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Old 08-30-2010, 09:24 PM   #1
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Propane tank fittings - what to upgrade?

I have a 1973 31' with what are probably factory original aluminum propane tanks. It is my understanding that some aspect of the tank valves or regulators is supposed to be upgraded. I have no idea what to look for or how to tell if what I have is older and in need of upgrading - it probably is but how to tell? I do know that the hose connections to the fittings on the top of the tanks have a wrench type of fitting rather than the hand tighten type that is on my BBQ. I also have gauges on the top of the tanks. So here are my questions:

1.) How do we identify what needs to be upgraded?

2.) What do we upgrade to if needed?

Thanks,

Malcolm
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:31 PM   #2
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The tanks need to be fitted with OPD valves to be current and to be filled. Look at the knob on the top of the tank. If it is round it needs to be upgraded. Upgraded tanks will have a triangular shaped knob.

If needed, you will have to get the valve replaced on each of the tanks. There are different valves for steel and aluminum tanks.

This is an OPD valve for a 30 lb aluminum tank:
30 lb OPD Valve for Aluminum bottles PV3004A [PV3004A] - $28.95 : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:37 PM   #3
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With certain exceptions (notably horizontal tanks) the service valve has to be replaced if it was installed prior to roughly 1998 when valves began to be equipped with an OPD (overfill prevention device), essentially a float that closes the valve most of the way so that the tank can't be filled beyond 80% or so.

New valves equipped with an OPD have a triangular handwheel. Old valves have various shapes, but are not triangular. The new valves will work with your existing regulator and pigtail and will also have the Acme threads that you refer to as the "hand tighten type." You can have a propane dealer install new valves. They may have to be ordered because the height of some aluminum tanks is a little unusual and requires an unusual float configuration.

It is possible to purchase and install the valves yourself however it is often quite difficult to remove the old valves and certain safety practices have to be followed.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:18 PM   #4
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You'll need OPD valves, as others have pointed out. In addition, the cylinders will probably need recertification. (Original cylinders of this kind are "good" for 12 years, as indicated by the month/year stamp in the collar of the cylinder; a visual recertification can extend that time by five years.)


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Old 08-30-2010, 11:40 PM   #5
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Take your tanks to your local Propane Distributor - they have the proper gear to replace the valves quickly and safely...

I had ours changed on our 78 AS, and had them re-certify both tanks - I think I paid about $65 for both, total...and they threw in a couple of 'fills' to go with it!

They had a special 'jig' to clamp the tank while they use a special long wrench to unscrew the old valves - they're in there tight!

This is the kind of job better left to the experts...IMHO

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Old 08-31-2010, 06:42 AM   #6
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We get ours filled locally - and on each, just below the 'knob' is a smallish screw like a flathead type. They really watch to see if that screw releases. It is supposed to help bleed off excess propane or air. So now before I go to have them filled I will loosen the screws a bit and put W-D 40. To make sure they are working properly.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:53 AM   #7
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I took my 1972 aluminum tanks to a regional distributor & shop to get them re-certified and had the mechanics there use a buzz-style engraver to etch ugliness into the aluminum for my trouble... beware the boys in the back shop, I believe real certification involves hydrostatic testing & only then is applied the stamped numeric dates.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:21 AM   #8
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Recertification of propane cylinders involves any of three kinds, with differing results for the consumer: Five more years, seven more years, or twelve more. By far the most common (and least expensive) is visual recertification, which yields five more years.

By the way, when I had ours recertified a few weeks ago, something new came up: Rather than stamping a new date into the collar (as used to be the case), the tester was permitted to apply a label that includes the new date.


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Old 09-01-2010, 02:23 PM   #9
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I have been calling around in my local area (Portland, Oregon) looking for a place that can replace the valves and re-certify my tanks. I have been amazed to discover that it is hard to find such a place. I was referred to a particular propane company by 3 different RV stores only to find out that while they used to do that type of thing they no longer have time to do so.

So I am still looking but having to give more thought to buying new valves and replacing them myself. So if I do end up having to replace them myself what about the certification process?

Thanks,

Malcolm
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:29 PM   #10
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Good news!

I just found a Propane service company that can do the work for me. They say that replacing the valves and re-certifying the tanks would go for about $30 per tank. As long as I call ahead before I go in they can do it while I wait too. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

In case anyone reading this thread is in my area and needs this service the company that I found is the following:

Propane Services - Pacer Propane Portland - 503-829-5560 - Molalla, Oregon

Malcolm
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:47 PM   #11
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That's probably not a bad price. Those valves generally run $15 to $20 each, and open-market recertification often goes for about $10 per bottle. (Our dealer does it for free, but we also buy a couple of thousand gallons of propane from them every year.)


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Old 09-01-2010, 03:09 PM   #12
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I have all kinds of propane tanks--I've yet to have anyone filling them, remotely look for any kind of certification.and I've been camping over 50 years.
replacing the valves has been necessary, and $30 a tank is a fair price.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:00 PM   #13
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I am looking at an Airstream to buy and one of the things that needs to be replaced is the hoses to the propane tanks cause they are leaking. Where can I go buy these things at? I live west of Houston Texas...

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Old 12-01-2010, 09:01 PM   #14
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Several places, RV stores, Propane dealers and Out of Doors Mart.

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Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
I am looking at an Airstream to buy and one of the things that needs to be replaced is the hoses to the propane tanks cause they are leaking. Where can I go buy these things at? I live west of Houston Texas...

BJ
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