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Truck crane?


hex0rz

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I'm contemplating larger propane tanks for this year's winter. My 2 30 pound tanks just didn't cut it last year. Had to refill one of them every 3 or 4 days. I've been eyeing 100 pound tanks instead. The problem is i have to be able to get them filled. I can't have a company come and fill them, and no one around here will allow a hook up from their tanks to an rv. Imagine that one.. so I have come to a crossroads. Either I get a truck crane our I make an a frame style hoist. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. What do you guys think. If you side with the crane idea, do you have any suggestions?

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It was many years ago, I rented a 100 tank for my 5er over the winter.  The facility arranged fills along with their tanks.   I don't know how I would approach this. 

One approach would be a crane...  Would you lay it down in the truck?  In a cradle?   How about a cradle / skid & a manual conveyor?  Or a small trailer...  leave the tanks in it, connect in place with a long hose?   

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Russ brings up a good point. What about a small utility trailer with 1-2 100lb tanks in it that just stay on the trailer all the time? Whenever you need gas, just hook up to the trailer and away you go. What I don't know is what the transportation laws are for that sort of thing. Can the average Joe transport that much propane on a trailer?

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Why can't you have a company come fill them, very common here to see 250 or 500 gallon tanks sitting beside RV's that are used for long term vacancy?  Just get hold of a supplier and rent whatever size tank that would get you through the season and they will do auto fills and you have no worries then.

Most companies here actually supply tanks as long as you sign an agreement that they are the only ones you buy propane from and they set it up and maintain it on their end, if any issues arise call them and they fix it no extra cost to you.

I do know some companies require a certain size minimum amount to qualify for rental and fill service though so this may be what you are looking at as an issue.

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It was many years ago, I rented a 100 tank for my 5er over the winter.  The facility arranged fills along with their tanks.   I don't know how I would approach this. 

One approach would be a crane...  Would you lay it down in the truck?  In a cradle?   How about a cradle / skid & a manual conveyor?  Or a small trailer...  leave the tanks in it, connect in place with a long hose?   

 

I have a plan on using 4x4 beams with notches to allow the tanks to be laid down in the bed of the truck. Then I can secure them with ratchet straps to keep from shifting. How small of a utility trailer can one get? Think about that for a moment:

 

1. Buy the trailer

2. Pay for registration for it yearly

3. Could it serve any other purpose?

 

I just cant comprehend the logic in it. I try to keep clutter to a minimum and things that I have need to serve different purposes. I have little use for a small utility trailer if I bought it for 2 100lb. tanks. Its a thought, and I appreciate the feedback though!

 

Russ brings up a good point. What about a small utility trailer with 1-2 100lb tanks in it that just stay on the trailer all the time? Whenever you need gas, just hook up to the trailer and away you go. What I don't know is what the transportation laws are for that sort of thing. Can the average Joe transport that much propane on a trailer?

 

I don't have much of an idea on how much one can transport on a vehicle, I will have to look into that.

 

Why can't you have a company come fill them, very common here to see 250 or 500 gallon tanks sitting beside RV's that are used for long term vacancy?  Just get hold of a supplier and rent whatever size tank that would get you through the season and they will do auto fills and you have no worries then.

Most companies here actually supply tanks as long as you sign an agreement that they are the only ones you buy propane from and they set it up and maintain it on their end, if any issues arise call them and they fix it no extra cost to you.

I do know some companies require a certain size minimum amount to qualify for rental and fill service though so this may be what you are looking at as an issue.

 

I could not stomach the idea of buying a large tank. Its not necessarily a long term goal I have to stay on propane. A good backup in case, though. The other predicament is I dunno where I'm at from one to the next. I'm trying my best to not be a nomad, but I have no idea what lays in store for me, lol. I have dismissed the idea of a company coming and filling as there are only 2 companies locally and neither of them will fill unless I get their tank.

 

One company will simply not allow their tanks to be hooked up to an RV for insurance reasons, apparently. The other requires a commitment of atleast one year. I'm not sure I will be here for more than a year...

 

I realize further defining my situation may shed better light and apologize if that causes one to think about it differently.

 

I have come to the conclusion though, that I think I have found what I'm looking for. Just depends on how much money they want for their setup!

