Plastic vs Metal Jerry cans

Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 08:37


Besides the material they are made from is there any advantage of one over the other ie: on bumpy, corrugated roads do the plastic ones hold up when stored on a camper trailer in a jerry holder or would I find them split and leaking diesel all over the trailer.
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AnswerID: 76755   Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 08:53

Member - Sand Man (SA) replied:

If you are mounting them in holders on a trailer, either would be OK.

The one disadvantage of the plastic jerry cans would appear to be the slight fuel odor they emit, when stored internally in a vehicle.

The metal ones probably provide a higher mechanical protection against piercing but this shouldn't be a major concern in your case. They also could be supseptable to rust over a long period.

Just make sure either comply to Australian standards and you should have no concerns.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!
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AnswerID: 76757   Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 09:00

Member - Karl replied:

If you get the good quality plastic ones they should be okay. It would also depend on where you were to store them. If they were stored somewhere facing the front, ie the front of a trailer and were subjected to rock strikes etc then there might be a problem.

In the Army we have carried our water in plastic jerries for years, both on the rear of our Landrovers and inside trailers and I have never had a problem. Also I carry plastic water jerries on the side of my own trailer and to date I have not had a problem. If packing in a trailer, don't pack them against a sharpe edge.

Also when filling don't fill completely to the top, ie trying to fit 21L into a 20L jerry can, this is just asking for trouble. Allow a little space for expansion and you should be okay.
Everyone is entitled to my opinion!!
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AnswerID: 76778   Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 10:51

hoyks replied:

I used to be a fan of the metal jerry, but after doing a trip back from Wiepa (got there by ship) and going only about 800ks in our convoy we had 4 or 5 metal jerries with split seams, and these were the Hduty army issue ones too. Addmittedly one 2 were from the tiedown straps breaking when going through a bull dust hole and the cans got launched into the scrub.
We had a plastic water jerry go the same way and the carry handle was driven into the top of the jerry can but it still didn't leak.

I have got some of the Rheem black plastic ones and although they can blow up like a balloon, I havent had one leak.
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FollowupID: 336532   Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 11:29

Member - DickyBeach posted:

I addressed the "blow up like a balloon" issue by (a) not filling them right to the top and then (b) squeezing the sides until the contents did reach the top whereupon then screwed the lid down tight.
Result: the heat of the day would expand the jerry-can (jerry plastic?) to its normal dimensions & shape. Never had a leak. Carried them mounted on a camper-trailer (Kimberley Kamper) where they're well protected, being sandwiched between the storage box in front and the camper section behind.
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AnswerID: 76873   Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 22:39

Utemad replied:

I prefer the plastic ones. Never had one leak. I have a red one from Autobarn for petrol. However we have 8 of the black plastic Rheem ones for a diesel F250 in the tray at all times. They get hit often from stuff in the tray but they don't seem to mind.

I find the metal ones to be a PITA when it comes time to filling the tank with them. Although that could just be the type of hose filler connection thing my brother has with his. I had to pour petrol from his metal jerry into my plastic jerry and then in to my tank once when I borrowed his metal one.
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AnswerID: 76877   Submitted: Friday, Sep 17, 2004 at 23:40

Glenno replied:

I looked at my 20L jerry can my old man gave me a few years ago. Stamped "1965" on the side. Its been around Australia in an early Landrover in the late 60's and now serves its time as mower fuel storage. Has a few flakes of rust in the bottom, but they get filtered out by the funnel. Plus the briggs 'n stratton mower seems to run on anything (including rust flakes)!

For our big trip last year I didnt even think twice about metal or plastic. Both are built to an Australian standard, so in theory they pass the necessary testing (whatever that may be). Even still, my 1955 metal jerry has passed the test, and thats enough for me.


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AnswerID: 76983   Submitted: Sunday, Sep 19, 2004 at 09:24

Mainey... replied:

If ... if... if a plastic jerry can splits it causes a mess and maybe a fire, have not seen a metal can give problems 'when used as intended'.

question is, can you guarantee a plastic can will not split or blow up in the heat and can you realy afford to risk burning out your vehicle if the worst does happen to you?

It is a risk I would not take, as I take many now that I can't controll.
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AnswerID: 77012   Submitted: Sunday, Sep 19, 2004 at 13:25

Chris (W.A.) replied:

Hi Grant,

I took six red plastic cans across the Nullarbor with me to save on fuel costs (2000) Three were internal and three on the roof rack.

they ommitted a slight smell but every couple hundred ks we would pull over and empty the inside ones first.

None have split to date. Plastic ones are far easier to manage eg they weigh nothing when they're empty and you can squeeze them almost anyway compared to the large bulky steel jerries.


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