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Thread: What to do with 1987 aluminium tank

  1. #11
    Guppy
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    Quote Originally Posted by markknight View Post
    I have a 1987 Aluminium tank that looks brand new but was told that it could not be filled. What are my options
    If your LDS will not fill a tank the DOT says is safe to use they are just trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank from them. Check out the link below for a list of DOT inspection stations in your area and go to them instead. Not all of the locations listed deal with scuba tanks but the ones that do are also the ones your LDS sends the tanks to for Hydro. These locations can also VIP and fill your tanks.

    PHMSA - Cylinders - Authorized DOT Cylinder Retesters: Domestic

  2. #12
    Grouper
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    I had one, notice past tense. I cut the bottom off and made a bell. Sold the bottom for scrap AL and made a few bucks. I even gutted the valve and put it in my spare parts box.
    Other options are: lamp or mail box. I think there are photos of both on Scubaboard...sorry guys.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Keller View Post
    If your LDS will not fill a tank the DOT says is safe to use they are just trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank from them. Check out the link below for a list of DOT inspection stations in your area and go to them instead. Not all of the locations listed deal with scuba tanks but the ones that do are also the ones your LDS sends the tanks to for Hydro. These locations can also VIP and fill your tanks.

    PHMSA - Cylinders - Authorized DOT Cylinder Retesters: Domestic
    Whats the point if you can't get a fill?

    Seriously - the 6351 alloy is bad juju. You want people to take risk (literally thier lives) in filling this tank for little to no profit just so you don't have to spend $150 on a new tank or $10 to rent one?

    The risk-reward equation is not there for me. I do not fault any dive shop owner who agrees and refuses to deal with this alloy. If you say the risk is 1/1000 or 1/100,000 its still there. It will catch up to somebody and more and more people don't want to be that somebody. Unfortuneately for that somebody - the consequence is usually severe.

    Oh and for the record - until just recently my VFD has AL SCBA bottles - many of which were 6351. Just this past year - over 10 have failed with neck cracks. These were full, in service riding around on the trucks just days before. Thankfully these were caught before catastrophic failure. A note - these are maintained *exactly* to DOT/NFPA requirements. They are literally ticking time bombs.

  4. #14
    Guppy
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    I am not a big fan of aluminum tanks to begin with but as long as the tank passes the yearly eddy current test and a hydro there is no problem with that tank. I have three of these tanks myself that came off a triple 30 cu/ft tank manifold that I used as a confined space bail out system when doing narrow pipe penetrations. I still use them and as long as they keep passing the tests I am more then comfortable continuing to do so.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Keller View Post
    If your LDS will not fill a tank the DOT says is safe to use they are just trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank from them. Check out the link below for a list of DOT inspection stations in your area and go to them instead. Not all of the locations listed deal with scuba tanks but the ones that do are also the ones your LDS sends the tanks to for Hydro. These locations can also VIP and fill your tanks.

    PHMSA - Cylinders - Authorized DOT Cylinder Retesters: Domestic
    Rich,


    It is unfair to say a LDS is trying to strong arm you into buying a new tank. I know someone who owns a dive shop and had dozens of old aluminum tanks. She scrapped them all. Was she trying to strong herself into buying new tanks? She had seen what happens when a tank explodes. She didn't feel safe around them. Was it rational? Not really but it is her dive shop. She is the person filling the tank. She knows hpeople make mistakes. What if someone checked the tank but didn't eddy current test it? To her it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
    This signature left intentionally blank

  6. #16
    Grouper
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    I sat in on a VIP class a few years ago and the instructor had a couple pics of tanks that had exploded in the cab of a fire truck. Luckily nobody was close when they went off. Yes, they were 6351.
    Quote Originally Posted by in_cavediver View Post
    Whats the point if you can't get a fill?

    Seriously - the 6351 alloy is bad juju. You want people to take risk (literally thier lives) in filling this tank for little to no profit just so you don't have to spend $150 on a new tank or $10 to rent one?

