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Old 11-02-2014, 04:00 PM   #1
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My first near disaster towing a camper

I stopped to weigh my camper while on the way out this weekend. While re-hitching, the gas bottle cover came loose, so I stowed it in the back of my truck and went on my way.

Some miles later I made a sharp right turn at a highway intersection. There were several semis and such passing but I had a long clear acceleration lane lane. The turn was a bit sharper than it looked, but I was not traveling at an unsafe speed. As I went around the bend, my propane tanks fell off. By the time I recognised the noise as coming from my vehicle, over the noise of the semis, and stopped, the tanks had been dragged for about 100 yards, wedged under the tongue aframe. On the way they put a small tear the aluminum front plating and dented the material underneath.

BTW they sounded like a much like chain dragging. My thought was that a safety chain had come loose. But the sound had a resonance that you hear when tapping on the bottle with something metal.

The collars did there job in protecting the valves and neither ruptured. The tanks are now scratched, dented and and still filled with propane. They stayed attached by the hose from the regulator to the camper. The regulator and the threaded center rod were banged up.

When I got to camp, I attached the one bottle that still had a handle and had gas for weekend with no nose detectable leaks. So now I am going to attach each to my home grill to burn off the remaining gas before disposal.

What I can guess as to why they came off is that the threaded rod had partially backed out from welded nut in the base over a few tank changes. The rod was very rusty and might have gotten turned out as I was unscrewing the top clamp. I know the bottle were tight when last installed.

Since then with road vibration and jostling, the rod had worked all the way loose. Perhaps the cover had been holding the bottle on for some time or it just gave up on Friday. I did not check the tightness before driving because the bottle supports have historically been difficult to get off.

When I reassemble the system, with a new regulator and hoses, I am going to put an additional nut under the one welded into the base. And put some Loctite in there and perhaps add a safety strap. And add this to my checklist. Ultimately there was very little damage. My thanks to people who thought about the safety engineering of those bottles because this combination of circumstances could well otherwise have ended up in a disaster.
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:22 PM   #2
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Bummer.
I did my own mods to the whole tongue and that included double nutting that rod and doubling the size and number of bolts that hold the tray to the frame.
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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Wow, you were very lucky (in an "unlucky" sort of way).

There were most likely enough sparks to make quite a fire if the rubber hose got a worn spot through.
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:50 PM   #4
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I'm glad there wasn't more damage...and especially no explosions!

And thanks for the reminder to double-check my tanks to ensure they're not going anywhere unless I want them too!
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:53 PM   #5
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Good thing the tanks held together, you were lucky. It will be added to my list also.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
Wow, you were very lucky (in an "unlucky" sort of way).
My thought too. And grateful that some small property damage is the worst of it. It was otherwise a great weekend of camping and kayaking.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:48 PM   #7
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So I'm trying to understand, you left the tank hooked via hose to the tt but sitting in the bed with the tailgate down? Sorry but I think I would have disconnected from the trailer and closed the tailgate for safety. You were very lucky not to have an explosion.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:15 PM   #8
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reread the op, only the cover came off.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:33 PM   #9
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reread the op, only the cover came off.
Ok that makes more sense.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:01 PM   #10
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reread the op, only the cover came off.
"the tanks had been dragged for about 100 yards, wedged under the tongue aframe."

The cover came off, but the reason was the hold down for the assembly came apart. He did not notice the tank hold down was also disconnected as well and only put the cover in the pickup bed.
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