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Author Topic: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers  (Read 27528 times)

cbpeck

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Hi guys,

I have plans to look at a SS Performer this weekend, but I have a few questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks. The grill in question does have one, and it appears to be properly suspended in the cart, but I know they have expiration dates, and that some stations will refuse to refill expired tanks. So here is my first question:

1) Where is the expiration date likely to be recorded on the tank? Is it a typical date like 03-10, indicating March 2010, or is it a code of some sort?

I've also read that the fittings are either proprietary, obsolete or a little of both. That leads to my next question:

2) If I ended up needing a new tank could the original fitting (assuming good condition) be removed and reinstalled into the new tank? Is a new 5 lb tank likely to mount in the cart the same way?

I know many of you guys have a ton of experience with these old Performers, but this would be my first, so I really appreciate any and all advice you have to share. Also, I plan to check out the ash sweep, mounting bracket for the ash ring, propane tank, check for rust on the frame & axle, but I think that's about where my knowledge runs out. Please let me know if there's anything else I should check out prior to buying. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Here's a photo of the grill in question:


DirectDrive

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 11:30:55 PM »
Hi guys,

I have plans to look at a SS Performer this weekend, but I have a few questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks. The grill in question does have one, and it appears to be properly suspended in the cart, but I know they have expiration dates, and that some stations will refuse to refill expired tanks. So here is my first question:

1) Where is the expiration date likely to be recorded on the tank? Is it a typical date like 03-10, indicating March 2010, or is it a code of some sort?
Just the month and the year.
I have a 1 gal (5#) tank that has a mfr date of 9-91 and a re-certify date of 5-03.
It also says that tank must be re-certified within 12 years of mfr date.
These marks are going to be on the valve shield (curved piece of sheet metal around valve).

Quote
I've also read that the fittings are either proprietary, obsolete or a little of both. That leads to my next question:
For lack of a better term, there's "old style" which is obsolete and illegal for a vendor to refill and there's OPD (Overfill Prevention Device).
OPD has coarse external threads on the valve...very easy to identify.

Quote
2) If I ended up needing a new tank could the original fitting (assuming good condition) be removed and reinstalled into the new tank? Is a new 5 lb tank likely to mount in the cart the same way?
No, most of the SS Performers were from the era of the "old style" valve and have either been re-fitted with an OPD valve or the whole tank was replaced.
That size tank is very expensive...I re-valved/re-certified mine because of that.

Quote
I know many of you guys have a ton of experience with these old Performers, but this would be my first, so I really appreciate any and all advice you have to share. Also, I plan to check out the ash sweep, mounting bracket for the ash ring, propane tank, check for rust on the frame & axle, but I think that's about where my knowledge runs out. Please let me know if there's anything else I should check out prior to buying. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Here's a photo of the grill in question:



The condition of the ash sweep that mounting bracket are important but can be fixed/upgraded.
And it's nice if the gas assist works.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 11:40:19 PM by DirectDrive »

OGlenn

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 01:43:20 AM »
CBPeck, the fitting on the tank is likely a quick-release fitting. Basically, instead of a screw-on/off propane hose attachment, it will have a nipple end piece that goes into a collar on the tank which you must pull backwards in order to insert the nipple.  Manchester produces new tanks with that quick-relase fitting, but they are $55 to $60. Personally, I refilled my empty tank from my 20lb tank, but re-certification is also an option if it is over 12 years old.

The OPD is inside the tank. You'll see a label of the on/off valve will be triangular in shape. Star-shaped-handled OPD tanks I think are rare, but they exist (I have one which is properly labelled OPD). Most star handles are not OPD.

In any event, if there is gas in the tank, know that you won't need to worry immediately as the 5 lbs lasts a very long time. What you may wish to do is test the ignition. If it doesn't light, don't fret as it is VERY likely you'll only need to fully clean out the burner tube, but you may have a chance to negotiate the price down by mumbling that having to buy a new igniter and burner costs $50...


Uncommon sense seeker

Winz

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 02:30:46 AM »
That is a good looking SS Performer! 
I had to have the valve on my first SS performer upgraded to OPD, and have the tank re-certified.  They simply removed the old valve and replaced it with an OPD device, refilled the device, and put a new certification sticker on it.  I believe it was ~ $35.  If the handle looks like the one on the left below, or if it is round, you will likely be looking at replacing the valve.  The one on the right is OPD.



