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Old 11-16-2016, 11:20 AM   #1
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Adding vapor service to forklift tanks

Bit of a propane noob here, figuring stuff out googling best I can, but the vendors' CS reps aren't forthcoming with answers to end-users with unusual use cases.

​I will be having our propane dealer (currently Tractor Supply) do all the fitting and installation, have them train us on the (yes I know critical) safety procedures etc, but I really want to know what I'm doing, have the list of fittings ready before I approach the certified techs, or they're likely to turn me down for liability red flags.

I want to purchase new 43.5# aluminum tanks designed for fueling forklifts, and repurpose for vapor service by adding a standard 1-1/4″ ACME/FPOL Type 1 QCC valve.

So far it seems Worthington and Manchester are the main vendors, but I can't seem to find out if there is a 6-hole SKU with the view gauge and stock filler valve in place, with a (plugged) hole on a tank available for that added fitting.

That should be in location C in this diagram:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...9&d=1350083660

If not, I believe I can remove the stock Filler Valve (location B) and replace it with my standard vapor service valve, but that means sacrificing the liquid quick-fill capability, as used by AutoGas stations and propane delivery trucks.

I did find a Rego dual-service valve 8555DL that apparently provides a 1-3/4" ACME liquid fill valve as well as vapor service, but since that is a pretty exotic fitting, would prefer to find a tank with the extra "optional" hole available to use with the standard valves.

Or maybe I can replace the view gauge with a service valve? I don't know the hole thread specs though.

Any advice greatly appreciated, including links to a more appropriate forum with more expert gas techs willing to help an amateur.

As a side note, anyone know how to get certified in this stuff - online, distance learning, or SHORT courses if onsite attendance required - without being currently employed in the industry?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:30 PM   #2
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I'd like to hang a 100 lb tank under my bus somewhere but since they're made to be used standing up it's gonna take some jiggering with the valve assembly to get it to work in a vapor configuration. I saw in another thread someone was talking about what looked to be a fairly simple mod to make to get that to work... and it was a fairly recent post so will need to see if I can find it again. I think this could work with your scenario as well since it's the same as mine, just on a smaller scale.

I don't remember all the details but it basically consisted of removing the valve (pay attention to the orientation when installed), fastening a piece of copper tubing to it on the inside, long enough and bent in such a way that the end of the tube is above the liquid level in the tank when at 80% (maximum liquid fill for vapor tanks). Then it's just a matter of putting the valve back in and orienting the tank so the tube is in the proper spot. (This is why you pay attention to valve position when installed, so you know which way to bend the tubing to get it into the proper spot.)

Another alternative, if they even make such an animal, would be the equivalent of an accumulator tank in a water system.... have the LP go into that tank as liquid, where it evaporates and then goes out to feed your appliances, BBQ grill, what have you. You wouldn't have to modify your tank at all in that case.

Please note that I do not advocate modifying the tank and/or valve(s) in any way; if you choose to do this you do so at your own risk.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:37 PM   #3
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Look at the bio fuel thread on this sight.
There was an extensive thread from (can't remember the name ) around 1-month ago about the how to' of liquid and vapor propane conversion do's and don't' and how to's.
But my best suggestion is to go to your local gas supplier and discuss the subject with them. Since they would probably be the ones filling the tanks at least originally and a lot of them run there trucks on propane.
Also look up the national fuel gas associations regulations for propane powered vehicles.
Most forklifts have the tank laying horizontal with the hookup turn d to the top therefore it runs on vapor and the tank can also be turned vertical therefore it runs on vapor. Rotate your tank hookup down for horizontal or upside down for vertical and you get liquid. No tank mods needed.
Really depends on your intentions?
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for both replies. I like the forklift tanks since they're designed to mount (fill and use) horizontal, and yes there are dip tube service valves that a pro can set up for both horizontal and vertical use.

In fact I've fount mower tanks set up just this way, with anti-slosh baffling internally and other features to ensure you don't feed liquid to vapor appliances (kaboom 8-( ) .

I'm researching liquid withdrawal via the filler valve, but that will require gravity/tipping as the level goes down, and apparently have to pull the bottle to fill.

