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Need Help with Argon and Argon Mix tanks (ownership)

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  • Need Help with Argon and Argon Mix tanks (ownership)

    Ok, so I have a problem. I was given 4 tanks from my uncle who got them from my grandfather who passed away 4 years ago. There tanks are as follows:

    80 cf (with name on the neck)
    125 cf (smooth neck)
    200 cf (with name on the neck)
    200 cf (with name on the neck)

    Now here is my issue. All four of these tanks were outdated on their testing, the most recent one was tested in 1993. The others were dated back to the 70's. So three of these tanks have been out of commission for 35 years or more. All 3 of the company names on the tanks have gone out of business many many years ago (verified on google). I tried to look up if anyone bought out these companies and it does not appear so. I called around to at least half a dozen distributors and none of them have heard of the companies. I had all 4 of these tanks retested and they all passed. Nobody so far will fill them as they say they are "lease" tanks. I asked how they know this, and they said because nobody sells tanks over 125 cf. So here is my main issue. My grandfather has been welding since probably the 1930s. He is a stand up man and I know he would never own stolen property. He often would buy 2nd hand used stuff so I would not be surprised if he picked these tanks up possibly from even one of the owners of one of these now out of business companies.

    Here is where it gets more irritating... so the supply companies tell me that nobody will touch a 200 because it is owned by someone hence the name on the neck. I explained the 80 cf also has a name on the neck and they said that doesn't matter and they will refill that one regardless. So then I said, ok, so if my grandfather could have legitimately purchased a 80 cf with a name on the neck, how can you say that a 200 cf with a name on the neck can't be owned by him? They are contradicting their logic in this alone. I have read many stories online about these companies attempting to keep a monopoly on larger tanks so they can make more money renting it out to people rather than selling them. I feel like these guys are blowing smoke up my butt. I am just curious if anyone has ran across something similar like this, and how you went about handling it?

  • #2
    Yep. Around here they're trying to phase 160 size into lease only. Nobody will swap any tank bigger unless there is a lease in your name on it. Had one company try to take my friends tanks and threatened to call the cops on him because he took some larger than 160s in to swap and didn't have a lease on them. Doesn't matter the name on tank 160 and below. But over that size they're exceptionally touchy about who owns it

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    • #3
      Yes, basically your LWS is a bunch of crooks. You or anyone else can go buy any size tank you want, new or refurbished all day long. They only want you to lease the tanks because that's their #1 revenue generator, tank leasing.

      Tell them to fill them, or go say good bye to your money. Go somewhere else. Unfortunately, depending on your location that may or may not be an issue, which is because they are a monopoly. In that case I'd still tell them to **** off.
      Ryan
      __________________________________________________
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      HARRIS torches

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      • #4
        Yeah it is very irritating. But I will say one thing, since these companies are no longer in business and in my opinion no one can make a claim to these tanks, they are mine. If I can't get them refilled, I will cut them up and make portable barbecue pits out of them before I give them to some monopoly company to add to their lineup for free. Just very frustrating considering these tanks tested good and nothing is wrong with them.

        Ive seen multiple post of people saying take a flap disk to the neck and smooth it down flat and repaint it and beat it up a little, but to me, if I do that and someone realizes they have been ground down, it appears then that I have something to hide, and I don't have anything to hide.
        Last edited by SLP82; 01-10-2017, 10:05 PM.

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        • #5
          From my years on these boards, I've learned that how tanks are commonly done varies greatly around the country. Your location in your profile (looks like they don't do that anymore) or in the question greatly helps in getting the most accurate advice. I own every single one of my cylinders, and that includes 80s, 125s, a150, and several 250s. I once had a cylinder with a name on the neck. A name long out of business with no current ownership. Just because someone had their name on a cylinder neck doesn't mean they can't sell it, as was done when they went out of business (or it was written off). Either way, by that time, it was MY cylinder. I therefore ground off the old name and gave it a ring of dirty paint to match all the other cylinders, just to keep ignorant/greedy salesman from trying to lie to me about it. The only tank size I wasn't able to buy was a 350 around southern Nevada. That was reserved for rentals. I don't know what they would do if I acquired one elsewhere and wanted to exchange it for a full one. I've never had a problem exchanging any of my other sizes.
          Last edited by MAC702; 01-10-2017, 10:48 PM.

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          • #6
            I live on the out skirts of Houston, Tx. I feel the same way. I am really considering grinding down the neck ring... Im just not sure of how to do it and not make it obvious. I have a 60 grit flap disk, but I think that might still be obvious after I paint it... I wonder if I could find like a 180 flap disk.. that might make it smooth enough.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SLP82 View Post
              I live on the out skirts of Houston, Tx. I feel the same way. I am really considering grinding down the neck ring... Im just not sure of how to do it and not make it obvious. I have a 60 grit flap disk, but I think that might still be obvious after I paint it... I wonder if I could find like a 180 flap disk.. that might make it smooth enough.
              Yup that's how its done. The company that tested our cylinders charges 2 bucks each to grind off the neck ring...Bob
              Bob Wright

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              • #8
                start with 80, finish with a higher grit. Agent double AA above me seems to know. I am just guessing.

                I like the barbecue idea though... In case it doesn't work out.
                if there's a welder, there's a way

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                • #9
                  When I exchanged that old cylinder with the neck that I ground off, I don't think they even looked at it. I'll bet I can go through my cylinders now and find some that I suspect had been ground at one time. After all, what do you think Praxair/Airgas/Air Liquide is going to when they get one with a name no one's heard of? And then they give it to me...

