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Is the under-body propane tank a hazard?
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AtlasShrugged
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

indytriple wrote:
Time to rethink?

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=546624

As The Dude would say..."New sh*t has come to light".


That fire-ball looks like the fuel tank and gasoline rather than the propane tank. The flames are between the front wheels and spilling out on the ground. Maybe the famous fuel tank crossover tube and seals were leaking? Once it started sliding in a roll-over there would of been enough sparks to get a fire going if the tank was leaking.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The owner thinks that it was the propane tank.
grknvgn wrote:
here we go.
the propane tank was compromised in two places, the initial impact knocked the valve off as well as some of the other stuff connected to the tank. i literally saw the flaming valve knob shooting down the street. also the line in the van was severed in the impact and though the tank was closed, the damage to the valve may have compromised that as well. the tank also exploded. the gas tank didn't blow, the engine was actually in pretty good shape considering. hell the plastic engine cover was still mostly intact. the rest of the van however was insanely burned.


Last edited by syncrodoka on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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JPrato
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
skivan wrote:
remind me why a refillable internal (larger) tank is bad or illegalish... would it be so bad to have a 5# tank inside...


Propane leak in a confined space


Yup, not good. Also, even if it didn't explode it could suffocate you without igniting. If the propane leaks out doors it could be hazard, but it would need to collect in a large enough quantity to ignite and have an ignition source. Possible, but a lot less likely.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncrodoka wrote:
r39o wrote:
How to handle the needs of a heater?????

eberspacher/espar or webasto gas heater.
VW installed them all the way back to the days of bugs, busses, ghias, fastback etc.

Those have real world issues which I do not want to work around.

1. HUGE! (I got stuff like sewer pipe tanks, AC condensers and maybe a propane tank down there under the van too.)
2. Parts
3. Old (dangerous?)
4. Got to find one (we had a Canada van with one and it was just a royal pita....and I can imagine just what a huge chore it would be to transplant one. The VW factory versions seemed to cover most of the bottom of the van. Perhaps the kit versions from them are easier to hook up. I am not a friend of using the van fuel supply to run them either.)

So back to topic, just how or where would you put a larger supply to run a propane furnace like a Propex???
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. modern units are small. I have one here that ~15"x 4.5"x 4.5"
2. parts are readily available as they are common in sleeper units of tractor trailers.
3. the make them brand new today
4. do a google search to find them easily.
5. they make them in both diesel and gasoline variety.

Just another option for non westy owners or those that want to get away from a propane tank.


Last edited by syncrodoka on Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

indytriple wrote:
Time to rethink?

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=546624

As The Dude would say..."New sh*t has come to light".


Because one Westy out of many thousands got T-boned hard enough in the driver's side splitting the panel wide open and knocking the van, not just on its side, but on its roof resulting in the propane fittings sheering off and the gas igniting (based on owner's theory) which immediately spread to the fuel tank/lines (I agree with Atlas, that's the fuel burning bright)?? How many Westies have ended up like that over the last 30+ years vs. the many that haven't? While that was indeed one scary situation and it'll always be in the back of our minds, I'm not removing my propane tank and buying an expensive electric-only fridge (which then requires a solar set-up) out of "OMG, that's going to happen to me!" paranoia. I'd rather buy a tool that prepares me for the off-chance I'm ever in a situation where the seat belt needs cutting or the window needs breaking, than to remove a device that's integral to enjoying my full-camper for what I bought it for. Just my 2.

Furthermore, this topic is more about the potential dangers of the propane tank when off-roading with your Syncro Westy, than about vehicle-slamming-into-van situations. Propane 101 - Explosions: http://www.propane101.com/explodingpropanetanks.htm .
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joseph928
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:21 pm    Post subject: propane tank Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Blue Bay Bus This post is just a few down, he would say the propane tank can go up when you get hit in the side! At least that is whet he said. Very Happy I will keep using my TF49 1LB bottles and my solar! Sorry KAM it's only money!
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kgold708
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Racerrojo wrote:
I like the idea of the 1lb bottle, but mostly for convenience, filling the tank can be a hassle specially if the hardware its not upgraded, that and I never cook in the van, now if you run a propex or such, its more convenient, then again a 20lbs BBQ that can be exchange at a service station or Seven Eleven makes more sense to me.
BTW I have seen a van with a gaping hole in the tank but the van was in the junk yard and it could had been intencional


The yard cut that hole to prove without doubt that the tank is empty.They cut holes in the fuel tanks in some yards too.
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jmranger
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reposting from the big wreck thead:

Link


I'm guessing that the bursts every 10-15secs are the propane tank's pressure relief valve doing its job of keeping a safe pressure inside the tank. Firefighters don't even blink.

