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Old 07-10-2011, 05:57 PM   #1
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Worthington 30# bottle gauge

I just ran through my first bottle of gas. The gauge on the tank worked normally throughout the full tank rundown and showed empty when I took it in to be refilled.

After refilling, the gauge still shows empty. The other full tank has a "rattle/ticking" noise when moved to it's side and returned upright.

The one I just got refilled does not. Makes be think the float is stuck. I've tried shaking it around bouncing it in the yard, both upright and upside down, tapped it with a rubber hammer and a wooden screwdriver handle.
Still no float noise and no gauge.

Has anyone encountered this and been able to free it up?
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:31 PM   #2
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Now you know why it's outright forbidden for fillers to rely on gauges of that kind.

Lynn
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:36 PM   #3
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Oh, I knew that before....any suggestions on freeing it up?

BTW, I switched the indicators from one tank to the other and the full one went to empty on the tank I just refilled and the empty one went to full on the "good" bottle. So, I believe it is definitely a stuck float.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:40 PM   #4
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If you do hear anything, it'd probably be from the float on the OPD valve. But when cylinders are full, they don't bounce around very much.

Generally speaking, when an OPD float is stuck, it's always in the "up" position, disallowing me to fill the tank. Just a couple of bumps on the ground frees it up.

Are you sure those gauges employ a float valve? Or is it just a pressure-sensitive device?


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Old 07-10-2011, 06:58 PM   #5
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If you do hear anything, it'd probably be from the float on the OPD valve. But when cylinders are full, they don't bounce around very much.

Generally speaking, when an OPD float is stuck, it's always in the "up" position, disallowing me to fill the tank. Just a couple of bumps on the ground frees it up.

Are you sure those gauges employ a float valve? Or is it just a pressure-sensitive device?


Lynn
Yeah, I did a search and found pics of the level gauge out of the tank. It is a long tube which extends down the tank, with a float on an arm. The float arm TWISTS a rod running up the tube. It has a magnet on the top and the indicator has a magnet on the bottom. The magnetic force moves the needle as the float rises and falls.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Ah, a twisting movement. Maybe that's why just bonking it on the ground wouldn't free it up. The problem would be to come up with the kind of movement that would free it up (short of using up the rest of the propane in the cylinder and just removing the gauge to fiddle with it).

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Old 07-10-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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It is a normal up and down float movement. The vertical motion is transferred to a rotation of a vertical shaft through a gear(?). Although, looking at the pics again, they are of an older non-opd valve system. I am assuming the newer ones work the same way.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:58 PM   #8
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Do the propane filling stations have the ability to remove the propane from my full tank?
I can get the needle to move in increments if it hold it in a certain position and hit the bottom stand ring. It appears it's not a hung float, but rather a binding mechanism. I need to empty the tank and remove the sending unit.

I have an email off to Worthington to see if they can shed any light on the subject.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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Depends on their staffing and licensing, the latter depending on local state regulations. Here in NM, fillers holding only the "LP9 license" (e.g., people like me) are not permitted muck around with cylinders. Ah, well, I can muck around with my own cylinders all I want; I just can't muck around with anybody else's cylinders.


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Do the propane filling stations have the ability to remove the propane from my full tank?...
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:28 PM   #10
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Depends on their staffing and licensing, the latter depending on local state regulations. Here in NM, fillers holding only the "LP9 license" (e.g., people like me) are not permitted muck around with cylinders. Ah, well, I can muck around with my own cylinders all I want; I just can't muck around with anybody else's cylinders.


Lynn
"mucking around"...is that a technical term in the propane industry?

Does that mean you can't empty a tank at a regular hardware store filling station?

I'll "muck" around with the empty tank myself.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:36 PM   #11
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Probably not at a hardware store. Much more likely at a propane company. But it may be the easiest just to put the thing back on the rig and use it until it's bone dry, then get it done without the hassle of getting a lot of propane out of the cylinder.

Mucking around is what I do! On the MG, on the Airstream, on the "normal" vehicles, on other people's rigs, on the park, the whole kittenkabootle.


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Old 07-11-2011, 02:40 PM   #12
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OK, Eubank, I'm done mucking around. Took the bottle to a fully certified Propane distributor. After he just vented my WHOLE 30# into the atmosphere (I coulda done that at home, but the neighbors would have call the FD probably) $30 up in vapor!!! We pulled the sending unit and found no issue with it. The arm moved freely with gravity whilst turning it upside down and right side up and everywhere in between. The float arm seemed a little stiffer than used ones he had laying around out of various other configurations, but nothing serious. Reinstalled it in a slightly more clockwise position than OEM, thinking we had some interference with the OPD valve and float, and it moved freely whilst turning the empty tank all around.

Refilled it and it sticks at empty. BUT, now I can jostle it and make it move to full. I am thinking it's just a little tight. We didn't want to mess, I mean muck, with the pivot pin, as this is a common failure point on a lot of the ones he had on his bench.

Apparently the float and arm can overcome road vibrations plus gravity and read accurately while level is decreasing, but can't overcome gravity minus bouyancy till it wears in some more. The float had no "waterlogged" issues.
At least I can now make it go full after filling. And he only charged me for the refill. All in all, I can't complain about that, I guess.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:56 PM   #13
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I would certainly complain about venting that much propane into the atmosphere! Remember that that's liquid propane in those cylinders, and that it expands 270 times when it boils into a gaseous state!

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Old 07-11-2011, 07:01 PM   #14
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I would certainly complain about venting that much propane into the atmosphere! Remember that that's liquid propane in those cylinders, and that it expands 270 times when it boils into a gaseous state!

Lynn
I Know! Seems like there should be a way to suck it out through the intake of a gas compressor and pump it back into their bulk tank, but he said not????
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