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Torklift Fortress GasLock - Product Reviewed

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Old 09-23-2014, 11:51 PM
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Torklift Fortress GasLock - Product Reviewed

I received the Fortress GasLock from Torklift International to secure my propane tanks and want to tell you about how it works.

What came in the GasLock package;
· U-Bracket
· Lock Handle
· Washer
· Pin Lock
· Decal
· Instructions

Click the image to open in full size.




The first thing I noticed on the instruction booklets front page was the text below the “Fortress Gas Lock” title was about putting a rubber mat in your truck bed and that having a plastic drop in liner would void the warranty. OK, so I think some old text may not have been updated yet for this new product, that is to be expected with new products. On page two and three of the instructions there were 6 steps listed that were about the GasLock so that was good. The parts all look to be very well made, chrome or powder coated and of substantial gauge to perform well as a locking mechanism for the tanks.


The photo (below) is where I will be mounting the new propane tank GasLock.
Click the image to open in full size.



What I noticed at this stage was the instruction photo shows the lock mounted facing toward what would be the opening in the photo above. The front of the tanks. The instructions also call for the lock to be on the opposite side of the regulator and in my situation that would mean the lock will be on the back side of the tanks and not facing outward. The type of regulator I have on my tanks requires it to be mounted on the front side so it may be manually switched from tank to tank.



Step 1 is to remove the wing nut handle that holds the tanks down – put it away somewhere as you’ll not be using this again.



Step 2 is to install the tank hold down bracket followed by the U-Bracket with the pin lock hole facing away from the regulator side as shown in the photo below. Follow that up with the regulator mount itself so that it lies on top of the U-Bracket.
Click the image to open in full size.
U-Bracket

Click the image to open in full size.
Regulator on top of U-Bracket






Step 3a is to install the provided washer on top of the regulator bracket.



Step 3b is to spin on the propane lock handle supplied (this replaces the old wing nut style handle) over the threaded hold down bolt. Tighten everything down and line up the hole in the lock handle with the hole in the U-Bracket and in my case that is to the rear of the tanks. It is in this step that I noticed the bolt that everything mounts to was a tad short, fortunately there were plenty of threads on the lower end of the bolt so that I could adjust it upwards giving me more space and threads on the top to work with.
The other thing I noticed is the lock handle would strike the regulator while being rotated (see photos below) to remedy that I applied light downward pressure on the regulator mount and was able to finish spinning on the lock handle until snug.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.




Step 4 is to install the Pin Lock through those two holes, one in the bracket and one in the handle and make sure you can engage the lock. As you can see in the photos below, the locking mechanism (pin) has a lot of slack in it in when installed. This allows for the back and forth and up and down movement of the lock through the holes on the U-Bracket and the lock handle. I kept re-reading the instructions because I was sure I missed something and had installed the lock or handle improperly. For a quick fix I cut a small section of automotive vacuum hose and this acted as a spacer/spring allowing the locking mechanism to fit tightly when engaged. One photo is a view from the back and really illustrates the gap and what the small section of vacuum hose does to eliminate the gap.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.





Step 5 is to test if you can successfully remove the now installed lock and lock handle.


Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.



Step 6 is to install your decal.


My observations;
All provided parts look to be of high quality and sturdy enough to provide some security from propane tank theft. Installing the kit will make it difficult enough that a thief would likely pass your set of tanks up for some much more quickly and easily removed.

The lock handle; I think if the handle were in a little more of a “V” shape like the original wingnut styled one I removed from the tank mount there would have been no chance that I would have had trouble with it striking the regulator. I may in fact do this myself with a vice the next time I remove it, it would not take much of a bend. I also don’t believe that V shape would impact the locking function.

I think the loose locking mechanism gives one a perception of the lock being less secure than it really is. I think the installation of a spring where I have the vacuum hose installed or perhaps a more “ratcheting” style of pin lock would better adjust for the varying distances thus removing the slack in the lock.


It was a quick and easy install that requires no special tools.

Jeff.
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:11 AM
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Is the theft of propane tanks a common problem?


Steve
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Old 09-24-2014, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by RV_Tech View Post
Is the theft of propane tanks a common problem?


Steve

That's what I was wondering. Is this a needed product or a solution searching for a problem to solve.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:34 AM
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This is an anti-theft device? I know around here tank theft is not at all common.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
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This is an anti-theft device? I know around here tank theft is not at all common.