I'm not more worried of the propane tank than of the gasoline tank - on any vehicle.
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: propane tank Reply with quote

joseph928 wrote:
This post is just a few down, he would say the propane tank can go up when you get hit in the side!


That wasn't just a hit, that was harder-than-hard hit... hard enough to split the side panel and turn the van over onto its roof. Let's compare that overturned fireball with these other two examples:

Side hit, van ripped wide open, no propane explosion:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Side hits (driver + passenger), van destroyed, no propane explosion:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


So, if the conditions are just right in your accident, yes, the propane can ignite. I'm more concerned with potential fuel- and electrical-related fires than the propane.
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gl98115
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Kam on this one. I believe more drivers have died because the Westy is a cab forward design and doesn't have air bags than because their propane tank exploded.

It's like refusing to fly the airlines because the big crashes make big news.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gl98115 wrote:
I'm with Kam on this one.


So am I. It's risk analysis 101. Risk = severity of consequence x probability of occurence. How many pull-behind trailers have those big propane tanks on them? Here in the home of America's first National Park we see those things and bigger RV smashed on the side of the road a surprising number of times and never have I seen or read the news about one that exploded.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we all remove our propane tanks then the terrorists have won.
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indytriple
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was it inappropriate or out of context for me to post that recent incident on this thread?

I think not. In fact, I think it's quite pertinent to this particular discussion. Let people draw their own conclusions. It's one single data point. There is no real need to argue about it either way. It's an informal thread on an internet forum.
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Muskrat
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm the guy who escaped the flameball and i'm hoping to get back into a westy if the little woman will agree to ride in it.
what happened with mine was a one in a million and while i wouldn't want one on a syncro that i off road, i won't hesitate to get into another on road westy with propane tank.
i know that the propane tank ignited first cause as the van was going over i saw the valve knob [on fire] shoot from the van. that's what lead to everything else igniting, i believe.
the fuel lines are on the other side of the vehicle and the impact was nowhere near the the expansion tanks which lead me to believe they we're either damaged in the roll-over or damaged in the impact and was ignited as it rolled by the flaming propane tank.
one witness thought the tank exploded and launched the car over [which didn't happen but it's where the fire started initially]
the fireman also said it went so quick because of the propane tank.
that being said, i still think its a fluke. how many westy's have driven how many miles and how many have been t-boned worse than mine was and didn't burn. you're more likely to loose your van to fire from old fuel lines than your propane tank.
enjoy your westy's for me til i can get back into one.
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kgold708
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my younger years as a technician I've seen some people "play around" with refridgerants, before most people took environmental concerns seriously. BTW propane works just fine as a refridgerant gas, the EPA has shut down MANY companies for repacking propane and selling it as "alternative" refridgerant. It works fine till you rear end someone!

I digress.

The killer element in this case is that the van landed upside down with a ruptured propane tank, the tank IMHO leaked burning LIQUID propane into and onto the passenger compartment.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go look at the tank and post pictures......

The OP is right, just how many vans over the years have gone up in flames due to the propane tank???? Not many at all....Those ASME tanks are tough. It seems the brass valve was broken off. That valve is tucked up away too. If it was the valve, then something caught it. Some pictures may tell the story.

Like any airplane landing (crash) that you can walk away from, you were lucky....
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noganav
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If that was the propane tank that went, neither driver would have lived. I saw the aftermath of rusted through 20lb tank that blew once. It took half of a house with it.

Everybody is quick to blame propane, but my guess is that the tank on that van is intact (despite being engulfed in flames). Propane is pretty safe when properly contained.

Any proof from the OP of that thread that the tank ruptured? Otherwise we're barking up the wrong tree here.
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Muskrat
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i can't prove it. i can only go by what i experienced, what i saw and what i was told by the fire department.
they said the tank ruptured, most likely from the impact. the valve was ripped off, also from the impact and when it went ''boom'' the firemen asked me if there was any other propane tanks or bottles in the car that they needed to worry about.
i'd love to get you some photo's but sadly progressive didn't want to bother with paying the city storage so they had it crushed after assessing it a total loss. i saw it and there wasn't anything left of it worth salvaging.
had i known nobody believed a tank of flammable fuel could catch fire i would have crawled under the van to get a photo Wink
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noganav
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It certainly would catch fire if it opened up, it's just that usually an exploding tank would be catastrophic. Yes I've seen your picture, and it is super bad, but there is still a van there. Either way, glad that you made it out.
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