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Project: Propane Tank Storage Box Upgrade


This page describes C34 owners Updates to the propane tanks Storage Box.
Please contribute yours!

See Ron Hill's Home made box farther down this page!

[C34] Update Propane Box...NEW TANK DOES NOT FIT!
We bought our 34 "Gray Hawk" this past August and have enjoyed it tremendously. However, when I attempted to have the propane tank refilled I discovered that this was not possible. It seems that regulations governing propane tanks were changed. Now tanks are required to have a float valve to keep them from being overfilled. The valves can be added to older tanks but not the small tanks used in the older 34's. Older tanks have a grace period of a few years, unless they are 12 years old or older -- mine is 12 years old. The only new tanks I have found so far are about an inch taller than the old one and will not fit in the storage box. New boxes in the discount catalogs are around $300. I'm hoping for a less expensive solution. Has anyone found a new tank that fits in the existing box, or discovered a SAFE modification to the box to accommodate a new tank, etc?
Mike Baker, "Gray Hawk", #815

Re: [C34] Update Propane Box
Seaward, who makes the propane system which Catalina uses, has a fix for this. They have a new molded cover, which accommodates them higher tank with the OPD valve. They offer this at their cost to upgrade earlier systems. They also have some shorter 1/2 inch long stem adapters which go between the POL fitting and the "T" to the gage and regulator so you can use the newer tank valves with the inside and outside threaded POL fittings. You can use these if your propane supplier will change the valve on a 12-year-old tank and keep on filling them. Our suppliers here will do that for the next couple of years. Believe the short stem adapters are only about $5 each but Seawards minimum order is $20.
New lid and adapter kit for the higher OPD tank is Seaward PN 80233. The OPD tank is Seaward PN 93270. Contact Tom Shultz who is the owner. He gets results and others there often don't. Phone is 562 699-7997 and Tom's extension is 204. Another contact there who knows the equipment is Lonnie at extension 213 but it's usually a lot more difficult to find him available.
Jim Moe, Windseeker, #976, jmoe@worldnet.att.net

[C34] Update Propane Box
Mike, Read the C34 Nov 1998 Mainsheet Tech notes (in the magazine or on the C34 Website). In the article "Propane Changes," I warned everybody of the forthcoming overfill protection device (OPD) and the new regulations making your old tanks non-fillable. As I mentioned in the article, you might want to contact Manchester Tank Company 1-800-877-8265.
Below is the an article I wrote back in the Feb 1991 Mainsheet on upgrading your propane capacity from 1 gal to a 10 LB tank where I reused all of the original internal plumbing fixtures, lid and built my own box. Pictures are also shown below. I also updated it in the last paragraph.
Like other Catalina 34 and 36 owners, I wasn't too pleased with the one gallon tank (4.5 lbs. supplied with the boat. My fix was to more than double that capacity with an 11-LB tank, use all of the fittings from the old locker, including the lid, and mounted it in the same location as the old installation!
The 11-LB propane bottle is made by the Manchester Tank Company of Elkhart, Indiana, and is approximately 12" diameter and 12" high. I took 1/4" plywood and constructed a "box" with the inside dimensions of 12-1/2 " x 12-1/2" x 12-1/2". I matted the outside edges and fiberglassed them for strength. To ensure a good fit for the lid, I added 1/4" quarter round molding to the inside of the top edge. The bottle must be tipped on its side going into the box, but once inside can be set upright. I also cut a 1/4" plywood disc the inside size of the tank base and glued it to the bottom of the box to keep the tank centered and in place. I removed both of the old vent fittings from the old box and placed them in the same location on the new box. These elbows are held in place by threading through the wood and secured by bronze flare nuts (Boat U.S. item #126092 @ $1.95 ea.). I did change the entry points of the outlet hose and solenoid wiring to fit the tight geometry. To ensure a tight air seal, I used clear caulk on all inside seams and around the threaded vents, wire, and gas line ports. I removed a small strip of fiberglass off the lip above the emergency tiller bulkhead to allow the most forward mounting of the new locker.
The new locker is secured (from the inside) to the wooden platform over the steering quadrant by the lag bolts from the old box. Note there is also room in the locker for an "emergency" 16-oz. propane bottle inside. In fact, if "Seaward" were to read this, they would only have to change the mold for their box bottom to accommodate the 11-LB tank.
To get the best leak free propane connection at the bottle, I went to a "soft nose" POL fitting. The photo shows the hard nose "POL" that came with the boat on the right and the "soft nose" with a rubber O ring on the left. I purchased the soft nose for $3.59 from Trident Rubber, Inc., Cannonsburg, PA telephone number 1-800-233-9748.

On 15 Jan 2001 I called Manchester Tank (1-800-877-8265) and confirmed that their old 11-LB tank had the same exterior dimensions as their new 11-LB tank with the Overfill Protection Device (OPD). So the modified locker I made in the spring of 1990 will fit the new EPA approved tank.
Ron, Apache #788, ronphylhill@juno.com

Important: The opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors to this page, and not those of the Catalina 34 National Association or Catalina Yachts, Inc. Additionally, this material has not been reviewed by Catalina Yachts, Inc. for technical accuracy. This page's maintainer cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information or the desirability of suggested modifications or upgrades. Please obtain assistance from a competent marine mechanic or boatyard prior to making any significant modifications to your vessel.   


Last modified by Phil Imhof, Wednesday, August 11, 2004 . Copyright 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.