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Old 09-26-2016, 10:44 AM   #1
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Squarestreams

The history of the Airstream Land Yacht 1989 - 1992


This article was written and compiled by AIR Forums member and squarestream owner Jimmini.* Several in-depth and on-going discussions are available on the Air Forums about this subject.*
Many improvements and upgrades to Airstream travel trailers where often tried first on Argosy travel trailers (made by Airstream) and if successful, were incorporated into the Airstream trailer line. Experimental Argosy Trailers were first produced 1972 -1979 and were similar to Airstreams in construction and shape. The Argosy line was easily distinguishable from Airstream as the trailer body was painted tan. In 1986, Thor Industries introduced the first square Argosy trailer and followed with the first Argosy Fifth wheel in 1988.

This new Argosy trailer body had a squarish bonded aluminum sidewall skin made from a special alloy and tension leveled for smoothness. The skin was then permanently bonded to the structural cage with a proven space age adhesive and painted beige. These square Argosy trailers where produced through 1988.
In 1989 Thor Industries produced*trailers similar to the Argosy, painted them silver and branded them as the Land Yacht. Airstreamers were not amused and called it a squarestream and would not allow owners of the new Land Yacht into the Airstream club (WBCCI). They were rejected because their coach wasn’t acceptable, shunned at Airstream get-togethers, called the "Airstream Edsel" and even the "New Formula Coke." They did not sell well, perhaps because when originally introduced in 1986, these trailers were priced well below the classic Airstream and often considered an inferior product. As time went on, the price rose and by 1991 the price for Land Yacht matched that of the classic Airstream. A typical MSRP for a Land Yacht in 1989 was $30,355.00. Not many units were made, perhaps as few as 289 and 1991 was the last production year for the squarestream.
The 1989 and 1990 Land Yacht exterior was painted with baked enamel finish that required the same care you would give you car. Paint was Dupont Silver poly, PTJ-DBU 34651, Centauri 441-46-A and Smoke PPG-DBU 3843. On the 1989 Land Yacht the blue Airstream stripe ran from the door around to the other side in the same area just below the windows. On the 1990 the strip ran from the front of the trailer to the back of the trailer just below the windows and another blue stripe from the front to the rear just below the roof joint seal.
The 1989 and 1990 travel trailer had options for twin beds and double doors on trailers equipped with a double bed. They were manufactured in 27 ft, 29 ft, 32 ft and 33ft with front kitchen. The 1989 Land Yacht Owner’s Manual was printed on plain heavy paper with at least one page that still said Argosy instead of Airstream on it. Similar Airstream publications for the 1989 Classic Excella and Limited where printed on heavy glossy paper. Both the Land Yacht and classics came in the "Airstream Silver Key Delivery" 3 ring binder. The Land Yacht owners package did not include any of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International information for membership that was traditionally included with other Airstream owner packets. WBCCI annual membership dues were $25.00 at that time.

The Argosy/ Airstream 35 foot fifth wheel was built in 1988 as an Argosy and in 1989 as an Airstream Land Yacht. Only about 125 fifth wheel trailers where made and only 5 with one slide out on the left side. 1989 was the last production year for Land Yacht fifth wheel models. The dry weight for this trailer was 9100 lbs, Hitch Weight 2000lbs and GVWR was 11,000 lbs.

Both the travel trailer and the 5th wheel trailer had vehicle recalls in Canada. Recall #1996152 read:* "All vehicles require bilingual GAWR and GVWR on VIN label. Travel trailers require front and rear clearance lights. Fifth wheel trailers need lower front side reflex reflector and front and rear clearance lights. Correction: Labels will be replaced on all vehicles and clearance lights and reflectors will be added to trailers."

In 1996 and 1997 Thor tried the fifth wheel market again with the "Integrity" By Airstream. This trailer was a laminated fifth wheel looking very much like a re-badged Dutchmen fifth wheel. Interestingly, Thor Industries Inc. annual report dated 10/16/1996,*Airstream section read; ".....It also manufacturers "Integrity" laminated fifth wheels." This trailer has been referred to by some as a "Tupperware trailer". It was made with two slide-outs on the left side and came in 30, 32 and 36 foot models.
In 1989 Airstream brochure "Innovative Technological Leadership" included the following information:* "Airstream Land Yacht are perhaps the first truly innovative travel trailers engineered from the ground up to be better than the competition. Designed for easy tow ability with a full bodied interior for unsurpassed livability. They are tested for long term durability at the Transportation Research Center in Ohio. With Airstreams 55 years of experience, they are built to have higher resale value and last longer than their competition, yet are incomparably designed for comfort and livability. Land yacht used the leading edge of modern aerodynamic design with smooth flush-fit construction techniques and gentle flowing contours. The result is better gas mileage, noticeable better handling under towing and a trailer that is easier to maintain. Compare Land Yacht’s unique features and important extras against any other travel trailer in their price class. Compare their kick-off-your-shoes comfort and value down the road. When you do you’ll move up to a new standard-the all new Land Yacht."* Coach descriptions included:

