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Old 09-18-2019, 01:09 PM   #1
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Is the location of the propane tanks on this bus a good idea?

I don't look at Craig's List as much as I used to, but today I noticed an overpriced BlueBird RE that has been partially converted into a food bus.

I am not in the market for another bus, and this one would not be what I was looking for if I did want another bus. What has me wondering is the location of the propane tanks inside the engine compartment. They're certainly convenient, but I've always been told one should avoid hot places when locating propane tanks, and I am quite conservative about safety issues. There's a lot of storage area in this bus, and some of it could have been easily converted to hold propane tanks, so I am wondering why they didn't go that way. Perhaps I am more concerned about heating propane tanks than I need to be, but I don't really think so.

I am curious to hear others' opinions about putting propane tanks in the engine compartment.

https://oregoncoast.craigslist.org/r...971186080.html
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
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Hot is relative, while an engine bay sees more heat than the rest of the vehicle, I doubt it gets hot enough in that ventilated area to cause issue with the tanks.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:21 PM   #3
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Definitely overpriced.....

I agree with Marc. I would not hesitate to put propane tanks in my RE engine bay if my layout called for it.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:21 PM   #4
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:28 PM   #5
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@o1marc, I'm sure you're correct, if the ambient temperature is not very hot, but I'm concerned about what would happen if it were very hot.

Some years ago there was an incident in the British Columbia town where I was living at the time. Someone left a propane tank, that had apparently been slightly overfilled, in the sun on their balcony. This was in the spring when the ambient temperature was not high, but the tank was in direct sunlight for a while. Somehow it ignited and the explosion and fire that resulted destoyed the whole building. I don't remember how many people were killed in the fire but there were some.

So this is what worries me about heating propane tanks.

@Danjo, that's exactly what I am concerned about
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gs1949 View Post
@o1marc, I'm sure you're correct, if the ambient temperature is not very hot, but I'm concerned about what would happen if it were very hot.


Some years ago there was an incident in the British Columbia town where I was living at the time. Someone left a propane tank, that had apparently been slightly overfilled, in the sun on their balcony. Somehow it ignited and the explosion and fire that resulted destoyed the whole building. I don't remember how many people were killed in the fire but there were some.


So this is what worries me about heating propane tanks.
Exactly why OPV valves are required in the US..

Before OPV valves, I sent my wife to get a 5 gallon tank filled. Should have been 4.5 gallons. She came home with a receipt showing 5.1 gallons. THAT is a bomb waiting to blow.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:45 PM   #7
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When did OPV valves come in? The incident with the destoyed apartment building was somewhere around 1999-2002. And if I am remembering correctly a big focus of the inquiry afterward was understanding why the valve had not prevented the explosion. I think what they came up with was that there was just too much temperature difference between the ambient temperature the tank was filled at and the temperature of the tank after it sat in the sun for a while.

At least this food bus does not have the tanks in the sun.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gs1949 View Post
When did OPV valves come in? The incident with the destoyed apartment building was somewhere around 1999-2002. And if I am remembering correctly a big focus of the inquiry afterward was understanding why the valve had not prevented the explosion. I think what they came up with was that there was just too much temperature difference between the ambient temperature the tank was filled at and the temperature of the tank after it sat in the sun for a while.

At least this food bus does not have the tanks in the sun.
"After January 1, 2003, all propane cylinders 4 pounds to 40 pounds MUST be equipped with an OPD"

OPD = OPV

https://www.propanetankstore.com/what-is-an-opd/
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
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Next customer please step right up and we'll blow up a lunch for you!
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:35 PM   #10
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I think it was earlier in Canada. As I remember it a main focus of the inquiry into the exploding apartment building I mentioned earlier was why the valve that was supposed to prevent this sort of thing did not work, but I do not remember the name of the valve. I suppose it could have possibly been another valve.

I tried to find something about this inquiry, but I went completely through a rather short list of search results without finding anything even close to that old. I will try more later.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:00 PM   #11
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@o1marc, I'm sure you're correct, if the ambient temperature is not very hot, but I'm concerned about what would happen if it were very hot.

Some years ago there was an incident in the British Columbia town where I was living at the time. Someone left a propane tank, that had apparently been slightly overfilled, in the sun on their balcony. This was in the spring when the ambient temperature was not high, but the tank was in direct sunlight for a while. Somehow it ignited and the explosion and fire that resulted destoyed the whole building. I don't remember how many people were killed in the fire but there were some.

So this is what worries me about heating propane tanks.

@Danjo, that's exactly what I am concerned about
I refuse to live my life on "what if's". When 10 million units are out therew and one guy has a bad experience does not mean I am going to shy away from that item. Propane tanks sit in the open sun each and every fay without issues no matter how hot ambient gets. So I suspect something else invloved in that story. If the heat got bad enough back there to concern you, the tanks are would certainly be a concern because your bus is on fire, in which case it doesn't matter where the tanks are in the bus.
A truck it a school bus once and killed some children, should I never enter a bus?
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:20 PM   #12
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@o1marc, I just watched the video about Brokedown's new bus. One of the striking things about opening a BlueBird rear engine hatch is that everything is over on the left side as you are facing it. The right side of the engine compartment seems empty, nothing much there. So, as Brokedown mentions in his commentary with the video, the urge may strike stick something in there. Those exhaust pipes on the bottom do not need any more room, so the urge comes to put things above the exhaust pipes. Brokedown mentions generators, which strikes me as less dangerous than putting propane tanks a few inches above exhaust pipes.

