Broken Bolts on Propane Tank Holder - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-01-2019, 09:44 AM   #1
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Broken Bolts on Propane Tank Holder

Removed the driver's side propane tank to fill for the first time and much to my surprise, I found that both self tapping screw heads that hold the propane tank holder base to the frame on the driver's side had been broken off, I assume since they were rusted, during installation by a worker with too much pressure in the air tool. The base plate was being held in place by a single zip tie and the two intact bolts on the other side. I also found that rust had begun on the frame under the base plate when I removed it to try to drill out the broken bolts. This is a work in progress since the bolts were broker right at the frame and there was not enough sticking up to get visegrips on the broken studs to twist them out. This should have been detected in the various inspections that ETI does during manufacturing and I have reported this to Dave in Parts and Service.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:31 AM   #2
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We also had a couple self tapping screw heads pop off on our trailer right after delivery. On our first night with the trailer we noticed a screw head had broken off one of the rear stabilizer jacks. ETI was nice enough to have someone come in on the weekend to fixed this for us as we were going down to California the next week. On out first propane fill, we also noticed one of the propane rack screw heads had broken off. I bought a box of self tapping screws and will just toss a new one in when I have a chance.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:59 AM   #3
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Attaching the propane hold down plate to the frame with screws is not one of ETI best ideas.
I think it should be welded on during frame construction.
I believe that in 5 to 10 years depending where you live that the rust build up will compromise the integrity of the 4 screws holding on the plate.
This is what I found...
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post
Attaching the propane hold down plate to the frame with screws is not one of ETI best ideas.
I think it should be welded on during frame construction.
I think it is welded on the earlier trailers. When I was working on the tongue for my mini-split A/C condenser placement I remember looking at moving it and it didn't look easy. I will check.
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:24 PM   #5
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Welcome to the club. There's probably not many trailers that don't have at least one broken self tapping screw. I also have one on my propane tray as well as two on the stabilizers. I put it down to too much torque during installation. Personally, when I'm installing them I don't max out the impact driver and back off at the first sign that they're bottomed out.

They're hardened steel and difficult to drill out. I find it easier to put another one nearby.

I'd rather ETI weld an angle bracket on and make attachments to that. I got them to do that for what was the previously welded on angle iron battery supports. Holes through the flange of the angle iron can use conventional bolts and don't have any impact on frame rust etc.

Ron
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Welcome to the club. There's probably not many trailers that don't have at least one broken self tapping screw. I also have one on my propane tray as well as two on the stabilizers. I put it down to too much torque during installation. Personally, when I'm installing them I don't max out the impact driver and back off at the first sign that they're bottomed out.

They're hardened steel and difficult to drill out. I find it easier to put another one nearby.

I'd rather ETI weld an angle bracket on and make attachments to that. I got them to do that for what was the previously welded on angle iron battery supports. Holes through the flange of the angle iron can use conventional bolts and don't have any impact on frame rust etc.

Ron
Ron, you are so right about being difficult to drill out. I got one out but had to make a new hole next to the other one for the seond. They are very hard steel, as you say. That probably also explains why they break from too much torque during installation. I agree on having the tank holder attached to angle iron brackets welded onto the frame. Would be much better and no holes in frame.
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Welcome to the club. There's probably not many trailers that don't have at least one broken self tapping screw. I also have one on my propane tray as well as two on the stabilizers. I put it down to too much torque during installation. Personally, when I'm installing them I don't max out the impact driver and back off at the first sign that they're bottomed out.
Interesting. The stabilizers (actually true scissor jacks) were welded on in 2010. Wonder when they made the switch?
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:44 PM   #8
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Based on this thread, took a look at mine. Completed February of this year.
One stripped screw. Plus the piece of all-thread that runs from the bracket that secures the tanks through the bottom of the support under discussion came out as I removed the tanks. It must have been held in place by a half of a thread.

A .55 cent self-drilling screw from Ace Hardware and all is well.

Whoever installs the propane tanks needs to be trained better plus alerted to look for such
issues.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:22 PM   #9
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Interesting. The stabilizers (actually true scissor jacks) were welded on in 2010. Wonder when they made the switch?
Had the same scissor jacks on a 2010 17B. The story evidently is those were a one-off, either ordered/sent by mistake. ETI used them until they were gone then went back to BAL 23219 C Series jacks.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:36 PM   #10
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Based on this thread, took a look at mine. Completed February of this year.
One stripped screw. Plus the piece of all-thread that runs from the bracket that secures the tanks through the bottom of the support under discussion came out as I removed the tanks. It must have been held in place by a half of a thread.

A .55 cent self-drilling screw from Ace Hardware and all is well.

Whoever installs the propane tanks needs to be trained better plus alerted to look for such
issues.
I think the first thing I'll do when getting home with the new Escape is remove the screws, seal and paint the area, drill some holes in the pan for water run off, install some plastic trim on the tank bottoms.
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdColorado View Post
Based on this thread, took a look at mine. Completed February of this year.
One stripped screw. Plus the piece of all-thread that runs from the bracket that secures the tanks through the bottom of the support under discussion came out as I removed the tanks. It must have been held in place by a half of a thread.

