Running the show with a 5 pounder

Discussion in 'Propane - Got Gas' started by arge, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. arge

    arge Active Member

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    I have a bit of a problem with the dual propane tanks that I have them on tongue. To get the whole image, the battery is on top of the lift and it is not something that I am excited either.

    So, I had so many thoughts about this, as I don’t need two propane tanks. I am carrying weight for nothing, while the storage space is in high demand.

    I just bought a 5lbs propane tank for my outside stove needs, to get ridoff the green bottles and I have an idea that is growing in my head.

    Removing the propane tanks, installing a 4cuft tongue box (15”high) and storing inside the box one 5lbs tank. Actually two of them, as one will be used for the stove and removed as need it, the other one will be a fixture, I will have it connected to the propane line.

    I will make some openings in the box, on the side and on the back, to allow a minimal ventilation. I will need to get in the box the battery too (it’s AGM so no issues with vapors) so it will be there at least a couple of holes for the cables. Most likely a bigger cut off to allow me to access the propane tank to turn it on/off from outside, without the need to open the box. Without that, I will not be able to turn off/on the tank if the beds are pulled out. If need it, I can put on the box lid some sort of venting in the style that we can see on the sport cars hood.


    I realize that 5lbs of propane are not going to last, but I am camping mostly with shore power, so my propane needs are resumed to water heater (used only as need it, I don’t let it run continuously) and some minimal cooking inside of the tent (which is happen very rarely as I prefer to cook outside). In this way 5lbs can last many trips and if it is an emergency, I can pull out the second 5 pounder.

    For me a 20lbs is way too much, it can last me a season and at the end I still have like ½ if not ¾. My trips are relatively short, 2-3-4 nights at the most, but I guesstimate I can go ahead with the 5lbs even for 10 nights out. Carrying around a 20lbs doesn’t make sense, less for two of these, are just ballast for tongue weight.

    For trips where I know ahead I will not have power, I can take with me a 20lbs tank on the side.

    The 5lbs tanks will have a gauge to estimate the propane level, I can get an adapter and I can try do the refills at home, if the refill trips are becoming an issue.

    In this way I will get some considerable storage space. I will not save on weight too much given the weight of the box, but I will get storage.

    What do you see wrong with my plan? What I overlooked? Any reason why I should not do this (beside the “you will never know when you will need more propane”)

    A 10lbs tank will not work given the height.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
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  2. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good to me.
     
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  3. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I would be concerned about having to redo the regulator and hoses. Most of the time that stuff is static mounted, so you may need to cut into a line and add/reroute stuff to get it into the box. Propane is heavier than air, so you would need multiple holes on the bottom of your box. If it were me I would be hesitant putting the battery and propane tanks in the same box. Pretty sure I would be the one to have Murphy's Law apply.
     
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  4. arge

    arge Active Member

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    I forgot that the propane is going down and not rising up. I may need to take a closer look to the regulator and the hoses as are getting old now; at this point I have them hanged on the dual propane tank support, on the threaded rod that sits between the tanks. I don't see an issue on rerouting that, but it should be a good idea to check the lines and eventually have them replaced.

    The battery may need to stay where is now... There are electric connectors, it is prone to have sparks. Yeap, it is not a good idea to have it in the same space
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  5. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    Make good vent holes in bottom of box - propane exits. That electricity is only 12V, and you would only get a spark if you pulled of a battery terminal under electrical load - and even then with ventilation I would not worry a lot - especially since its outside the camper.

    According to our records we used 4 Lbs of propane on our Yellowstone-Glacier-Grand Tetons trip last summer - to and from Oakland, CA. So hauling around 20 gallons and a heavy tank seems a bit foolish.
     
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  6. arge

    arge Active Member

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    Thank you Anthony for confirming my thoughts about propane. You are right about the battery, if I am not pulling out the terminal, it should not be an issue. Installing an exterior kill switch will add an extra layer of protection. Still... how Sneezer said, the Murphy law...
     
  7. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't store the battery and gas in the same compartment. Also, filling 5 gallon tanks seems a waste to me. What about keeping one tank, and make storage on the other side? That way if you need the heater, or anything else for a prolonged trip you will be ok. Do as you want , its your pup. And only you can tell what you need.
     
