve. Where are you getting your info? Does it show tanks marked with "ICC"? If this tank is good, then i will pursue getting the valves and regulators chked out and updated. Still no luck finding a propane dealer that wants to work with it.
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Dallas
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« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2008, 12:14:28 PM »

John,

ICC Tanks, as far as I know, haven't been used for many years. I got my first Propane certification (as a service tech) in 1976  and seldom ever saw one of the old ICC tanks. Now, there may be a newer standard that I'm not aware of, but, I think those tanks, like aluminum propane tanks, were extinct.

Most of my information comes from the ANSI/NFPA regulation 1192 with much of it being taken from the 2004 LPG Service Personnel hand book from South Carolina. (I was planning on recertifying in SC, but the campground closed before I got the test taken).

Information can also be found on the web by searching through a bunch of google stuff to find parts and pieces of ANSI/NFPA 1192.

Here's something I just pulled up about ICC tanks:
http://jackclarke.net/lprules.htm

It's not a lot of help, but does give some idea.

IHTH,

Dallas


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« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2008, 02:07:00 PM »

John,

Your tank looks nothing like my home tank so I doubt it is. Since it lasts a year I see no reason to change it either.  Mine lasted much less but I think it had a leak. I finally figured out it held only six gallons and took up more space than two of the 4.75gal portable tanks so changing was much better for me.

The 80% valve is what I call the overfill protection valve since no LP tank is supposed to be filled more than 80%.

I definitely recommend the leak protection valve - ask your LP dealer about this. He can also tell you for sure if your tank is legal which is better than trying to figure it out on the forum.  If it weren't legal the LP dealers probably wouldn't have filled it recently.

As I said before, I think both overfill and leak protection are built into all new tank supply valves.

There is no doubt in my mind that the small 20lb tanks are DOT approved because they are standard equipment on the front of RV trailer hitches.
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« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2008, 02:42:17 PM »

Keeping in mind that most home tanks take the gas out of the top, not the side, I'd also 'guess" it's a vehicle tank.  Just waaay old.

Another hint may be this- does the gauge work properly?  IF it were a home tank "cocked on it's side" then the gauge would definitely not work.  If it works properly, that would be even more evidence that it's a tank doing it's intended job.  You can also take educated guesses as to it's intent by looking at how it's brackets are welded on... does it look like it was made to be there, or has it been hacked at? (The photos don't show much about this)  Very few people are stupid enough or properly equipped to add horizontal mounting brackets to a vertical tank via welding.  If it's got horizontal brackets welded on, it was probably made that way intentionally...

There's even more that you can fairly easily ascertain, if you get the tank emptied- remove the gauge. All it takes is those 4 screws and you'll have viewing access to the inside.  You'll have to get a new gasket for the gauge but that's a standard part from almost anywhere that deals in LP tanks. 
 You can then see if the float was designed to be used in a side-mounted tank or a standing tank... and further, looking inside (remember, the tank's still full of explosive vapors so don't use any kind of light that'd make a spark) you could tell if it was supposed to be a side-mounted tank by seeing if there's a bent vapor delivery tube running from your faulty valve up to the top of the tank (inside of course)... there'd most likely have to be one to insure that liquid LP gas didn't come out into your system.  If the valve has no tube, it could actually be a home tank that should be standing up.  That said, obviously removing the valve and seeing if there's a tube attached would tell you the same thing without taking the gauge off, and since you're gonna do that anyway....
  And last, if you do replace the valve, it IS a side tank, etc, you'll probably need to remove the gauge anyway so when you screw in the new valve, you'll be able to see that the delivery tube is properly positioned when you're finished tightening the valve.  The final valve position will be critical to everything working properly... IE if the tube is left aiming down or sideways instead of up, trouble ahead....

As for the age of the tank, DOT stickers etc, assuming it's not a house tank from the above experiments, probably much more important than what the sticker tag on an old tank says, is if it's still worthy of holding pressure.  If you really want to mess with it right, take it out and get it hydro tested and that will tell all in a jiffy.  'twere it mine and it passed hydro, I'd have little hesitation keeping it.  Especially when you see the prices of current tanks- ouch and a half!

I have to add one more silly thought... your valve looks like it is old and as such is very likely of much higher quality than the chinese junk valve that blew on me when I tried to tighten the packing gland nut on my old BBQ tank (the nut you'll see just under the valve handle, that the handle's shaft goes through)
...have you considered just trying to *gently* tighten that nut a bit?  If it's made like most valves are, there's a good chance that simply tightening the gland a bit will stop the leak, then this whole thing is history to you... Smiley

Hey, where are you located anyway?  Maybe one of us x-spurts can come over and lend a hand figuring this all out!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 03:45:48 PM by boogiethecat » Logged

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