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new propane tank - who can purge?
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velovino
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:01 am    Post subject: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I recently received a new GoWesty propane tank and will be undertaking installation soon. Installation looks pretty straight forward, the current lines appear to be the correct length so no cutting should be involved.

The literature accompanying the tank recommends having the tank purged prior to the first filling, however the few local RV repair places I've found do not do propane work, or only work on vehicles they have sold.

Has anyone had this work done before, if so where did you find someone to do the purging? Were they reluctant to work on a tank that they didn't install? Any recommendations for someone in or near central Ohio who can do this work would be greatly appreciated!
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:26 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I installed a new tank from GoWesty in 2011 - presumably the same one you are working with. I simply had it filled - no purge - and it did fine.

The place I took it to was a local RV park that does lots of propane fills - the guy saw no reason to purge it and it seems (in my case at least) he was right.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

the purge is suggested in case there is any residue inside the tank, such as metal shavings or debris that can clog the lines later on, its mostly just a precaution i woudl say its fine to just fill it and go.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:52 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I installed a new manchester tank on my syncro and didn't purge it the first time filled. I had it filled 3 other times, and the last guy decided to open a vent valve when filling, but he seemed to have a very tough time threading his fitting onto my tank. Seemed like he had no idea what he was doing and or was playing it by the book... Who knows.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:55 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

^sounds like he was afraid to overfill it and opened the relief valve to make sure it didnt get too much liquid inside. they sometimes fill it up and vent the excess at the same time which is unsettling but standard in the industry iguess.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I think on every fill I have had they opened the bleed valve - then close it and shut it all down once liquid comes out. Seems stinky, messy & wasteful - but that is how I have always seen it done.

alijonny wrote:
...he seemed to have a very tough time threading his fitting onto my tank...


The big connection points slightly downward which requires the hose to be presented at a funny angle (has to point slightly up). As the connection is hard for the operator to see this sometimes gives them fits. If I see they are having a problem getting the threads to catch I mention the angle of attack needed.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

If you really want to do it, a propane place like Amerigas or Suburban Propane, anyplace that services or re-certifies tanks, should be able to do it. Look some places up near you and call around.
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velovino
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

Thanks for the help! I think I'll just get it filled and see how it goes.

Other than some grumbling from the guy who fills my propane tank (he says it's the only time he does yoga) I've not had issues with getting the tank filled. Our van has sliders, so access to the tank is probably even more challenging than most, but it seems to work.

thanks again!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I worked in the Propane industry for a few years...

Simplified: Purging new Propane tanks is to remove air that may contain water vapor that may cause the pressure regulator to freeze up and other issues.

Purging can be done with two POL fillings, one on each end of a short piece of hose or copper tubing and a properly functioning bbq tank. When I was purging and filling pallets of new Propane tanks I made up a "tool" out of brass fittings but if you only need to do this once or twice in your lifetime keep it simple.

The object is to release/remove whatever air is present inside the new tank tank and replacing it with pure Propane vapor.

Basic technique: Release air from new tank, add propane vapor, release air/propane vapor mixture, add Propane vapor, repeat 3 to 4 times, purging complete.

Now take your freshly purged tank to your local Propane Dealer to be filled. If asked if tank has been purged simply say yes. Boasting about your purging prowess will NOT impress your Propane Professional Laughing What will impress them is bringing along a piece of old carpet for them to kneel on while filling your Propane tank.

I purge new Westy tanks before mounting them on the van. I also purge used Westy tanks that I've rebuilt with new valves. (Once you've troubleshot a non-purging competitors mistakes you never go back)

Always, always, always check for leaks before using your propane system. Always! Diluted dish soap works but most of it is corrosive to copper, brass and aluminum. Home Depot sells a leak check product that the pros use...

If any of this doesn't make sense or causes you any stress or fear please don't attempt to do it. Rolling Eyes


Last edited by turbotransporter on Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:28 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

<<< Our van has sliders, so access to the tank is probably even more challenging than most, but it seems to work. >>>

Purging the tank;
Overkill.

Open the bleeder and have Festus fill the tank.

Worry not, it'll fly without purging anything.

"Our van has sliders"
Interesting,
You bolt on sliding room extensions onto the vehicle?

Cool.

An add on living room & den?
Or kitchen & a head?
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alijonny
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:32 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
<<< Our van has sliders, so access to the tank is probably even more challenging than most, but it seems to work. >>>

Purging the tank;
Overkill.

Open the bleeder and have Festus fill the tank.

Worry not, it'll fly without purging anything.

"Our van has sliders"
Interesting,
You bolt on sliding room extensions onto the vehicle?

Cool.

An add on living room & den?
Or kitchen & a head?


I think he means ROCK sliders Laughing I would like to start a new topic on slide-outs for the vanagon. Please, no one link that eurovan concept... Exclamation
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drj434343
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I need to resurrect this thread. I installed a brand new tank from GoWesty recently. I originally found this thread and took Terry's previous advice about not needing to purge the tank before filling.

