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Old 18-04-2009, 18:57   #1
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Aluminum Propane Tanks Versus Fiberglass?

Does anyone have any opinion on the fiberglass propane tanks versus the aluminum tanks? I am considering the fiberglass due to weight.

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Old 18-04-2009, 19:28   #2
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I have 2 fiberglass tanks (20lb capacity each), and like them. Lighter than aluminum, and being able to see how much lpg is very handy. Cheaper than metal, also. I think I paid around $100 U.S. for each (lite cylinder company)...maybe a bit more.
Caveats...can be difficult to get filled in areas/ countries not used to seeing them. Also, they don't have all-stainless fittings, so the flange-washer on mine are corroding...not structural, but unsightly. I now keep the top fittings liberally dosed with WD or CRC.

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Old 18-04-2009, 20:23   #3
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I recently ordered a fiberglass cylinder, when I went to have it filled I was informed that they are not legal to fill in Louisiana, and I was told that is so in several other states also. So if you are in the US best to check in your area, or wherever you may need to have one filled while travelling, beforehand. I had bought it from the local West Marine store, the first (and only) one they sold. They took it back and I bought an Aluminum one which is no problem to have filled here. The state inspector told me there have been cases of the fiberglass (composite) tank top and bottom halves separating and exploding, I think that may be BS, but they are sticking to it. Being able to see the fuel level in the fiberglass tanks is a very nice feature.
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Old 18-04-2009, 21:02   #4
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I have seen a leaking fiberglass one but don't know what brand it was. I think that compared to aluminium the weight savings are irrelevant because the contents weighs much more than either type of tank.

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Old 18-04-2009, 22:51   #5
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Aluminum works for me, and it is relatively chafe and puncture resistant. I have had aluminum tanks for 14 years without a problem.

I would be concerned about damage to the fiberglass tank in an offshore yacht where there is a great deal of rolling and pitching that could result in chronic stresses being appied to the same area in a fiberglass tank. If the tank was holding a non-explosive liquid, I would not be worried.

I would expect that there are many countries around the world where you could not get them filled. You would have to get the local tank, bring it on board, and transfer it to the fiberglass one.
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Old 19-04-2009, 03:46   #6

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I carry three aluminum tanks in a lazarette. Salt water get's in there from time to time and I have to deal with corrosion problems on the tanks. I was seriously considering the fiberglass as a solution to this problem.

I thought that once the Lite Cylinder Company had Federal approval, all states would adopt them. I'm amazed that this isn't the case. Also, Dave's comment about them not being accepted outside of the US will be a show stopper.
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Old 19-04-2009, 04:54   #7
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I don't think Australia is happy either..


Cylinders are to comply with AS 2030.
Cylinders which are damaged or out of
date do not comply. The surface
coating of a cylinder must be suitable
for the conditions of use. A galvanised
or stainless steel cylinder is preferred.
But to read AS 2030 you have to pay $70.60. Gotta luv the Government!!
Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 19-04-2009, 07:57   #8
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No problem getting my fiberglass tanks filled in all 10 countries we visited between Florida and New Zealand. Of course you had to carry your own adapters for some countries, others had them hanging on the wall. Mine are manufactured by the lite cylinder company as well.
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Old 13-07-2011, 11:35   #9
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Re: Aluminum Propane Tanks Versus Fiberglass?

I recently bought 2 comet marine propane tanks over the Internet at Amazon. I filled 11lb of propane in each cylinder. It seems it has a steel liner inside wrapped with a composite fiber and then a very nice plastic jacket. It also has a level indicator on the top of the valve, but I didn't use them until the end to know if it works or not. Now it shows green. The cylinders look very strong and they cannot damage the boat. The cylinders are non-corrosive too.
For the information I was able to gather (and I'm one of those guys that look for everything), it seems to be that this is the best compromise taking into consideration reliability, non-corrosive, weight and handling.
These cylinders come with the OPD valve with the usual connections. I saw in the Internet that they use these cylinders in Australia, Europe and Africa but I'm not sure on the connections.
These cylinders are US and Canada approved (DOT) and you can download all the technical information on their website
Good luck!
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Old 13-07-2011, 13:00   #10
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Re: Aluminum Propane Tanks Versus Fiberglass?

These composite tanks are now available and approved for Australia.
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Old 13-07-2011, 13:04   #11
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Re: Aluminum Propane Tanks Versus Fiberglass?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Pete.

Thanks for the informative post.

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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