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Old 10-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
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LPG refill DOS… but my Airstream is “new”

I was denied a propane refill during my last trip.

My 1967 Overlander was returned to full camping readiness in 2004 complete with the original Liquid Propane Gas cylinders refitted with modern OPD valves. The gas company who did the work recertified the tanks by visual examination, and etched the exam date on the cylinders’ handles.

The tanks, since they had sat in one place for 23 years, looked rough when I acquired my Airstream and I was not sure if the gas company would work with me. They did, but advised me to repaint the refilled, retro-fitted tanks which I did.

We visited Florida this past week, and during a layover at a campground on the way home I noticed one of the Airstream’s two cylinders had run dry. The private campground had LPG refill capability so I toted the empty tank to their station. For the first time in my camping experience, the attendant looked at the cert-date on the cylinder and told me my tank was out-of-date.

Although I had heard of this happening, this was my first Denial Of Service in getting a gas bottle refilled. It was definitely an eye-opener for me because my Airstream is still new to me in spite of the more than 30,000 miles we have towed it.

Although weathered, the cylinders look better now than when they were visually recertified.

The local U-Haul at which the cylinders are normally refilled at does not appear to care about cert-dates.

I own an etcher like the gas company does, and am now considering if the gas company’s visual exam is better than mine.

Tom
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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Tom,

I think that a re-certification is good for 5 years, take them to a propane dealer and have them re-certified again.

Bill
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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wkerft is correct

It just means it's time to recertify. No big deal except that not every propane dealer is certified to recertify.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:38 PM   #4
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My Bad...With our 63, I put new valves in, went to my tool box got my #punches and bingo.....

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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many places will re-certify for free.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW View Post
I own an etcher like the gas company does, and am now considering if the gas company’s visual exam is better than mine.
Not worth the fine if you get caught. There was a thread about this earlier and if I remember correctly it's $20,000.

There's nothing to the 5-year reinspection. As you say, it's nothing but a visual inspection, plus my local gas company checked for leaks at the valve and around the threads, for $4 a tank, while-you-wait (about 5 minutes).

Also the recent reinspection tags I have seen are metal foil labels showing who did the reinspection, and their license number to do it. I don't know if that's now standard but just stamping or engraving a date on the tank may not do it anymore.
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:35 PM   #7
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Trust in Nuvite-F

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Not worth the fine if you get caught. There was a thread about this earlier and if I remember correctly it's $20,000.

There's nothing to the 5-year reinspection. As you say, it's nothing but a visual inspection, plus my local gas company checked for leaks at the valve and around the threads, for $4 a tank, while-you-wait (about 5 minutes).
I actually appreciate the qualified inspection of my propane tanks by a trained inspector. The guy I use here in Albuquerque is a trained professional whose opinion I value.
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:04 PM   #8
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Oops - The Feds are monitoring

I'm having to re-think my ultimate strategy - I just got an email from the Government:

-----Original Message-----
From: [TheMan@TheGovt]
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 5:58 PM
To: Tom W[redacted]
Subject: Federal Office of Propane Certification (FOPCERT)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FOPCERT
Mr. [redacted],

It has been brought to our attention that you are in non compliance with the Federal Propane Regulation: 1134HT4 77744.9HCV-Sec. III, Part 77780003.
This is a serious offense and future investigation of your crime will be forthcoming. Ignorance of the law is no excuse!!

John Q. Busybody,
Deputy Director of FOP
It appears I need to walk the straight & narrow path...

Tom
p.s. Just kidding - "Big Brother" was one of my Airstream fiends.
p.p.s I meant "friends"
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:17 PM   #9
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There were tense moments at U-Haul today

I pulled into U-Haul today with my certified-in-2004 LPG cylinder and immediately noticed they'd re-paved & striped the lot, and made the whole place look better in general.

Once inside, the two, new, young fellas behind the counter, while obviously busy with existing tasks, immediately snapped to attention to notice my entrance. The 6'~2" man with a short haircut (like mine) & name-tag which included "store manager" told me he would be right with me at the refill station after I stated my reason for being there.

I had no more than unloaded the 44 year-old tank from my truck when I noticed the manager was going to beat me to the refill station.

Taking the empty cylinder from me once we had both stopped at our destination, he advised, "Sir: please stand outside of the yellow line (marking the station's outer safety perimeter).

I love precision, and was much impressed at how he was doing his job.

But after I was in the safe-zone, he proceeded to rotate the tank until he stopped at the part that read "5/5/04 E". After a few moments he set the tank down, and re-filled it.

Tom
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
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Old Town Propane certifed my old tanks (twice) he does a visual, then weighs the empty tank to make sure thier in spec. (To light of a steel tank indicates corrosion had eaten them away), and a leak test, which is pretty close to the process he uses for a normal refill. He posesses an obsessive, nearly paranoid desire to not leave this earth in a hellacios fireball that I find comforting when using the tanks.
His stamp included the date of the inspection, and some sort of ID number.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW View Post
I pulled into U-Haul today with my certified-in-2004 LPG cylinder and immediately noticed they'd re-paved & striped the lot, and made the whole place look better in general.

Once inside, the two, new, young fellas behind the counter, while obviously busy with existing tasks, immediately snapped to attention to notice my entrance. The 6'~2" man with a short haircut (like mine) & name-tag which included "store manager" told me he would be right with me at the refill station after I stated my reason for being there.

I had no more than unloaded the 44 year-old tank from my truck when I noticed the manager was going to beat me to the refill station.

Taking the empty cylinder from me once we had both stopped at our destination, he advised, "Sir: please stand outside of the yellow line (marking the station's outer safety perimeter).

I love precision, and was much impressed at how he was doing his job.

But after I was in the safe-zone, he proceeded to rotate the tank until he stopped at the part that read "5/5/04 E". After a few moments he set the tank down, and re-filled it.

Tom
Sound like you will be keeping the tank fill ups to your local fill station now. Just be sure to stand behind the yellow line as they fill it.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:16 AM   #12
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New tanks are good for 10 years, and then have to be re-certified every 5 years. Some of the propane shops are now affixing a label instead of punching the dates; the label refers queries back to their particular shop. I had my tanks re certified at Pennington Gas in Wapakoneta OH (just a few miles from the Airstream factory). Cost was $9.95.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:04 AM   #13
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If they are the standard steel 20 lb. bottle, I would just take them to a store that offered the "swap yours for a full one" deal and leave with the new, currently inspected, full tank.


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Old 01-31-2012, 06:06 AM   #14
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Important Self Inspection - Rubber Insert in Valve

I just ran into a problem I had not been aware of...

Found both of my aluminum 40's had bad internal sealing gaskets where the male fitting of the pigtail mates to the OPD valve.

These seals are not O rings, rather they are pressed into the valve during the manufacturing process.

Long story short, the seals that connect the OPD valve to the pigtail had hardened and developed creases that caused a noticeable leak whenever the LPG cylinders were turned on.

Don't know how old the OPD valves are, I purchased the cylinders used. Bummer since I have two full cylinders that now leak and have to be emptied to be repaired. The repair being replacing the OPD valves - the seals are not a field install item.

Another problem that occured at the same time was the hardening and leakage of the pigtails themselves which resulted in leakage around clamps that hold the rubber line to the fitting.

These pigtails were only four years old, but at less than $13 each were more of a nuisance than anything else.

Just wanted remind the Forum of a few more maintenance items for your periodic inspection list.
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