Propane

Propane

We thought the propane install would be easy. Though it is one of the simpler systems we were tackling, we didn’t know much about it and just started googling, which lead to a few days research and mulling over options. Most RVs have permanently mounted propane tanks under the body, beside the frame somewhere, but it can be hard to fill permanently mounted tanks in Latin America so we needed to figure out how to install tank under the van that could be removed for filling. The problem is, most of these tanks are too large in diameter to fit between the frame and the sidewall of the van. We mulled over a tank inside the van, and despite multitude warnings about safety and legality out there, our biggest concern was the space loss. After some more research we bought a 30 lb steel horizontal use/vertical fill tank. Josh built an aluminum box to hold the propane tank up under the van and protect it from road debris or an accidental scrape on a rough dirt road. The tank is installed next to our rear auxiliary fuel tank (which we had made to fit, leaving exactly enough room for the propane tank next to it). We also shortened our exhaust, having it exit in front of the rear wheel, in order to leave more room in the rear between the frame rails, and in order to avoid having a hot exhaust pipe next to a propane bottle. Our system works, quite well, but it will be a bit of a chore when we need to fill the propane bottle, requiring us to unbolt the aluminum box, drop it, slide it out from underneath the van, unstrap the tank and finally get it out of the box for filling. Then reverse all that to reinstall it, the painful part being two people under the van to hold up box and tank and get the bolts started. However, we don’t have any propane appliances that draw a lot, such as a heater or water heater, we will only use propane to cook with, and we have an electric kettle for water, so we will only need to fill the propane tank every 4-6 months.

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