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Old 06-01-2015, 11:22 PM #1
aarospoon13
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Regulator issue/request

Been struggling to get a reg off a tank for the past 3 hours and finally decided to give up for the night with the tools I have available to me. The previous owner of this tank either loctited (red) every single thing that screws in, soaked his tank in water and stuff rusted or just overused and overtightened everything + a layer of teflon tape.

Everything I've removed to clean (fill nipple, gauge, bonnet to remove shims etc) was extremely difficult to remove (I've serviced over a dozen tanks and regs so far but never had anything like this). I'll try a hair dryer tomorrow but if anyone has any other advice let me know.

Also, please PLEASE do not strap in your tank reg and fitting so tight or as if its NEVER supposed to come off! I've tried strap wrenches, clamps, screwdrivers, regular wrenches to no avail. I noticed that all the threads have something red or brown in them like rust almost
Any advice on how to remove this safely let me know!!
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Old 06-02-2015, 01:09 AM #2
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It sounds like he probably used too much locktite. You need to heat the threaded area with a torch/blow dryer to loosen the locktite. If you use the torch make the flame as tight as possible, and *DO NOT apply direct heat to the reg. The flame can get close just not touching. Also If you turn too hard on that regulator it will break.
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:04 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgentry22 View Post
It sounds like he probably used too much locktite. You need to heat the threaded area with a torch/blow dryer to loosen the locktite. If you use the torch make the flame as tight as possible, and *DO NOT apply direct heat to the reg. The flame can get close just not touching. Also If you turn too hard on that regulator it will break.
i've written off the reg already as something that will need to be replaced. First time I took the bonnet off I had to soak all the non oring or plastic parts in CLR to get it off. Never knew people would actually loctite the reg onto the tank to begin with. It gets pressure locked... Just wanted to rant that out so other newer folks wouldn't attempt to seal their regs and tanks on as if none of it ever came off or was meant to be cleaned, replaced or rebuilt.
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:39 AM #4
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I feel your pain. I've worked on a few like this, where people who don't know what they're doing apply permanent thread sealer.

Here is what worked for me......and I actually learned this from some random youtube video lol.

First, find an old fill nipple (no need for the inside valve)that you don't mind damaging. It will get damaged. Stainless steel is best since it's strong. Thread it in as far as possible.

Pull off the old fill nipple as well as the gauges and everything else to get them out of your way.

Find a solid place to work, like on the floor, with a piece of wood that can accept hammer strikes for a buffer.

Next heat the regulator close to where it joins the tank. Unless it's a metal tank, then you can heat the tank directly where the regulator threads on. Get it nice and hot, just to the point where you can still handle it with your hands barely.

Lay the tank down on the floor on top of the wood so the fill nipple is horizontal to the floor, facing you.

Now hit the fill nipple HARD with the hammer as you hold the tank down with your body weight. I mean hard.........trying not to hit the regulator itself. You want to just hit the fill nipple so your energy provides torque in the direction that will loosen the regulator off the tank. It may take a while. I've had some that took multiple heating and about 20 minutes of hammering to get off, but it should come off eventually hahaha.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:24 PM #5
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I feel your pain. I've worked on a few like this, where people who don't know what they're doing apply permanent thread sealer.

Here is what worked for me......and I actually learned this from some random youtube video lol.

First, find an old fill nipple (no need for the inside valve)that you don't mind damaging. It will get damaged. Stainless steel is best since it's strong. Thread it in as far as possible.

Pull off the old fill nipple as well as the gauges and everything else to get them out of your way.

Find a solid place to work, like on the floor, with a piece of wood that can accept hammer strikes for a buffer.

Next heat the regulator close to where it joins the tank. Unless it's a metal tank, then you can heat the tank directly where the regulator threads on. Get it nice and hot, just to the point where you can still handle it with your hands barely.

Lay the tank down on the floor on top of the wood so the fill nipple is horizontal to the floor, facing you.

Now hit the fill nipple HARD with the hammer as you hold the tank down with your body weight. I mean hard.........trying not to hit the regulator itself. You want to just hit the fill nipple so your energy provides torque in the direction that will loosen the regulator off the tank. It may take a while. I've had some that took multiple heating and about 20 minutes of hammering to get off, but it should come off eventually hahaha.
I've gotten it up about a quarter inch off the tank so far and there's literally nowhere left on the regulator that the battered fill nipple threads in anymore. Unfortunately, I tried this without heating it up so I put a lot of undue stress out for very little gains.

