Fuel storage in 55 gal. drums

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by fortunateson, Apr 4, 2010.


  1. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Can someone tell me the proper way to do this?
    I've been leaving the bungs loose so that the drums can "breathe"

    Last time I sealed one tight, (it was plastic) the expansion/contraction flexed the drum until it cracked.

    Now I'm using steel drums, but still a bit worried about sealing them tight.
    Like I said - leaving the bungs loose so they can breathe - they're in a dry location - ok?
     
  2. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    They'd have to be not only in a dry location, but almost a temperature or climate controlled area as well, to prevent any expansion....
    I'd much prefer the metal over any plastic types.....
    By "venting" you also increase the loss of the best part of the gas itself...
    Vapors ( vapours?) Even the local gas stations here have vents that are required to vent off 'over pressure' from the underground tanks...the expansion in them is such that it often triggers an "overfill" alarm!
    Good question! I know a lot of people I have spoke with, want to bury their drums, but I'm not sure that even in a dry climate they would be prevented from bursting/cracking, due to the heat....Now that may be just in Arizona too!
     
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  4. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Kerosene and Gasoline.
     
  5. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    From what I have been told by some that have cached away fuels..
    Diesel is the easiest, 'treated" unleaded gas seems to do ok...but kerosene seems to go bad too quick...Gels up?
    Not sure why that is.
    Now I'm wondering how the "lamp oils" are going to fare with storage....
     
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I store gas, diesel and kero in 55gal metal drums. Gas and diesel, use PRI products for preservatives....found none better, Stabil doesn't come close.

    Kero, I use nothing....had some 10 years, no problems.

    My drums are stored in an earth sheltered building, kept as temp controlled as I can....and sometimes even then, temperature changes will do this to a sealed drum ( see attached photo )
    CollaspedBarrel.
     
  7. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Right! That's what I'm talking about! Happened to a 55 gal plastic drum of kero which subsequently burst.
    Now I'm using steel.
    I'm putting PRI-D in the kero and a double dose of Stabil in the gas.

    But that speaks to my main question: To seal or not to seal?
    We have HUGE temperature swings here. Right now, I'm leaving the bung caps loosely threaded, but I'm afraid I'll loose the good stuff in my gasoline.
    Not too worried about the kero.
     
    Airtime likes this.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Actually looks like Andy has some sort of one way expansion valve in the top of the barrel. Maybe the hope was to let the expanded vapors out but then it closed when it cooled? [dunno] maybe he'll come back to enlighten further.
     
  9. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I like the valve idea!
    I have tried stabil and was disappointed as the gas we had in a 5 gal container went bad in only 2 months!
     
  10. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    BUT..... was it the E10 compatible Stabil - GREEN stuff, or the non-E10 compatible - RED stuff?

    I am using two year old gas stored with Green Stabil - works fine. The current E10-laced gas won't work using the red stuff.
     
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    FWIW, I use the red stuff in both the gennie (87 oct) and the bike (89 oct) on E10 fuel. No problem over winter. [dunno]
     
  12. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    It was the red stuff.....I figured the excessive heat here did it in regardless of any stabilizer additive!
    It's like that here with kerosene too, it turns into a mass of jelly!
     
  13. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I read once that Gasoline has the same long term storage ability as raw milk.
     
  14. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Nah, not a valve.....that's an air fitting adapter I'm going to use ( and did ) to blow the empty drum back out to something close to original....and yes, I know that's a fool thing to do with air pressure and a thin metal drum.....but I was inside the shop and it was outside, and the air pressure was controlled by a regulator in the shop.....I didn't just suddenly dump 100psi in the drum..... :D
     
  15. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    So do you seal your gas drums?
    I'm thinking I might wait until a cold night then, seal them tight. Expansion shouldn't be much of a problem. Contraction.... Your pick tells the story.
     
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Sealing fuels is pretty dangerous unless the container is pressure rated for that specific fuel. The coefficient of expansion for the liquid is greater than water, and the volatility will make for even higher pressures. Were it me, I'd find a vapor recovery vent to fit to the bungs, and no way would I store them indoors.

    Those pipes you see at gas stations that stick up off to the side? Those are vents for the underground tanks. They serve two purposes, one to allow air in to compensate for pumping fuel out, the other is to relieve internal pressure when (not if) the fuel expands. Yeah, I know, underground temps are pretty constant, but ---
     
  17. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    What about keeping them full to the tippy top? Does that leave less room for the expansion and contraction during storage? I wouldn't think the liquid actually expands and contracts
     
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Yes, the liquid does expand and contract, and at a greater rate than water. Any vapor space is apt to give more problems than a solid liquid fill, but if there is no vapor space, gasoline (in particular) will make it's own. Kero and diesel are less prone, but still hazardous. Fed regs require either a gas pressure/vacuum relief for fuel storage (check your mower gas cans and on board tanks, they have one) or a design that will contain the pressure rise. In the latter case, you have to prove the design, there are no type acceptances that I know about for liquid fuels.

    Type certs (acceptances) are an approved design that, if used, will allow sales of the item. Those of us that are old enough to remember CB radios should be familiar with the concept. That is also how propane tanks got as widely used as they are. Strict adherence to the approved design.
     
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member


    Yeah, as ghrit said, a liquid will expand and contract with temperature change....and without room to do so, it creates hydraulic pressure. The key is actually MORE head space.....air will compress, liquids won't ( Bernoulli's law, I think )
     
  20. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    This is true. I remember an interview I had at a major gasoline retailer. I was to be programming their inventory systems. IT chief told me that it was unlike any inventory system I could imagine, because volume changes with temperature, then finished by saying "it's a mess". I said, "no thanks".

    Here's a link to exactly what I need:
    JUSTRITE® Safety Drum Vents

    Thanks guys, but the price is wrong and actually, I can't see this having much of an advantage over just leaving the thing threaded loosely. In either case, vapors will escape, and air will enter.
     
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