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Old 10-28-2017, 07:44 PM   #1
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New U-Haul propane refill policy?

Went to my local U-Haul to get my propane tank refilled. The attendant there told me that, as of last month, U-Haul began checking date stamps on RV propane tanks and will not refill tanks over ten years old. He said they always checked the dates on portable tanks but that this is their new policy for RVs as well. He didn't say if it was local, state wide, national, etc.

Has anyone else had this experience at their U-Haul recently?
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:06 PM   #2
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Went to my local U-Haul to get my propane tank refilled. The attendant there told me that, as of last month, U-Haul began checking date stamps on RV propane tanks and will not refill tanks over ten years old. He said they always checked the dates on portable tanks but that this is their new policy for RVs as well. He didn't say if it was local, state wide, national, etc.

Has anyone else had this experience at their U-Haul recently?
Was this for a ASME LP Tank, or was it for a DOT LP Cylinder?

ASME tanks--which are the permanently mounted tanks typically found in an SMB, do not have a government-designated re-certification period in the United States. (They are subject to re-inspection and re-certification in some provinces of Canada.)

DOT cylinders--such as are found mounted on the front tongues of travel trailers, are required by law in the US to be re-certified 12 years after manufacture, and every 5 years thereafter. Upon re-certification, a new date is stamped on the top collar.

Per national regulations in the US, a propane retailer may not refill a DOT cylinder that is out of date. However, there is no such restriction applied to ASME tanks. With respect to ASME tanks, retailers are expected only to perform a visual inspection, and refuse to fill if the tank is pitted or otherwise obviously defective.

If U-Haul is refusing to refill ASME tanks (which is what it sounds like you are saying) that are more than 10 years old, then this would be an internal U-Haul decision, and not tied to any new government regulatory action in the US. Interesting.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:16 PM   #3
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^ I am indeed referring to the ASME tank installed by SMB.

Good info - I did not know that. I'll call the Manager tomorrow and see if he is aware of this.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:27 PM   #4
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Here are a couple of references:

See page 6 of the Manchester Tank catalog:
http://www.mantank.com/pdf/DOTCatalog.pdf

And a nice summary page from the Propane Tank Store:
DOT & ASME Propane Tank Differences

It is not uncommon for new store employees to misunderstand the differences between DOT cylinders and ASME tanks--and to try to apply the DOT rules to the ASME tanks. That could be what happened here. Alternatively, U-Haul might just be doing a blanket policy, imposing a hard cutoff at 10 years on all cylinders and tanks, in order to avoid lawsuits resulting from filling a compromised container.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:33 PM   #5
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Hey, with respect to this thread's conversation and finer points --- a question:

How often **should** the ASME permanently-installed SMB onboard propane tanks be refurbished or overhauled/inspected in some fashion?

I am imagining that the valves/regulators indeed have a finite and expected lifespan after which they should be reasonably refreshed or rebuilt?
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:36 PM   #6
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^ Thanks again for the great info. I'll try to get a better understanding of their policy when I call them tomorrow. Might have to call back on Monday if they don't have a manager on duty on Sundays.

I did go inside to talk to a manager today but being Saturday, they were very busy with at least a dozen frustrated looking people waiting in line.

As a side note, the attendant on duty today was not the guy who has refilled my tank in the past, so he could have been new or perhaps he misunderstands whatever policy they implemented last month.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:54 PM   #7
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Hey, with respect to this thread's conversation and finer points --- a question:

How often **should** the ASME permanently-installed SMB onboard propane tanks be refurbished or overhauled/inspected in some fashion?

I am imagining that the valves/regulators indeed have a finite and expected lifespan after which they should be reasonably refreshed or rebuilt?
There are other folks with more expertise than I have, but here's a starting point, based on my own experience and discussions with technical experts:

ASME tanks are built with heavier steel than DOT cylinders, so they are expected to last longer than their portable, DOT counterparts. But, given time and exposure, that steel will eventually pit--creating a leakage and explosion hazard.

Valves and regulators are also vulnerable to aging. I don't have a propane system on the Silver Streak, but if I did, I would do a visual inspection of the tank and all components every year, and I would also have the valves and regulator tested every five years or so.

One more fun fact: If you purchase a new ASME tank, it comes from the factory filled with inert gas. There is a very specific purging sequence that must be followed at the initial fill (once only, if it is done correctly), in order to remove the inert gas and allow the tank to be filled to full (which is actually 80%) capacity. The average line staff at a place like U-Haul is unlikely to be familiar with the procedure, so if you are getting a new tank filled for the first time, be sure to have the manufacturer's purging instructions in hand to ensure that the fill station does it correctly.
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Old 10-28-2017, 09:37 PM   #8
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Very interesting, I've learned plenty................. Tanks a lot.
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:17 AM   #9
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Very interesting, I've learned plenty................. Tanks a lot.
You're so punny Jeff.
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:37 PM   #10
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You're so punny Jeff.
Well, at least you didn't flame me. Got propane yet, or are you out of gas?
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