How to Change the Propane Tank on an LP Forklift

by TMH on December 26, 2017
how to change the propane tank on an LP forkliftLiquid propane (LP) Is a common forklift fuel type that requires extra caution when handling. The liquid propane inside the forklift’s fuel tank is highly pressurized at -40 °F. Only a small amount can severely damage eyes and skin. Liquid propane is also flammable and explosive.

Exposure to high concentrations of propane, even for a brief moment, can cause dizziness or even suffocation. In today’s post, we’ll cover how to safely change the propane tank on an LP forklift, including PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements.

 How to Install a Propane Tank on an LP Forklift

Before you begin:
- Move to an outdoor, or well-ventilated area away from ignition sources
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including: wrap-around safety glasses, steel-toed shoes and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your skin from frostbite if propane escapes through the stop valve. Always wear thick gloves made of leather or neoprene, especially when making or breaking connections.

Empty the Fuel Line
Close the valve on the cylinder tightly, then run the forklift’s engine until it stops. Shut off the engine, then check the line and fitting for remaining fuel. Even after the engine cuts out, there could still be remaining fuel that could spray on your hands or face when you disconnect the coupler.

Disconnect the Hose and Remove the Tank
Open the connecting nut and inspect valves for leaks - do NOT use metal tools. Disconnect the hose and holding straps, then remove the empty cylinder gently.

Inspect the tank for frost build-up, dents, gouges, heavy amounts of rust, and o-ring condition. A leaking tank can cause an explosion. Also, check the forklift hose and fitting for any visible damage.

Install the New Cylinder
Put the tank on the locating pin. Connect the holding straps and make sure the locking pin engages into the cylinder. Ensure the tank is positioned so liquid propane will not come in contact with the relief valve. Confirm the new tank valve is off. If the hose coupler is screwed onto an open tank valve, a spray of liquid propane can result.

Slowly Open the Valve and Check for Leaks
Open the valve slowly and check that the hose is turned inward. Do not over tighten the valve; if there is a leak,or other hazard, you may need to close it quickly.

Check for leaks using soap or a leak detector. Smell – listen – look. If you smell a bad odor, hear a rushing sound or see white frost, close the valve immediately and ventilate the area to prevent combustion. If no leaks are detected, double check that the cylinder is secured to the truck and resume normal operation.

LP forklift tanks should only be changed by authorized, properly trained personnel. Only qualified service professionals should conduct maintenance and repairs of carburetors and fuel supply systems.

For questions about LP forklifts, maintenance or repair,  contact us online.  We also offer forklift certification and training at any of our locations, or we can come to you.

East Bay - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
How Long Can a Forklift Last on a Single Tank of Propane 
Forklift FAQs: Batteries, Tires, Pricing - Your Questions Answered
4 Expensive Forklift Repairs and How to Prevent Them

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Topics: LPG Forklifts, Forklift FAQs

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