"Structural Strength*- Part of the Land Yachts superior durability comes from an internal structural cage made of specially extruded aluminum far thicker than those used on any competitions trailer, welded for additional strength and firmly attached to the chassis. It is significantly more curved at the corners and the sides than a conventional trailer to improve aerodynamics and handling."
"Heavy Duty Chassis*- An extremely rugged chassis made of high strength steel alloy rolled to exacting specifications was designed specifically for use on the Land Yacht . An aluminum skin and 2 ½" of fiberglass insulation beneath, provide improved aerodynamics and weather protection. With ½" Blandex floor above it form a solid base on which all else rides." *(*note the frame was 5" high when most Airstream trailers where 4")
"Integrated Gas Bottles and Spare Tire Storage**- Unique horizontal placement of the gas bottles within the A frame provided maximum protection and insulation from severe weather. By mounting bottles lower than on other trailers and on rollers they were easier to remove and replace. The sculptured bottle cover enhanced overall aerodynamics and improved the front end appearance. Protected under the A frame extension to the front of the trailer the spare tire easily cranked up or down for maximum convenience. Other manufacturers might not have thought of this, but at Airstream we did."
"Holding Tanks - The water holding tanks integrated into the sub-floor assembly are insulated and warmed by interior heat from above to reduce the possibility of freezing."
"Incomparable Suspension - Our Dura Torque axle is the best handling rubber torsion suspension in the world with fewer working parts and ground clearance than conventional axles. Even if a tire goes flat and must be removed a Land Yacht can still be towed a short distance, thanks to its Dura Torque axle which prevents the hubs from touching the ground. Along with the lowest maintenance it also absorbs 50% more road vibration for increased vehicle durability."
"Advanced Construction - Our exclusive Monoloc process joins the aluminum roof and sidewalls with unbelievable precision. Like all seams on the Land Yacht the result is a double seal leak free bond with greater strength and the ability to distribute forces over the entire body. This results in a trailer with better fit of internal furniture and components with enhanced long term durability. The exterior aluminum sidewall skin double the thickness of some other trailer is a special alloy, tension leveled for smoothness. The skin is then permanently bonded with a proven space age adhesive to the structural cage."
In 1991 the Land Yacht again underwent change when the aluminum was changed to new high-gloss fiberglass. From the Airstream brochure: "The Airstream Land Yacht travel trailer is back – all new and better than ever. New high-gloss fiberglass construction gives you greater strength, easier maintenance, and lower cost. In addition to all the Land Yacht standard features, you get these great new features for 1991: Dometic Air Conditioner with heat strip,*Easy-lift Blinds, Hinged Horizontal Bottle Cover, All-new Recessed Stone Guard."
The 1991 Land Yacht came in 29 and 33 foot models*with option for double door on models with double/queen beds. The other option was twin beds. The 33' model had a front kitchen and dinette. Airstream brochure read "Watch for the 26' Land Yacht Travel Trailer coming soon" however it is unclear if any were ever actually manufactured.

Update
We found the 26 FT Fiberglass Squarestream also 2 1989 34 FT 3 axle
Photos
(1) 1989 29 FT Squarestream
(2) 1989 34 FT 3 Axle Squarestream
(3) 1992 26 FT Fiberglass Squarestream
(4) 1989 5th wheel Squarestream
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:41 AM   #2
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Great history - thanks for putting on the forum!!
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:57 PM   #3
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1988 29' Argosy
Portland , Oregon
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Square stream LP gas cylinders

Hello,

We have a 1988 Argosy 29' Squarestream. We need to replace the LP gas cylinders due to their age. Anyone have any suggestions where I can purchase replacements?

Thanks in advance.

Bob Sharp
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Old 05-14-2017, 08:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sharpest8666 View Post
Hello,

We have a 1988 Argosy 29' Squarestream. We need to replace the LP gas cylinders due to their age. Anyone have any suggestions where I can purchase replacements?

Thanks in advance.

