How to Change an LPG Cylinder on a Forklift

Written by tom raley
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How to Change an LPG Cylinder on a Forklift
Many forklifts use LP gas. (forklift image by Michael Cornelius from

Forklifts can be powered by gasoline, diesel, battery or by LP gas. LP gas, or liquid propane, is a clean-burning fuel preferred for many applications. Some facilities will have large LP supplies on site, allowing machines to be refuelled. In other instances, the facility will have spare LP cylinders which can be changed out when the machine needs to be refuelled. Certain precautions must be taken when changing out an LP cylinder to avoid potentially serious injury.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Eye protection
  • Heavy gloves
  • Cart

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  1. 1

    Put on a pair of safety glasses or goggles as well as heavy gloves. Turn off the forklift's ignition of the forklift before changing out the tank.

  2. 2

    Close the cylinder valve, turning it until it is securely closed. Loosen the hose connection to the tank by hand, keeping in mind it will turn in the opposite direction of a normal connection. Never use a wrench or metal tool on these connections; they should be hand-tightened only.

  3. 3

    Remove the restraining straps from the cylinder so it can be lifted free of the bracket. Use a cart to transport the cylinder to the LP storage area. Exchange the empty cylinder for a full cylinder, being certain to place the empty cylinder in the designated area.

  4. 4

    Place the new cylinder into the bracket. Full cylinders can be heavy. If the weight is more than you can comfortable handle, get help. Always use proper lifting procedures when lifting a heavy item. Secure the restraining straps in place, then check to be certain the valve on the new cylinder is fully in the off position.

  5. 5

    Secure the hose connection to the new tank by hand, being certain to get a tight and secure seal. Slowly turn on the cylinder valve. As you do so, watch and listen for leaks. If a leak is detected, turn the valve off and check the hose connections. Once the leak is stopped, the valve can be fully turned on and the forklift returned to service.

Tips and warnings

  • While there should not be large amounts of LP gas escaping during the procedure, small amounts of gas escaping is common.
  • Always wear protective equipment when handling LP gas. This must include eye protection in the form of safety glasses or goggles. The glasses should also provide side protection. A full face shield is also acceptable. Because LP gas is extremely cold and can cause severe burns, you should also wear heavy gloves.
  • Never smoke while changing an LP cylinder, and be certain there are no open flames or other sources of ignition in the area. This gas is extremely flammable, and all precautions must be taken to prevent accidental ignition.

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