The only time I have run into it is when the employees at the repo auction sites steal them.


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Old 09-24-2014, 02:02 PM
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never seen a tank stolen before. But I suppose it could be.
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:10 PM
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In some places anything not nailed down is basically fair game, construction sites have a real problem. All of the stuff is expensive and is readily saleable, too.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventyseven250 View Post
I know around here tank theft is not at all common.

Not around my home either.

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Originally Posted by senix View Post
never seen a tank stolen before. But I suppose it could be.

Anything can be stolen, the question is, is there any value in what you are stealing. Somehow, propane tanks do not seem too high on the list.

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In some places anything not nailed down is basically fair game, construction sites have a real problem. All of the stuff is expensive and is readily saleable, too.

Yes, yes, you are correct. My son is a commercial journeyman electrician and stuff is stolen off their work sites with alarming frequency. It is why he will leave none of his personal tools on a site, even in one of those "locked" job site boxes. BUT, the things stolen are high dollar items, like power tools, not a silly propane tank.


So I guess I still have to wonder, is this really something someone would spend money on?
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:12 PM
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Maybe, whoever is making them figures so. Good way to make a living possibly. The hell with "doing something you love" find out what people need and make some money at it.

The mountain West still has more of a tradition of "leave people's stuff alone" than some places, but.. There's scalawags everywhere. Scrap scroungers, usually heavy meth tweakers I suppose, will cut anything copper for example, to get money. Never mind they stole somebody's outside AC compressor by cutting refrigerant lines. Maybe they get 40 bucks or something? Rain gutters, metal railings, Bronze VFW markers on gravesites - it doesn't matter. Propane tanks? Sure why not.
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:30 PM
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Around here, a propane tank is worth about thirty bucks, if that lock is worth more than that, seems like it's cheaper to let someone steal the tank . . .
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:39 PM
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There's the aggravation factor, the money ain't always the big thing. I had a roomate in the .mil who allowed that he and a buddy used to steal car batteries from parked cars. Would just clip the cables and make off with 'em. Couldn't believe it.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Tedster9 View Post
There's the aggravation factor, the money ain't always the big thing. I had a roomate in the .mil who allowed that he and a buddy used to steal car batteries from parked cars. Would just clip the cables and make off with 'em. Couldn't believe it.


I'll give you the aggravation factor.


After doing a little research, I would say the locks would be of value IF you were somewhere where theft was an issue. The lock only works on a mount that has a threaded rod (1/2" or 3/8") to hold the bottles down, which seems to be more oriented to TT's with the bottles mounted on the tongue. I could create something on my fiver so that one could be used on the tanks in the side compartments, but I would then need two of them. A new 30 lb. bottle can set you back around $100 and the lock costs $70, so fair enough on the lock to bottle cost ratio.


I guess I am more trusting or naïve (take your pick) but I still do not see gas bottle theft as an issue. I have had gas bottles on or in trailers sitting in front of my house for years without an issue (along with at least 8 other neighbors) and I just can't imagine someone messing with your stuff in a campground.


As to the car batteries, really? Heh, around my home you have to pay to get rid of a used battery unless it is core trade-in on a new one.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:16 AM
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Again one of those things that likely varies with locale and situation. Stealing small stuff is easier. One of the residential campgrounds I service has a wave of thefts last winter where someone came through and stole all the batteries, but no tanks were taken. I think they are just too much work for taking to make sense. Just a lot to cart off perhaps.


In regards to the necessity of many things sold to campers, my thought has always been you could do away with half of the Camping World catalog and do no harm at all. There is just a wide gulf between what folks actually need and what they think they need. We have tubs of stuff we acquired over our years of RVing that we used to think we "needed". Now we can't recall why we bought them.


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Old 09-25-2014, 10:13 AM
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And NOW we have to decide do we want to haul them around or build another building out back to fill up with 'stuff'
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:29 PM
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Great recap, Jeff – thanks for the feedback on the propane lock!

Torklift decided to create a solution for our customers in response to several stories of ‘cut and run’ theft where the damage can cost up to $500 - replacing the stolen tanks, slashed regulators, and damage to tank covers. As a way to secure your tanks and deter thieves, we’re hoping to give customer’s peace of mind when it comes to camping.

Fortress Gaslock – propane tank security

Here are some links on recent propane tank thefts reported.
Link - Theft at vacation areas
Link - Travel trailer propane tank theft

Torklift Sheryl
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