Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-22-2015, 09:41 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 342
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
Aux Generator and Fuel Type / Storage

Hi all,

I am embarking on a road trip soon and the Yanmar air cooled diesel generator I had was just too damn loud and vibrational to use and mount to the bus. Great unit if you're deaf though. So I was thinking, I really ought to have an aux generator in case we get in a tough spot and need to run something. I was trying to decide between portable generators, since I will be using it for 6 weeks and basically not again for a long time.

I found this Sportsman propane generator that I think wmkbailey has and he seemed to like:

Sportsman, 4,000-Watt Clean Burning LPG Portable Propane Generator, GEN4000LP at The Home Depot - Mobile

And also this harbor freight (I know, I know) unit of similar wattage:

4000 Watts Max Portable Generator - 3200 Watts Rated

The one glaring difference I can tell is I think the sportsman has a 30 amp rv plug in it which would presumably mean the windings are 120 only so it would be better suited for heavy 120-only loads. I have owned the HF gasoline one and it's a nice unit actually.

Questions:

What is a safe way to carry 20lb tanks of propane around in a bus? Is there a DOT required way to do it and a DOT maximum amount? I would think propane would be safer than gasoline because most gasoline cans suck and I think gasoline is more volatile?

I was leaning toward the propane one because of flexibility too. Propane could be used for our grill / stove AND the generator, rather than having to carry diesel, propane and gasoline too. I'm just not sure where to store the propane tanks on the bus. The undercarriage storage comes to mind, but I keep thinking if the bus gets T boned while trying to drive across a crossroad or something, that would be a big boom.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
porkchopsandwiches is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 10:30 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Scooternj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
Posts: 1,134
Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
Rated Cap: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by porkchopsandwiches View Post
What is a safe way to carry 20lb tanks of propane around in a bus? Is there a DOT required way to do it and a DOT maximum amount? I would think propane would be safer than gasoline because most gasoline cans suck and I think gasoline is more volatile?
DOT guidelines are generally for commercial operators. Some states have their own guidelines, like Texas mandates only 3 tanks per vehicle.

Mutual Propane of Alberta has a a handy PDF highlighting the requirements set forth by Transport Canada.

As long as you follow common sense (i.e. strap it down upright inside the vehicle), and have at most three portable tanks to rotate, you should be fine.
__________________
Hey! That's not an RV, that's a school bus.
Well thank you for noticing, Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious on deviantArt
Scooternj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 10:46 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Posts: 1,439
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Howdy PCS. I used these straps to mount a 20lb propane tank in the upright position under the bus.



I don't have a picture of them mounted and I'm not at the bus at the moment to take one, but let's see if I can draw a simple picture to show how I mounted them:



2 rails of angle iron, 2 propane straps, a drill and some bolts. That's all that is needed. I put this assembly behind the rear wheel. The bottom of the propane tank is still higher off the ground than the bottom of the fuel tank. There is a peg that comes with the strap kit that keeps the propane tank from sliding down further, though you can easily get the straps tight enough that it's hardly needed. It has held the propane tank securely (no movement at all!) for 10000km. It can be a dirty procedure to get the propane tank up into the straps, but it's not very difficult. It requires lying on ones back.

I also drilled a hole near the top of the angle iron to add a padlock and cable to a) keep the propane tank from walking away and b) to catch the propane tank in case of strap failure.

This was intended to be a temporary solution to get us through our trip, but I actually have come to like it's simplicity!
__________________
My build page: Armageddon - The Smell of Airborne Rust
jazty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 12:58 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,328
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooternj View Post
DOT guidelines are generally for commercial operators. Some states have their own guidelines, like Texas mandates only 3 tanks per vehicle.

As long as you follow common sense (i.e. strap it down upright inside the vehicle), and have at most three portable tanks to rotate, you should be fine.
That's good advice. When I searched it out a week or two ago all I could find is that "common sense" seemed to be the main DOT regulation when total weight of LP and tanks is less than 1000 pounds. I think there was something about it being carried in a place sealed separate from the driver compartment, too -- in a part of the vehicle open to the outside, like a truck bed or under-body, meets that requirement. I can't speak to whether states might have their own additional rules.

As far as undercarriage mounting: I wouldn't even think twice about carrying a cylinder in a rack, or in your shiny new belly bins, especially if it has its valve closed and no hose connected. It has to go someplace and "officially" it can't go inside with you where it presents asphyxiation and explosion hazards if the valve leaks, so an under-floor cargo compartment is really the only choice.

When I did my 10 day trip two years ago I had one 20# cylinder inside the bus stacked among some boxes so the cylinder couldn't go rolling around. I set it outside and ran the 10 ft hose through a window when we needed to run the propane space heater, water heater, or camp stove. Not great, and won't do it that way long term...

Three cylinders may be more than you need. 20# will run a propane stove a long time.. maybe enough for the whole trip? It's not all that hard to find a place to have your one cylinder refilled so long as you think of it during 9-5 business hours. Exchange costs more, but is available 24/7 if you're in a bind. If the generator is "just in case" then I wouldn't worry about bringing a ton of fuel just for it.
family wagon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 10:20 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 332
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: 466DT
Rated Cap: 65
I totally understand your thought on using a propane generator for little use and long sitting intervals. If you are worried about noise though I kinda question your thought on the contractor genny's. I can't imagine they would be any quieter then your diesel. Have you thought about any older onan genny's? They can be picked up cheap. Most are probably gas, but could be converted over to propane. I picked this one up for $450 on craigslist and it runs amazing. It's also 5000w and will run two roof top AC's.

20150125_095247 by Hvbuzz, on Flickr

I know they can be had cheaper in running condition. Look for CCK onan's. I feel it will be alot quieter, and will out live the two you posted. If nothing else just leave it gas untill your trip is over, then look into converting it.
Hvbuzz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2015, 11:19 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Gainesville. Georgia
Posts: 526
Year: 1992
Coachwork: bluebird
Rated Cap: 72
I saw this just about an hour ago on QVC.COM. It's in the sprouts division, which highlights new inventors. It's called a TANKCASE PROPANE STORAGE CASE AND COOLER

Do a search for item # L43084

I don't know much about it, but it looks like something that would be very easy to replicate.
The-Breeze is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:06 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.