A .55 cent self-drilling screw from Ace Hardware and all is well.

Whoever installs the propane tanks needs to be trained better plus alerted to look for such
issues.
Yes, Ed, same on mine. I plan to thread the all-thread further into the base plate then add a 3/8th" nut on the all-thread above and below the base plate so that the all-thread rod cannot turn when you tighten the big wing nut on the top.
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I think the first thing I'll do when getting home with the new Escape is remove the screws, seal and paint the area, drill some holes in the pan for water run off, install some plastic trim on the tank bottoms.
Yup, that's what I did.
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:59 PM   #13
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Loose Threaded Rod - Every time I unscrewed the large wingnut to remove a tank the threaded rod spins and unscrews from the base. This is super annoying as my quick solution is always to stop the rod from spinning with my hand (less than than comfortable). I picked up a couple 3/8 stainless steel nuts and lock washers and put them on the top and bottom of the base plate. Problem solved!

Broken Bolts on Propane Rack - When I removed the tanks to fix the loose threaded rod, I also noticed that a second bold head had popped off! We will be going down a rough logging road next weekend so I am very happy to have noticed this now. With only two screws holding the tanks down, it probably wouldn't take much to pop the remaining two bolt heads off. The plan is to remove the propane rack, paint any rusted areas with Tremclad gloss black, and install 4 new screws (two will need new holes). I had bought some #10 1.5" drill-x screws but they are far smaller than the original screws. I am going to pick up some #12 or #14 screws at Home Depot - maybe #14 as bigger is likely better at this point!

Rust on Propane Rack Base - The propane rack base is already looking worse for wear with chipped paint and some rust where the tanks rub. I like @cpaharley2008's idea of installing some plastic trim on the tank bottoms and will get to this at some point!

Rust on Frame - I also noticed some rust on the frame where the propane tank cover rests in front and behind the propane rack base. Its not much rust, but the trailer is less than 6 months old so I will need to prep and paint the area. I was thinking of using some VHB tape to stick some black plastic for the cover to rest on. Does anyone have a decent solution to this?

Security - People mentioned they drilled a hole through the large wingnut and the regulator mount to attach a padlock that prevents the wingnut from being turned. While not fool proof, this does keep honest people honest! I think I will do this while I have the drill out to re-secure the propane rack.
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Old 05-10-2019, 03:26 PM   #14
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"maybe #14 as bigger is likely better at this point!"

Our local hardware store carries #14 self-drilling screws. That's what I used. Plus bought two extras.

"Does anyone have a decent solution to this?"

I like your idea.

Ed

Propane tanks is this weekends project.
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:50 PM   #15
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Tremclad semi-gloss is a much better match than gloss or flat.
And you can secure your propane tanks using the safety chains and a padlock.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:32 PM   #16
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It should be possible to secure the propane stand with two square U bolts.

Drill 2 holes on each side of the bottom pan such that when you drop-through the U bolt, it straddles the supporting frame. Secure below.

Paul
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:13 AM   #17
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When I pulled our propane tank holder off I sanded all the rust off and repainted with Tremclad. When I reinstalled I used a cut up bicycle tube between the frame and the propane stand. I also added a nylock nut to the bottom of the rod so I wouldn’t have that annoying spinning. Then I used so Gorilla Glue to glue 4 black plastic pads to the frame where the propane tank cover meets the frame so it wouldn’t rub the paint off any more.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:32 AM   #18
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When I pulled our propane tank holder off I sanded all the rust off and repainted with Tremclad. When I reinstalled I used a cut up bicycle tube between the frame and the propane stand. I also added a nylock nut to the bottom of the rod so I wouldn’t have that annoying spinning. Then I used so Gorilla Glue to glue 4 black plastic pads to the frame where the propane tank cover meets the frame so it wouldn’t rub the paint off any more.
Helpful suggestion regarding the nylock nut.

I thought of using car door edge trim on the bottom of the propane tanks to protect the stand.

I also had rust under the propane cover where it was rubbing on the frame. After I repainted the spot, I put a strip of black gaffer tape over the area for protection. I might see if the door edge trim will fit around the bottom of the cover, perhaps a more elegant solution than tape.

This weekend I will pull-off the tank stand and repair any rust I might find.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:41 AM   #19
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“...if the door edge trim will fit around the bottom of the cover, perhaps a more elegant solution than tape. “

Seems to me that any sort of plastic trim results in a harder substance, the plastic, rubbing against a softer substance, the paint. Given time, the paint wears away.
I’m going to apply a protective surface , of some sort, on top of the soft paint.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:03 AM   #20
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I find it interesting that ETI does weld angle irons to the frame for mounting the front utility box - which, like us, not everyone gets, yet the angle iron is still there. But they don't weld angle iron to the frame for mounting the propane tank base - which everyone does get. It seems that ETI could weld longer pieces of angle iron to the frame, long enough to mount both the front utility box and the propane tank base, or just another set of short angle iron pieces just for the propane tank base (if Canadian law allows that type of mounting for travel trailer propane tanks). That way, there would be no holes drilled into the frame tubing itself, and it would be easy to use bolts for mounting the propane tank base instead of screws.
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