Fuel Trailers

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PatrickW

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Cresson, TX
My hangar is about 30 miles from the nearest source of non-oxy non-ethanol gas. Currently when I get fuel for the airplane I fill several 5 gallon plastic jugs and carry those in the back of our Jeep. That's worked ok, but it's a pain and it stinks up the Jeep (and what I'm calling "our Jeep" is really my wife's Grand Cherokee...).

So I'm thinking about building a Fuel Trailer that I can tow maybe 100 gallons or so at a time.

Building a permanent fuel storage tank at my hangar is not an option where I'm at due to local codes.

I'm curious what some of you guys are doing if you have built (or bought) a Fuel Trailer. What works well in the real world? And what doesn't. Lessons learned? Have you had any problems with your Fuel Trailer attracting attention from nosy neighbors or small town police...?

Maybe other options that I haven't thought about?

Thanks,

- Pat
 

Riggerrob

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May I suggest hanging a cargo carrier outside the rear of your wife's Grand Cherokee?

Also consider the shelf-life of gasoline.
 

rv7charlie

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I use plastic jugs too, but I now use a cargo carrier that plugs into the trailer hitch. Since my receiver is the smaller 1" version I have to use an adapter for the carrier. Plywood in the carrier extending forward toward the bumper lets me carry about 45 gallons in the carrier.

I see Riggerrob beat me to posting; I agree about considering shelf life. My experience with E-free is that it seems to have a much shorter shelf life than E-gas. Note that I use premium, whether its E-free or E-laced. E-gas runs fine in a Lyc as long as the fuel pump is a recent build and fuel systems that are all-aluminum, with teflon flex lines. My plane is always hangared, and I've never had any issue with water accumulation in the tanks.

YMMV, of course.

I have an aluminum 100 gal tank I bought to set up a fuel trailer, but my flying has been so limited over the last couple of years that I haven't been able to justify building/storing a fuel trailer. (Hoping that can change in the future, of course...) The tank I bought seems to be a transport truck take-off, that had been used for farm chemicals after its truck career. Worth a look if you need to carry more than the jugs allow, and you have any sort of truck recycling operation near you.
 

blane.c

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capital district NY


6lbs per gallon 30 gallons 180lbs = you can move it yourself if you have to easier than a 50 gallon (300lbs)


It is up to you if you want to transfer gas with electricity.
 

BJC

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97FL, Florida, USA
Several neighbors trailer auto fuel for their airplanes, in trailer mounted tanks commercially made by another former neighbor. No hassles. Depending on your burn rate, a 150 gallon tank might be a better size. I’ve not heard anyone wish for a smaller tank, but have heard the desire for 150+ tanks.

Ensure that it has the proper, required, labels.


BJC
 

Victor Bravo

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My advice is to use a small short enclosed trailer that can carry one or two of those blue barrels. Whether it is a "box" trailer, or a "covered wagon" fabric cover on an open trailer doesn't matter. What you want is for people to assume that you are transporting something other than gasoline.

Put big stickers on the trailer saying "Pat's Home Made Bagels... You Can't Eat a HOLE One!" or "Bubba's Cow Poop Removal Service - We Can Smell Trouble a Mile Away!"
 

Riggerrob

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I’m risk averse, so I don’t like transporting gasoline in plastic containers in a trailer where they can move. ...

YMMV.


BJC
"

Just saw out a few wooden braces to prevent plastic barrels from wandering around in your trailer. Look at the plywood with circular holes used to stabilize drums in trucks, Beavers, Otters, Twin Otters, etc.
 

Vigilant1

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The cargo platform in the hitch receiver is simple, avoids the hassle of a trailer (esp backing up in tight quarters), eliminates the fumes/fire danger inside, and is cheap. But, you can't easily open the back hatch. I'd probably go with five gallon metal jerry cans and ratchet straps. A light colored canvas cover keeps their temps in check if exposed to the sun. I don't know the regs on placards and labels, but letting folks know what it is when on the road makes sense.

I'd only favor a trailer if:
I wanted to tote more than about 30 gallons
and/or:
I wanted to drop off fuel to store in my hangar (allowed?)
For such a trailer, the $399 Harbor Freight 40"'x4' is an option. 1090 lb. Capacity 40-1/2 in x 48 in Utility Trailer
Something welded up by a local shop would be nicer, though, and less likely to be made by slave labor.
 
Last edited:

Bigshu

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My hangar is about 30 miles from the nearest source of non-oxy non-ethanol gas. Currently when I get fuel for the airplane I fill several 5 gallon plastic jugs and carry those in the back of our Jeep. That's worked ok, but it's a pain and it stinks up the Jeep (and what I'm calling "our Jeep" is really my wife's Grand Cherokee...).