Two dip tubes, + spitter level tube + level gauge maybe + OPD, gets pretty crowded in there.

Bigger shops seems won't touch this, need to find an experienced freelancer, second-gig guy who isn't so risk-averse to help me. Leads please guys!

And yes, autogas tank setups would be ideal but not as portable units, no one would fill them dismounted. And wow $$$.

Really lust after the "toroidal" ones that mount in the spare tire space, but $850+ before fittings and labor 8-(

As I learn more and narrow things down I'll post back here.
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Look at the bio fuel thread on this sight.
There was an extensive thread from (can't remember the name ) around 1-month ago about the how to' of liquid and vapor propane conversion do's and don't' and how to's.

Is this the thread?: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f28/pr...tml#post168806
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Most forklifts have the tank laying horizontal with the hookup turn d to the top therefore it runs on vapor and the tank can also be turned vertical therefore it runs on vapor. Rotate your tank hookup down for horizontal or upside down for vertical and you get liquid. No tank mods needed.
Yes you're right, for horizontal use just rotate in the bracket, index-hole UP will give vapor output, just need an adapter from the 7141 fitting to Type 1 ACME M./FPOL for vapor fittings.

Vertical liquid's built in, vapor vertical is where you need a proper fitting in the (usually plugged) vapor hole.

Or maybe a fitting that would work through the Filler valve? That would also give higher flow rate for liquid withdrawal, need to invert, or at least tilt the tank when fully evacuating.

Definitely need a pro to advise and train me up properly before messing around though.

Thanks for that!
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:48 PM   #7
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Had a conversation with a regional manager at Manchester today.

Says what I'm after is no problem, as long as a certified tech at one of their resellers does the fittings and trains me on the safety issues and proper procedures, starting with written checklists.

Once I get my first tank set up and running properly I will post the details back here.

But of course any specific suggestions in the meantime would be most welcome, or just general constructive discussion to help all of us learn from each other.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlleyCat67 View Post
I'd like to hang a 100 lb tank under my bus somewhere but since they're made to be used standing up it's gonna take some jiggering with the valve assembly to get it to work in a vapor configuration. I saw in another thread someone was talking about what looked to be a fairly simple mod to make to get that to work... and it was a fairly recent post so will need to see if I can find it again. I think this could work with your scenario as well since it's the same as mine, just on a smaller scale.

I don't remember all the details but it basically consisted of removing the valve (pay attention to the orientation when installed), fastening a piece of copper tubing to it on the inside, long enough and bent in such a way that the end of the tube is above the liquid level in the tank when at 80% (maximum liquid fill for vapor tanks). Then it's just a matter of putting the valve back in and orienting the tank so the tube is in the proper spot. (This is why you pay attention to valve position when installed, so you know which way to bend the tubing to get it into the proper spot.)

Another alternative, if they even make such an animal, would be the equivalent of an accumulator tank in a water system.... have the LP go into that tank as liquid, where it evaporates and then goes out to feed your appliances, BBQ grill, what have you. You wouldn't have to modify your tank at all in that case.

Please note that I do not advocate modifying the tank and/or valve(s) in any way; if you choose to do this you do so at your own risk.
I've been doing conversions to gas for years. Its not magic its really straight forward and way safer than playing with unleaded fuel.

I'm installing two 100lbs under my bus, actually three but the third is a compressor tank for work tools. Just buy a new tank pull out the valve and install a new vertical valve out of a old fork lift tank. or if you weld you can just add a bung to side or new top is may be. and screw a plug in the original valves hole and install the new valve in the new bung. If you want to really fancy run a hose from your mounted tank to the outside of your bus and then connect your valve there. A inexpensive way of not adding a filler door etc to the bus is just a hose extension off the tank that hangs underneath on hook of sorts and you can grab it and pull it out for the fuel operator.
If you have ever reloaded rounds for your gun and not killed yourself you can do this. The tanks are only 150 psi so its not any more air than filling a tire. Your using a new tank so there is no gas. If you cant weld you know you cant weld have some one else do it that can. I build a few custom tanks a year. usually its a standard tank with flow pipes between them to add volume.
Most people don't realize almost all propane tanks are actually cast in sections and welded together.
Don't mess with used tanks that is dumb. But getting your local propane distributors shop to unscrew a valve from a old tank you have used up all the fuel in is a great way to get cheap valves if you need one.