Will get myself a cheapo hair dryer or something and get it some heat and apply the strap wrench/channel lock combo and let you guys know how it goes. I just also wanted to post this up so folks who don't know exactly what to do do NOT run Red loctite on anything that they are using and servicing. Hope it saves someone some stress.

On the point from Wgentry22 - any red is a problem I think for a non permanent bond. Blue would have been significantly less of a hassle. Hoping I can get this done without missing and busting up the tank since its in great condition otherwise.

Appreciate the advice all.
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:35 AM #6
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I know they make acid the would break down the locktite. Home Depot probably has something like that. Or just Google it
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:39 PM #7
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Got it off - we just muscled it really. Strap wrench + locking pliers on the regulator and some help from a friend. This is what the regulator body looks like now. The bonnet is in good condition still, just have to clean up the inside threads from the tank and already cleaned off the red loctite from the threading of the reg already (for no apparent reason since I am trashing it).

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Old 06-03-2015, 12:42 PM #8
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Wow... Red loctite is a little extreme. Blue loctite is even pretty difficult sometimes. But red? No wonder you couldn't get that sucker off ... I don't even loctite things on my hpa tanks at all. Just make sure it's tightened down sufficiently enough to not back out at all.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:11 PM #9
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There shouldn't be any loctite or thread sealer of ANY KIND on these things. I'm just stating it again for anyone who may be reading and thinking blue or green is ok to use. It's not. They get torqued on fairly tight and the rest is done by air pressure.

Good work getting it off though. I have about 12 various regs that look exactly like that lol. All from kids or "mechanics" putting loctite on the threads. On a positive note......this years aluminum returns to the scrap metal guy will probably get me a little more cash than usual.

As for heat, I just use one of those cheap little propane torches that plumbers use for soldering copper pipes. Works great, easy to use, doesn't take up a lot of space. Just hide them from kids.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:54 PM #10
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Quote:
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There shouldn't be any loctite or thread sealer of ANY KIND on these things. I'm just stating it again for anyone who may be reading and thinking blue or green is ok to use. It's not. They get torqued on fairly tight and the rest is done by air pressure.
That's exactly what I hope anyone reading this gets. You don't have to torque it down, use thread sealers or adhesives of any kind. The pressure sitting behind that does the work for you. It doesn't matter if its 500 psi or 4500 psi in there, its active pressure. Don't go off testing if you can unscrew with pressure in the tank EVER, but trust that pressure is helping keep it in place, not to mention the amount of threads you're locking into.
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Old 06-04-2015, 03:10 PM #11
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Most guys aren't here to red this so sadly, they'll have to keep paying for new regulators haha.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:48 PM #12
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It sounds like he probably used too much locktite. You need to heat the threaded area with a torch/blow dryer to loosen the locktite. If you use the torch make the flame as tight as possible, and *DO NOT apply direct heat to the reg. The flame can get close just not touching. Also If you turn too hard on that regulator it will break.
PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE DON'T HEAT UP A TANK OR ANY PART OF IT!!

Aluminum changes it's molecular structure at around 350 degrees F. Any tank that is subjected to that temperature or above must be immediately condemned. Any heat that is applied less than 350 requires a hydrostatic test.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:59 PM #13
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So when you get a 4500 fill and your tank gets hot you need a new hydro test? You don't have to be anywhere near 350 degrees to soften up loctite. Nobody it talking about using welding equipment here.
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Old 06-11-2015, 02:51 PM #14
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An open flame can damage the gel coating as well and also potentially the fiber matrix. Using a torch on air systems is not a good thing.
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Old 06-11-2015, 03:59 PM #15
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So when you get a 4500 fill and your tank gets hot you need a new hydro test? You don't have to be anywhere near 350 degrees to soften up loctite. Nobody it talking about using welding equipment here.
No ... but they did talk about using a torch. A torch flame on the aluminum surface can cause spot heating which changes the structure of the aluminum. That change in structure turns the bottle into a bomb. This is just basic information taught in every PSI inspection class and anyone that fills bottles is supposed to go through one of them.
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:26 PM #16
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Well I think it was me who mentioned a small propane soldering torch. A welding torch would probably cut the thing apart pretty quick due to the extreme heat. The soldering torch while hot isn't going to do that much damage if the tank is warm enough to still hold onto.

These aren't water bottles, they're tested to withstand a lot of things. Not just pressure. Heat, cold, concussive forces. If you leave your tank in the sun for the day it would be hotter than we're talking about. Maybe I should have been more clear on that point.

It would be far more dangerous to try and force the reg off without any heat, damage the tank threads with solid red loctite, put a new reg on, and then fill it.
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