Disposable Propane tank KNOB freezing up issue

I purchased two oxy/propane disposable tank set-ups from Rio Grande many years ago. They are perfect for the needs of the class I teach. They are used once a week for classes. Has anyone else had this issue where the propane knob suddenly would not budge! The first one froze 3 weeks ago the 2nd followed up freezing this week. I bought the new knob head from Rio to fix the first one. All went well. Is my only recourse to buy another new propane knob head for $100.00+ from Rio?

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I’ve never had that problem or never heard of that problem? My guess is that someone either turned it off way, way too hard. You said that it’s frozen. Do you mean that it’s frozen as in freezing cold or so tight the knob won’t turn.

I ask that because when propane leaks out fast it is freezing cold.

The other thing to check is that it’s being turned on and off in the correct direction.


Are they actually freezing or just hard to turn? It’s possible, depending on how you use your torch, for the regulator to actually freeze. This would be true of the tall skinny tanks more so than the fatter shorter “camp stove” style tanks. My disposable propane non-adjustable regulator knob has always been difficult to turn and does actually seem to get stuck sometimes, I just turn harder and it lets go. Others may have different ideas. Good luck…Rob

Thanks for your reply. So it turns out that the new one “froze” not the 2nd of the 2 older ones. After a few days and chatting with Rio tech it miraculously opened. So I tried to open the old one that still will not budge. I even tried their suggestion to take a hot rag and try to twist the knob open but no luck…

This question has had me stumped as I’ve never heard of this happening before. Because of that I reached out to my Rio Grande contact (through Rio Pro) to ask him. I also reached out to a friend of mine who is on the Gesswein support team. Like me, neither of them had ever heard of this happening.

They both suggested to contact tech support of the manufacturer for advice, which is Miller Welding.

I did learn that Smith (original maker of the little torch) was bought out by Miller Welding (a big welding tool company). I also learned that if you have a plastic on/off knob that regulator was made by Smith. If your regulator has the newer red metal knob then it could have been made either the Smith or Miller era.


Miller Electric Manufacturing Co.
1635 W. Spencer St.
P.O. Box 1079
Appleton, WI 54912-1079

Phone: 920-734-9821

Sorry that I can’t be more helpful! I did my best!!



You certainly have done your best! Thanks. I did not that I might be so strong that I twisted the knob to hard while closing it but maybe I did. I know no one else yet that can twist it to open. Curiously I also had trouble opening the new one after using it during the first class. Maybe it is just me. Thanks for being there.

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I returned one to my Ace Hardward that was frozen

I had the same thing happen to me.
I finally gave in and bought a new knob from Rio for $110 and havent had a problem since.
My guess is since it’s metal and the original was plastic I shouldnt have any more problems.
Very frustrating but to get rid of the problem it was worth every penny.

I thought I’d add here that I had a different problem than others are describing with the old style plastic knob Little Torch disposable regulator. After many years of use the plastic knob cracked for no apparent reason. I bought the new version metal knob regulator and haven’t had any problems at all with it.


A little off the subject, but for those of you who wonder how long a 1 lb. camp stove cylinder will last, here is my experience. I have a combination Meco and Little Torch setup where they both share the camp stove cylinder and an O2 concentrator. I use both torches every day. I put the installation date on a cylinder when I install it. I took one off yesterday that was dated 2/4/23. I can’t complain about 6 months of service. This interval will go down a bit as I go into Christmas production, but not much. When I went to this type of setup, I initially purchased 2 refillable cylinders and all the fittings needed to refill a cylinder from a 20 lb. tank thinking that I would be doing it often. It turned out that, at least for my shop, this is not the case, so I buy good throw away cylinders when they go on sale…Rob

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