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Unread 05-04-2010, 04:48 PM   #1
Netpackrat
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Jerry can mod/Screw the EPA

The following is presented for informational purposes only. Actually performing this mod to a "post ban" fuel can probably violates some BS federal law. Also, if you ignore the preceding, ONLY do this to a NEW can that has NEVER had fuel inside. I don't want to hear about anybody blowing themselves up, and I especially don't want to learn about it from their grieving widow's attorney. As always, if you decide to do something stupid based on something you read on the internet, you are on your own!

So with that out of the way, unless you have been living under a rock for the last year and a half, you should be aware that the EPA has banned the sale of "good" fuel cans as of January 1, 2009, and has essentially adopted California's "CARB" standard for fuel cans on a nationwide basis. What this means in a nutshell, is that unless you manage to get the "preban" style of jerry cans, you will be stuck with something that doesn't pour worth a damn, and probably doesn't seal very well, either.

Now, I bought several of the superior NATO style cans before the ban went into effect, so I didn't really need to do this, but I happened to end up with one of the "post ban" metal cans manufactured by Blitz as part of my bumper fabrication project, because I wanted to make sure that my fuel carriers would hold both major styles of metal cans. With that project finished, what to do with the Blitz can? I could leave it out at my remote property for storage of emergency fuel, but I don't want to be dealing with a can that won't pour right if it actually is an emergency, so that's out. Luckily, it is possible to restore the newer cans to more or less the original design configuration.

First, the good news. The "post ban" style cans will still accept the original flexible metal spouts. This is a huge deal, because it makes restoring adequate pouring action possible. The bad news is that they totally eliminated the vent tube from the can, which means if you simply plug in the flex nozzle and expect it to pour properly, you are going to be sorely disappointed. To use the old nozzles with the new cans, you need to restore the design's original venting properties.

The first thing I did was go to NAPA and buy a length of 3/16" steel brake tubing. This tubing has an inside diameter of just over 1/8 of an inch, which is reasonably close to the original tube size, and should provide adequate venting. The way these cans originally worked, is the pouring nozzle and its gasket are not a large enough diameter to cover the tube, so when pouring, air can flow into the can to replace the volume of the fuel that is pouring out, leading to smooth pouring of fuel. The cap and its gasket, on the other hand, are of a larger diameter, such that the hole is covered when the can is sealed, so that fuel cannot spill out of the vent hole. Therefore, the placement of the vent pipe on the mounting flange is fairly crucial.



In this picture, you should be able to see the different sizes of the cap and pour spout flanges, and the lack of a vent hole/tube in the can's flange. Also note that the new cans come with an O-ring seal instead of the original flat gasket, so a new gasket will have to be made or acquired.



Scribing a line to mark the position of the edge of the pouring spout flange. From there, based on the size of the tube you are using, you can determine the center of the hole to be drilled, such that the edge of the hole is tangent to the edge of the pouring gasket/flange. I drilled a 3/16" hole initially, but had to open it up to a #11 hole to get my tubing to fit.



The tube that I used. You'll need to cut off the flares and remove the nuts, of course.



The tube bent and trimmed to fit. I used a tubing bender to avoid kinking the tube, but you may be able to get away with bending it free hand. Be sure to deburr the ends, inside and out. You don't want anything obstructing the flow of air inside the tube. The end of the tube needs to be positioned so it ends in the air pocket in the upper rear of the can.



The tube positioned, with some of the surrounding paint removed to avoid contaminating the joint.



The tube brazed in place. Silver solder probably would have worked as well (maybe better), but I used what I had. After it cools, cut off the tube, and then file flush. Be sure to put some duct tape over the mouth of the can, to prevent debris from falling inside. I also did that when drilling the hole. It's probably a good idea to slosh a little fuel around in there and then empty it out to help eliminate any stray bits of metal that might have fallen in. Also be sure the vent tube is deburred internally again once the tube is flush.



The finished can, with the tube smoothed down and rattle can paint applied. I haven't tested this yet (I still need to make a gasket for the cap), but it should work just as well as a pre-ban Blitz can. At this point it is still easier to find the older ones, but like I said, I ended up buying one to use as a fabrication dummy, so I had it around to experiment on.