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                  • #10
                    Here in S.E. Michigan its the same way, we call our big tanks 330 cu ft. They want you to rent the tanks, about 6-7 years ago I gave my welding supplier the ultimatum to either sell me the tanks or I was going elsewhere.
                    With rental being 4.50 tank x 12 months = 54.00 year, so it took about 5.5 years to break even, since I own about 20 tanks I'm in the good now.

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                    • #11
                      SLP, I'll buy the tanks from you sight unseen. Problem solved.

                      Seriously people, we have to start telling these suppliers to stick their overpriced tank leases where the sun don't shine. You can go buy new tanks or refurbished tanks ALL, DAY, LONG. Look them up. You can even have YOUR OWN NECK RINGS made if you really want to. Swapping tanks? Even then that's a whole line of BS too. Every Tom, **** and Harry swaps cheap crappy propane tanks by the boatload every day at your local Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, supermarket and gas station. You pay for the convenience, and a new in service date rectification if necessary and a new $0.25 paint job. If some LWS wanted to charge me $5-$10 additional for a swap, I have no problem with that. Threatening to call the cops on me? F. U. Go right ahead, I'll wait here and when they arrive I'll have you written a summons for threatening me. Have fun with that A HOLE.

                      Just bit the bullet, buy a tank, get your own filled. It's really no big deal if you actually have a legit LWS and not some con job who is just reselling someone else's bottles anyway.

                      I had half a dozen tanks I was going to buy a few months ago cheap, they needed to be re certified, but the price was right even if only half tested good. Too bad the guy couldn't ever make himself available for me to pick them up so I told him to pound salt. I found them on E-bay. The guy was too stupid to even figure out how to use his PayPal. I tried to send him money but he listed his e-mail wrong. Total Flake. Too bad for him because I probably would have bought a few thousand bucks worth of other surplus equipment he was selling off cleaning out an old shop building.

                      Ryan
                      __________________________________________________
                      DYNASTY 350 w/Wireless pedal
                      COOLMATE 3.5
                      CK WF1
                      MILLERMATIC 350P w/Bernard BTB300 w/XR-A Python 25'
                      MULTIMATIC 200 w/Spoolmate 100 w/TIG w/Wireless pedal
                      SPECTRUM 375 X-Treme
                      (2) DIGITAL ELITE helmets
                      Weld-Mask goggles/hood
                      OPTREL e684 helmet
                      SMITH torches
                      HARRIS torches

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                      • #12
                        Well if anyone is in Texas and knows a good LWS that will over look the neck rings, or even just fill a 200 cf with a smooth neck ring, I would appreciate you letting me know. We should start a sticky thread with lists of all good LWS that don't play these stupid games. That is how we could really make some of these big companies like AirGas hurt. Hit them in the wallet.

                        Anyways, I went ahead and bought a 120 grit flap disk and ground the names off. Then took 200 grit sandpaper on a orbital sander and smoothed everything out nicely, looks perfectly like a smooth neck ring. I had my 125 with a smooth ring for comparison. Then I noticed that the name of the company that was on the ring was also stamped into the side of the bottle below the DOT #'s. I was like great!!! Then got an idea. I sanded the area where the name was with some 80 grit on a orbital sander just enough to rough it up, then took some bondo and filled in the name, let it harden, then sanded it down smooth with the bottle. I then threw a messy thick coat of matte (flat) paint over the whole bottle, then kicked it around the driveway for ten minutes.

                        It looks just like a old tank and you cant see where the name was stamped in at all. So now it is a smooth neck, no name anywhere, certified as of 1/17, with a ten year certification and qualified for 10% over. I called yet another smaller LWS and told them I have a smooth neck owner bottle that is 200 cf and they said they don't have a problem filling it but they have to "check the bottle out"... I can't see anything else that can use to say it isn't my bottle as the company went out of business about 17 years ago from my research and they were never bought out by any other company. I think this is how my grandfather acquired them as he had many close friends and connections in welding. If this all works out, I will do the same procedure with the other 200 cf as well to just avoid all this stupid run around I am getting.
                        Last edited by SLP82; 01-12-2017, 12:39 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Wow. My LWS will sell and fill large tanks, but I prefer to use 125's for portability. My buddy asked me to pick a tank up for him that he bought over the phone (he works a 9-5 in an an office, hobby welder). I told him prior I had 125's so they fit neatly in the trunk of a car (I often take my old BMW to the LWS)....

                          Well, I showed up in my old BMW, went in and they have a 250 waiting!?!?! I laid down front seat back, muscled it in there, and told my buddy he is on his own from now on lol. I think it's been about 2-3yrs since, and he just called about a month ago and asked for the LWS address - he ALSO drives an old compact BMW - forgot until now to ask him how he transported it.
                          J.Caraher
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                          • #14
                            I'm in Beaumont. I had several old tanks that I got from my uncle when he passed away. All of them out of hydro. I took them to coastal welding, they swapped me new bottles for every single one, only charged me $15 to re-hydro them. I just had to do a 99 years lease on them, and that cost nothing. Try a coastal location. If not, I have a really good relationship with my coastal guys, I can call them and see what I can work out.

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                            • #15
                              I have 32 tanks here in the shop. I get my gas from Prax-Air just looked at the rings I have 3 - blank, 8 - Prax-Air, 2 - Linde, 1 - Speicality, 3 - Union Carbide and several others. I don't think they care where the bottles came from. I sure don't. Around here most of the independent shops have been bought out by Airgas and Prax. It's horrible cause they jack up the price and you have nowhere else to go..

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