Liquid Propane Haulers: Tips? Advice?

Discussion in 'Hazmat Trucking Forum' started by OhNoTerry, Dec 15, 2023.

  1. RockinChair

    RockinChair Road Train Member

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    CC, TX
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    Thank you for tagging me, @lual .

    In my experience most propane dealers set up their locations for bobtails, not for transports. Tight turns, low tree branches, etc. are common - and they ALWAYS have rental tanks, bobtails, service trucks, and miscellaneous equipment stored in the most inconvenient places possible on the yard. So before I drive in I look at the location using Google Maps satellite view and then I get out and walk the location from the entrance gate to the tanks. I do the same thing again when I finish unloading before I start rolling towards the exit gate.

    Always carry spare o-rings / flat gaskets, and a flathead screwdriver to pry the old ones out.

    Use a spanner wrench or J-wrench when possible, but always keep a brass hammer (because brass is a non-sparking metal) for when the Acme fittings are too worn to use a wrench.

    When unhooking liquid hoses, there will be a little bit of residual in the hose. So I unhook whichever one is highest off the ground first, and then set it on the ground so that the residual will run out under my control instead of at some inopportune time when I'm not expecting it.

    Always load through the spray fill, but if you have an older trailer that doesn't have a spray fill then load through the vapor line. If you load through the liquid line the pressure will come up too high.

    If the pressure gets too high while you're loading, pull the truck forward a few feet and then stomp on the brakes. Back up a few feet and do the same thing again. Repeat if necessary. Agitating the product inside the trailer knocks the pressure down.

    Before you start pumping, visually check the vapor- operated valves under the tanks. Sometimes they tend to stick closed or partially open.

    If you're driving at night and your trailer has a glow-in-the-dark level gauge, a UV flashlight will charge it up without bothering your night vision.
     
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  3. RockinChair

    RockinChair Road Train Member

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    You're less likely to have propane make it into the air cleaner - or up against the turbo housing - if you stop the flow immediately by closing the internals.
     
  4. Cat sdp

    Cat sdp . .

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    Then the cheapskates that own the bulk plants should have a pump on the ground to unload you …. Kinda like they load their bobtails……..

    Then you can stand there at attention
     
  5. RockinChair

    RockinChair Road Train Member

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    I prefer to use my pump because I know it's in good shape. And forget standing at attention, I sit in a camping chair where I can see my gauges and I'm just steps away from the emergency shut off and the pump control.
     
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  6. OhNoTerry

    OhNoTerry Light Load Member

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    Great information and will be noted!

    I keep hearing about some liquid or spray some folks use to ensure their lines don't freeze up during winter times. Do you know what they are referring to?
     
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  7. andhe78

    andhe78 Bobtail Member

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    Jul 11, 2017
    Buffalo, NY
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    Methanol.

    My experience differs from Rockinchair's as to location difficulty. We service about 50 tank farms across the state, and there is not a one that is ridiculous to get into (and we run three and four axle tanks.) It's honestly easy work for our outfit and I enjoy doing it during the fall/winter months.
     
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  8. OhNoTerry

    OhNoTerry Light Load Member

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    Would you happen to be operating in the NW? Specifically WA state? That's where I'll be running.
     
  9. andhe78

    andhe78 Bobtail Member

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    No, we're out of western New York.
     
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  10. michaelo311

    michaelo311 Bobtail Member

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    Oct 12, 2016
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    Biggest thing with hauling bulk propane is don't get complacent, that's when accidents happen.

    You'll go to a terminal to load. Some are nicer then others but most of the operators there are pretty nice guys as long as you follow the safety procedures. Usually have to be watched laoding 3 times to get carded for 24 hour access.

    Tanks where you deliver to can really vary by customer that you're hauling for. We have some customers that have really nice tank setups(3 inch piping, nice transitions, easy pull in and out) and we have some with tanks that haven't been updated in 30 years with pipes routed all over the place. All the customers we have if theirs a problem they get it fixed, if they don't they no longer become a customer.

    It's really not anymore dangerous then doing any other kind of truck except you keep a lot of the rift raft out with having a hazmat endorsement.

    Just follow the way you're trained to load and unload and you'll have no problems. Every place is a little different but theirs enough safety checks in place that you shouldn't have a problem
     
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  11. prostartom

    prostartom Light Load Member

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    Probably the easiest driving job I have ever had. I usually did 2 loads a day 6 days a week during the winter. The only thing I didn't like was standing outside the truck for the 60 minutes or so it took to unload, and my company was always sending me down around Washington DC so traffic was a problem. But I was paid by the hour so not too bad.

    Usually, my first load came out of York, PA and that place was great, the workers loaded your truck for you all I had to do was punch in the load numbers into the computer in the loading shack. I believe that terminal was bought out though and I heard they switched to driver load. Sucked because all those guys were really nice, and I enjoyed talking to them while we waited for the truck to load.

    My second load usually came out of Baltimore and that sucked because they were using a portable loading setup that pumped the product directly from a railroad car to your trailer. If you were unlucky enough to catch a split load where the railroad car empties before you are loaded, you had to wait for the crew to disconnect all the lines from the railroad car then move the cars and reconnect to the next one. Usually added about a half an hour to the load time.

    Some terminals weigh you in and out, some terminals just have meters to count gallons. You have to know how many gallons you can load so there is some math involved and the weight of LP gas changes depending on the temperature. My trainer showed me how to keep a log on each load that I weighed so I could maximize how much to put on the trailer. I kept track of the terminal, how many gross gallons and net gallons, the temperature and pressure, and even how much fuel was in my truck when I loaded. I was almost always above 79,000 lbs and pretty regularly between 79,500 and 80k lbs. Its like The Price is Right, get as close as you can to 80,000 lbs without going over!

    I really enjoyed the job and briefly thought about trying to do it year-round, but the company I worked for was terrible and I actually made less money doing propane than I did at my normal job even though the propane required hazmat and a TWIC card.
     
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