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 Post subject: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:48 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:51 pm
Posts: 7
Recently went to have one of the standard 100 lb coach propane tanks filled. These are for the Waukesha Enginator/Ice Engine, stove, etc. The tanks lay in the propane locker mostly horizontal.

The propane company told me they could not get an exact valve/snorkel replacement. The issue they had was if somebody fabricated one on their own, for example, and it failed, they would be liable. They declined to fill the tank.

Anyone know of a solution?

Warren
x-5000.org


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:15 am
Posts: 459
Probably your best (easiest) solution would be to change the tanks to the style tanks they use on forklifts and manlifts. They are also a liquid dispensing, horizontal set-up for running engines, and are commonly available. I think they are 50lb, not sure if there is a larger version that is readily available. You will most likely also have to change the fitting (and maybe the flex line, it almost looks like it is time).

Regards,
Rich C.


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:39 am
Posts: 15
Sometimes you have to make a judgement call on what to replace if you want to operate equipment like it was in it's working life. Having an 'historically accurate' fire just won't fly in today's world.

I'm sure those rusty propane tanks and old propane hose would have been replaced years ago on a working RR.


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:51 pm
Posts: 7
Thank you for the input! The propane company gave me a 50 lb horizontal tank they didn't want. So I'm working on that.

The pigtails (hoses) were replaced, of course (old pic). Vendor also told me only requirement on the tank is a "visual" inspection for obvious damage and a little rust won't hurt, but best to be clean.


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:19 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:37 pm
Posts: 244
Location: Niles Canyon Railway, near Sunol, CA
Niles Canyon Railway uses Waukesha 100-lb-capacity propane tanks to supply the kitchen stove in S.P. 1975 "All Day Lunch" car, and the kitchen stove and water heater in S.P. 10040 dining car.

Waukesha 100-lb-capacity propane tanks are much thicker and sturdier than an DOT-rated propane tanks. Kamp Propane in Hayward, CA is our local industrial propane distributor. We have them hydro-test and certify the Waukesha propane tanks periodically. Kamp advised us that the Waukesha tanks are much thicker and studier than even the "heavy duty" DOT-rated tanks they sell. They recently refilled one of our Waukesha tanks that was built in 1935. (They had hydro-tested, inspected, painted, and certified it a few years ago.) So age and surface rust are not necessarily a problem.

Tanks with serious dents cannot be recertified.

Waukesha tank valves have a J-shaped dip tube because they are designed to be used at about a 15-degree angle from horizontal. See attached PDF files.
Attachment:
Waukesha_propane_tank_semi-horizontal_position_3.pdf [118.72 KiB]
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Attachment:


The measurements of the dip tube were made on new (never installed in a Waukesha tank) spare valves found in the former S.P. business car "S.P. 143 "Santa Rosa".

Older Waukesha tank valves do not have a vent valve on the side of the main valve. Apparently these tanks must have been filled while they on a scale to weigh them. Unless you can find a propane vendor who is willing to use the weighing method, these tanks can no longer be refilled.

Newer Waukesha tank valves have a vent valve or "bleeder valve" (this may not be the technically correct terminology) on the side of the main valve, as shown in my sketch "Sherwood 3250A...". Our local propane vendors have no problem refilling these tanks.

If the tank is vertical when it is refilled, you will only get it about 70%-75% full before the vent valve starts spewing liquid propane, which indicates that the tank is "full". Laying the tank on a piece of RR tie, so it's in the 15-degree-from-horizontal position (more or less), with the correct side up (this is stamped on the tank), allows the tank to be completely filled.

What does wear out [and start to leak], and must eventually be replaced, are
(1) hoses - get new ones, don't ever use old iffy hoses!
(2) regulators and shutoff valves - the molded rubber gaskets & diaphragms are no longer available.
Modern heavy-duty replacement valves and regulators are available. Be sure to work with a propane system expert to get the right ones.

If you really need a lot of propane, Kamp Propane in Hayward, CA has two sets of much more modern 200(?)-gallon dual propane tanks in frames that clearly were originally installed under a railroad car. I don't know the rest of their history. I suspect they were on a car that used a lot of propane for Waukesha Ice Engines (propane-driven air conditioning compressors) and Waukesha engineators (propane-driven 32VDC generators). These propane tank units in very good condition. They still have some propane in them. We had no foreseeable use for these, and our hazmat inspector pointed out that propane tanks are a potential bomb in a brushfire, so we gave them to Kamp Propane for disposal. More than a year later, they're still on Kamp's back lot. Contact me if you're interested in them.

- Doug Debs
Niles Canyon Railway
Sunol, CA


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:24 am
Posts: 255
Location: H2O-town, CT
crij wrote:
Probably your best (easiest) solution would be to change the tanks to the style tanks they use on forklifts and manlifts. They are also a liquid dispensing, horizontal set-up for running engines, and are commonly available. I think they are 50lb, not sure if there is a larger version that is readily available. You will most likely also have to change the fitting (and maybe the flex line, it almost looks like it is time).

Regards,
Rich C.


Rich is correct and the way I would go. Standard forklift tanks are 33 lb and you can order replacement hoses with regulators.

I could care less if something's free if it doesn't work or meet the needs. It's not difficult to set this up with the correct parts to make it work. I wouldn't go larger than a forklift tank if you have no easy way to swap tanks out to get them filled. You can also tee two together if needed for added capacity but you'd have to draw from both tanks at once and also swap both at once too.


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:59 am
Posts: 7
Balloon tanks are liquid withdraw, in 10, 15, or 20 gal. Depending on the brand. Also any tank can be converted to upright or lay down usage by changing the dip tube. A balloon pilot and locomotive engineer


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:59 am
Posts: 7
Tanks can be filled by volume by filling with no more than 80% of there rated volume. The tanks can be charged with nitrogen to increase pressure in very cold weather, or they can be rapped with heat tape to warm them. I ve flown at 30 below using both methods.


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 Post subject: Re: Valves for Coach Propane Tanks
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:51 pm
Posts: 7
Thank you everyone for the propane tank updates. I think the trick will be to purchase new Sherwood valves and fit them with the "J" snorkel tubes in a way that the propane vendor will accept.

Yes the pigtail hoses have been replaced with new ones. I will keep you guys posted!


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