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Old 01-24-2008, 12:40 AM   #1
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LP Gas Tanks: Replacing 20# with 30# tanks?

I just bought a new 22' 2007 International after about 6 years without a trailer and my former 32' Excella had 30# tanks. Almost ALL my use is boondocking, often for 6 days at a stretch. In "heating season" the extra gas came in handy.

I am planning to replace the single battery with two AGM's and will have a bracket welded up for them. At the same time I'd like to go to two 30# LP tanks. Has anybody done this on a 22 or 23 ? Is there enough room and will the added weight be a problem on the tongue?

Also, I gather from reading some LP related post that aluminum tanks are the way to go and I am assuming I can order an aluminum replacement tank cover for the larger tanks and get rid of the small plastic one.

Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Old 01-24-2008, 01:08 AM   #2
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Costly project. I just bought 20# tank at Costco for about $22 and I can refill it, or exchange everywhere. Fits under my barbecue as well.
In CA camping 20 lb of propane last me for 2 seasons.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:47 AM   #3
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Greetings-
We replaced our tanks on our Safari 22 with 30# aluminum tanks. I had spent the weekend polishing them and they look great. Once you swith over to the 30# you will have to for-go the cover. But who would want to cover up those shiny babies! You will have to move the LP tray forward about three inches to accomodate the extra tank hight. As for the extra weight on the tongue it is almost an even swap. A 30# aluminum tank is just slightly heavier than a steel 20# when full. As for placing two AGM's on your tonuge, you will really be adding a lot of excessive weight. You should consider placing them back further towards the axle.
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:17 AM   #4
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The aluminum cylinders are made here in Columbus by Worthington Industries. If you contact them they will give you the nearest retailer.

Aluminum LP Gas Cylinders
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:20 AM   #5
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Just remember, the 30# aluminum tanks are taller than the 30# steel tanks.
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:35 AM   #6
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seein as you are willing to spend the money for 2 new tanks--have you thought about a larger horizontal tank? My forklift has one of these, seems as you could mount it closer to the living area below the window on the tongue helping to reduce tongue weight.Just a thought. My LP guy always has used tanks around, lotsa tanks out there, van conversions, moho tanks etc. good luck don't blow anything up!
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
...You will have to move the LP tray forward about three inches to accomodate the extra tank hight. ...
What? I don't get this at all (all five Airstreams I've worked on the tanks were already a few inches forward of the shell--do you mean move them even further forward?). What am I missing?

My initial desire to respond was prompted by the thought "does anyone have manual tongue jacks any more?" My Caravel does--moving the tanks forward would prevent turning the crank. How about when you need to emergency crank the electric jacks? Be careful about the jack-tank relationship!

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Old 01-24-2008, 09:44 AM   #8
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THis is going to cost you. At street prices nearly $1000. The tanks about $550 adn the cover is around $500.

I upgraded from 30s to 40s about a year ago.
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorgunner
seein as you are willing to spend the money for 2 new tanks--have you thought about a larger horizontal tank? My forklift has one of these, seems as you could mount it closer to the living area below the window on the tongue helping to reduce tongue weight.Just a thought. My LP guy always has used tanks around, lotsa tanks out there, van conversions, moho tanks etc. good luck don't blow anything up!
The forklift tanks are not only 8 gallons what is slightly more than 30 lb, but their plumbing is drawing liquid propane. Unusable in any other application.
I know we are willing to pay high price for the looks of our rigs, but I am more practical guy. I don't use lot of propane for my camping, so 2 bigger tanks are already overkill.
Than even if I wanted extra capacity, for abut $70 I can buy 3 smaller tanks and carry one inside, what takes care about weight distribution issue.
Did I mention that 20 lb tanks can be carried by wife to refill station?
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:00 AM   #10
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I don't like messing with them, so the longer I can go between having to, the better I like it. When full, each 30# aluminum tank wieghts about 5# more than a 20# steel tank.
Now, you can go with 30# steel tanks. They hold just as much LP, and cost a lot less, but the tradeoff is they are heavier, and don't look as cool.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Vermont\
Also, I gather from reading some LP related post that aluminum tanks are the way to go.
aesthetically yes, functionally they are the same as steel.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:17 AM   #12
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I would like to see safety ratings on aluminum tanks? Aluminum cracks easily and doesn't have much of mechanical strength.
Mythbuster had a show trying to blew up propane tanks. No "street available" gun or rifle could pierce a hole in steel tank. Took Army high-power rifle to pierce it, but still didn't blew up.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:23 AM   #13
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hi pete and welcome back to airstreaming!

the tank cover can be ordered from a/s (via your dealer)...

the worthington alum tanks are top quality and much easier than steel to handle empty.

the threaded 'tiedown' rod will need to be replaced for the taller tanks.

you'll love the 2 agms and this will greatly extend the available juice.

is there a solar package in your future?

the main issue is CARRY CAPACITY on your 22, it's not much.

the unit has a sticker inside that will give a close approximation but you may still wanna weigh it loaded.

extra capacity is good!

