Propane forklifts utilize the liquid connection of an industrial LP Gas cylinder for operation meaning the service valve ultimately communicates with the liquid space of the container. Pictured above are the integral parts of the forklift propane service valve and connections. Forklift valve and connection fittings are interchangeable so that repairs can be made quickly to any portion of the valve or connection assembly if related problems or leaks arise. These repairs are to be performed by the licensed propane company delivering or filling the forklift bottles.
After properly mounting the forklift cylinder, the hose end connection needs to be securely attached to the cylinder valve. This is done by screwing the hose-end connection onto the forklift cylinder service valve. Ensure the valve is closed before making the connection by turning the valve hand wheel clockwise because this is a liquid connection. It's also a good idea to use gloves when securing the connection because it not only allows for a better grip while tightening but also provides protection in case any liquid propane escapes during the connection process. Escaping propane liquid can burn (freeze) unprotected skin.
Cylinder valves and hose-end connections on forklifts are sometimes frustrating for forklift operators. After mounting the bottle on the lift truck, making all valve and hose connections and then opening the LP Gas service valve, propane starts to leak at the point of connection. Usually, tightening the hose end coupling will stop the leak but there are times when this doesn't work and the operator thinks the whole valve is faulty when in fact, the valve is just fine. The likely problem when this occurs is the absence of an O-ring on the interior of the acme fitting, as pictured left. Notice the first picture has the black gasket properly fitted in place and the second picture shows the connection without the o-ring gasket. This "leaking valve" problem is easily remedied by placing a new gasket in the fitting. Propane companies that deliver forklift cylinders in exchange programs will supply users with extra gaskets if this problem arises. However, if you don't have any spare gaskets on hand, take one from an empty cylinder and place it in the valve connection of the cylinder on the lift truck. Be sure to inform the delivering propane company of the problem so they can insert a gasket into the cylinder valve when they return to their plant.