What always gets me is so much worry about tanks being thick and strong then they let people have small colman tanks that sit around and rust for years on there boat and are made from tin. The only reason to use aluminum is if you don't want to carry the weight getting it refilled. if it stays on or is mounted permenalty use steel. the cost is so much higher. Even on the ships they use steel and every few years they scotch bright them and coat them with rustoleum white. Another thing no dark colors if there exposed. keep them cool or they will vent your fuel out very slowly and cost you money. blah blah I could go on hope it helps you decided on a direction. I like to see a DIY with the means save a little and appreciate a new science. also make your hoses don't use copper all over. you can by propane braided hose in 8 mm Id cheap and few bucks each for fittings. its so much easier to cram around corners and snake through tight places. plus the fittings aren't pressed on they come on and off and are reusable.

I'm hearing form guys that there using pecks now for propane. Liquid and gas. I have not yet but reading the label and specs its looks like the right stuff. The flexible propane line is braided and very rub resistant. But its made to be only run under a vehicle zip tied to a unleaded fuel line. So in the right situation if your hot water heater doesn't rub a whole through why would the gas line to it being the same thing. I would be surprised if new RV's aren't are this way now. We never change in this industry on the running of engines. this stuff is very old but very reliable.
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Old 11-24-2016, 01:05 AM   #9
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I was planning on using a new tank anyway, I agree about messing with used tanks. The only copper that was going to be used was inside the tank to get above the liquid level. From the tank valve it was going to be hose, to a steel gas pipe which is what would pass through the bus floor and run on the inside, then transition again to hose to connect to fixtures.

Regarding the reuse of a vertical valve from a forklift tank..... if I'm not mistaken those horizontal forklift tanks are only about 30 lbs or so, so will the valve be long enough to do the job in a 100 lb vertically designed but horizontally mounted tank? If I end up having to fabricate my own, I'm presuming I will have to sweat or braze the copper tubing to the valve some way, then bend it at the appropriate angle to reach the vapor space.....

I will also need two connections from the outside..... one for refilling the tank, and the second to connect a gas grill or other LP appliance to be used outside

It's good to know they have steel braided LP rated hose, that's my preference anyway where I have to run a hose of any kind. My main concern with hoses is vibration going down the road causing the hose and fitting to separate and leak. I've already had to replace the hose on a gas grill once for this, and fixing to have to do it again. That's gonna be 3 hoses in less than a year. The current one has to be oriented just right or it vents gas out between the line and the fitting. If I thought I could secure it with a zip tie or a screw-type hose clamp I would do that until my 22 lb tank is empty... it's still about 2/3 full from my last fillup (which I shouldn't have had to do, almost all the gas from my first fill leaked out thru the first hose. I grilled maybe 3 or 4 times, then the next time I went to light it surprise the tank was dry. Granted that 5 gallons of propane is only about 12 bucks but that's not the point, that tank should have lasted all summer and only now be getting below half full with the usage I've given it up to now. BTW I know that because I have one of those lightweight fiberglass tanks that you can actually see the liquid level in. Quite a bit more expensive than a steel tank but so worth it. I can see not using one of those in a conversion because anything more than a glancing blow is gonna crack it wide open. But I won't hesitate to carry it in underbelly storage (if it will fit, it's rather tall) and use it for my grill. I guess I could carry it on its side but I would have to strap it down some way so it doesn't roll around.
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Old 11-24-2016, 11:56 AM   #10
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Wow you are a braver man than I gunga din , burning in your own holes. Must be nice to have the confidence that much experience to be able to keep safe. I guess there isn't going to be any inspection or certification of any of that stuff , but if there's an accident I'm at the insurance companies have the verbiage that gets them off the hook if it is possible the non code modifications could have caused the problem.

Would you be willing to do some tutoring via Skype and email? be happy to pay you for your time by PayPal or something
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