Bill's 38s

Talk about vintage tanks and valves. Hydro and VIP testing, cleaning, painting, coating, Valve parts and repair.

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SurfLung
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Bill's 38s

Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:18 am

Bill's 38s...
A Perfectly Matched Set
Image
- I may have already posted about these tanks but, I've finally been finishing them up as a really nice Twin 38s project (I'll post a picture tomorrow). Last night I got everything assembled in hopes of using these tanks at Fortune Pond this weekend, BUT... I have a small leak on one of the bushings. Dang it! I've assembled quite a few bushing valves using AntiqueDiver Bill's "Six Wraps" method and never before had a leak.
- In spite of the leak, they held steady at 900 psi all night. All of the other potential leak points look like they sealed fine. So, I may just take these tanks to Fortune and dive them a time or two before taking them all apart again to solve the leak.
- I call these "Bill's" 38s because they were a gift from my friend Bill Tucker. Remember last year when he was clearing out his Dive Business warehouse and offered a bunch of tanks to Forum members? Well, I already had a set of surplus 38s I was starting a twin 38 project with and passed on Bill's offer. But a few months later, one of my surplus 38s failed the hydrotest and I was left with a single. So I called Bill to see if he still had any 38s. He said he had a "matched" set he was originally planning to fix up for himself. And, he flat out GAVE them to me... Thank you Bill.
- I should explain that these little round bottom, 1800 psi 38s are not all the same... The necks can be different in length and diameter. The curvature at the shoulders and bottoms can be different. Some are military surplus. These were formerly fire department tanks.
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The 1/2" Thread Manifold
- I originally bought a like new Voit manifold along with a USD "parts" manifold from Rob (The Scuba Museum) for a bargain price. Thank you Rob. But the Voit manifold ended up on that Twin 48s project I did last year, since I no longer had two 38s to put it on. So, the manifold for Bill's 38s had to be cobbled together from the "parts" manifold and other parts I have from several 3/4 thread manifolds... Thank heaven USD manifolds are so similar. BY the time I was finished with clean up and re-building, this manifold looks almost as new as the Voit.

The Bands
- Awhile back, I bought 6 sets of USD twin tank bands on Ebay for a dirt cheap price. I thought the silver ones were chrome with rust showing through. Turns out they are stainless steel. My buddy Rich took them home and buffed them to a mirror finish. Thank you Rich.

The Harness
- I actually don't know where I got the harness... It's not a new repro from Allan. It's the black nylon webbing like what came on my yellow USD Twin 38s. Anyway, I measured it against the yellow tanks harness and it is exactly the same size. So, I'm using it on these tanks!
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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antique diver
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Re: Bill's 38s

Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:14 am

Eben, I'm sure glad you could use those! :D

I really was saving them for myself, but how many doubles does a guy really need when he is moving and trying to downsize the collection? I think I still have seven set of doubles of various sizes, and that's not counting a couple of cave diving sets that are not manifolded (Is that a word?) so they come apart easily for sidemounts.

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SurfLung
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Re: Bill's 38s

Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:58 am

Tore Apart and Re-Sealed!
- I came home from work last night and just tore into this project one more time to get the leak taken care of once and for all. It was only the one side but I still had to remove the bands and separate the tanks at the manifold. I re-cleaned the threads and re-installed the bushing with some extra muscle to tighten it against the Teflon wraps. Re-installed the valve in the bushing and re-assembled the rest.
Image
- Tested with soapy water and no more leaks. Filled them up to 2000 psi and will dive them at Fortune Pond this weekend!

P.S. Rich buffed the bands to mirror shine with the intention that they would be on WHITE tanks with a blue Voit tank decal. I'm not sure I like the shiney bands on the dull galvalite finish. What do you forum members think?
SurfLung
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Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
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Re: Bill's 38s

Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:04 pm

I'll scope them out on Friday.. :wink:

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antique diver
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Re: Bill's 38s

Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:08 pm

Bill wishes he could be there to give them a test dive!

BTW, how long a drive is it to Fortune Pond from Weatherford, Texas?

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SurfLung
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Re: Bill's 38s

Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:36 am

antique diver wrote:Bill wishes he could be there to give them a test dive!

BTW, how long a drive is it to Fortune Pond from Weatherford, Texas?


