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Old 11-03-2017, 09:16 PM   #1
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Propane tank tray mounting help

I was getting ready to place our newly filled propane tanks back on the tray and noticed that the tray was loose. Three of the sheet metal screws were loose and I snapped the fourth one off trying to tighten. Upon further investigation the screw holes in the frame were rusted out and stripped - possibly one screw and a wiring zip tie was holding everything on.

I don't work on steel much so this is new to me - thoughts on the following repair options or others would be appreciated:

1. Re-drill and tap the existing holes for slightly larger diameter sheet metal screws/lag bolts. I've never done this. And things might still rust out.
2. Drill all the way through the frame and bolt through using stainless nuts/bolts. I think this might be the easiest, longest lasting, and most secure option. But I'm not sure if this will weaken the 3" frame?

Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by DMPortland View Post
I was getting ready to place our newly filled propane tanks back on the tray and noticed that the tray was loose. Three of the sheet metal screws were loose and I snapped the fourth one off trying to tighten. Upon further investigation the screw holes in the frame were rusted out and stripped - possibly one screw and a wiring zip tie was holding everything on.

I don't work on steel much so this is new to me - thoughts on the following repair options or others would be appreciated:

1. Re-drill and tap the existing holes for slightly larger diameter sheet metal screws/lag bolts. I've never done this. And things might still rust out.
2. Drill all the way through the frame and bolt through using stainless nuts/bolts. I think this might be the easiest, longest lasting, and most secure option. But I'm not sure if this will weaken the 3" frame?

Thanks!
I would probably not drill another hole in the bottom of the frame unless absolutely necessary. Perhaps you can wire brush off all the rust, spot weld over the existing mounting holes, paint over with black rust inhibitor, then use some galvanized or stainless U-bolts to attach the tank tray to the frame? And, the tank tray already has slots you could use for this purpose. That way, there are no holes to corrode.
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Old 11-04-2017, 04:38 AM   #3
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Install some plastic automotive door trim around the tank bottom, that may help with the rust rings.
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
I would probably not drill another hole in the bottom of the frame unless absolutely necessary. Perhaps you can wire brush off all the rust, spot weld over the existing mounting holes, paint over with black rust inhibitor, then use some galvanized or stainless U-bolts to attach the tank tray to the frame? And the tank tray already has slots you could use for this purpose. That way, there are no holes to corrode.
I agree with rbryan , drilling a hole through the frame or drilling more holes is probably not the route to take . Clean up the rust , seal the holes and paint . I would weld the propane tank to the frame., it would only take a couple of short beads.
If the original screws stripped out and rusted , bigger screws will just do the same thing down the road.
The other option is to weld a couple of backer plates to the frame so there is enough metal to drill and tap some holes for mounting the propane tray.
Sheet metal screws into thin metal never works well and your problem with the screw heads snapping off is quite common due to the fact that most fasteners are cheap Chinese junk.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:06 PM   #5
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That's true Steve, he could just weld the tray to the frame. But, I like your idea of welding brackets to the frame better. That way, the tray can easily be replaced if needed.
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:52 PM   #6
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I just noticed this on a screw yesterday under a tank. How long is the screw supposed to be?
It almost seems to me like a hole was not drilled into the frame.. as it's all black on the frame.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:13 AM   #7
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That's true Steve, he could just weld the tray to the frame. But, I like your idea of welding brackets to the frame better. That way, the tray can easily be replaced if needed.
Thanks for all the good ideas - as soon as I can get my welder son's attention I'll install some angle iron and attach a new tank tray with some stainless steel bolts and nuts.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:17 AM   #8
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I just noticed this on a screw yesterday under a tank. How long is the screw supposed to be?
It almost seems to me like a hole was not drilled into the frame.. as it's all black on the frame.
On our 19 the four sheet metal screws/lag bolts anchoring the propane tray to the trailer frame are about 1-1/2" long. Not quite sure I understand your question though.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
I just noticed this on a screw yesterday under a tank. How long is the screw supposed to be?
It almost seems to me like a hole was not drilled into the frame.. as it's all black on the frame.
I'm not sure what you mean, either, but if you're saying that you see the screw head on the tray but not where the screw comes through the frame... that's expected. It appears that there is just one hole for each screw into the top of the frame, and the self-tapping screw grips in that hole like a wood screw.

As long as the screw goes through the thickness of steel of the frame tubing (probably 1/8" to 3/16"), it's long enough. It isn't a more-than-four-inch bolt which goes right through with a nut on the other side.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:14 AM   #10
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A couple pictures.
I'd just go with a larger diameter sheet metal screw.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Propane tray.jpg (380.6 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Propane screw.jpg (285.8 KB, 14 views)
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