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Old 01-10-2020, 07:18 AM   #1
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Refilling 40# (72#) tank tips

I’ve been practicing camping in my driveway and trying everything out. I’ve been running my heater a fair amount and my LPG reads 37%. In anticipation of needing to refill my two 40# LPG tanks (I read they weight 72# fully filled which I will want), any tips for the exchange to keep from getting a hernia?
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:33 AM   #2
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Tow the trailer to Tractor Supply or any other refilling station and let them wrestle with the tanks.

Or if you are in an area where propane is regularly used as fuel, check to see if you can get on a delivery schedule. A restaurant that has 250 lb. Tanks out back would have the name of their supplier on the tanks.

Install a ramp and safety straps on your truck and get a dolly to push the tanks up into the bed.

Learn how to safely refill tanks. Make a double-ended hose and using 20 lb bottles, refill your 50s in place. Probably illegal, so fergit this one. I saw a post here in 2006 or so from someone who actually refilled his tiny "one use" barbeque bottles this way... but only for 3 uses. Urk!
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:51 AM   #3
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I agree that Tractor Supply has been the best for refilling propane. They manhandle the tanks, they only charge you for what the put in(not a flat fee), and they won't even let you in the fenced area while they are refilling. Although I take my 30's to them, their lot is big enough to just take the trailer over there.

Larry
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
I agree that Tractor Supply has been the best for refilling propane. They manhandle the tanks, they only charge you for what the put in(not a flat fee), and they won't even let you in the fenced area while they are refilling. Although I take my 30's to them, their lot is big enough to just take the trailer over there.

Larry
Good to know. Thanks.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:27 AM   #5
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We have a Tractor Supply near us but check with them before you drag your tanks or Airstream over to them. Not all of their outlets have propane filling availability. The one near me only offers tank exchanges.

I do have another local business which is about 15 miles from my home. They charge per gallon used to refill. Most of my local fill outlets however charge by the tank which is a ripoff if you still have propane left in your tank. I tend fill when ever I get an empty tank unless I know I'm out at the time of year where there will be significant furnace use. In those cases I will drive to that outlet that charges per gallon and top off the tank which is currently in use. For all intents I always have one full tank as reserve before I leave on any trip.

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Old 01-10-2020, 09:40 AM   #6
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Heavy Tank & Generator Lifting - Possible Solution

If the lifting of heavier propane tanks and other heavy items is starting to cause problems or back strain concerns, you might want to consider a bed crane for your truck. Northern Tools has a small, low profile truck be crane that goes for a few bucks over the $100.00 mark and weighs about 60 pounds per the website. It goes in one back corner of your truck bed and the mounting plate bolts through the bed. The crane seems to have the capability of 1000 pounds of lift (only 500 at full height and extension) and enough height capability to swing a tank or generator into the truck bed. It stows over the wheel well and under a tonneau height when not in use - or you could probably dismount it when at home if it is not needed there. https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...2540_200672540
Northern does sell other cranes at different price points and features, but this seems to be the lightest and easiest to stow.
If you are pushing the load limit or your tow truck, this might not be a good option.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:41 AM   #7
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I back my truck up to the tank, drop the tailgate, unhook the empty tank, tilt it to the tailgate, grab the bottom ring and slide it into the bed. Tie it down and same procedure of sliding the tank to the ground, roll the tank on the tilted bottom rim if you have to move it but I have found the guys at the filling station will do the offloading and loading without even being asked. When offloading the full tank at the AS I maneuver the full tank to the edge of the tailgate and guide the bottom of the tank sliding it down to its home on the tongue and tilt it upright. Using leverage, you never have to pick up the full weight of the bottle.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:44 AM   #8
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Forty pound propane tanks actually only weigh about 45-50 pounds when filled. Filled, they actually don't really weigh that much more than a filled 30 pound steel tank.
I replaced my 30 pound tanks with 2 new aluminum 40 pound tanks and they are feather light.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I assume the Classics with 40 pound tanks are aluminum?? If not, that would be a good option.
I bought mine from Vintage Trailer Supply and paid @ $510.00 for 2-40# tanks, which included the shipping. The tanks are actually drop shipped from Worthington. Adding readout gauges is another $70.00/tank.
I originally ordered the tanks with the gauges but Worthington sent tanks with no gauges and I just decided to keep those rather than going through the hassle of returning them and waiting another few weeks for the replacements.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:55 AM   #9
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The real shame with the 40 lb aluminum tanks is that they are subject to the same inspection rules as the cheaper steel tanks. Once you get that mandatory 10 year certification check, you then are put on a 5 year certification cycle. It's a real pain since even those doing the certifications will tell you that the aluminum tanks really don't deteriorate like the steel tanks and should have a much longer certification period.

Jack
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rspecialk View Post
I’ve been practicing camping in my driveway and trying everything out. I’ve been running my heater a fair amount and my LPG reads 37%. In anticipation of needing to refill my two 40# LPG tanks (I read they weight 72# fully filled which I will want), any tips for the exchange to keep from getting a hernia?
Most common answer, have the wife do it.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:38 AM   #11
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You are correct it is a pain to deal with the 10 year then 5 yr cert cycle. Might be better to get 30lb tanks and just carry a spare instead of dealing with the 40# tanks. 30lb is all I can lift and if you are female anything over a 20# tank will be a struggle.