It's about 19 hours so you'd better get started sometime before noon today and drive all night! I did the Google Maps directions. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Weatherford,+TX/Crystal+Falls,+MI/@39.3556463,-97.2403212,6z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x864e06a2646e27a9:0xec24cd04de0f0503!2m2!1d-97.7972544!2d32.7592955!1m5!1m1!1s0x4d53da0cea216ea5:0x84e9cdb5052ee09!2m2!1d-88.3340242!2d46.0980066?hl=en :)
SurfLung
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Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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georgeaustin
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Re: Bill's 38s

Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:15 am

Shinky bands on the dull galvanized tanks look keen as hell. I wouldn't paint them.

kworkman
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Re: Bill's 38s

Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:38 pm

Do you need the bushings on these or can they be removed and accept the standard valve size?

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SurfLung
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Re: Bill's 38s

Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:30 am

- These require the bushings as the threads are not standard Scuba 3/4 threads. High pressure bushing/reducers are available from McMaster-Carr. These reduce to the vintage standard Scuba 1/2" tapered thread that fits the twin tank valve-manifold.

"Shiney bands on the dull galvanized tanks look keen as hell. I wouldn't paint them." - George

Thanks George... I'm leaning that way myself.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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Re: Bill's 38s

Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:21 am

Re-Done... Again.
Even-ing Up the Bushing and Valve Depths
- I rushed the final assembly on these tanks to finish in time for our Fortune Pond trip. Then, while looking them over at Fortune Pond, the difference in length of each side of the valve assembly got to bothering me. On one side, both the bushing and the valve would not screw in as far as the other side... Nicely matched tanks, polished bands,... I couldn't leave that cockeyed valve assembly the way it was.
- I got some lapping compound from the shop and used that to work the bushing deeper and deeper into the neck of the tank. I kept measuring until it was in as far as the bushing on the other tank. Then, I did the same thing with the valve... Working it into the bushing until it was as deep as the other tank. I then cleaned all the threads with Dawn detergent and then Simple Green. Finally, I gave them each 6 wraps of Teflon tape and tightened them into the tank as far as they would go... Hooray! Both tank's valve assembly were the same depth.
- After re-assembling everything for at least the 3rd time, I filled the tanks to 2000 psi and took them down to the lake to check for leaks. Bushings, valves, manifold connectors, j-valve, end valve, burst disks... There are a BUNCH of places that could leak. But there were ZERO LEAKs!
Image
Image
Image
- As you can see I scuffed the heck out of my Galvalite paint job... But that can be easily touched up. The bushing on the left is a little darker colored... That's the one I had to lap into a deeper set with the tank. I can re-paint that, too. :)
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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antique diver
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Re: Bill's 38s

Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:54 am

That was an innovative way to adjust those threads! I would not have thought of that, and would have used a pipe die to adjust the bushing threads.
It's always good to learn something new... Thanks, Eben.
BT

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simonbeans
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Re: Bill's 38s

Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:16 pm

Bushings, valves, manifold connectors, j-valve, end valve, burst disks... There are a BUNCH of places that could leak. But there were ZERO LEAKs!

That is why I stay away from 1/2" tapered manifolds for tanks and never take apart a 3/4" O-ring manifold unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.
Sportways and I think later Scubapro manifolds are O-ring joints. They seal almost 100% of the time.
Check out my website: www.vintagescubastuff.com

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SurfLung
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Re: Bill's 38s

Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:55 am

- Update: I dove these tanks probably 5 times now. Most recently with my wife Jill at Fortune Pond. With my 3mm BARE wetsuit, I wore these tanks with 8 lbs on my weightbelt plus a 2 lb clip weight. At 30 feet deep, I was a little heavy so I dropped the clip weight in a spot where I could pick it up on the way back. And then the total neutrality and comfort settled in. Wow these Twin 38s ride nice. Regulator is positioned right up against my back just below shoulderline. Round bottoms ride in the small of my back.
- We dove about 20 minutes and Jill was getting low on air (she wore a single 38). After dropping her off, I went back in and rode the scooter around for another half hour. Remember these things start at 2000 psi with a "+" fill. When I came out, I still had 600 psi. That's over 1/4 of what I started with. There always seems to be plenty of air in my Twin 38s. :)
- Ron (SheriffDiver) shot a video of me driving the UV-26 scooter and I was wearing these Twin 38s. You can tell that these are the tanks by the shiny stainless bands that Rich polished up for me....
phpBB [video]

- Video by SheriffDiver Ron... Fortune Pond, 2017
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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