The tank has been fitted to the new chassis and is ready for the skirting department.
The skirting department uses specifications by the customer for installation. Skirting can be an open or closed compartment and made of aluminum, steel, stainless, or polished steel. It also includes light brackets and a bumper required by the D.O.T. (Department of Transportation). The skirting department also drills and cuts all openings for wire and pipe routing (and any other opening which might be required).
Listed below you’ll find brief descriptions of the three propane truck deck styles offered by BT&T. All of them (with the exception of the closed compartment deck) are available in steel, stainless steel or aluminum. The closed compartment deck is available only in steel or stainless steel, because of the necessity of welding it to the vessel.
Rear-Closed Compartment Deck
Twenty-five percent of our decks are enclosed cabinets with spring-loaded overhead doors. These are typically located either on the side or back of the propane truck. The majority of our enclosed units are sold in the northern US. Three sixteen-inch aluminum doors are used on all closed compartment decks, because they’re light weight. One quarter-inch material is used in the deck’s sub frame. This deck is continuously welded to the vessel inside and out and to the deck’s sub frame. This unit can be removed from the chassis with all of the plumbing, wiring and equipment intact. We have been building this deck for about 30 years and have never had a failure, except for a broken turnbuckle. Since then we have switched to a heaver stainless steel turnbuckle and have had no problems. The entire door is spring-loaded and will open or close with little effort. When open, the door is high enough to shield the driver in inclement weather. All of our closed decks have drain openings for washing and cleaning.
Decks with Integrated Fenders
This style of deck accounts for 70 percent of our sales. Experience over the years has taught us that the high fenders suffer very little damage in the field, except during a rollover (and if that happens the fender is the least of your problems). The high fender allows much easier access to the tires for observation and installation of snow chains. We have also learned that the high, integrated fenders do a much better job of keeping road debris off the deck and equipment. This deck can be removed from the chassis with all of the equipment in tack. The deck and fenders are supported by bolts to the truck frame. This deck, like all of our decks, allows all of the deck plumbing to move with the chassis frame. The exception is the meter and hose reel which have flex hoses. This relieves the meter and reel of any stress from frame movement.
Decks with Separate Fenders
This deck style accounts for about 5 percent of our sales. It is built similarly to the integrated deck, except for the curve fenders that are usually bolted to the vessel’s frame rails. Most of these buyers want the separated fenders for easy replacement in case of fender damage. As mentioned above, we find more damage with this type of fender than with the integrated ones. We’ve also found that it’s hard to buy a curve fender with the exact same radius even when buying from the same manufacture. It is not our intent to recommend a style of deck to our customers, but only to make them aware of what we have experienced.
Completing Skirting Installation
After completion the truck is moved to the plumbing and wiring department, which also includes pre-electronic wiring.