So I'm thinking about building a Fuel Trailer that I can tow maybe 100 gallons or so at a time.

Building a permanent fuel storage tank at my hangar is not an option where I'm at due to local codes.

I'm curious what some of you guys are doing if you have built (or bought) a Fuel Trailer. What works well in the real world? And what doesn't. Lessons learned? Have you had any problems with your Fuel Trailer attracting attention from nosy neighbors or small town police...?

Maybe other options that I haven't thought about?

Thanks,

- Pat
Check with your airport folks about a skid mounted portable fuel tank/pump setup. Lots of construction businesses use them for fueling at jobsites, but you can often get them for non business use for just the price of the fuel. You have to use the company supplying the tank for the fuel, no shopping for cheaper stuff. We used them every summer, to get away from maintaining our own tank/pump at the terminal. Usually only filled it once or twice in a nine month grass mowing season, and never had trouble with shelf life issues. We'd go through 4 to 6 hundred gallons in 9 months. You don't have to buy that much. It was a 300 gallon tank, with integrated meter/pump.
Alternatively, there are tons of UL rated portable fuel tanks that ride nicely in a pickup bed, or even better in a small trailer (like the smallest HF ones). Make sure you have access to power, unless you want to use a crank to dispense, which is cheaper and pretty fool proof. We bought at least one 150 gallon tank from McMaster, or Grainger, can't recall which. Much better than plastic containers, Don't forget to brush up on HAZMAT rules for transporting more than 55gal at a time. You may need a non-haz manifest in the vehicle.
 

Bigshu

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Does Stabil have any reliability effects?
We never had trouble using it in small engines. Never tried it in bulk storage. I'm not sure shelf life is a problem as long as your storage is fairly even temperature (in ground is best, but a simple tin roof over a tank makes a big difference in temperature swings. Your RVP makes a difference in how quickly the light end components vapor off. Keeping the temperature swings low will help keep gasohol from phase change issues. Keep it fairly weather proof to avoid water contamination and as long as you fly regularly (a couple times a month during the good weather season) you shouldn't have issues with stability. We have Mom and Pop gas stations that get only get fuel twice a year, once in the summer for low RVP, once in the winter for high RVP. They only get in trouble when business gets slow enough they don't turn their tank in time.
 

Bigshu

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My advice is to use a small short enclosed trailer that can carry one or two of those blue barrels. Whether it is a "box" trailer, or a "covered wagon" fabric cover on an open trailer doesn't matter. What you want is for people to assume that you are transporting something other than gasoline.

Put big stickers on the trailer saying "Pat's Home Made Bagels... You Can't Eat a HOLE One!" or "Bubba's Cow Poop Removal Service - We Can Smell Trouble a Mile Away!"
That's clever, but really, you don't want to get caught doing that. The rules for transporting fuel in proper containers aren't all that bad. Proper placarding and manifesting protects the responders who show up when somebody crashes into your truck. I'd hate to be the fireman responding to a scene where I expect bagel dough, and end up dealing with a flammable liquid spreading all over the place.
 

Dillpickle

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Piny Woods, Tx
Those aluminum side tanks from big rigs work well and have mounting brackets already in place. They can be cheap. As I am...but!! 120 to 150 gallons each, and there are federal rules about how MUCH fuel can be transported. Much over 120 gallons and you can run afoul of the law.id put one of those tanks or one of the tractor supply tool bed tanks in a trailer and cover it with a bed cap
 

Bigshu

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Those aluminum side tanks from big rigs work well and have mounting brackets already in place. They can be cheap. As I am...but!! 120 to 150 gallons each, and there are federal rules about how MUCH fuel can be transported. Much over 120 gallons and you can run afoul of the law.id put one of those tanks or one of the tractor supply tool bed tanks in a trailer and cover it with a bed cap
The limits for how much you can transport are really pretty low. Most often anything over 55gal requires placards and a non-haz manifest. You can bone up on the rules for free online. The fines are stiff, so it's not worth trying to beat the system.
 

Bigshu

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May I suggest hanging a cargo carrier outside the rear of your wife's Grand Cherokee?

Also consider the shelf-life of gasoline.
That's an interesting idea, but I wonder what the weight capacity of the carrier is? Fuel containers get heavy fast! Plus, not sure it's legal since the load would never really be secured.
 

TFF

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Memphis, TN
If you live in a rural area. Ask farmers if they have some old aluminum small spray tanks. My friend had his dad weld up a cradle for an 80 gallon one and had bolt holes he added to a 4x8 utility trailer floor to bolt it down. It was used for out of town or off airport ops with a helicopter.
 
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