    The risk-reward equation is not there for me. I do not fault any dive shop owner who agrees and refuses to deal with this alloy. If you say the risk is 1/1000 or 1/100,000 its still there. It will catch up to somebody and more and more people don't want to be that somebody. Unfortuneately for that somebody - the consequence is usually severe.

    Oh and for the record - until just recently my VFD has AL SCBA bottles - many of which were 6351. Just this past year - over 10 have failed with neck cracks. These were full, in service riding around on the trucks just days before. Thankfully these were caught before catastrophic failure. A note - these are maintained *exactly* to DOT/NFPA requirements. They are literally ticking time bombs.

  7. #17
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by clara View Post
    I sat in on a VIP class a few years ago and the instructor had a couple pics of tanks that had exploded in the cab of a fire truck. Luckily nobody was close when they went off. Yes, they were 6351.
    He still shows those pictures as of my class this past week at DEMA.
    John Lewis--the PlatypusMan!


  8. #18
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    The dive shops are the ones doing the yearly eddy tests so if they have a problem with it being done wrong they just need to look in the mirror for the cause. Your LDS can not over rule the DOT on what is safe. That being said the DOT is not going to get involved either. What I would worry about is LDSs going too far in making up their own rules and causing DOT or some other government agency to want to regulate scuba diving. This in my opinion would be a very bad thing for all of us. The SCBA tanks are very different from scuba tanks. The metal is much thinner than a scuba tank and gets its strength from the carbon fiber wrapped around it. This makes it lighter and able contain the same pressure but the carbon fiber can do nothing to support an internal defect in the metal and as the metal is so much thinner it would be more prone to fail.

  9. #19
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    Rich, there are aluminum scba tanks... not all are wrapped tanks. We have filled a lot of plain aluminum scba's at our shop for the fire department. Now the newer more expensive ones are wrapped, but two different things.

    And the LDS can easily over rule what the DOT says is safe. Any shop can refuse to fill any cylinder, or all cylinders if they so choose. We won't fill them at our shop.

    What you need to think of, is just because a tank has a sticker on it, does not mean it is safe. Who put the sticker on?? Did they do a good test?? Or did they just slap on a sticker and charge someone? I've seen divers tell other divers they would sell them VIP+ stickers...

    If your worry is the DOT wanting to run in and regulate, I would take the stance that not having any more 6351 tanks blow up, by not filling any might be a good way to make sure they don't start regulations.

    It's one of those situations where everyone has to make their decision, but we scrapped dozens of tanks when we found there was a problem, and set the policy to not fill them. It's just not worth risking my shop, or my employees because someone wants to use a tank that is 30 years old. It was 100 bucks back then... 3 bucks a year amortized over it's life... less than the price of one fill.... In my mind, it's just not worth the risk - so we don't fill them.
    Last edited by ScubaToys Larry; 11-07-2011 at 09:44.

  10. #20
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    One of our local instructors tells this story and has a the tank for show and tell.

    Had a customer come in with several 1980 series tanks that need hydro, viz and filled the tank that had the problem still had about 5 months on its hydro but decided to get done anyway. The customer stated that they were full but the had been several years since they were used. So the instructed drain the tanks and just took a quick look inside of each tank to make sure they not all corroded and worth sending out to hydro and found nothing wrong with either tank. Few days later he got a call that one of tanks had split down the side during hydro and it failed going though 2700 psi and the tanks did pass eddy just prior to failing. This place will not fill old tanks, matter a fact you bring them into the shop he will make you remove them from the shop and put the outside. Later the instructor found out that the owner of the tanks had owned the tanks many years and they were stored in a garden shed. I don't think any of the shop locally will fill the older tanks, just not worth the risk no mater how small for 5 dollar fill charge.
    Last edited by CWSWine; 11-07-2011 at 09:42.
    - Dennis ><()))">

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