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aka The Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a great 5 Lb. propane tank with the old (pre- OPD) type of valve, and of course the propane sellers can't refill those any more. Let me add that I just hate the OPD valves anyway and have had problems with insufficient flow, leaking O-Rings, etc. Anyway, is there a way to fill my old 5 Lb tank from a full 20 Lb tank? Thx!
 

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I know the issue all too well. Sometimes I can get old style 5 and 10 lb cylinders re-filled at RV places; sometimes at construction jobsites where the guys have a bulk tank. Otherwise you are stuck with cobbling together your own hose rig. The key to refilling is to have the small 5 lb tank cold (yeah put it in freezer or in ice bath). The temperature does not matter so much, as long as it is cooler than the 20 lb tank. When setting up to transfer, put 20 lb tank up higher than 5 lb tank (remember you are transferring a liquid). Open valve(s) and you will hear the propane filling the 5 lb tank. You will note the 5 lb tank gets warmer as you transfer. Repeat a second time (maybe 3x) and you can get the 5 lb tank at least 80& full. I do this all the time with those small green 1 lb cylinders because I hate to throw them away. Be advised it is not against the law to transfer propane and re-fill them 1 pounders; but it is against the law to transport them (DOT boys say so)...good luck and keep the spliff down and out when executing this manouver...cheers
 

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The Old Troll
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There are videos on Youtube on how to do this but I don't recommend it.
 

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aka The Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter #4
When I cobble together my hose setup, is high pressure a concern? Can I just use regular hose clamps and maybe a good quality reinforced hose along with the requisite brass fittings?

Sometimes when the propane place refills a tank they open a bleed valve in the top of the tank, sometimes they don't. One of the guys that always opens them says you can get propane in with it open. If I open the bleed valve on my 5# tank, I assume I should have the valve on the top? Maybe it doesn't matter? If I have it pointed down and away from my face, can I leave my spliff lit?
 

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Yes, if the 5 lb tank has a bleed, open it a little bit (as liquid propane enters the tank (displacing vapor inside) needs to go somewhere. vent is best, otherwise it "bubbles" back into 20 lb tank as the transfer occurs. You should use good hose (buy at camping store the type they sell for lantern stands etc) and proper fittings.
 

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I don't think you can fill the smaller tank any more full than the larger tank. So if your big tank is at 50% when beginning then you will achieve less than that on the small one. Both will be maybe 40% or so. So don't expect a full tank or even the 80% that your big one is starting at.


Jim
 

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Have you tried calling a local propane dealer to see if they can change the valve out to the new style? That would be the easiest way around the problem.
 

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In addition to changing the valve out you will most likely need to have the tank pressure tested which needs to be done every 12 years from the latest stamp date on the tank. Typically people don't bother getting tanks re-certified because it is not cost effective over buying a new tank.
 

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The Old Troll
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There is a special tool for changing out these valves. http://www.propaneproducts.com/catalog/opd-valves/opd-wrench-removal-and-insertion-tool-589.htmlEven with the tool it can be difficult. On some tanks when the valve spins it will hit the collar and it will not be possible to install the new valve.

If you do want to give it a try then read the "DT" dip tube number stamped on the collar. You will need this to select the correct replacement valve.


Or $30.00 for a valve and replace it yourself. Propane OPD Valves
 

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The Old Troll
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aka The Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter #16
Wow, I never would have expected so much good info. Many Thanks to All!
Replacing the tank, or replacing the valve is likely the most practical way to go, but remember, I HATE OPD VALVES! They are a complicated solution to a non-existent problem that created many problems of their own. Have you ever had an OPD that would just let enough gas thru to keep a teapot warm but no more? I have. Ever had a gasket at the valve leak because it was old and cracked, like maybe 5 years old even though the re-test date for the tank is 12 years from date of manufacture? I have. Did you have that leak catch fire then melt the plastic handscrew? I have. Have you ever had an old-school propane tank fail when tested after 12 or more years? Nope, me neither. That's why I want to hang on to my dear old 5# tank for as long as I can. Oh yes, I do use 20# at home and on big river trips, but the 5# is just perfect for so many uses I just don't want to scrap it until I have no choice. Thanks to the Buzzard community, I don't have to.
Peace,
The Capt.
 

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I know the issue all too well. Sometimes I can get old style 5 and 10 lb cylinders re-filled at RV places; sometimes at construction jobsites where the guys have a bulk tank. Otherwise you are stuck with cobbling together your own hose rig. The key to refilling is to have the small 5 lb tank cold (yeah put it in freezer or in ice bath). The temperature does not matter so much, as long as it is cooler than the 20 lb tank. When setting up to transfer, put 20 lb tank up higher than 5 lb tank (remember you are transferring a liquid). Open valve(s) and you will hear the propane filling the 5 lb tank. You will note the 5 lb tank gets warmer as you transfer. Repeat a second time (maybe 3x) and you can get the 5 lb tank at least 80& full. I do this all the time with those small green 1 lb cylinders because I hate to throw them away. Be advised it is not against the law to transfer propane and re-fill them 1 pounders; but it is against the law to transport them (DOT boys say so)...good luck and keep the spliff down and out when executing this manouver...cheers
Also weigh your tank after refilling it. Bleed if you have overfilled.

Dad told me he was refilling 1# green cylinders, freezing first, and getting 1.4# or more propane in them--and then you risk them "burping" at the blowoff, and he actually had one bulge the bottom when the weather warmed up.
 
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