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Old 05-20-2019, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Asme propane tank

Hi. I noticed my new camper van (03 ford econoline)has a rusty propane tank and wondering what anti rust products people would recommend. Iíve been looking at the cost to replace and itís over 1000 so would like to preserve the life.
Any tips appreciated.
Thank you!
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:50 PM   #2
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If your tank has not been certified in ten years, no service station should be filling it within Canada. It needs to be re-certified which means taking it out, sand/paint, replace the valve and reinstall. I would guess the cost is a few hundred dollars.

This essentially gets you a new tank, for the next ten years until you need to certify it again.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:52 AM   #3
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I think the inspections are just a visual check. I've never had anyone pay much attention to the tank in the various RV's I've had. I don't think there's any ultra sonic thickness testing for example. Maybe someone who has had it done could let us know.

I had a tank that had some surface rust. There was no flaking or material falling off etc. The tank was empty so I removed it and washed it off to remove dirt and then coated the rust spots with a rust stop aerosol that was basically a sealer. It dried very quickly. I doubt it was a particularly good product - just a very thin coating that could penetrate and seal & slow down rust. Then I happened to have some left over two part epoxy paint and was able to paint the whole tank over two days or so, storing the mixed epoxy in the freezer overnight. I probably had to wait a few days to let that epoxy coating fully cure before reinstalling the tank. It held up well and still looked good last time I checked.

If I ever buy a new under-mount tank I will wash it off & prep the surface for painting and then paint it with a two part epoxy or similar durable water proof coating before installing it. The powder coat on tanks just doesn't seem good enough to me. All it takes is a single rock chip and the rusting begins.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
I think the inspections are just a visual check. I've never had anyone pay much attention to the tank in the various RV's I've had. I don't think there's any ultra sonic thickness testing for example. Maybe someone who has had it done could let us know.

I had a tank that had some surface rust. There was no flaking or material falling off etc. The tank was empty so I removed it and washed it off to remove dirt and then coated the rust spots with a rust stop aerosol that was basically a sealer. It dried very quickly. I doubt it was a particularly good product - just a very thin coating that could penetrate and seal & slow down rust. Then I happened to have some left over two part epoxy paint and was able to paint the whole tank over two days or so, storing the mixed epoxy in the freezer overnight. I probably had to wait a few days to let that epoxy coating fully cure before reinstalling the tank. It held up well and still looked good last time I checked.

If I ever buy a new under-mount tank I will wash it off & prep the surface for painting and then paint it with a two part epoxy or similar durable water proof coating before installing it. The powder coat on tanks just doesn't seem good enough to me. All it takes is a single rock chip and the rusting begins.

I am a little surprised that the tanks are powder coated and chipping and rusting early, as that is generally considered a really durable finish. Of course powder coat comes in many, many, variations and thicknesses, so they may be using the cheapest coating instead of the best one.


The slow curing epoxy paints can be really good products, especially on areas like welds were bridging odd surfaces is needed. Not easy or cheap to use, but good stuff.


I wonder if there are any rules about what coatings can be used on the tanks? Especially with the chip and rust prone underbody ones, I would think a couple of coats of the 3M rubberized undercoating over a new or refinished tank would make it very durable in the poor conditions, even against salt. Of course, if legal, the undercoat could also be used to hide bad tanks so they may not allow it.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:32 PM   #5
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The chipping caused by debris was my assumption based on what I've seen. It might not be correct. I've removed & reinstalled only two tanks from motorhomes so not a whole lot of experience.

I don't think these mounted tanks have to be re-certified in the US.

In Ontario, Canada the re-certification might be every 5 years - https://fuelslc.com/2016/02/inspecti...onal-vehicles/ - anyone know for sure? Are visitors to the province affected?

I don't know what the rules are in New Brunswick for example and haven't found much useful info online yet.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:33 PM   #6
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In part because of the $160 million food truck explosion lawsuit, most propane sellers are in the process of tightening their rules on tank ages and conditions. Many outlets in Texas will refuse to fill a tank that exceeds 10 years of age.

It's not just the body of the tank that you (OP) need to be concerned about. The problem is that once rust starts, it can invade the fittings threads. Then you can get propane blow-by. That scenario is a direct risk to your life and your investment. That happened to us (leakage), on a tank that was just over 10 years old. You can read about my replacement job here. You can also read my sobering story of distribution line replacement here. I've known several Class B owners who developed leaks in their propane lines.

We could have repaired and recertified our original tank, but Class B tanks need to be dismounted for both tasks. I was not willing to invest that much labor in a tank that was old to start with. Labor is high because so many things have to be moved to get at the tank - our cabinetry had to be released from the floor and our fresh water tank lifted in order to get at the bolts that were hanging the propane tank under the chassis. The cost of labor was far more than the cost of the tank.

Pic taken at an independently-operated propane filling station in Bangor Maine. I carry a selfie stick so that operators can easily stick a phone under my chassis to read the tank plate, which has the date on it.

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Old 05-21-2019, 12:41 PM   #7
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I think the 12 year rule is for portable tanks in the US. I know it is in Florida. It's 10 years on portable tanks in Canada even if the tank looks brand new.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
The chipping caused by debris was my assumption based on what I've seen. It might not be correct. I've removed & reinstalled only two tanks from motorhomes so not a whole lot of experience.