The U-haul propane center was not able to put any propane in the tank today when they attempted to fill. When I told them it was new, they said it had to be purged before any propane could get in.

I called Suburban Propane here in Portland, OR and they thought it was strange it needed to be purged before it would accept any propane. They were willing to purge my tank, but they said I would have to remove it first!

Was the U-haul place incompetent, or do you have to purge before putting propane in for the first time?

If I do have to purge, does anyone know of a place in the Portland area that would be willing to purge the tank while installed? I don't want to have to take this thing off again.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

turbotransporter wrote:

If asked if tank has been purged simply say yes. Boasting about your purging prowess will NOT impress your Propane Professional What will impress them is bringing along a piece of old carpet for them to kneel on while filling your Propane tank.



This is why I read the Samba: great tips on how to do things better. Thanks, TT!



.

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erdonline
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:07 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

Not being able to fill the tank shouldn't have anything to do with not being purged. It's not like it's pressurized with air and won't let any propane in; as mentioned earlier in this post, tanks contain residual air at atmospheric pressure and purging them means you'll have pure propane in your tank instead of mostly propane with some air which may not make its way out and will hole moisture. Quite a few places simply don't know how to fill the tanks or they may not have the right adapter.

I also don't believe that a tank would need to be removed to purge it. Shop around to find someone who knows what they're doing.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

drj434343 wrote:
The U-haul propane center was not able to put any propane in the tank today when they attempted to fill. When I told them it was new, they said it had to be purged before any propane could get in.


Not a chance in hell. Purging is simply pulling a vacuum on the tank, to evacuate any oxygen before you put propane in (explosive???) and ensure there's no water vapor in there either.

If you can rig it up to an air compressor intake, that will pull a significant vacuum.

Note that your first filling (and usage) is as good as any purge.

drj434343 wrote:
I called Suburban Propane here in Portland, OR and they thought it was strange it needed to be purged before it would accept any propane. They were willing to purge my tank, but they said I would have to remove it first!


"Strange" because it's completely un-related. There was some other problem. Maybe just take it somewhere else & try again.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

As I recall you are just purging air from the tank by putting in LP vapor. Normally fill stations can only fill with LP liquid. I think it takes too long to try to purge with liquid. If you didn't purge it at all after you have refilled it a few times it would be purged of almost all air anyway. So yes you can put LP in an empty unpurged tank. The safety reason to purge is supposedly the pressure can get too high if you didn't purge. Also there can be moisture in the air that can supposedly cause rust or freezing if it was winter. But I didn't purge a tank once and it was fine. Plus I think our tanks have blow off valves if the pressure gets too high

You don't need to remove the tank from the van. You just need a service station that can put in a few rounds of LP vapor and let it out to displace the air. Call around.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:46 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

I tried to get mine purged at the local place, where a couple guys know at they are doing. Unfortunately, a younger guy was there, didn't know, and talked to the owner who said they only are setup for removable BBQ style tanks purgjng.

I called "everyone" in a 50 mile radius. Either they just filled, Only recertified (BBQ style) and didn't fill (my home service propane outfit), or refered me to the propane places that only did tanks brought in. Had I known, I wouldn't have installed it first.

So it's fill, use some, fill again, unless I can get someone to bleed off a bit a couple times. Had a guy do that once on a BBQ tank I left open for a couple weeks. Because of all the air in there, it would not fill more than a couple gallons. That technique works.

I think the person who couldn't fill didn't open the bleed valve.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:06 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

RichBenn wrote:
Because of all the air in there, it would not fill more than a couple gallons


Rich I don't think this is the case. Liquid propane has a very specific pressure for every temperature, and it's around 100psi for room temp. So if there's even one drop of (liquid) propane in the tank - the pressure is at 100psi already. Highly doubt that "air" in the tank could get to 100psi (as high as the propane would be).

Here's a graph showing propane's pressure at any temperature.

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

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
RichBenn wrote:
Because of all the air in there, it would not fill more than a couple gallons


Rich I don't think this is the case. Liquid propane has a very specific pressure for every temperature, and it's around 100psi for room temp. So if there's even one drop of (liquid) propane in the tank - the pressure is at 100psi already. Highly doubt that "air" in the tank could get to 100psi (as high as the propane would be).

Here's a graph showing propane's pressure at any temperature.

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


May have something to do with the OFD? This was a BBQ tank, and I observed all this. The guy explained to me that it shouldn't happen if you let the tank valve open for several days, but fully empty, it could. He claimed it was the air in there. I can't explain it, though.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: new propane tank - who can purge? Reply with quote

My understanding is you purge a new tank to remove air. Nothing to do with not being able to fill it. The overfill protection valve can be stuck in "safe" mode, you upend the bottle and it becomes unstuck. Or if a fixed tank, tap it with a piece of wood. They're a pita!

If you get really low propane flow, the overflow valve is partially closed, same solution. Opening the valve quickly sometimes causes this, it thinks it's a leak.
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