Since you have some time, call a couple of propane dealers and ask them about the cost of upgrading a tank to OPD to get a budgetary figure in mind in case you need it.

I see that the kettle you are looking at has the old style ash sweep.  Finding replacements can be difficult so be sure it is relatively rust free and in good working condition or you are looking at replacing the ash sweep at a minimum, or upgrading the whole system (new sweep, bracket, and ash pan).  Gummi wrote a great guide to upgrading ash sweep assemblies:  http://weberkettleclub.com/blog/2014/03/03/converting-a-weber-ots-to-otg/

The SS performers are built like a tank and are made to last - my favorite Weber model!  Hope this one works out for you.

Winz
In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.

MINIgrillin

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 03:31:33 AM »
The starter element can be cleaned if it doesn't work on the first shot. Probably has crud build up on the electrode tip. It's a 5min fix.
Seville. CnB performer:blue,green,gray. 26r. 18otg. Karubeque C-60.

addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 04:19:13 AM »
cbpeck, that's got a "flat top" plastic lid handle, like my '92 has. The hose on the '92 predates quick-disconnect; yours may as well: I had to use a wrench to unscrew my tank's hose. Doesn't matter because you aren't going to use your old tank unless it's been switched over to OPD, as noted above.

If everything is good and you just need to adapt to the OPD tank, screw this into your regulator: http://www.lowes.com/pd_361433-743-GFA-100_0__?Ntt=acme+nut&UserSearch=acme+nut&productId=50142158&rpp=32 Here's an ACME (i.e. QCC1) adapter + regulator: http://www.lowes.com/pd_361431-743-GRA-100_0__?productId=50142154&Ntt=benzomatic+propane+regulator&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dbenzomatic%2Bpropane%2Bregulator&facetInfo=

You can also get a longer pigtail and use a 20lb tank but you'll have to give up the charcoal bin and be careful when moving the grill around.

If you use a chimney with the gas, or a chimney with paraffin cubes with the gas, you'll use a lot less gas and so, might be a candidate for the little 1lb "disposable" tanks used on the plastic-tabletop Performers. Weber sells a complete, new hose/regulator assembly for less than $35 I think. Or you might try just the fitting and reuse your regulator?: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-F273754-Throwaway-Cylinder/dp/B000BQM8IU/ref=pd_sim_hg_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1CCBGGVNRNGD5SHX6FM2 Of course, with anything that's not a alb tank you're looking at a modification to get it supported.

NON-TANK parts:
Let's assume the burner tube is good and just needs to be blown out/hosed out. Let's assume you'll also clean out the element, as MINIgrillin suggests (a tiny wire in the pinhole should do it, the element disconnects from the burner tube with a C-clip.) Let's further assume the ignitor/switch/wiring is OK.

The rest is hose/regulator/tank fitting, with reused, purchased piecemeal or as an assembly. Weber has a complete assembly (part #62642) for modern OPD-valve 5lb-20lb tanks but call Weber, as ereplacements' price is crazy high.


It's the iconic symbol for the backyard. It's family/friends, food and fun. What more do you need to feel everything [is] going to be all right. As long as we can still have a BBQ in our backyard, the world seems a bit of a better place. At least for that moment. -reillyranch

cbpeck

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 05:22:51 AM »
Thanks for the info guys. It sounds like if necessary - and it probably will be - I can have the tank recertified, which will include installing an OPD valve, while probably maintaining the existing connections, for the most part. I may need to make a minor change or two, bit it is unlikely everything will need replacing. But if it comes to that, I can get a new gashose assembly from weber that will connect to tthe existing burner tube & a current, standard production propane valve (which would be installed in the original tank or a replacement).

Whatever tank I end up with, I would like it mounted properly under the cart. I would prefer to not have a tank sitting on the lower shelf or to discard the charcoal caddy.

I have an 11 lb pancake tank for  car camping, so I know these little guys can be pricey.

Thanks again for the tips!

addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 07:49:56 AM »
You and I have the same goals regarding the SS. Since you already have another tank that's otherwise compatible, you can use it to test, right?