Bob Sharp
Can you not get them certified?
Should be able to if they are not damaged. I just had my 1989 ones done.
There are some steel horizontal bottles in the market but have feet on them the make them hard to mount.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:14 PM   #5
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Thank you for the prompt reply. I was told that could not get them recertified. I am a bit of a novice at this so I may have been misinformed. Do you know the name of the tanks you mentioned that might be a replacement?
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:31 PM   #6
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Too few people know anything about horizontal propane bottles. The fittings on them are completely different than vertical tanks. Most RV service providers have never seen horizontal tanks, and I've found NONE that can fill them. I have original horizontal tanks on my '89 trailer.

Certification is necessary for small vertical tanks made for casual use. Horizontal tanks use the same fittings found on residential tanks, and don't require frequent certification that the vertical tanks need.

I always fill my tanks at the lot where I store my trailer. If I'm on a trip and need a refill, I go to a commercial propane supplier. My last fill on the road I got at a U-Haul lot. I have found ZERO truck stops, gas stations, farm supplies, hardware stores, RV service providers, etc that are equipped to fill horizontal tanks.

Any one who does not have the proper equipment to fill your horizontal tank is unqualified to instruct you on the whys and wherefores of your tanks. This means I'm unqualified to give advice to you too. So look up the services of a commercial propane supplier. Either they will tell you where you can get the tanks you need, or they can recertify them, or likely they will just fill them for you and send you on your way with the assurance that your tanks are just fine.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:52 PM   #7
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Regarding Squarestreams:

When my wife told me she wanted a trailer, I immediately said it would be a vintage Airstream; something fully depreciated with substantial residual value. Then I went on the hunt. During exhaustive research I stumbled upon Squarestream and fell immediately in love with it. THIS THIS is what a trailer should be!!! But why were they so maligned??? Why did they stop making them?? What a shame they are so few. I guess Airstream owners are more loyal to tradition than to innovative design. Fortunately it wasn't long before I also discovered Avion, which has much more in common with Squarestream than it does with traditional Airstream.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:42 AM   #8
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1988 29' Argosy
Portland , Oregon
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Thank you for the advice but unfortunately, my original LP tanks are history.

I have been storing the Squarestream at an indoor facility here in Portland for the last 2 + years. This storage facility stores several hundred RV and classic cars. They have their own in-house service center and I have had them do some work on my unit and was very satisfied. Recently, I had them do a once over before the summer camping season. I also asked them to fill the propane tanks. I was told the tanks were too old to fill or even recertify and could be a real danger. They recommended I get rid of them ASAP, which I did.

I will check with the local propane dealers here in Portland to see if they can help.

Thanks again.

Bob
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:42 AM   #9
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1988 29' Argosy
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Originally Posted by jimmini View Post
Can you not get them certified?
Should be able to if they are not damaged. I just had my 1989 ones done.
There are some steel horizontal bottles in the market but have feet on them the make them hard to mount.
Jim,

I have a favor to ask of you. I called Airstream headquarters earlier today to asked about these LP tanks. The lady I spoke to in the parts department was very knowledgeable about these tanks and of course, they have none in stock. However, she did give the name of the manufacturer which is Worthington Industries and their phone number. I called the RV LP tank division and left a long voice mail and just got a callback. The guy spoke thought they might be able to help but needs measurements and a picture of the tanks. Any chance you could email a picture and those measurements to me? Besides the length, he asked for a measurement around the collar. I would be very grateful if you can do this. My email address sharp@itmls.com My phone number is (503) 901-1891

Thank you in advance.

Bob Sharp
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:53 PM   #10
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1988 29' Argosy
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Email address problems

I understand that emails sent to me have bounced. Please resend as the problem has been fixed. (I hope) Sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. My email company upgraded their software and I had to change some of my settings.
Somedays everything works and some not so much. Too much technology.

Please resend your email to me at sharp@itmls.com or your can use forsharp@yahoo.com which I know will work.


Thanks for your help.

Bob Sharp
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmini View Post
The history of the Airstream Land Yacht 1989 - 1992


This article was written and compiled by AIR Forums member and squarestream owner Jimmini.* Several in-depth and on-going discussions are available on the Air Forums about this subject.*
Many improvements and upgrades to Airstream travel trailers where often tried first on Argosy travel trailers (made by Airstream) and if successful, were incorporated into the Airstream trailer line. Experimental Argosy Trailers were first produced 1972 -1979 and were similar to Airstreams in construction and shape. The Argosy line was easily distinguishable from Airstream as the trailer body was painted tan. In 1986, Thor Industries introduced the first square Argosy trailer and followed with the first Argosy Fifth wheel in 1988.