I don't think these mounted tanks have to be re-certified in the US.

In Ontario, Canada the re-certification might be every 5 years - https://fuelslc.com/2016/02/inspecti...onal-vehicles/ - anyone know for sure?

I don't know what the rules are in New Brunswick for example and haven't found much useful info online yet.

I need to look closer at our tank, as we had the van shot with Rust Check a couple of years ago. I don't recall off hand it they did the propane tank or went around it.



AFAIK, we in the US, at least in Minnesota don't need recertifying of the tanks. Of course, from what we have seen when we get the tank filled, they also don't require any training or basic knowledge for the people filling the tank either
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:12 PM   #9
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Re: Ontario, Canada - interesting Advisory dated May 7, 2018 here:

https://www.ontariorvda.ca/wp-conten...-ontario-1.pdf

copy / paste from the Advisory linked above:

Quote:
There are currently no 5 year inspection report requirements on mounted propane tanks in Recreational Vehicles in order to obtain fuel.
Quote:
the person fuelling the vehicle must perform a visual inspection of the container and its associated equipment, that is in plain sight in order to ensure that there are no apparent safety issues and that the container and its associated equipment appear to be in compliance with the Regulation and the code adopted at the time of installation.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:15 PM   #10
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More info

https://www.ontariorvda.ca/what-we-do/rv-regulations/

Quote:
Refuelling Propane Vehicles at Licensed Propane Refuelling Stations in Ontario

Release date: May 2018: Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), proposed significant changes to the Propane Code Adoption Document (ďCADĒ) which would require RVs equipped with permanently mounted propane tanks to have the propane appliances, propane system and tank inspected on a five-year cycle.

ORVDA carefully monitored this issue and participated in frequent discussions with TSSA. Industry representatives attended risk reduction group (RRG) meetings and successfully demonstrated to TSSA that RVs should be exempt from the inspection and labelling requirements.

Until recently, propane fill station attendants were unaware of the exemption and were instructed to not fill propane tanks unless the RV displayed the label indicating that the unit met Ontarioís requirements.

ORVDA was determined to eliminate the filling station confusion. We recommended TSSA publish an advisory, clarifying re-fuelling requirements for propane vehicles in Ontario, including aftermarket propane conversions, OEM propane vehicles, Recreational Vehicles and out-of-province propane vehicles. The ORVDA is extremely pleased to confirm that the advisories regarding refuelling propane vehicles in Ontario were approved by TSSA and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The advisories were published on the TSSA and ORVDA websites in May 2018. Please see below for links.

ORVDA would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Heidi Stoate (The Hitch House) and Shane Devenish (CRVA) for their important assistance in resolving this issue.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:33 AM   #11
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I plan to take my van into a rv shop for de winter and service check. Hoping they will check the tank and make sure itís safe w/ the rust. I donít want to risk as the van is new and Iím a first timer with all of this.
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:02 PM   #12
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There are different recertification rules for ASME certified "TANKS", as are chassis mounted, versus the DOT certified "CYLINDERS" , commonly called bottles. There are very few motorhomes built to use bottles, Winnebago Intent is one.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:10 AM   #13
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OK, so it's my understanding that recertification applies to DOT tanks which are rarely found in our type of Bs. Those are usually built with ASME tanks which are certified at the factory for life.

I agree that tanks can rust especially under our type of use. Valves can leak and relief valves can fail. All of that can be checked out and should be periodically...BUT....

Bottom line question: Has ANYONE here ever had their ASME tank recertified?
I don't mean inspected, but actually recertified with some new type of sticker/tag attached.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:20 PM   #14
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I really doubt that you’ll find anyone who has had their motorhomes' tank recertified. It would not be economically sound. It would have to be removed, probably sandblasted and cleaned up, taken to a shop with a ASME certified inspector who would wittiness a lengthy pressure test then stamp with his shield certifying the pressure test. Then reinstall. I believe I’d just buy a new tank.

FYI
https://www-group.slac.stanford.edu/...ProcedTest.pdf
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:57 PM   #15
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Yes. I agree with the economics issue. But part of my question revolves around my understanding that ASME propane tanks are certified for life at the point of manufacture. Is this incorrect? If it is correct, then why would you have them re-certified? All that I've been able to uncover is that DOT tanks have to be re-certified. ASME do not. So........I remain confused.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:18 PM   #16
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My 1997 Roadtrek is in the shop now having the original tank replaced. I had been getting a slight whiff of propane every now and then alongside the driver's side of the van and the gauge was dropping even though I stopped using any propane as a precaution. Soap tested the valve and all the lines I could reach, all were good. It was only when I brought it to the shop and they put it up on the lift that we were able to locate a rusted-out pin hole leak on the bottom of the tank. Cost is $500 for the new tank plus labor charges. Well worth it for the peace of mind
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:53 PM   #17
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PT: Good to know. I guess I should look into it as well. Mine is a 97 PW.
Peace of mind = always good. Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:21 PM   #18
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I need to replace my tank. Where did you find one. thanks
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:56 PM   #19
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My mechanic ordered it but it's a Manchester tank, model#6813, you can find a distributor at this link: https://www.mantank.com/products/rv-...s-accessories/
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:53 PM   #20
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You can also order a tank at the website for CampervanHQ, which provides good service: https://www.campervan-hq.com/product...ter-model-6813
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