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I already bought one craigslist tank that failed hydro and dont want to get stuck with another lamp. I found two used al80 tanks on Craigslist that the seller was asking $75 for one or $125 for two. I offered $90 for both and she came back at $100. Both of these tanks are out of hydro and are made in 1992 and 1993. Are they worth it or should I wait for somthing newer?
Wait. Some shops and hydro places even won't look at tanks older than 15 years if they are aluminum. Steels on the other hand last for years. I have two that are now fifty years old and still pass. And can get filled.
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that is the issue I worry about most. I actually found a gentleman on another board that has 2 steels for sale, you have to pay for Hydro+VIP, but said if they come back neg your not responsible for the tanks in the end. Maybe have that as a stipulation, you meet and will pay for the Hydro/VIP and if they pass you pay for the tanks.
I pulled 2 steel 72's out of the local scrap yard, paid $20 for the pair and they both passed hydro no problem. They have been in service since the late 60's and each have 6 hydro stamps on them.
I have had people give me al80's a few times now and I dont even try to hydro them (so far the ones given to me have been late 80's-early 90's) I just take the valve and scrap the tank, especially if they are pre 1989 vintage. Then I find a cheap 72 with an old "j" valve and swap burst discs and valves and I am good to go.
Also, I bought a Faber LP95 steel in March for $150 off of Craigslist and a pair of Faber 95's doubled up for $400(bands and isolation valve included) so there are deals around if you look and are patient. They may cost a little more than a used AL80 but at least the tanks will most likely with you for years to come.
I used to dive aluminum in the 1980's when they were all the rage but once I bought my 1st steel I never went back.
If possible, have the seller take them for vis/hydo and if they pass, you'll pay for that plus the tanks. I've got some older aluminum tanks that work just fine, not as good as steel, but just fine for practice and playing.
I bought two 1993 AL80s on Kijiji for $75 (for the two). Both passed hydro without tumbling and always pass visual. Perhaps beacause I think they were hardly ever used as the OW candidate quit and gave them to his parents who kept them. My 3rd tank is 1976 steel 72 that was given to me (full air still in it 30 years)- same story, the student quit. It did need some tumbling but has been hydroed twice successfully.
Al tanks are fine, they are the most common tank you will find in rental for a reason. As long as the tanks pass hydro you are good to go. As triple cove said anything before late 89/ early 90 will need a visual eddy check if they are made by Luxfer. Happy hunting.
If you're planning on diving locally, I'd probably go with steel especially if you plan on diving dry. Around here, almost everyone ends up using steel tanks, but then we also dive in salt water so we need some extra weight. In freshwater you don't need quite so much.
Summertime in lakes with a thin wetsuit, then aluminum might be just the thing. Cold saltwater; steel, all the way. Drysuit? Again, I'd opt for steel tanks. It takes a lot of weight to sink a drysuit.
Aluminum tanks are generally pretty affordable, at least around these parts. I can find newer ones fairly regularly on Craigslist for $75 or less. Just avoid the old ones. They're not worth the hassle.
Steel LP72's are also quite cheap and aren't that hard to find. I've paid as little as $10 for an LP72 and they're great tanks for short or shallow dives or if you just don't use much air. Don't worry too much about the age. They're all ancient.
Modern galvanized HP steel tanks are most in demand. Particularly HP80's, 100's and 119's. Expect to pay about 1/2 to 3/4 the price you would new for these. They'd also be my first choice in tanks.
Modern LP tanks go for a little less than HP tanks. They're great if you can get big fills, but if the shops around you will only fill to the recommended pressures then I'd just pay the extra and get HP's.
What you want to avoid are the oddball tanks. Avoid the tanks with 7/8" or 1/2" necks. Avoid the old steel tanks in odd sizes like LP38's or LP50's. And I'd avoid the older steel HP tanks as well. Most were built extra heavy so as to meet DOT standards. Newer ones were made under an exemption to the rules and are much lighter. If the pressure rating on the tank is 3442, then you should be OK.