Plastic vrs Steel Jerry Cans for Fuel

Submitted: Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:07
ThreadID: 20099 Views:14396 Replies:11 FollowUps:4
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Anyone out there have any comments on plastic vrs steel (20l) jerry cans for carrying fuel on a roof rack over rough roads. Which is more durable? Any smart ideas about protecting them from rubbing/damage and leaking?
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:27

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:27

The steel cans that are on the market to-day are cheap and nasty and will rust, if not already rusted out when you buy them.

The plastic can't rust and if they have the Australian Standards marked on them, they are safe to use.

Carring full jerry cans on the roof rack is not good.

1. Lifting the full can onto the roof rack, 20kg+
2. The extra weight on the roof rack, top heavy vehicle.

The safest place to carry full jerry cans is in the vehicle. Placed as low as possible and attached to the carago barrier.

To stop the rubbing, rubber would be good, any thing except wool, because of the static electricity.

To stop them leaking, make sure the lid is on tight and the rubber seal is not perished. If a jerry can is leaking don't use it. If it was on the roof rack and leaking the vehicle would be covered in fuel. You would be driving a time bomb.

When the jerry cans are empty, then they could be carried on the roof rack with the top or breather cap loose so that they will not build up pressure with the heat.

AnswerID: 96603

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:33

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:33
"The steel cans that are on the market today are cheap and nasty and will rust"

LOL, what a load of rubbish! I have used a set of Pro-quip steel jerries for 5 years + and there is not a sign of rust on them. They are treated inside to prevent this. They are also rated and have the Australian Standards marked on them.

They don't expand, rubbing or wearing through is not an issue - they are great.

Why do some people on this forum post crap like above. Sure, if you were to buy a cheap steel jerry from Ray's Outdoors - that is marked "not suitable for Fuel" then you might have an issue, but the pro-quip are good cans.

I would highly recommend the steel - and if you are putting them in a jerry holder they are a much better option as an expanded plastic one might be difficult, if not impossible to remove from a holder.
FollowupID: 355312

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:32

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:32

Use the Rheem plastic ones, for ULP, for motorbikes all the time. Take a real hiding. Don't think the steel would handle the same punishment, unless they were tied down, or in a mount of some sort. Could use truck tube or grader tube cut to length, to protect the sides.

The plastic ones get in some odd shapes, once it gets hot.

As for carting them on roof rack, wouldn't like to try it.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 96606

Reply By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:33

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:33
Hey Bazza :)

How many jerries are you planning on carrying? The more weight up there, the higher your roll centre is going to be. Do you have any room lower down? I know that carrying fuel inside the cabin is a pretty bad no-no, but most people have to if they don't have a long-range tank underneath. If you must carry it inside, then cover it up and wrap it in a tarp to keep it out of direct sunlight.

Out of the two choices, I tend to use plastic (Rheem or equivalent name-brands). They are lighter (but not by much), but I don't see any obvious advantages over steel (some might disagree and have a reason). There is one major disadvantage in the plastic ones, in that they expand and balloon out with the pressure of the fuel vapor trapped inside. A secret to combat most of this problem is to fill them up a litre or two shy of the 20, squeeze the jerry between your knees to bring the fuel to the top and then cap it off. This tends to then create a partial vacuum inside alleviating most of the balooning effect.

Having said all this, I'd probably go for good (new) steel ones next time around.... and a good filler nozzle to snap on. There are also one-way valves that you can get to pressurise the jerry from your on-board compressor to force fuel out a supplied hose, so you can fill up the tank while on the ground - and in record time.

AnswerID: 96607

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:56

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:56
I carry a jerry or 2 inside for the long trips. Prefer the plastic ones for inside. Never had a leak problem even when stored on their side. Any leaking fuel inside would be detected straight away by all but the most naseally challanged. Catostrophic failure due to rubbing could be a problem as it would take alot of airing to get the smell of diesal out of your spanking new 100 series td sahara
FollowupID: 355299

Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:03

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:03
You are dead right Davoe - leaky diesel is super-stinky... and like a failed fridge-full of prawns and fish - you can never get rid of the pong if it leaks.

