Gas cans -- The NO good, the bad, and the ugly

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Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Gas cans -- The NO good, the bad, and the ugly

Spare gas cans recently moved to the top of my prep list.  What I learned was amazing.

Long ago I had a metal Jerry can like this.  http://www.blitzusa.com/products/fuel/Containment/pfc5mc.htm   It safely stored five gallons of gasoline through a temperature range of 130 degrees without leaking fuel or vapor.  You unscrewed the metal cap, then the long metal flexible nozzle that was stored inside.  You screwed on the nozzle pointing out, unscrewed the vent cap, and poured.  Simple, strong and durable.

The no good.  Today this is what you often find.  http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/product_detail/car-truck/garage-tools-accessories/briggs-stratton-gas-can-5-gal  There are two small plastic hooks at the end of the nozzle.  These engage the filler opening and you must push down on the spout while you rotate the green ring at the base to get gas to flow.  Reviews are very critical because the hooks often don’t engage, or break.  While pouring from the full 40 pound can and depressing the nozzle, the balance often shifts and the nozzle is broken.  The vent is built into the nozzle so the flow is extremely slow, and a lot of gas usually leaks from the mounting no matter what you do.  The can is plastic too.  Price $8 and up.

The bad.  This choice seems a little better  http://www.blitzusa.com/products/fuel/Containment/ef2pg.html  The lever eliminates the need to compress the nozzle, but it still has other awkward “child-proof” features that must be engaged.  It also leaks and is slow.  The can is plastic.  Price $10 and up.  Neither nozzle seems long enough to depress the flapper valve in an automobile fill pipe, so you also need an extension spout as shown in the last photo, and often sold separately, or a big funnel.

The ugly.  You can still buy a metal Jerry can for $45 and up, but they only come with the crappy plastic nozzles.  This photo looks like it may have a separate plastic storage cap.  http://www.blitzusa.com/products/fuel/Containment/5GMEF.html  Here is another source that has a metal cap for storage.  http://www.britishpacific.com/BPSite/landroverparts/NATOjerryCans.html#carb  Price $50 plus $20 shipping.  Expensive, but seems to fit my needs.

As an alternative to the crappy nozzle I think you could place a gas can on the trunk lid our tail gate of a vehicle and use a siphon like this to fill the tank.  http://www.amazon.com/Custom-Accessories-Siphon-36661-Siphons/dp/B000BOB2KM/ref=sr_1_8?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1298874528&sr=1-8

These crappy nozzles were created to meet national standards set by the EPA and CARB (California eco-weenies Air Resources Board) effective 01-01-09.  They supposedly reduce air pollution and spills.  Users universally say the do just the opposite.  They are rinky dink plastic.  They must be left mounted in the pouring position on the can where they are subject to dirt and damage.  The shut off valve is unbelievably chintzy.  As far as I can tell, for the plastic cans you can’t even buy a good cap to use for storage without the nozzle.  Did I mention that the threads were changed so older nozzles won’t work, and if you have an older can you can’t buy replacement spouts?  These things are flat out unsafe, and a prime example of  ridiculous nanny-state regulation. As far as I can tell you can’t buy an old style Jerry can or NATO spec can for love or money, as knowledgeable people bought them up years ago.

I’m sure others have dealt with this issue before me and I would greatly appreciate any further information you might have for a safe and usable five gallon gas can.

Travlin 

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MarkM
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Travlin, I don't know if

Travlin,

I don't know if this would serve your purpose. I have several that work well for my needs.

http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productselection.asp?Product=2558

and use this for pouring

http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productdetails.asp?RecID=729

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Travlin
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MarkM Thanks for the info. 

MarkM

Thanks for the info.  Those look like a good quality plastic can.  The cap looks strong and the pouring system looks good.  They noted that adding a ¾ inch tube will get it into the flapper valve of a car.  They sell all replacement parts including gaskets.

*      Is the plastic can thick and strong?

*     Does it hold up well in extreme cold like -20 Fahrenheit without cracking during handling? 

*     Does the vent cap in the handle keep it sealed so fumes don’t vent in hot weather?  The replacement part for that looked flimsy.

Travlin 

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The plastic is nice and

The plastic is nice and thick. They bang around in my trailer and suffer other abuses just fine.

I don't know about -20. It is fine in 105.Laughing

You are right about the vent being flimsy. It seems to seal ok, but the little plastic "hinge" is not very sturdy.

The new cans make me CRAZY.

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Gas can option.

