Retrofitting plastic vents in steel Jerry cans

So a month ago I wrote a post complaining about these new gasoline cans I got for free from a generous reader, and in the course of comments somebody suggested maybe fitting them with plastic vent valves.

It might interest you to know that I went ahead and did that on two of these, and plan to do it on the third as soon as it’s empty…


The first one I did, I got the hole a little too big and couldn’t get a good seal. The second one I did near-perfectly, and…couldn’t get a good seal.

Fortunately Uncle Joel drives an old beat-up vehicle and considers gasoline-resistant sealer essential equipment. So yeah, it’s clear these plugs weren’t intended for use on metal gas cans but they do work if you hit’em with sealer after. And it sure does make emptying them into the Jeep a quicker and less unpleasant experience.

Just saying. 😉

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to Retrofitting plastic vents in steel Jerry cans

  1. Ben says:

    Since the absence of vents on gas cans is apparently the result of some government proclamation, this hillbilly modification must be illegal! …or worse, somehow fattening.

  2. Joel says:

    Venting gas vapors in an effort to smoothly pour gasoline into a vehicle violates some EPA rule somewhere, I’m sure. Whereas glugging it all over your boots and pants is just fine. If you figure it out, by all means bottle it.

  3. Kentucky says:

    As I understand the physics involved here, those little vents allow air INTO the cans to make for a smooth pour from the spout without all the glug-glugging and back-splatter as air tries to get in thru the spout as the gasoline pours out. Of course the fumes from the pouring gasoline escape from the receiving container along with the air being displaced by the gasoline, and this is what upsets the feddies. I think the new style spout setups are intended to direct the escaping air/fumes mixture back into the pouring can in a volumetric tradeoff, thus capturing the nasty fumes without an atmospheric vent.

    Or something like that. YMMV I’m no expert. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Etc.

  4. Ray in Kentucky says:

    Try a tire valve stem. Drill hole, install (pull in after fishing it to inside of hole with wire), remove actual spring loaded valve, then control venting by removing valve stem cap. Not nearly as hard as I just made it sound. And actually designed to be air tight in metal. But it works on plastic cans too! Yay scofflaws!

  5. doubletrouble says:

    Yep, I was going to add the same piece of advice that Ray just did. Works perfectly, & is somewhat forgiving on the drilled hole size, within reason.

  6. Zelda says:

    SealsAll, bright yellow tube with red letters, has been my goto always carry and have on hand glue/sealer for decades. It will set up and hold even if applied to actively leaking/flowing gas. I’ve not had it fail or come off even years after being applied. Thanks Ray for the advice.

  7. Joel says:

    Seal-All is the very stuff I carry.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The easy way to transfer fuel is with a super jiggler self priming siphon hose pump, empties a 5 gal can in jest a few minutes (google it)

  9. Buck says:

    That dealer around the vent id bond to trigger someone with trypophobia.

  10. Buck says:

    *sealer. I hate autocorrect.

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