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Is the under-body propane tank a hazard?
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kgold708
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think anyone should remove their propane system either. I think this was a very rare occurance, the combination of ruptured tank and upside-down westy.
My father-in-law is a retired electrical engineer for a company that did electrical systems for the RV market, he used to fly all over the country partisipating in total loss investigations. I've seen plenty of pictures of $200k-2M RV's that didn't fair any better and talked to him at lenght about the ways people almost or do kill themselves dozens of times per year. Almost always maint/ operator error/ stupidity/ or all of the above. So it is what it is, is there SOME risk, yes.
As much risk as slipping and falling in your own bathroom, not even close!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for those of you who think i'm advocating removing the propane tank, i'm not.
i started the other thread to let people know that having a seat belt cutter in my pocket saved my life.
while i doubt i will get another van with a propane tank, it's not because i feel they're unsafe, it's because my family are never going to feel safe in one again. weather that feeling is scientifically justifiable means nothing if they can't enjoy themselves due to fear of being burned after seeing what what i went through.
so again, get a seat belt cutter and enjoy your propane tank.[/b]
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noganav
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it did rupture, go hug your kids because you are very lucky to be alive. If it was the relief valve going off then your tank did it's job as the vast, vast, majority do. I'll be leaving the propane system on my van where it is. Not sure what more there is to say about it. This one incident, even in the worst case, doesn't condemn the system. Propane is very low on the list of hazards of driving a Westy. Probably right up there with sneezing while driving.
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kgold708
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just sayin that grknvgn's story seems pretty credible. To say he doesn't know the details of what destroyed HIS van and nearly took HIS life is pretty incredible. I've been in fear of my life before and remember every minute detail with incredible clarity. IOW listen to the man, HE knows the details of his near death experience.
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noganav
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to understand? No. I get what you think happened.
Neither of us has the information needed to resolve this.
But, thanks I guess for reiterating your story.

These tanks are not dangerous. The fuel tank and lines are vastly more prone to rupture and fire. Getting rid of the propane tank because of some speculation about one accident doesn't really make sense. Hard to understand?

Wink
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kgold708
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What he is describing is not that the tank exploded! Its not like someone put a blasting cap in the thing! Even if you did there's no O2 in the tank so the fuel HAD to leave the tank BEFORE it came into contact with air and could possibly burn. He described a ruptured tank, the fuel left the tank in a liquid state and boiled off mixing with air and burning in the process. Hard to understand?
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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