 

http://www.westernmule.com/series_a.html

 

I really enjoy the idea of their product. I don't have the hassle of a crane getting in my way and taking space up in the bed. Not to mention I found very little manufacturers that offered any sort of kit that had a mounting application to the truck. You have to fabricate something up 99% of the time to allow the crane to be mounted solidly. I do not like the idea of extra work to make a product work like that.

 

With this, I have a good beefy bumper, still retain a hitch to allow for bumper pull trailers and have a sturdy, solid mount for a crane. The crane is mounted via the bumper to the frame of the vehicle. It also includes an outrigger under the crane to keep loading off. This can also stow away into the bumper and not be in the way! With a max. of 2k lb capacity, I could not think of any better.

 

Not only could I load/unload the propane tanks with ease, but I can use it for my beehives, firewood, loading big game and a portable slip tank for fueling.

 

Yes, indeed, fellas, these people may just have made my life a whole heck alot easier with their product! Sheesh! I have not even bought it yet and it gets me all giddy!

 

I value your guys' thoughts, opinions, what says you? Hmm?

Edited by hex0rz
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There are a lot smaller and simpler ones made that simply slip into the receiver hitch if that is the way you want to go, I know a lot of sports shops sell them as a way to load game and gear into the bed, maybe check into something like that, lots smaller lighter and cheaper upfront, they just use a hand cranked cable whinch similar to a boat trailer winch.

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If I recall properly, the 100 pound bottles are required to be transported upright. They should weigh right around 175 pounds full. I think you could just lay the bottle against the tailgate and lift on the bottom and slide it in. Then stand it upright and tie it in. For what you need I would do that rather than tie up bed space with a crane. You would probably be changing bottles about once every three weeks to a month depending on temperatures.

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I regularly  haul  100# cylinders  to the  hay field to   fill our  4020  JD  propane tractor... or to  swipe  fuel from one  tank (my own of course) and put in another, cause I forgot to call the  delivery guy...   I can attest  the fact  those buggers  are  the most awkward things  to handle  when  filled.   I still   'iron man' them,  but  as  I got  older,  I've  gotten lazy;   put the  cylinder in the pickup empty,  back the truck up to the  1000 gallon tank, and fill it  there...  vice versa  in the field...   I usually only 'handle'  the empties. 

.......... I probably  overfill them..  but  I know  I'm  going to empty it  right away.

 

Nothing worse  in the back of a pickup...  'a round cylinder'...   laying down.      especially  a heavy one!   I have many many  pickup boxes  with smashed wheel wells.

legally,   I  think Tom is  right...  they gotta be upright.   That way,  if   the  relief valve  blows,  it'll only shoot   vapor..  not liquid.   So,  some sort of   stand will be needed to  secure them.  

used to be,  with a  security deposit on the tank,   you  could  'buy' the gas,  and  just  trade your empties  for  filled  cylinders...    I've  recently seen  100# cylinders for sale  (empty)  at    tractor supply type  stores   for about 120 bucks..

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There are a lot smaller and simpler ones made that simply slip into the receiver hitch if that is the way you want to go, I know a lot of sports shops sell them as a way to load game and gear into the bed, maybe check into something like that, lots smaller lighter and cheaper upfront, they just use a hand cranked cable whinch similar to a boat trailer winch.

 

Yes, that is actually the next thing I was going to default to. I called Western Mule today, and I must say, they sure are PROUD of their product! They quoted me over $4k for the 2k lb capacity crane! :ahhh:  Why? So I can have someone rear end me and not have insurance replace it for me? Thats a waste!

 

 I've got to start digging and see who makes the hitch type cranes. My only curiosity is how small it breaks down so I can stow it. The price tag for them is alot easier to swallow than the others!

 

If I recall properly, the 100 pound bottles are required to be transported upright. They should weigh right around 175 pounds full. I think you could just lay the bottle against the tailgate and lift on the bottom and slide it in. Then stand it upright and tie it in. For what you need I would do that rather than tie up bed space with a crane. You would probably be changing bottles about once every three weeks to a month depending on temperatures.