I  have one of these

http://www.tractorsupply.com/vehicle-maintenance-accessories/fuel-handling/gas-cans/15-gallon-fuel-station-3950115

http://www.amazon.com/Blitz-11055-Professional-Fuel-Station/dp/B000F64S7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298939931&sr=8-1

I have found them listed at other retailers as well.

I saw mixed reviews before I bought one, but I have been happy with it.  Mounted it on a wooden bench on large casters, mounted high enough to fuel my vehicles.   A bit awkward to fill from those lousy new fangled plastic cans, but I can comfortably balance the can on top of this tank for the rather long time it takes for the badly designed fill cap/valve/spout you mentioned to dispense the gas.  Makes fueling smaller gas tanks easy.  Absorb the PIA of emptying the 5 gallon can once, then have the benefit of a longish fill hose and nozzle and reasonably quick fill.

After use, I turn off the ball valve at the bottom of the tank and drain extra gas remaining in the fuel line into a smaller can.  By holding the clear fuel line up it serves as a gauge to judge the level of fuel in the 15 gallon tank.

Works for me.

Jim

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ao
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clamp-on spout

Travlin,

I feel your pain.  I looked high and low for NATO style military metal jerry cans some time ago and found they had shot up in price to $45 each.  I bought a half dozen and 2 of these spouts.  I think these spouts may be what you're looking for.  Simple, durable, and they do the job.  Check out Item#1154.

http://www.hqcompany.com/index.php?theme=7&chapter=102

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I have several "Carb"

I have several "Carb" approved plastic gas cans with nozzles that I bought at one of the big box stores. I know that it is possible to modify the nozzle to make it free flowing so I am not worried about the nozzle. When the SHTF there won't be any CARB or EPA people around to tell you you can't modify it.

Edit: For you CARB or EPA guys that are reading this, note that I said that it is possible to modify not that I did it.

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You guys are terrific. 

You guys are terrific.  Keep them coming.

Travlin 

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Gasoline

I suppose my suggestion depends on what you're going to use it for: everyday filling, or medium-term gasoline storage.  If you're looking for everyday filling, I have no bright ideas to offer.

If it's medium-term storage and occasional filling that you're after, I'd consider 5-gal. closed-head metal solvent drums, of the kind used by laboratory and chemical supply companies.  If you work in a laboratory and order 5 gallons of flammable solvent, this is what it comes in:

They're cheap ($10 - $20 each), very rugged, and made for transporting and storing highly flammable liquids.  They are stackable, and the threads are designed to accomodate standard spouts, hoses, hand pumps, etc.  I've seen them in red.

Downsides: they are not designed for eronomic comfort, they are usually not vented, and since they are designed to be used indoors, the protective paint layer is thin; once scratched the metal would probably rust if outdoors.  I imagine several extra layers of protective coating applied around the base would easily solve that problem.  Although they would be more than sufficient for containing gasoline pressure under normal conditions of temperature fluctuation, commerical gasoline containers are equipped with an emergency venting device in case of extreme temperature increase.  Also I doubt they are approved by state fire marshals for filling at gas stations.

This place seems to be selling some for $12.75 each.  (Note the "UN rating," noted at the bottom of the page for this container: 1A1/Y1.4/160, which exceeds the rating generally used for transportation of gasoline (UN 1A1/Y1.2/100).)  Always check this rating.

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Here is another good option

Here is another good option someone told me about.  http://www.uline.com/BL_8171/Gas-Cans?keywords=cans

Travlin 

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storage temperature for kerosene

Great info here, thanks!

Question -- I've read that kerosene lasts indefinitely as long as temperature is stable. That seems quite difficult to do without a basement tank or a buried tank, yet I've seen folks post photos with tanks aboveground and outside. What do folks think about the relative importance of stable temperature? Is putting it under cover in a shady location reasonable enough, do you think?

Two related questions:

Kerosene is much better than diesel for long-term storage, right?

For my diesel tractor, are any additives recommended for fueling with kerosene?

Thanks guys.

