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Old 02-10-2018, 05:50 PM   #1
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Propane storage and distribution

Okay I am working I'm finding a bus to convert and I'm trying to figure out some of the conversion issues ahead of the game.

I'm at a loss as to the proper methodology to plumb a bus for propane. Specifically how do you split out from the mainline to each Appliance the refrigerator the stove oven the heater and the water heater?

I know from tent camping you can use a distribution tree on a tank and then use individual hoses. I suspect it should be similar in an RV but I'm not sure what to use for a manifold.

I've searched here and perhaps I'm looking in correctly but I can't seem to find any discussion of propane Plumbing in a bus. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:44 PM   #2
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I would use a propane manifold and mount it nearest the appliances being serviced and run one line back to the tank. The tank location will depend on the frame work of the particular bus you decide on.


The question doesn't have to be directly related to buses, but to propane manifolds. Once you have that info you transfer the info to the situation at hand, the bus.
When I think "I've searched here and perhaps I'm looking in correctly" I take my question to Google. In this case just Google "propane manifolds", it's pretty self explanatory from there.
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:31 PM   #3
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Here's our cobbled up manifold
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:38 PM   #4
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Here's our cobbled up manifold
Are you hard gas pipe from the tank to the manifold?
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dbhost View Post
Okay I am working I'm finding a bus to convert and I'm trying to figure out some of the conversion issues ahead of the game.

I'm at a loss as to the proper methodology to plumb a bus for propane. Specifically how do you split out from the mainline to each Appliance the refrigerator the stove oven the heater and the water heater?

I know from tent camping you can use a distribution tree on a tank and then use individual hoses. I suspect it should be similar in an RV but I'm not sure what to use for a manifold.

I've searched here and perhaps I'm looking in correctly but I can't seem to find any discussion of propane Plumbing in a bus. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated

Personally, I would go to the propane store in town where they can recommend what to use to distribute propane. They can also make custom length hoses with the correct connectors crimped on. Or you can use camping hoses and Ts.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:52 PM   #6
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Personally, I would go to the propane store in town where they can recommend what to use to distribute propane. They can also make custom length hoses with the correct connectors crimped on.
That is exactly what I did when I converted my first bus. I was fortunate to have found a propane outfit that had done a number of food trucks. They gave me great advice and made up the flexible "whips" to connect the hard line to the appliances.

I offered the same advice to another Skoolie builder recently. He went to a local propane outfit and came back with materials and advice that scared me. I suggested that he check with another installer, and make sure that they understood that this is a mobile install, to confirm that he was going in the right direction.

He checked with another company and they told him that what the first company suggested would be fine for a stationary install but for mobile he needed different materials.

The key difference was the flexible "whips" to connect between the hard line and the appliances. The "good" flex line was a similar material to the line on your BBQ. The "bad" flex line resembled flex condit.

Bottom line: For your own safety it is critical that you design and install the propane system properly. Get professional advice and make sure that you are talking to a professional that understands your application.

Have fun and be safe!
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:35 PM   #7
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My propane bottles live in a sealed plywood box under the bed. The box has an 1 1/2" vent out the bottom to the outside (propane is heavier than air). The connection between the propane regulator and the manifold is made by a rubber propane hose that's run inside a protective corrugated wiring cover that I removed when stripping out some bus wiring. The pigtails from the manifold to the appliances are the same (but much shorter) rubber hoses.

When installing look out for anything that may potentially wear through the hoses and be sure to test each connection with soapy water.

Most important of all, always, always, always use a quality propane alarm when in the bus.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:35 PM   #8
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All very good advice. I should mention I'm trying to do this from a budget standpoint. I am or more correctly will be looking for a shorty bus nothing over 30 feet but I've got to have Headroom I believe the amtran is probably what I'm looking for. I will be using my already existing camping appliances at least for the time being but I will probably need to add a propane fridge.

The existing appliances are a Coleman 2 burner stove, a Zodi hot tap water heater, and a mr. Heater portable buddy.

Like I said budget is important because well let's face it if I can't afford to do it it's not going to happen.

I'm not worried about not having an oven because I have that Coleman folding oven to go on the stove and I know of lots of people in RVs and schoolies that are using the mr. Heater. My big question on appliances is really going to be the water heater I haven't had any problems using the Zodi hot tap for tent camping but it's designed to stand alone on a 1 pound propane cylinder. I use it fed to a hose and hung from a Lantern tripod so that is probably going to need to be rethought.
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:25 AM   #9
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Okay so I went and asked, and IF I got good info it looks like the procedure is as follows...

Can't seem to find it online, but what it seems, I have the following shopping / work to do...

Dual tank hookup kit. (Regulator, mount, whips) and mount kit. This will be attached on the outside of the bus on the back...

Feed line that is going to depend on the regulator output, most likely 1/4 or 3/8" flare from what I am reading.... Feed this to a matching 3/8" copper feed line into the bus via a good grommet / passtrhrough so we don't wear a hole in it...

Feed this into one of the above listed manifolds. Secure line, and manifold using rubber isolated tubling clips, and periodic rubber isolators.

Whatever thread the manifold has mating end to whatever the appliance needs on teh other end hose to make the connection, and allow for vibration / flexing...

And finally, to the appliance itself...

Make sure I have quality CO and Propane detectors in the rig, not to mention smoke detector, and I should, after verifying 100% that I have no leaks, should be good to go...
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Here's our cobbled up manifold
Correct me if I am wrong, but your manifold appears to be 1/2" black iron tees, nipples, and 1/2 NPT x 1/2" flare brass fittings, with more than ample amounts of thread sealant.... And the 2 valves. Ball valves?
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