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Unread 05-05-2010, 10:40 PM   #2
HighFive
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Cool. I never new they banned a different kind of gerry can? Heck i didn't even know there were two kinds. I always had the ones with no vent. This is a good idea, i hate waiting for the can to take another breath when filling up.
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Unread 05-05-2010, 11:50 PM   #3
Netpackrat
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I don't remember for sure, but PA might have been one of the states that adopted the CARB regulations for fuel cans prior to the federal mandate.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 09:13 AM   #4
my-jeep-earl
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When California did it, we needed one for a Rubicon trip we were on, so we drove from Tahoe to Carson Nevada and bought ours there. No more I guess!
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Unread 05-06-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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Cool mod. Thanks for the info.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
mcneil
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I always wondered how much Blitz had to pay to get that law passed. It sure did a great job of wiping out all other can manufacturers.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 08:15 PM   #7
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Okay, I made a new gasket for the cap out of some 1/8" thick rubber material, and have confirmed that it does seal up with no apparent leaks so far, and with the vent tube it pours smoothly using the flexible steel nozzle.

I guess it wouldn't surprise me too much if the whole federal thing was the result of a payoff, but to be honest, the metal Blitz cans are in hardware stores everywhere, while the NATO cans were only purchased by a relative few enthusiast types. Even if you include sales of surplus cans (which can also no longer be imported AFAIK), I just don't see the small amount of competition being worth the expense of lobbying to have a ban put into place, especially when it also affects their own products.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 10:06 PM   #8
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You know, It would hurt to put a couple of loops in that breather tube for extra protection against leakage. I used to use the setup when pouring Nitromethane... it was always referred to as a "Chicken Popper".
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Unread 11-19-2010, 01:19 PM   #9
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A friend of mine in CA modified two of the newer Blitz cans, and had the following comments:

Quote:
Next can will have the rim hole counter bored slightly to allow brazing to flow below the level of the rim face, so grinding flush will retain solid braze between the tube and the can rim. This is OK as these are what we are stuck with. But it is a pain to have to do. The new gov'mint pour spout is plastic and subject to easy breakage. Now after I bought these two cans at Ace Hdw for $44 each, I found 3 Gerry cans, slight rust, need gaskets, for $20 (for all 3). Shipping is a killer, but the three cans total cost will be the same as the two new I just bought. And, I believe cleaning the rust and painting will be less time than having to install this vent.
I hadn't noted any problem with my brazing not wicking sufficiently, but I think the counterbore is an excellent idea. My friend also had the following to add:

Quote:
Certainly, go ahead and post it to the JeepForum. I do think that the fit of the hole to the diameter of the tube was probably strong enough, with even a partial braze, to hold the tube in place. But after grinding it down flush I could see a line along about 1/4 of the circumference. The fit being so tight that the brazing didn't wick into the joint properly (delicate dance here with a thin tube and a lot of heat and not having practised my brazing in a long time) I thought the tube solidly fixed and the cap gasket would cover it, and during pouring would draw air, not leak fuel, but it was simple enough to hit the line with a little silver solder. I don't have any regular brazing rod. I have on hand some high temp high strength nickle silver rod or some very low temperature silver solder. Overheating with the nickle silver causes no problems, if I don't melt through on thin stuff. If I overheat the low temp stuff it refuses to wet out and leaves me with a difficult problem to fix.
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Unread 11-19-2010, 01:27 PM   #10
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I also found that my homemade gasket swells in contact with gasoline. It still seems to seal okay, and since I'm using the can to store emergency fuel at my cabin rather than for transportation, it is okay for now, but I'll need to find a real fuel resistant gasket.
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Unread 11-20-2010, 05:20 PM   #11
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Cool mod!
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Unread 11-21-2010, 08:18 AM   #12
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I guess I will have to take a trip to Canada and visit my sister-in-law and get some real fuel cans.
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Unread 11-21-2010, 03:39 PM   #13
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If you can get the real ones in Canada, that might be the best option. Just be sure you don't get screwed by customs trying to bring them in. There is a date code, so assuming they know to look and bother to care, they can tell if your cans were made before or after the date of the ban. If you stick them in permanently mounted can carriers on your vehicle, and they have a little bit of obvious wear and tear, you'll probably get better results than trying to bring in obviously new cans still in the box.

It's also interesting to note that shortly after I started this thread, our local industrial hardware store stopped carrying the Blitz cans, and for metal cans they now carry the post-ban Wedco cans, which this mod won't work with. Those are actually a better built can overall, but I doubt if they pour any better than any other post ban fuel can.
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Unread 11-21-2010, 06:27 PM   #14
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Cool write up, I have a question. When the Gold non pour cap is on, does it cover the vent hole?

Thanks,
Ted
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Unread 11-22-2010, 07:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ8Ted View Post
Cool write up, I have a question. When the Gold non pour cap is on, does it cover the vent hole?
Yes, that is the point. But, it needs to have a flat gasket of sufficient diameter to cover the hole; the o-ring that now comes with it won't do it.
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