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Best gas can for me

I finally found a store with the Blitz metal cans so I could exam them.  It is the same can I had before, except it doesn’t have the self storing flexible metal nozzle.  The screw off vent cap I mentioned in my original post was a flaw in my memory.  In the photo linked below, the cap under the handle is a metal cap for storage, with a standard O-ring seal that can be easily replaced.  It should prevent any gas or vapor from leaking even if the can is on its side.  This is a safe can.  I used to sleep on top of it and smoke three feet away from it, and I’m still here to tell the tale.*  The metal cap has a plastic ring added to the top with very sharp gear teeth that engage a plastic catch to make it child safe.  You need a glove or heavy rag to unscrew this without pain.  Fortunately, the plastic ring and catch can be easily removed.  The can is made of heavy gauge steel, with a one piece bottom and good welds.  The interior is treated for corrosion.  The fire engine red paint is thick enamel and provides excellent protection.  The large opening for pouring is a solid steel ring with machined threads to match the cap, and is welded in securely.  Blitz makes a top quality can that will last a long time.  I will discard the crappy plastic eco-weenie nozzle.  Available from Northern Gear for only $40, and from Sears for the same price, so you can buy locally and save a lot on shipping.  The third link has them for only $35 without the useless nozzle.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200376069_200376069 

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPA5772S674202801P

http://www.2kstore.com/plugins/MivaMerchants/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PSIOS&Product_Code=B5G&Category_Code=

I ordered a flexible metal nozzle separately ( big thanks to Ao).  It has to be  stored externally, but will work with unleaded gas filler pipes.  Note the end cap to keep the interior clean.  It arrived today and fits perfectly.  It also has a fine mesh screen at the tip to filter the gas.

http://www.hqcompany.com/index.php?theme=7&chapter=102

I bought this funnel.  It is bell shaped, with a lip to hold gas without spilling, and will fit into an auto fill pipe.  Notice that both ends have a screw cap to keep the interior clean.  Be sure to get the 1.25 quart size.

http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-LEGCF328-GreatFunnel-1-25-Quart/dp/B003TSW2YM

Here is a siphon that looks good.  Notice the durable rubber squeeze bulb instead of a thin plastic bellows.  The hose clamps allow easy replacement of the two inch diameter tubing.  I’m sure an adapter can be found at an aquarium supply source to reduce to a ¾ inch tube for an auto filler pipe.  Did you know that many new cars have a device to block a hose to siphon gas out of the tank?

http://www.harborfreight.com/fluid-siphon-pump-93290.html

I bought this siphon.  It is very finicky to operate and will be returned.  Could be okay for a warm summer day, but not for emergency use.  It has a brass fitting with a spring loaded glass ball valve on one end.  You submerge this into the source liquid, plunge it up and down to pump liquid until the hose is full, and then it acts as a siphon.  It takes skill and experience to use this.  Your source container needs to allow at least four inches of vertical or horizontal movement to pump.  The hose must run straight downhill after the first hump over the edge of the source container.  It works best if the exit end of the hose is submerged and not just pouring out into air.

http://www.amazon.com/Hopkins-FloTool-10801-Shaker-Anti-Static/dp/B000EH0ORI

I studied the NATO cans online.  They are constructed with the left and right halves welded in the center all around the can.  This means the spout is offset to one side and has a small diameter base.  The clamping lid and nozzle design looks less secure to me than the machined threads of the Blitz and are more easily damaged, however, many people like them.  Good luck finding one.  Did you know that the term “jerry can” was coined by the British in World War II when they copied the the gas cans of the German army (the Jerries) to replace their own round ones that leaked and stored poorly?

Wedco used to make a copy of the NATO can, but now only offers an eco-weenie model with the crappy plastic nozzle and cap.  From photos they look like the Briggs and Stratton metal can that I personally inspected.  The B&S can is clearly inferior in construction compared to Blitz.  The threads to screw on the nozzle are just stamped into the metal spout base.  It has no secure cap to seal it, and it appeared less rugged with inferior paint.

The plastic cans linked by MarkM were a good alternative.  They would probably have served me well and cost considerably less, though I was concerned about how tightly the vent plug base was secured into the jug body.  I chose the Blitz metal can because of my good experience with them previously.  The round metal can suggestions also looked serviceable, but I wanted a compact shape for storage, and rugged construction for secure transportation.

My thanks to everyone for the excellent suggestions.  You provided workable choices.  I will link this thread to the List of Preparation Threads for reference.

Travlin

* Don’t try this at home.  I was young and immortal then.

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Travlin, Once you discard

Travlin,

Once you discard the plastic nozzle, is there a threaded metal cap to use as a seal?

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Metal cap

MarkM wrote:

Once you discard the plastic nozzle, is there a threaded metal cap to use as a seal?

MarkM

Yes indeed there is.  This is the best feature of the Blitz can.  The cap is heavy steel with fine machined threads and an O ring that can be easily replaced.  It screws into a steel ring in the can.