 

I did some researching last night and found a page on propane and safety. If the bottle is not designed to be used horizontally, it must be vertical at all times. The risk of venting liquid propane instead of vapor. Although, I may bend the rules on this one, as the only time they are getting used and filled will be in the winter. The likelihood of one venting is not going to be high. I could probably use the tailgate to assist loading and unloading, but the truck is lifted somewhat and I'm not too sure. It is a good thought though! I estimate that with 2 100lb bottles, I should be able to go once a month with filling them. I would also have my 2 30 lb bottles too for backup.

 

I regularly  haul  100# cylinders  to the  hay field to   fill our  4020  JD  propane tractor... or to  swipe  fuel from one  tank (my own of course) and put in another, cause I forgot to call the  delivery guy...   I can attest  the fact  those buggers  are  the most awkward things  to handle  when  filled.   I still   'iron man' them,  but  as  I got  older,  I've  gotten lazy;   put the  cylinder in the pickup empty,  back the truck up to the  1000 gallon tank, and fill it  there...  vice versa  in the field...   I usually only 'handle'  the empties. 

.......... I probably  overfill them..  but  I know  I'm  going to empty it  right away.

 

Nothing worse  in the back of a pickup...  'a round cylinder'...   laying down.      especially  a heavy one!   I have many many  pickup boxes  with smashed wheel wells.

legally,   I  think Tom is  right...  they gotta be upright.   That way,  if   the  relief valve  blows,  it'll only shoot   vapor..  not liquid.   So,  some sort of   stand will be needed to  secure them.  

used to be,  with a  security deposit on the tank,   you  could  'buy' the gas,  and  just  trade your empties  for  filled  cylinders...    I've  recently seen  100# cylinders for sale  (empty)  at    tractor supply type  stores   for about 120 bucks..

 

I have already damaged my back enough at my age of 25 doing stupid things. I've definitely become the person that tries to live to the addage of working smart and using ergonomics to my advantage.

 

I did mention that I was going to make a "cradle" setup for them to be secured to. Legally, there appears to be no law for someone on a personal level, or non-commercial to have to obey the type of laws set out for commercial outfits. Is it better, and good common sense? I would say so.

 

I did call one of the local places that does the propane and they said they would fill my 100lb bottles. I asked them how he fills them and he said until they are full. :rolleyes:

 

Kind of got to me as that did not seem right coming from them. Reading the page I read last night, the safe thing to do is fill to 80% capacity, upright and measuring the fill by either gallon or poundage. Well, around here, they do not use a scale. Its done by how many gallons pumped. But in this instance, there is no way to tell how much is in it unless I know its empty. These type of bottles do not have an OPD on them so it won't stop until propane liquid comes out of the relief valve.

 

But, like I said earlier, I do not think a vent will occur as I will only use them in the cold. Guy told me it needs to be a really hot day before they vent anyways. If I show up there and there is a safety concern they have with what I'm doing, I will take their advice.

 

As for now, I'm on the prowl for a good hitch crane setup, anyone have any recommendations?

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I've  seen them fill them  while sitting on a  small platform scale...  when they  hit  the  'weight'...  that's  it,  done.

 

I  fill mine  by   opening up the little bleeder valve,   and  venting off  the vapor as it fills.   I've no pump,  just   liquid  coming out of the  big tank on it's own.

When I fill my   little   grill type bottles,   if they don't have that  little bleed valve,  I'll   shoot  about   half gallon into it..  take the hose off,   shake it up  and  open the valve  while  holding it upside down....*don't have to mention here... no smoking*   it  super chills  the  tank.   soon as  the gas is   gone,  I'll immediately hook the fill hose back up and   hit it..  fills it to the brim in no time

 

We've fill  hundreds  of  bottles/tanks/vehicles  this way over the years.     I suppose  by now   a   'pump'  would've  paid for itself  by not  having to vent the  vapor to atmosphere.

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Can you weld?  

or  access to a welding shop?    If  this is  all you really need  a crane for,     I'd  say  some  square tubing  and  a simple  hand crank winch,  a  pulley,   and  you'd  be golden.

 

slip it into your  receiver hitch... load your  tanks.  pull it  out when done.         this  is   26 bucks on ebay

 

                  

50 bucks  for  some  tubing,     4 bucks  for a  1/4 inch pulley  for the overhang..  mTMfPeI_hkZcXKbbhrQud3g.jpg

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I saw a few truck mounted cranes in the outboard boat business years ago.  They really needed to be supported my reinforcing under the truck bed.  I have seen home made jobs rip the fender off (point of support) when lifting heavy outboard motors.  All I know is:  It wasn't pretty. 