  8. arge

    arge Active Member

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    I thought a lot about this, keeping one tank and making storage on the other side, at thought that I nail it at one point. It doesn't work. The storage would be minimal and... have you looked how much it cost to get a basic single tank bracket? it would cost more than the double. In Canada would run me like over $50.00 while the checkered aluminum box is like 160.00 It is ridiculous.
    Filling the 5# would cost me peanuts, as I will be paying by the lb, it is just the inconvenient to jump in the car and drive to the gas station. Still thinking. It may be my winter project.
     
  9. slowcarfast

    slowcarfast Active Member

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    Sounds like a solution looking for a problem. I get that you don't need it, but do you really have issues with tongue weight? Could you just remove one propane tank and stick a 5lb inside somewhere and pull it out at the campsite for your stove (I did this with a 20lb cause it's what I have right now and only have a single mount on the tongue)? Maybe I'm just lazy, but it sounds like a lot of work for "it is not something that I am excited about". I'm sure it'd work well enough if you went through the effort.
     
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  10. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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  11. arge

    arge Active Member

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    yeap, something like that. I just need to measure twice to ensure that I will have enough clearance for the lift. Only one battery in my case and it will be a bit smaller.
    Another option will be do not use these A frame boxes, but a rectangular one, 12" deep. I need to measure the capacity, depending the length of the box, I may get more volume for storage

    @slowcarfast: I explained, the two tanks and even one 20# are basically useless but it takes valuable real estate there. I need a place were to put all my cranks, chocks etc and to be available asap.
    I don't want to keep them in the popup. It is full with storage boxes, chairs, water jug, rug etc and behind the door, during the towing is the porta potty. Essential when you travel with three little ones.
     
  12. slowcarfast

    slowcarfast Active Member

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    [SER=114728]@slowcarfast[/USER]: I explained, the two tanks and even one 20# are basically useless but it takes valuable real estate there. I need a place were to put all my cranks, chocks etc and to be available asap.
    I don't want to keep them in the popup. It is full with storage boxes, chairs, water jug, rug etc and behind the door, during the towing is the porta potty. Essential when you travel with three little ones.[/QUOTE]

    Fair enough! As I said, I don't think there's any reason why it wouldn't work if you put in the effort. I know how it is trying to haul all the gear for kiddos!
     
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  13. arge

    arge Active Member

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    a small update. plans have changed somewhat.
    I took off both 20# and I installed a home-made box. 36" long, 15" high and 11" deep. This were the limitations (length: given the position of the cranking handle, deep: the lift system in my way and height, maybe I was able to go several inches more, but it was enough for me 15")
    Bottom and the sides made from 1" plywood. Overkill, but this is what I had already. Front, back and the lid from 1/2 plywood. Screwed together, also some 10-12 3" metal brackets. Very solid. Screwed down on the tongue plate with two 6" U-bolts. I drilled a couple of extra holes for draining in case some water will find its way inside. Everything white painted (work in progress)
    One side 6" hole to access the propane bottle (10#) without opening the lid. Towards the bottom I have two vertical, oblong vent holes. There is another 6" diameter hole in the back of the box for venting and running propane line trough.
    I am storing inside, beside the 10# bottle, the 5# bottle too, misc cranks, chocks, cords. The battery is sitting on the opposite side, on a shelf. Outside I have a kill switch.
    Weight wise, I saved very little if any. I got storage room and this was important for me. Not too much, but just enough to clean the space behind the popup door. A bit extra storage space in the formerly battery box that is sitting on the lift.
    I got also 5' of 6" pipe and a conduit carrier kit. This is to be installed. I haven'r measured, I hope I will be able to fit it behind the box. I should be able to fit inside the pipe the beds supports, the U-Channels and hopefully the mat (damn, why they didn't made the 6" pipe from some rubberized material, to be able to shovel inside all my stuff?)
     
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  14. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA New Member

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
  15. arge

    arge Active Member

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    5# and 20# are the same, I got a braided hose w a connector for my camp stove. I will need to look into the propane lines. I have a 2 stage regulator now, double, w two pig tails. It's taking some room in my box. At least I will need to disconnect a pig tail. I tried and it is stuck. As I am going camping, I didn't want to force anything there. I may change all the lines and regulator too very soon, it is a 13 years old camper, it may not be a bad idea at all.
     

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