In other words if your regulator works you'll just need that $5 QCC1 adapter for your re-certified/new valve'd 5lb tank. Even if your igniter is shot you'd still be able to hear the hiss of gas coming out of the burner tube, assuming it and the element are cleared/clean.
It's the iconic symbol for the backyard. It's family/friends, food and fun. What more do you need to feel everything [is] going to be all right. As long as we can still have a BBQ in our backyard, the world seems a bit of a better place. At least for that moment. -reillyranch

cbpeck

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 10:21:47 AM »
You and I have the same goals regarding the SS. Since you already have another tank that's otherwise compatible, you can use it to test, right?

In other words if your regulator works you'll just need that $5 QCC1 adapter for your re-certified/new valve'd 5lb tank. Even if your igniter is shot you'd still be able to hear the hiss of gas coming out of the burner tube, assuming it and the element are cleared/clean.

Thanks. The seller states the tank is full & the ignitor works, but we'll see when I get there. One thing I do know is that I will likely only have one Performer, so I would like it to be a nice one. It looks good in the photos and sounds good in the description, so hopefully it looks just as good in person.

Bman

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 04:58:19 PM »

OPD has coarse external threads on the valve...very easy to identify.

All very good information in this thread, but I wanted to add to the above.  Not all OPD tanks have the external threads.  I have a few SS Performers from 98' and all have the quick connect fitting, (no external threads) and the OPD triangular valve.

For what it's worth, it only cost me $3.15 plus tax last summer to have a completely empty 5# tank filled at my local lumber yard.
I've always had gas...  And now a bunch of kettles because of this place.  Thanks!

DirectDrive

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2014, 05:58:40 PM »


All very good information in this thread, but I wanted to add to the above.  Not all OPD tanks have the external threads.  I have a few SS Performers from 98' and all have the quick connect fitting, (no external threads) and the OPD triangular valve.



It is my understanding that the station refill apparatus engages these external threads.
Have you had these tanks refilled lately ?

mike.stavlund

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2014, 06:07:42 PM »
All good info, and I'll second what Bman said:  I have a couple of OPD 5lb tanks, and I haven't had any trouble getting my tanks filled, regardless of age.  The guys filling them at U-Haul simply never look at the dates.  I'd be worried about them potentially leaking, but all of them are kept outside. 

One thing you might watch out for, though:  some of the tank filling dudes are pretty green, so you should keep an eye out that they don't put more than about a gallon of gas into the tank.  I've had one overfilled once, and it was impossible to turn off the flame. 

And I hear you, cbpeck, about wanting a good SS if you're going to get one, but remember that you will likely see another come around again.  Kettle karma has a way of working like that.  But on the whole, try not to worry too much about igniters and the like, which are easy to fix/replace.  Make sure you've got a good solid frame and no rust.  I've seen a few SSs that suffered some serious degregdation on the lower end with rusty frame tubes and star nuts, and fixing them didn't bring about the greatest results.  You also might want to peek underneath both stainless steel table sections, as the crossmembers on the frames can get pretty rusty under there.   
One of the charcoal people.

mike.stavlund

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2014, 06:11:17 PM »


All very good information in this thread, but I wanted to add to the above.  Not all OPD tanks have the external threads.  I have a few SS Performers from 98' and all have the quick connect fitting, (no external threads) and the OPD triangular valve.



It is my understanding that the station refill apparatus engages these external threads.
Have you had these tanks refilled lately ?

My refill guys at U-Haul have a whole selection of valve fittings, including one for a quick-connect tank. 

The refill guys at my BJ's (a warehouse place similar to Sam's or Costco) don't. 
One of the charcoal people.

cbpeck

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2014, 06:19:47 PM »
Thanks again guys, including Mike. The grill is located roughly 150 miles away, and I can't get there until Friday. The seller just emailed me saying "looks like somebody is going to come pick it up Thursday night." I'm a little annoyed, frankly. I knew he wasnt going to hold it, but even so. I do plan to add a ss performer one day, so i guess it doesnt have to be this one. I know more will come around. In the mean time, I'm going to pretend this one is a rustbucket that I didn't want, anyway.

utahusker

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Re: Questions about those old 5 lb propane tanks on the SS Performers
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2014, 06:31:33 PM »
Is there a quick connect adaptor that changes them to external threads .


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