cheers
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1
Mythbuster had a show trying to blew up propane tanks. No "street available" gun or rifle could pierce a hole in steel tank. Took Army high-power rifle to pierce it, but still didn't blew up.
Don't beleive everything you see and hear on TV. We shoot holes in steel LP tanks all the time with our .45's. On the show you are discussing they were shooting a copper fukl metal jacket 9mm. A pretty useless round. No, it will not blow up since a large spark is needed.
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
What? I don't get this at all (all five Airstreams I've worked on the tanks were already a few inches forward of the shell--do you mean move them even further forward?). What am I missing?
Zep
Hi there Zep,
Yes the tanks are mounted a bit away from the front panel, but with the added height of the 30# tanks the were hitting the panel when I first set them in the tray.
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:32 PM   #16
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If it will help, our 2002 19' Bambi came with two 30# steel tanks, so it is highly likely that switching from 20# to 30# tanks will be just fine with your 22'. Several years ago we switched to 30# Worthington aluminum tanks. The tank cover for the steel tanks fits over them perfectly even though the aluminum tanks are a little taller. We did not need to change the tie-down rod, but did change the holding bracket so that there was no need to alter the hold-down crossbar in the cover. We bought our aluminum tanks from Vintage Trailer Supply. A quick check of their website shows that a single 30# aluminum tank (without gauge) costs $159 ( Vintage Trailer Supply - Vintage travel trailer parts and supplies! ).

We use our Bambi in cold weather and have been VERY happy having the extra propane capacity the 30# tanks offer. Remember, when full, each tank weighs 10 lbs more than the 20# tanks. Sounds like a silly reminder, but it is amazing what a difference 10 lbs can make. Of course, the empty weight of the aluminum tanks is wonderful in comparison to steel.
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
Don't beleive everything you see and hear on TV. We shoot holes in steel LP tanks all the time with our .45's. On the show you are discussing they were shooting a copper fukl metal jacket 9mm. A pretty useless round. No, it will not blow up since a large spark is needed.
I know, I know. But better have some multi-sided experiments, than no experiments at all.
I witnessed a "blow up" of commercial 500 gallons propane tank. Forklift operator didn't turn the engine off during fill up, what with leaky hose cost the fire. All that happened was popping up safety door on the top of the tank and since the liquid propane require lot of heat to evaporate, the combustion was self-controlled. Fire Dept evacuated us behind the gate and let it burn. 1 HR later we went back to work.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1
I witnessed a "blow up" of commercial 500 gallons propane tank. Forklift operator didn't turn the engine off during fill up, what with leaky hose cost the fire. Fire Dept evacuated us behind the gate and let it burn. 1 HR later we went back to work.
And there you all stood with your hotdogs and marshmellows at home. What a waste of a perfectly good fire!
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1
I would like to see safety ratings on aluminum tanks? Aluminum cracks easily and doesn't have much of mechanical strength.
Mythbuster had a show trying to blew up propane tanks. No "street available" gun or rifle could pierce a hole in steel tank. Took Army high-power rifle to pierce it, but still didn't blew up.
Actually aluminum is quite ductile. It all depends on the alloy. The stiffer ones are more prone to cracking.
They make Armored cars out of aluminum because it will deform more before breaking than steel.
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:13 AM   #20
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Dear Folks,
I appreciate all the answers, photos and suggestions on new tanks and the batteries. I've copied significant items and pasted them on a "Save" sheet to review as I launch the project.

TWO IMPORTANT POINTS - - I know a little about aluminum alloys, having purchased several thousands of dollars in castings over the years as well as having my local foundry cast a replacement for the propane hold-down bracket supplied with my AS Excella. It had broken in half right through the bolt hole. The foundry owner called the alloy "junk" and made me one that he said was "unbreakable."

Well, I never again had trouble, but I learned that all "aluminum" is different, not only the alloy but in post-production "heat treatment" which toughens it and makes it easier to machine.

Another example is the aluminum used to make fire department aerial ladders, some of which is stronger than steel. In fact, there has NEVER been a structural failure of an aluminum aerial ladder while dozens of steel ladders have failed in the last 20 years.

New York City had TWO steel aerial failures within 12 months about 8 or 9 years ago. (Improper set up and overloading, but they DID fail while the aluminum alloys used for this life-hazard application has greater "toughness" and less tendency to yield under stress.

As to "expensive" comments, isn't that an oxymoron when talking about anything to do with an Airstream? With a new 22-ft International listing at more than $50,000, a couple of tanks and a cover seems like an incidental expenditure. If you're trying to do 5 nights with the heater on and the outside temperature in the low 30's or less, THAT eats up a LOT of propane as I well know from experience.

The last time I ran out of propane at 1 a.m. and 28-degrees, I went looking for a motel room which cost $149. At my age a night of shivering can be the first step to a downward slide from which you don't recover. (I only got to be this old by learning that being cautious means you'll never have to criticize yourself for being foolhardy.)

I mean, does anybody else carry a 406 Mhz Satellite Emergency Locator Transmitter when they go fly fishing 100 yards from a public road? I back that up with a VHF radio about the size of a cigarette pack that has the aircraft emergency frequency pre-programmed. I can call any airplane within 5 miles overhead and also give a rescue helicopter my exact position in case the ELT's GPS signal is off by more than its specified 30-foot radius. Total cost: $925. Value in case of broken leg or heart attack: PRICELESS.

Any of you guys who are over age 65 ought to at least know these options exist. Frankly I can't understand skiers and hikers getting "lost" in the winter wilderness which results in mobilizing hundreds of searchers when this technology exists and is so inexpensive.

All ELT's are registered with NASA so they know WHO's is in distress and what your medical conditions are, as well as WHERE you are within 30-feet. An ELT or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) weighs 14 oz. and the new 406 Mhz. models are picked up by a satellite within 10 minutes, whereas the old system might be picked up twice in 12 hours.

Anyway, that's what I mean by being "cautious." As a US citizen and taxpayer you're paying for the standby teams that will provide worldwide emergency response to a life-threatening situation. I don't think $925 total (or $600 just for the ELT/PLB) is too much to pay to join the system.
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