The winch shown previously looks like a "trailer winch" and frankly, we used some ourselves to lift very heavy objects...  20 foot oak pilings on our work barge...  25' aluminum boat masts with a home made crane of 2x2 box steel. 

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That hoist that is down at the shop is really easy to move around really. Lindy has been trying to sell it for quite some time now. I can see the idea of building a stinker for that and slip the base into the hitch. Place the hoist in the base... Now pickup your propane tanks or anything heavy and place it in the truck.  Good idea Will !!!

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I've  seen them fill them  while sitting on a  small platform scale...  when they  hit  the  'weight'...  that's  it,  done.

 

I  fill mine  by   opening up the little bleeder valve,   and  venting off  the vapor as it fills.   I've no pump,  just   liquid  coming out of the  big tank on it's own.

When I fill my   little   grill type bottles,   if they don't have that  little bleed valve,  I'll   shoot  about   half gallon into it..  take the hose off,   shake it up  and  open the valve  while  holding it upside down....*don't have to mention here... no smoking*   it  super chills  the  tank.   soon as  the gas is   gone,  I'll immediately hook the fill hose back up and   hit it..  fills it to the brim in no time

 

We've fill  hundreds  of  bottles/tanks/vehicles  this way over the years.     I suppose  by now   a   'pump'  would've  paid for itself  by not  having to vent the  vapor to atmosphere.

 

No one around here uses a scale. Its done by activating the OPD on filling and/or the amount pumped until the overflow is squirting liquid.

Can you weld?  

or  access to a welding shop?    If  this is  all you really need  a crane for,     I'd  say  some  square tubing  and  a simple  hand crank winch,  a  pulley,   and  you'd  be golden.

 

slip it into your  receiver hitch... load your  tanks.  pull it  out when done.         this  is   26 bucks on ebay

 

                  

50 bucks  for  some  tubing,     4 bucks  for a  1/4 inch pulley  for the overhang..  mTMfPeI_hkZcXKbbhrQud3g.jpg

 

I do have more uses for a crane in mind than just the propane bottles. Like I said, it has to have a multi-faceted use. I think I may have something worthwhile in store. I do have all the necessary things to be able to fab something up, except the raw materials.

 

PM'ed you

 

I saw a few truck mounted cranes in the outboard boat business years ago.  They really needed to be supported my reinforcing under the truck bed.  I have seen home made jobs rip the fender off (point of support) when lifting heavy outboard motors.  All I know is:  It wasn't pretty. 

The winch shown previously looks like a "trailer winch" and frankly, we used some ourselves to lift very heavy objects...  20 foot oak pilings on our work barge...  25' aluminum boat masts with a home made crane of 2x2 box steel. 

This is exactly the reason why I won't mount it into the bed. I do not feel like also making more work for myself to make one work. I'm thinking about a small winch, like an ATV winch for lifting. I've been researching on some other crane alternatives and they almost fit the bill. But they did not have a means to raise or lower the load except by a more primitive means. Which is okay, but not for the things I have in mind. I know, I'm picky...

 

This is what I thought I was going to get, until I looked at all the features it did not have:

 

http://www.maxworks.us/product/html/?129.html

 

I've got an idea with something along the lines like this, but with better features. I got to get cracking on it soon, as I need to make it possible so I can use the bottles for winter. :ahhh:

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I have an engine hoist in my shop and it is not light. My buddy takes it over to his place sometimes. When he does we have to brake it down for transport.  Those parts are heavy, and you would be manhandling them by your self once a month.  

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It depends on where I get my tank filled. Not only that, but I have other uses too. I don't have much use if any for a cherry picker at the moment.

On a side note,I think I may have found the crane I'm willing to compromise for. It has a much lower weight capacity rating,but I'm thinking that if I do some extra work to it I could increase that capacity. At the very least it will handle a 100lb propane bottle. What do you guys think?

http://m.ebay.com/itm/321470926062

I was thinking about adding more beef to the joint areas. Then, if needed use a trailer tongue Jack instead of the one they have. One way or another I think it should be doable.

The weather is changing quick,and I can't sit on my hands long enough to fab one up in time. Better to just add to one instead I suppose.

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