Repairing the jerry can repairs…

So I made a water-and-gasoline run yesterday, to the little town nearest the Gulch, and on the way back I spilled a respectable portion of my weekly gas ration. The reason was not hard to see…


(Parenthetic aside: People have suggested for years that I start tagging posts, and it’s situations like this that make me wish I had done so years ago. These Jerry cans have quite a history by now, but I’m too lazy to go back through the archives and dig up the links.) When we began the Jerry can saga, Big Brother had sent me three of them to replace my long-suffering and terminally worn-out plastic jugs. What followed was totally not his fault; I’d put these cans on my wish list, imagining they’d be a big improvement over plastic.

The main lesson to be drawn from what came next is that you can’t spend $25 on a Jerry can and then expect to bang it around like you’re a Wehrmacht mechanic. These cans are better than nothing, don’t get me wrong, but I’m babying them along.

The first thing that happened was the unhappy knowledge that they’re not vented at all, thank you government regulation, which meant not only that it took a subjective month to empty a (heavy!) can into the Jeep, but also that if you left them even marginally in the sun you’d get expansion and contraction nearly as bad as a plastic jug suffers – except a plastic jug can survive it. So I built a cover for my garbage-and-gas-can corral, and became religious about never leaving them in the sun.

The other thing I did, based on suggestions in comments, was drill a scary hole in all the cans and retrofit a plastic vent. These vents are totally not designed for this application, so each had to be gooped into submission with Seal-All.

So yeah – yesterday the first of those seals failed me in transit. A post-mortem revealed that nothing I had done to the can had gone wrong: It was another quality issue. The sealant bonded to the paint just fine, but it turned out the paint isn’t bonded to the metal in any meaningful way. So the paint – and the sealant – lifted off the metal, and gasoline ran freely down the side of the can all the way home.

Should have sandpapered the paint off first. Got it. This one fixed, I’ll wait patiently for the other two to fail in turn.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to Repairing the jerry can repairs…

  1. doubletrouble says:

    One of the best fixes I’ve used for the vent problem is to get a valve stem for tubeless tires from a garage. Drill a scary hole the size of the relief on the grommet end, remove the valve stem, & install. Crack the cap for venting, tighten for capturing the contents. Cheap too.
    Might want to fill the can with water when drilling if the can has been used.

  2. czechsix says:

    Interesting that they’re not vented. I wonder if they’re copies? All the Jerry/NATO cans I have, from the German, Swiss, Spanish Armies are vented. Easy pouring at a limited rate so you don’t load up the filler neck.

  3. Andrew says:

    Czechsix, stupid California and other dumb government regulators passed stupid regulations that eliminated the vent because that allowed too much gas to, well, vent into the atmosphere.

    Apparently it is much safer for the environment to spill about 1/4 of a tank on you, your car, and the ground than allow a tiny amount of vapor to escape.

    Stupid world.

  4. SteveD says:

    These are the real deal, to be used only for non potable water (wink, wink). The gasoline, … er, I mean water pours freely as there is an internal vent that works with the spout (sold separately).
    I have several that have been holding fuel, uh, … I mean water now for years and never leak. Not cheap though they are about half price of another Jerry type vented can that has been approved in the US for fuel use.

  5. B says:

    Only good for water, mind you, even when you paint ’em red and stencil something else on the side.

    I’ll buy you one if you want to send me an address. You ahve my Email…It is the schmoo —- at yahoo one.

  6. paulb says:

    no law says you can’t be pro active and fix the others before they fail. Then it will not occur when you least need it.

  7. John says:

    Mama Nature does the laws thing.
    We often call that “Physics”

    The noise is just jackasses that believe they can intimidate you.

To the stake with the heretic!