Perry



Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
The real shame with the 40 lb aluminum tanks is that they are subject to the same inspection rules as the cheaper steel tanks. Once you get that mandatory 10 year certification check, you then are put on a 5 year certification cycle. It's a real pain since even those doing the certifications will tell you that the aluminum tanks really don't deteriorate like the steel tanks and should have a much longer certification period.

Jack
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:44 AM   #12
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I made the suggestion to my wife that she should change the heavy propane tanks. The swelling should go down within a week, and the doctor says I should be walking unassisted by the end of the month. At this point in time, the weight of the propane tanks is no longer my most pertinent issue......so I guess that’s a win!
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:33 AM   #13
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The worst is U Haul, about twice the price charged by Tractor Supply.
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Camr View Post
I made the suggestion to my wife that she should change the heavy propane tanks. The swelling should go down within a week, and the doctor says I should be walking unassisted by the end of the month. At this point in time, the weight of the propane tanks is no longer my most pertinent issue......so I guess that’s a win!
Well done Camr!

By any chance is your wife Italian? According to the guys from Car Talk, their Italian mother was a pro at delivering the "dope slap". May Tommy rest in peace...
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:53 AM   #15
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Foiled Again, is RIGHT AGAIN!!

"Learn how to safely refill tanks. Make a double-ended hose and using 20 lb bottles, refill your 50s in place. Probably illegal, so fergit this one. I saw a post here in 2006 or so from someone who actually refilled his tiny "one use" barbeque bottles this way... but only for 3 uses. Urk!"

Not that I would ever suggest doing this, but I've seen folks use a POL to POL fitting hose, you connect one end to a 20# gas grill tank, the other to the tank you wish to fill. Turn the gas grill tank "upside-down" so it will draw liquid propane out of the tank not vapor. Open both tank valves, while also cracking open the vent on the tank to be filled (will lower the pressure in that tank) When the tank if full that you are filling, it will start to "spit" propane. Turn off all valves including vent. Discount everything and you're done!

To speed up the filling process, place the tank to be filled in the shade and the tank supplying the propane in the sun (cooling one, heating the other) for a few hours before transfer of propane. This will increase the pressure in one, lower pressure in the other.

Youtube is full of video's.

Again, not recommending anyone but a licensed propane person should try doing this at home.

Enjoy,
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:21 PM   #16
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Well done Camr!



By any chance is your wife Italian? According to the guys from Car Talk, their Italian mother was a pro at delivering the "dope slap". May Tommy rest in peace...


Yup. Miss the “Tappet Brothers” a lot. Tommy was taken from us way too soon. RIP Tommy.

My long gone Austrian grandmother’s “dope slap” was every bit as effective. She only had to lay one on me once!
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Old 01-10-2020, 02:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
I agree that Tractor Supply has been the best for refilling propane. They manhandle the tanks, they only charge you for what the put in(not a flat fee), and they won't even let you in the fenced area while they are refilling. Although I take my 30's to them, their lot is big enough to just take the trailer over there.

Larry
Ditto, always have gotten friendly service while there as well.
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Old 01-10-2020, 04:29 PM   #18
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When connecting full bottle to empty same size, will only transfer equal level to each other not fill empty full
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Old 01-10-2020, 06:35 PM   #19
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Convert to composite bottles. 1/2 the weight of steel tanks.
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:41 PM   #20
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The tare weight of a steel 40 lb Worthington tank is 28.7 lb while that of the same size aluminum tank is 19.5 lb. While you save a bit more than 10 lbs by switching to an aluminum tank (at a significant cost), you are still needing to muscle around almost 60 lb when full. Many are recommending lighter weight tanks. In my mind, you should be focusing on managing the heaver element in this equation, the propane.

My question is, do you really need to haul around 80 lb of propane? The two biggest consumers of propane by BTU on a trailer is the forced air heater and the hot water heater (cooking stove and refrigerator are minimal, by comparison). Unless you do a lot a cold weather camping without an electrical hookup for hot water heater or run a competitive BBQ rig from your auxiliary propane port, consider downsizing to a pair of 20 lb tanks.

Being the much more ubiquitous size, 20 lb steel tanks are much cheaper to purchase on a cost per unit volume than any other size. Plus, in a pinch, if you run out of propane when the typical refill places are all closed, you can go to most any Walmart, grocery store or gas station to do an even exchange (always check the date on the exchange tank).

Cheaper alternative may be just to have your tanks short filled to a manageable weight. This may be problematic at some refill locations, as many are becoming lazy and are not filling by weight but letting the overfill protection feature of the OPD valve let them know that it is full. They have lost the skill set to fill by weight that they used to need. Also, many charge a flat fee for the size of the tank, no matter how much they put into it and require you to pay the full volume of the tank.


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