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Old 12-20-2011, 09:11 AM   #15
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Why Not Install Guages?

Like the ones that on my 2007 Classic 30.'
They work great, and they eliminate the guesswork.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:11 AM   #16
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There are tank level strips you can buy and apply to the side of your tanks. They function like the water trick and show the level of the colder fuel in the tank. You do need to be able to see the side of the tank to read it.

Propane Tank Level Sensor - PPL Motor Homes
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:10 AM   #17
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Hi Jack

Welcome to the forums.

I live and camp in Minnesota where it gets cold.

Here are your options and the various pros and cons:

1) You can get tanks that have a float gauge for $243 each plus shipping from Vintage Trailer supply. That's what I have (my trailer came that way from the factory) and it works great. The gauges are quite accurate and will give you a complete picture of your propane situation no matter what. Robert Cross and Ken (Alumaholic) have these and that's what they're posting about upthread. You can't install gauges unless you have a special fitting on the tank to take them which is why you have to get new tanks in most cases.

2) You can weigh the tanks, either with a scale or just by lifting them and guessing at the contents. A hanging scale helps for this. It's a nuisance to do but (if you use a scale and not just your arm) is very accurate and you don't have to spent $500 on new tanks. The tare weight (weight of an empty tank) is stamped on the tank collar, so just subtract and you'll see how much propane you have.

3) You can use the hot water trick described upthread, either with or without the indicator strips. Though it can work it's something of a nuisance to do and some people get the wrong reading sometimes.

4) You can use the changeover feature. It works great in summer when you're mostly using gas for cooking and hot water. In the winter there are a couple things to watch, however. If you're using the trailer in extreme cold, the indicator can turn red even if both tanks are partially full, because the propane in the primary tank (the one the lever points to) won't vaporize fast enough, so the regulator draws gas from both of them. You'll start seeing this at around freezing, especially if you run the furnace for a long time at once as when heating up a cold trailer. At lower temperatures it is more likely to occur. If one tank is completely empty at this point well the furnace won't stay lit. When it gets really cold you can, as a result of the same effect, use enough propane from the secondary tank that it is much less than full when the first one runs out.

If you're staying in extreme cold for more than a couple of days you might consider carrying a 3rd propane tank with you if you can do so safely. Some people also use 100# tanks in this situation which helps a great deal. Many propane dealers will rent or lease these.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:25 AM   #18
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Does anyone know what year that they started putting on the auto switch on the propane tanks. I don't know if I have that on mine, are not.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:32 AM   #19
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Don't worry. You have the auto-switch. They have been original equipment since the 70's, may be earlier. Just make sure you open both tanks. Both tanks must be open for the switch to do its job.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Just make "SUPER SURE" that the tank is indeed empty, especially in the summer, should you put it in the trunk.

Heat makes the LPG expand, and when it expands enough, the pop off valve will blow off some of the excess pressure.

THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HAPPEN especially in a trunk, since more than likely an explosion will occur.

Andy
Thanks to those who corrected my error. I meant to say "truck", and not "trunk". In my case, I use our car to take the tank back for refill, and I put it in the back seat wedged in so as not to move around.

I have one of those old cube-type plastic carriers that retailers used to use for milk, and it fits into it perfectly so as not to damage the seat.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:23 PM   #21
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I'm in the "open both tanks and wait for the change over camp" I just have one question.

Has anyone parked the trailer close enough to a propane filling station to fill the empty tank without taking it out? Or is that o.k. and safe to do that way?
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:31 PM   #22
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I'm in the "open both tanks and wait for the change over camp" I just have one question.

Has anyone parked the trailer close enough to a propane filling station to fill the empty tank without taking it out? Or is that o.k. and safe to do that way?
They fill motor homes that way, their tanks are generally not removeable and much bigger than the smaller travel trailers. Just haveing some guy with that big brass refill connector and hose swinging around my Airstream would give me the willies.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:13 PM   #23
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Gauging amount of propane in tanks

Greetings xo1rider!

Quote:
Originally Posted by xo1rider View Post
I'm in the "open both tanks and wait for the change over camp" I just have one question.

Has anyone parked the trailer close enough to a propane filling station to fill the empty tank without taking it out? Or is that o.k. and safe to do that way?
Prior to converting to the new OPD valves on my Worthington tanks, I would pull my trailer to the refill station. While I could pull up to the refill station, the attendant always removed the tanks and refilled them by weight -- I disliked trying to get the metal fittings on the old valves undone so let the attendant provide full-service refill (usually about $2.00 more than just taking the tanks in) . . . . the modern fittings that don't require wrenches make the tank refill process so very much easier . . . I now transport my tanks in the back of the tow vehicle to the refill station.

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by xo1rider View Post
I'm in the "open both tanks and wait for the change over camp" I just have one question.

Has anyone parked the trailer close enough to a propane filling station to fill the empty tank without taking it out? Or is that o.k. and safe to do that way?
They're supposed to weigh the tanks, which they can't do without removing them.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:37 PM   #25
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My propane dealer does not weigh the tanks, they have a meter on the unit which measures the number of gallons used.

Since the tank connection normally faces the trailer, I do not think the adapter on the dealers filler will fit without removing or spinning the tank. My empty tank is only 16 pounds and 46 pounds full.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:17 PM   #26
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Exclamation Be safe, weigh the tanks...

Don't rely on the meter! If your tank is not completly empty, you run the risk of over filling. Overfilling might not be apparent at the station, but gas in the bottle will expand on a sunny day, causing your Pressure Relief valve to do its job. If the day is windy, it might not be noticed. If the weather is calm, there will be a noticably smelly cloud which will alarm the neighbors, at least, if you don't catch it first. Could become explosive!

Your friendly tank station attendent should weigh the bottle to confirm it is filled. The meter you can pay by, but not weigh by.

Happy (and safe) streaming! Philip
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:18 PM   #27
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They Should Weigh and Meter...

Not my area of expertise, to be sure; but the propane pros weigh and meter to ensure you get a full refill and not a partial refill.
I agree with Clancy Boy, I will glady disconnect an empty tank and lug it to and from the refill point a few yards away from my TT and my TV.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:11 PM   #28
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Not my area of expertise, to be sure; but the propane pros weigh and meter to ensure you get a full refill and not a partial refill. ...
Actually, the issue is not whether they fill it full, but rather whether they overfill it. An overfilled cylinder is one dangerous thing to have around.

The National Fire Protection Assn (see NPFA 58) specifies two safe methods to prevent overfill of DOT-approved cylinders (like yours): Filling by volume or filling by weight.

Filling by volume involves opening the small valve on the side of the main valve, and filling until propane spews out. (Below the valve is a small pipe that reaches down to the 80% level. This pipe leads to the small twist valve.)

Filling by weight involves (obviously) measuring about by weight. Most of our RVs have 30-lb cylinders, so the scale is set to account for the weight of the propane plus the weight of the cylinder itself plus the weight of any machinery necessary for filling (e.g., the hose).

Some states don't like filling by volume (generally for environmental reasons), specifying filling by weight instead. Some others leave the choice up to the individual filler. On the other hand, some states don't have any regulations at all concerning propane filling.


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