So there is absolutely no way I will categorize putting full propane tanks directly above and less than 6 inches away from exhaust pipes as "a what if situation." I call that a just asking for it situation.

There is a reason BlueBird did not put anything above the exhaust pipes, and that was not because there was not enough room. There's lots of room, but the room is there for a reason.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:07 PM   #13
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I can say that if this food truck came into our jurisdiction (RI) for an inspection it would fail based on the mounting of those tanks.

Besides it being a generally bad idea, it would violate the Fire Code as the relief valves on the tanks cannot be located within 5' of an ignition source for DOT tanks, 10' for ASME tanks, and the exhaust, especially near the manifold, would be considered an ignition source.

Although they will have OPD valves on them, if a situation were to arise where they were heated enough to vent from the relief valve directly above the exceptionally hot exhaust, it would go kaboom. Also, the tanks are connected to a regulator that in this case is mounted behind them (obscured in the pic by the light) and that regulator also has a relief valve that must, by code be pointed down, in this case directly onto the exhaust. No Bueano

Not worth it, plenty of other places to mount them.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:11 PM   #14
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Yeah, but those other places would have been more work, probably much more work. Just from the minimalist install of these tanks I got the idea that this guy doesn't like working very much.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:27 PM   #15
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I can say that if this food truck came into our jurisdiction (RI) for an inspection it would fail based on the mounting of those tanks.

Besides it being a generally bad idea, it would violate the Fire Code as the relief valves on the tanks cannot be located within 5' of an ignition source for DOT tanks, 10' for ASME tanks, and the exhaust, especially near the manifold, would be considered an ignition source.

Although they will have OPD valves on them, if a situation were to arise where they were heated enough to vent from the relief valve directly above the exceptionally hot exhaust, it would go kaboom. Also, the tanks are connected to a regulator that in this case is mounted behind them (obscured in the pic by the light) and that regulator also has a relief valve that must, by code be pointed down, in this case directly onto the exhaust. No Bueano

Not worth it, plenty of other places to mount them.
That is interesting. I see ASME tanks 2' from ignition sources all of the time. I wonder how they get away with that?
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:21 PM   #16
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In a hot environment where they might vent? That doesn't seem like a very good idea at all.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:14 PM   #17
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That is interesting. I see ASME tanks 2' from ignition sources all of the time. I wonder how they get away with that?
I should say this is from a fire code standpoint based on its use as a food truck. We have a statewide inspection system for food trucks that includes a health department inspection for food safety and a fire code inspection from the State fire Marshalls Office. This truck wouldn't pass.

That being said, NFPA 1 chapter 69.3.3.8 says pretty clearly that all tanks must be at least 5' from ignition sources and forced inlets for mechanical ventilation, ASME tanks and tanks filled onsite must be 10' I double checked after I posted that to be sure. There is also language in the ICC Fuel Gas Code that wouldn't allow tank placement that close to ignition sources either.

Its possible it was an oversite, or unpermitted/uninspected installation. (likely) Or perhaps your state hasn't adopted NFPA 1 or the Int. FG Code, or maybe they did with some revisions that permit those installations (unlikely)

What kind of places do you see that, and what kind of ignition sources are we talking about?
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:34 PM   #18
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While common sense and safety are of utmost importance, do the regulations apply to a privately built RV. I don't know of any inspection needed on my build by any authority. When we talk about "hot environment" what definition are you using for "hot". At a 1500rpm high idle the exhaust out the end of the pipe is barely 125*. Is that a hot environment, not in my book. My doctor asks me if I smoke a lot of weed. I ask him "what is a lot?" He doesn't have an answer, so he doesn't get one from me. Actually the answer is I smoke every day, but not alot. My neighbor smokes a 1/4oz a day, that's a week for me, so no , not a lot.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:50 PM   #19
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The bus that's in the Craig's List ad I posted the link to is Rear Engine so the layout of the exhaust is significantly different from conventional front engine buses. If it's like mine, the area under where the tanks are mounted contains a very large muffler. the inlet and the exhaust are on the same end of the muffler. So there has to be a lot of heat coming up off of the muffler.

On the other hand, the exhaust manifold is on the other side of the engine, and right next to where the propane tanks are mounted in the bus on the CL ad RE BlueBirds have a screened opening approximately 2 ft X 2 ft.

So it will not get hot enough to roast turkeys there, but I think it can very possibly get hot enough in there to cause a full tank to vent. Personally, there is no way I am putting propane tanks in my engine compartment. I see that as taking an unneccesary chance by being lazy. Others can make their own choices.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:56 PM   #20
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"While common sense and safety are of utmost importance, do the regulations apply to a privately built RV. I don't know of any inspection needed on my build by any authority."

I expect it all breaks down at common sense--or lack there of. No wonder there is hesitation at letting skoolies stay in RV parks.

Ah? How did recreational drugs end up in the discussion? Just saying.
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