This photo shows the metal cap stored under the handle.  This is how they are sold.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200376069_200376069

This photo shows the metal cap screwed in place.  The price is an error.  These cans are listed elsewhere on the Amazon site for $50.  The bad reviews refer to the plastic nozzles.  I explained above where to get a metal one.  (Thanks again Ao.)

http://www.amazon.com/Blitz-11010-Gallon-Steel-Gas/dp/B00004X14D/ref=cm_lmf_tit_35_rsrssi0

This cap keeps the liquid gasoline and vapors inside, and the can is heavy gauge steel so it is very hard to puncture.  As long as the gas is contained you are safe from explosion.  It is important not to over fill the can.  A little below the opening is fine.  This allows for compression of vapors in the upper part of the can.  I’ve had it in the shade at 110 degrees Fahrenheit with no problem.  Direct sunlight in high heat might be pushing it, but probably okay.  You can lay a long screw driver across the cap and engage the lugs sticking up to get the cap very tight. 

Travlin 

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ao
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NATO gas cans

Cheaper Than Dirt has new NATO gas cans.  Very hard to find and they ain't cheap but they're rugged, reliable, and proven.

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ZBQ1412-1.html

... and spouts.

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ZBQ1413-1.html

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Update

Thanks for the tip Ao. That reminds me of an some updates.

The new Blitz cans use an O-ring to seal the steel storage cap. When the weather got warm the cans gave off gas vapor which is very bad in confined areas. A local surplus store had wide rubber gaskets for them like I remember from the old days. That ended the vapor leaks. I couldn’t find these gaskets online. I would have called Blitz to inquire if I hadn’t found them locally.

The funnel for pouring worked poorly and spilled gas on the ground. The siphon worked well if you are patient. I cut some narrow PVC pipe to length and notched one end to keep the siphon’s plastic tubing uncurled and reaching the bottom of the can. The metal nozzles worked very well once I realized that they should be screwed on loosely so they vent. Otherwise the flow rate was extremely slow.

Travlin 

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Update 2

Travlin wrote:

The new Blitz cans use an O-ring to seal the steel storage cap. When the weather got warm the cans gave off gas vapor which is very bad in confined areas. A local surplus store had wide rubber gaskets for them like I remember from the old days. That ended the vapor leaks. I couldn’t find these gaskets online. I would have called Blitz to inquire if I hadn’t found them locally.

Lo and behold, the gaskets I couldn’t find online are available as the fourth item down at this link.  Item two is the pouring spout I use. http://www.hqcompany.com/index.php?theme=7&chapter=102

Thanks again Ao.  This is the same link from your post 6.  I don’t know if the gaskets are a new item, or if I just overlooked them in the past.  If you buy the Blitz cans you really need these gaskets to prevent gas fumes in warm weather.  In confined spaces the fumes are very dangerous.

Travlin 

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Petey1
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Gas cans

Thanks for the links and info. Used ao's post for cheaper than dirt. Best price on cans and shipping combined. Cheap plastic tanks just won't seal well.

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Gas Cans

I would like to say thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread.  I have been going crazy trying to find a decent gas can that doesn't leak while being transported, and can be poured without an extraordinary amount of effort. I find it truly amazing that these two requirements are so incredibly hard to satisfy with what is being offered through the primary retail channels today.  While I appreciate the intent of those who have worked to put in place regulations to mandate that certain spout technology be required to reduce emissions/gas vapors, thereby benefiting the environment, the spouts that are being produced and the overall cheapness of the end products being produced, serve only to negate those efforts- when frustrated consumers resort to tossing the crappy enviro spout to the side and simply pouring from the container opening into a funnel. If the major retailers would stop putting such pressure on manufacturers to make things cheap, perhaps a serviceable gas can could be found without having to spend hours digging through the internet.  Anyway, thanks to all for your contributions, with your advice- I have finally found what I was looking for.

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Travlin
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Welcome

Jeff0100

Welcome to the forums.  There are a lot of other threads with solid information.  The search box in the upper right corner helps find them.

Travlin 

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Travlin
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Update 3

If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying a metal can, this video shows how to modify a commonly available plastic can to actually work.  It is a great display of old fashioned American ingenuity. 

  I’d be leerly of vapors escaping from any plastic nozzle during storage, but he had about 15 cans there and he hasn’t blown up yet.

Travlin

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Simple gas can vent

A simple way to vent a plastic gas can is to drill a 1/16 inch hole in the underside of the top handle.

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