This new Argosy trailer body had a squarish bonded aluminum sidewall skin made from a special alloy and tension leveled for smoothness. The skin was then permanently bonded to the structural cage with a proven space age adhesive and painted beige. These square Argosy trailers where produced through 1988.
In 1989 Thor Industries produced*trailers similar to the Argosy, painted them silver and branded them as the Land Yacht. Airstreamers were not amused and called it a squarestream and would not allow owners of the new Land Yacht into the Airstream club (WBCCI). They were rejected because their coach wasn’t acceptable, shunned at Airstream get-togethers, called the "Airstream Edsel" and even the "New Formula Coke." They did not sell well, perhaps because when originally introduced in 1986, these trailers were priced well below the classic Airstream and often considered an inferior product. As time went on, the price rose and by 1991 the price for Land Yacht matched that of the classic Airstream. A typical MSRP for a Land Yacht in 1989 was $30,355.00. Not many units were made, perhaps as few as 289 and 1991 was the last production year for the squarestream.
The 1989 and 1990 Land Yacht exterior was painted with baked enamel finish that required the same care you would give you car. Paint was Dupont Silver poly, PTJ-DBU 34651, Centauri 441-46-A and Smoke PPG-DBU 3843. On the 1989 Land Yacht the blue Airstream stripe ran from the door around to the other side in the same area just below the windows. On the 1990 the strip ran from the front of the trailer to the back of the trailer just below the windows and another blue stripe from the front to the rear just below the roof joint seal.
The 1989 and 1990 travel trailer had options for twin beds and double doors on trailers equipped with a double bed. They were manufactured in 27 ft, 29 ft, 32 ft and 33ft with front kitchen. The 1989 Land Yacht Owner’s Manual was printed on plain heavy paper with at least one page that still said Argosy instead of Airstream on it. Similar Airstream publications for the 1989 Classic Excella and Limited where printed on heavy glossy paper. Both the Land Yacht and classics came in the "Airstream Silver Key Delivery" 3 ring binder. The Land Yacht owners package did not include any of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International information for membership that was traditionally included with other Airstream owner packets. WBCCI annual membership dues were $25.00 at that time.

The Argosy/ Airstream 35 foot fifth wheel was built in 1988 as an Argosy and in 1989 as an Airstream Land Yacht. Only about 125 fifth wheel trailers where made and only 5 with one slide out on the left side. 1989 was the last production year for Land Yacht fifth wheel models. The dry weight for this trailer was 9100 lbs, Hitch Weight 2000lbs and GVWR was 11,000 lbs.

Both the travel trailer and the 5th wheel trailer had vehicle recalls in Canada. Recall #1996152 read:* "All vehicles require bilingual GAWR and GVWR on VIN label. Travel trailers require front and rear clearance lights. Fifth wheel trailers need lower front side reflex reflector and front and rear clearance lights. Correction: Labels will be replaced on all vehicles and clearance lights and reflectors will be added to trailers."

In 1996 and 1997 Thor tried the fifth wheel market again with the "Integrity" By Airstream. This trailer was a laminated fifth wheel looking very much like a re-badged Dutchmen fifth wheel. Interestingly, Thor Industries Inc. annual report dated 10/16/1996,*Airstream section read; ".....It also manufacturers "Integrity" laminated fifth wheels." This trailer has been referred to by some as a "Tupperware trailer". It was made with two slide-outs on the left side and came in 30, 32 and 36 foot models.
In 1989 Airstream brochure "Innovative Technological Leadership" included the following information:* "Airstream Land Yacht are perhaps the first truly innovative travel trailers engineered from the ground up to be better than the competition. Designed for easy tow ability with a full bodied interior for unsurpassed livability. They are tested for long term durability at the Transportation Research Center in Ohio. With Airstreams 55 years of experience, they are built to have higher resale value and last longer than their competition, yet are incomparably designed for comfort and livability. Land yacht used the leading edge of modern aerodynamic design with smooth flush-fit construction techniques and gentle flowing contours. The result is better gas mileage, noticeable better handling under towing and a trailer that is easier to maintain. Compare Land Yacht’s unique features and important extras against any other travel trailer in their price class. Compare their kick-off-your-shoes comfort and value down the road. When you do you’ll move up to a new standard-the all new Land Yacht."* Coach descriptions included:

"Structural Strength*- Part of the Land Yachts superior durability comes from an internal structural cage made of specially extruded aluminum far thicker than those used on any competitions trailer, welded for additional strength and firmly attached to the chassis. It is significantly more curved at the corners and the sides than a conventional trailer to improve aerodynamics and handling."
"Heavy Duty Chassis*- An extremely rugged chassis made of high strength steel alloy rolled to exacting specifications was designed specifically for use on the Land Yacht . An aluminum skin and 2 ½" of fiberglass insulation beneath, provide improved aerodynamics and weather protection. With ½" Blandex floor above it form a solid base on which all else rides." *(*note the frame was 5" high when most Airstream trailers where 4")
"Integrated Gas Bottles and Spare Tire Storage**- Unique horizontal placement of the gas bottles within the A frame provided maximum protection and insulation from severe weather. By mounting bottles lower than on other trailers and on rollers they were easier to remove and replace. The sculptured bottle cover enhanced overall aerodynamics and improved the front end appearance. Protected under the A frame extension to the front of the trailer the spare tire easily cranked up or down for maximum convenience. Other manufacturers might not have thought of this, but at Airstream we did."
"Holding Tanks - The water holding tanks integrated into the sub-floor assembly are insulated and warmed by interior heat from above to reduce the possibility of freezing."
"Incomparable Suspension - Our Dura Torque axle is the best handling rubber torsion suspension in the world with fewer working parts and ground clearance than conventional axles. Even if a tire goes flat and must be removed a Land Yacht can still be towed a short distance, thanks to its Dura Torque axle which prevents the hubs from touching the ground. Along with the lowest maintenance it also absorbs 50% more road vibration for increased vehicle durability."
"Advanced Construction - Our exclusive Monoloc process joins the aluminum roof and sidewalls with unbelievable precision. Like all seams on the Land Yacht the result is a double seal leak free bond with greater strength and the ability to distribute forces over the entire body. This results in a trailer with better fit of internal furniture and components with enhanced long term durability. The exterior aluminum sidewall skin double the thickness of some other trailer is a special alloy, tension leveled for smoothness. The skin is then permanently bonded with a proven space age adhesive to the structural cage."
In 1991 the Land Yacht again underwent change when the aluminum was changed to new high-gloss fiberglass. From the Airstream brochure: "The Airstream Land Yacht travel trailer is back – all new and better than ever. New high-gloss fiberglass construction gives you greater strength, easier maintenance, and lower cost. In addition to all the Land Yacht standard features, you get these great new features for 1991: Dometic Air Conditioner with heat strip,*Easy-lift Blinds, Hinged Horizontal Bottle Cover, All-new Recessed Stone Guard."
The 1991 Land Yacht came in 29 and 33 foot models*with option for double door on models with double/queen beds. The other option was twin beds. The 33' model had a front kitchen and dinette. Airstream brochure read "Watch for the 26' Land Yacht Travel Trailer coming soon" however it is unclear if any were ever actually manufactured.

Update
We found the 26 FT Fiberglass Squarestream also 2 1989 34 FT 3 axle
Photos
(1) 1989 29 FT Squarestream
(2) 1989 34 FT 3 Axle Squarestream
(3) 1992 26 FT Fiberglass Squarestream
(4) 1989 5th wheel Squarestream
Thanks for the great write-up and history. I kind of like these things and would like to look at one in detail, especially the interior layout and headroom without rounded corners.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:50 PM   #12
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Here is what I have below.DO NOT go to a refill place go to a propane supplier to them,they know what it is all about and do the cert on them.
I now carry two 5 gal one to keep going when I have to deal with folks that refill only and do not know what is right or wrong.
Here in California the RV palace that fills mine dose not have the fitting to fill them because the commies here fine them if they still have the old type fill fitting.BUT I have made a fitting that he can fill them with,since it is legal to fill them.
I HATE THIS PLACE CALLED ATWATER CALIFORNIA why would anyone live here.To cable TV,No internet service,poor roads high price on gas,food,always drive in the rt lane,come down the on ramps at 30 MPH to join 70 MPH traffic ,TAX TAX TAX they know more ways to get your money than a room full of layers. Guess that is why I am working here because they cant get anyone wants to live or work here. I was born California and when I turned 18 I left in 1953 because it was a nut state then. They just don't get it, just like going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
SORRY Silver life

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f419...s-39537-3.html
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:55 AM   #13
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I put in 2 al 40 pound fork lift tanks, had to remove stop plate to fit them in, take them out
to fill them standing up works like a charm
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