Best way to remove tank valve?

Discussion in 'Tanks, Valves and Bands' started by cappyjon431, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. cappyjon431

    cappyjon431 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Carrabelle, Florida
    When I bought our dive op it came with 70 tanks, about a dozen of which had valves that needed repair/replacement. They have sat under my work bench for years, but I finally decided to replace the valves. It looks like these tanks had never been rinsed and after draining, the vaves are seriously hard to remove. I tried to loosen them up with a soft mallet, with no success. I put a pipe wrench on one an succeeded in removing the valve by tapping the pipe wrench with the soft mallet but scraped up the valve in the process. I would like to rebuild these valves, but I don't want to damage them in the removal process. What is the best way to get these buggars off? Thanks for any input.
  2. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Up a river of excrement in a native american water
    Put your pipe wrench on and use a cheater bar instead of the mallet.
  3. Belmont

    Belmont DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    Put a piece of neoprene between the jaws of the pipe wrench, cheater bar is good but a few sharp blows with a hammer on the bar will help break the seal.
  4. Scott

    Scott PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    Use a smooth jaw wrench and it won't leave the marks like a typical pipe wrench.
    Smooth Jaw Wrenches
  5. cbrich

    cbrich Manta Ray

    # of Dives:
    Location: Austin
    I would use an open end wrench that would fit the flats on the base of the valve, assuming the valve has flats on the base. But it sounds like you might be replacing all of the valves.
  6. Spd 135

    Spd 135 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Slidell La
    If it is possible, put the valves (and tanks) in warm water for a while. This may loosen the scale that has built up.
  7. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Hillsborough, NC
    Other alternatives would include: a) use two pieces/strips of smooth (and softer) aluminum, instead of neoprene, between the jaws of the wrench and the valve, or b) use hard wood (oak) strips. Possibly less expensive alternatives to a new wrench. We keep aluminum shims in our bench vise at the shop for a similar purpose. And, Zeagle markets a wood box to support applying torque to regulators, with the same end in mind - avoiding scratching the metal. With the wrench, while I use a rubber mallet at times, my personal preference is a cheater bar if I can effectively secure the tank so it doesn't rotate.
  8. NJDiver07866

    NJDiver07866 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NJ-Northern
    Don't sound like a drama queen, and you might have already thought of this, but just to be safe make sure the valve works. Take a bit of shop air and open up the valve and try to fill the tank. Check to see air goes in and out of the tank through the open valve. With old tanks you always have to be careful they are indeed empty. It could be the valve is bad and you think the tank is empty when it is really not. You can turn the valve open with the knob and it feels like it’s open but it’s not. So before you try to put an 8 foot breaker bar on it.. just do a quick check…

    Good luck my friend
  9. rcs9250

    rcs9250 Barracuda

    For tough valves on SCBA's and some scuba tanks I made a wrench as pictured. I work in a machine shop so it was a real quick and dirty job. Sometimes making the tank immobile is a tougher task. A tank vise of course works well. I have seen people jack up a trailer with tandem axles and lower it slightly on the tank to act as a vise. Some have strapped them to I beams and telephone poles too.

    Attached Files:

  10. cappyjon431

    cappyjon431 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Carrabelle, Florida
    Definitely good advice, but I always remove the burst disk (slowly) before removing the valve. Loosening the burst disk a couple of threads is the easiest way I have found to insure the tanks are empty if the valve handle is inoperable.
  11. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: VA and NC
    If there is any possibility that the tank has O2 in it, do not attmempt burst disc removal and also do not attempt to try to remove the valve if you cannot get the valve open. The tank can and probably will explode as the friction of the threads creates an ignition source for the O2 and oxides in the tank.

    In general use an open end wrench that fits the valve, if flats are provided on the valve. If no flate are provided and you have to use the face and back of the valve for "flats", use hard wood (oak) strips between the valve and the jaws of a pipe wrench.

    Alos note that if the valve is hard to remove, the potential to gall the threads in an aluminum tank is significant and if that occurs you now have 30 pounds of scrap aluminum, not a scuba tank.
  12. Leadking

    Leadking Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Minneapolis
    Smooth jaw wrenches used to be called "monkey wrenches". Now you need to decide if it calls for a right-hand or left hand!:)
    rhwestfall likes this.
  13. Wookie

    Wookie ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    The best luck I've had without damaging anything is to: Turn the cylinder upside down in a machinists' vice. Clamp the hell out of the valve flats in the vice. If you do this, the cylinder will not slip, and the valve will not be dinged. Wrap a strap wrench around the cylinder and put a significant cheater on the strap wrench. I use the same strap wrench that I use on my Detroit Diesel oil filters. If after you apply all the torque you can apply and it still doesn't move, have your wife beat on the bottom of the cylinder with a rubber mallet to shock the cylinder. I haven't had it fail yet, and I don't round the flats of the valves either.
  14. oxyhacker

    oxyhacker Loggerhead Turtle

    Or Moncke, to give credit where it is due ;-)

  15. knotical

    knotical perpetual student Staff Member

    # of Dives:
    Location: Ka'u
    Neat; but alternatively, quoting:
    We may never know.
  16. Dive Raja Ampat

    Dive Raja Ampat Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Raja Ampat Indonesia
    In Cambodia we used a large Tie Down Strap attached to a concrete telephone pole. We used a large crescent wrench and a cheater bar. Works real well, the trick is to keep the tank from moving.
    if the valve is not working most times is that the hand wheel is stripped, replace the hand wheel and then bleed air .
    Of course if the valve still works, the best test that the tank is empty is to have valve open and blow into the tank and should fill up to about 7 bar and you can feel on your cheek. the danger is if you let the air out fast you could have ice build up and still have lots of pressure so always a good idea to blow hard into valve to check, if the valve is cold, before you pop the top.
    When you put it back together don't forget liberal amount of silicon in threads. For tanks with more that 32% Oxygen have a certified tech work on, Oxygen is what they use to fuel the space shuttle! (O2)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2013
  17. ajtoady

    ajtoady ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hammond, NY
    I would a) make sure tank is empty, b) try to get some soapy water into the tank, it shouldn't take a lot, and c) after getting soapy water in invert tank for a few and allow liquid to penetrate the valve threads. You are removing the valves anyways so a hydro, cleaning and vis is in order. If there is in fact a scale or oxidation in the threads soaking from the outside does not get past the O-ring. Last resort, after making sure tank is empty, cut in half for a cool little grill for burgers and hot doggies, yum!!!:D
  18. sealark

    sealark Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Pensacola Fl.
    Listen to the above post, if this doesn't work scrap the tank. best suggestion here...
  19. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    2010 thread....... think he is still working on the tanks? How many grills or wind chimes do you think he has by now?
    ajtoady likes this.
  20. sealark

    sealark Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Pensacola Fl.
    I guess it helps to look at original post date.

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