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250 gal propane tank for smoker questions

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I found a good 250 gal propane tank that i need to pickup on monday. The guy said it still smelled like propane. What do i have to do to get it ready to cut and store in my garage? He wants 100$ for it is that a good price?
post #2 of 17
Thats a great price. I have heard several different ways of cleaning them out from soap and water to gases so I honestly can't answer that part
post #3 of 17
We pull all plug out of the tanks, build big fire, tie rope to tanks, and drag into fire with four wheeler. In turn burn off all paint and propane residue. Then fill with water and cut door, if nasty inside build fire in the tank after door is cut. This is how we did this in the past, no rocket yet. We have been known to do things we should not.
post #4 of 17
No disrespect intended, but If it were me, I might do a little more to ensure it was safe then pulling the plugs and dragging it into a fire. I haven't done this personally, so I am hesitant to offer specific directions, but have heard of multi faceted ways to ensure not only your safety, but the safety of those around you. They included some or all of the following:
  1. Evacuation of any propane left in them. Please remember, propane as a gas is heavier than air, and a tank without plugs can still contain propane, as it will pool in the bottom of the tank or in low spots on the ground. This can be a serious matter if ignited in a confined area (as represented by the inside of a tank)
  2. Filling the tank with water to push more of the gases out of the tank.
  3. The addition of a detergent to cut some of the smell (methyl mercaptan is added to make propane smell, and can coat the insides of the tank to make the smell linger even if no propane exists)
  4. letting the detergent and water slosh around and spill out the top of the tank in the back of a truck as you drive around.
  5. Draining the water
  6. Filling the tank with carbon monoxide by attaching your car (truck) exhaust via shop vac hose to completely fill the tank.
  7. Then cut.
Please research this completely, and don't do something that is unsafe and potentially hazardous to you and those around you. It would be sad to see your score on a tank turn into something other than the beautiful thing it is.

Just my $.02
post #5 of 17
i agree with bbqeng on this if you can haul it around full of soapy water lot of weight there if not flush it a few times letting the water flow out the top then do the carbon monoxide thing. Saftey is no accident.
post #6 of 17
No disrespect taken, I do things I should not all the time. Safety should be your main concern. Your points are very valid and more safe than what I proposed. One question, what does the exhaust do?
post #7 of 17
The "exhaust" from a car or truck is your source of carbon monoxide, to purge the tank.
post #8 of 17
What Mikey (Nice Avatar!) said...The carbon monoxide from your exhaust is used as an purge gas for the oxygen in the tank that would create an environment for combustion (or explosion) if ignited.

Be Safe!
post #9 of 17
Well i actually did this... let me just tell you what I did. Me and a friend of mine took a water hose and and a bottle of dawn dish washing soap, filled the tank all the way full, let it set for two or three hours then drained it. Then we left it empty for a week. To test and see if their was anything left in the tank. We hooked some wire to an electric fencer, got a 100 ft extension chord, plugged it in and went inside to see what happened, it kept a flame going and burnt most of the residue out. We left it for an hour and a half. Then we filled the tank with water and soap two more times. The second time we filled it, we filled it completely, then dumped about half of it out. Then we to a reciprocating saw (sawsall) and cut out the top for the doors that we had marked out....After we had those cuts made, we dumped the rest of the water and finished cutting out the doors. When the doors where finished, and the tank was dry (the next week) we got some wood and built a huge fire in the tank to get all the smell and left over residue out....I use the tank all the time, and works great.....hope this helps.
post #10 of 17
I have a question, and this is only because I am getting ready to starting cutting on an air compressor tank. How did you get the sawz-all started ? Did you drill a hole to start the blade? And again this is only because I am getting ready to start my smoker project and am trying to figure out the best way to cut the doors.
post #11 of 17
Yes, I used a step bit drill bit and drilled out the corners. You could also use a cut off wheel on a grinder and cut the notch out.
post #12 of 17
Thanks for the tip. I am picking up my tank for the cook chamber tonight. I will try and get some pictures with the cell phone, since the digital camera is dead and I can't find the charger anywhere.
post #13 of 17


I was in the propane business for quiet a few years and you folks need to follow the following rules before you do anything to a propane tank.

#1--Folks the first thing you need to do before you start to cut or drill, grind or anything on a propane tank that will produce a spark is be sure your life insurance is paid up to date.

#2--What you folks have done is putting your lives in danger but also anyone else that is close by. These things are nothing less than a BOMB.

#3--Check with your local Propane distributor for the proper way to defuse the tank.

#4--Be sure the guy that is selling the tank owns it rather than a propane company.
post #14 of 17

word up

Eagle is telling the truth
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cut the tank this morning with no problems. I had pressure washed with engine degreaser and it worked great.

Thight fit to my backyard

There it is with my Longhorn deluxe.

post #16 of 17
Bigsal51 looks good but I would have done one thing different.
Welded the hinges on the doors before cutting the doors all the way out.

I did the same thing on mine but on the next one I am going to start I won't.

I will agree they can be deadly ......but like anything else use caution.
post #17 of 17
Hey Sal that is some mighty fine looking torch work.
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