I usually store mine on their side too, down low and one behind each front seat on the floor.... which is safer than it coming from behind during a prang and sconning you in the back of the head!
FollowupID: 355301

Reply By: flappa - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:58

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:58
Another vote for the Black Plastic Rheem ones.

Couple of ideas/tips.

Dont fill them to the top (actually fit about 25l from memory). Put in 20l , and give them a squeeze , so some air is taken out. Wont expand as much.

If you do use them on the roof racks (like I need to) , use a few more smaller ones (ie 10l ) rather then the bigger heavier 20l ones.

That way you top up at every opportunity , and you dont have a half empty jerry sloshing around on the roof
AnswerID: 96611

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:59

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:59
Steel.... Get that adhesive foam rubber and stick that on the underside.. if that rubs away its no prob compared to the jerry failing
AnswerID: 96612

Reply By: trolute - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 13:55

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 13:55
black plastic rheen containers. Have had both steel and these plactic ones, and have peirced steel ones with rocks hitting them (in the trailer) but never with plastic. Also, plastic have oring screw lids, which I beleive seal better.

AnswerID: 96649

Reply By: Member - David 0- Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 14:24

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 14:24
I will not us steel anymore as in my experience they don't so much wear through as puncture due to being sucked in when the air temp cools. I had two do this in the Simpson and had to repair them. Dave at Mt Dare says he sees it all the time. I have no experience with any fancy steel jerrycans, just the ones you can buy at any 4wd centre or similar. I only use plastic now.
AnswerID: 96653

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 14:26

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 14:26
Can't, and won't, comment on the plastic, because I don't know.

What I do know, is I have just ( yesterday ), replaced the rubber seal in 2 x 20 l steel cans, that are over 20 years old.

At the same time, i also bout 2 10 l steel cans for the Honda, & a fancy filler ( flexible ) that clips onto the cans.

On the station I used to work on, we used to simply lay the buggers down on their side, and they would slide all over the rear tray of the tojo, to no ill effect.

I agree with some here........... there is some rubbish being sold. Try to ensure the are STAMPED with the correct AS number.

AnswerID: 96654

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:36

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:36
I have carried two 20ltr plastic Aus approved Jerry cans on the roof rack without any trouble at all.
My method is thus, Keep them mt until you know that you may need them then fill place on roof rack & tie down, once I have covered enough distance to use one container I then decant it into the tank then likewise with the second one.
This keeps the load off the roof as much as possible.
However my vehicle is an oiler, so no drama except for the pong if I spill a bit when decanting.
When I have the van on then there are two holders on the rear of the van.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

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AnswerID: 96666

Follow Up By: Groove - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 19:38

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 19:38
Have done the same for many many thousands of Kms

FollowupID: 355392

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:40

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:40
I've used both types ; I've got 5 quality steel and 4 plastic Rheem - The Rheem are the best in my opinion for many reasons.

Like Wayne says, theres some very poor quality steel ones out there - lids don't seal, seams are sharp, paint peels off the inside.

AnswerID: 96668

Reply By: Member - Brian F H (QLD) - Monday, Feb 07, 2005 at 08:48

Monday, Feb 07, 2005 at 08:48
Rheem black plastic.The way to go.We sell both at our Buffalo Bolt Co in Emerald,Qld.Would sell 10 Rheem plastic to 1 steel..Never have we had a Rheem plastic jerrycan back.Lost count of cracked steel ones coming back.They all crack in hot our weather in a "V" area near top of indented strength ribs.It is the constant expansion and contraction causes the metal fatigue to set in..I have 10 metal ones in my dump area on our mini farm.All cracked in same place.The 2 Rheem ones we bought 12 years ago and use all the time,are as new.Good news.The new Rheem black plastic ones have been "Upgraded" with TWO filler caps to allow fast,non-burping pouring into fuel tank..Magic.
AnswerID: 97045

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