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Old 04-12-2004, 10:04 PM   #1
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Be careful, please.

This is an opinion, and needs to be labeled as such, BUT

Don't hang a tank sidewise, unless it is built to sit that way. That's what daddy did on his camper bus - got a propane tank that was built to be mounted horizontal. Ran the refrigerator, lights, and motor on the LP.

If I remember right, the tank holds liquified propane (and/or butane), but what you want is the gas that comes off the top - not the liquid. That liquid can give a nasty burn.

Having said that, propane is good stuff. Easily available, stores well, reasonably inexpensive. Go for it - but be careful on the installation.

Paul
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Old 04-12-2004, 10:08 PM   #2
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Why not just get propane tanks like they use on forklifts.
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Old 04-13-2004, 11:09 AM   #3
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Hi Kevin,

Read the fine print about some of the tanks; there are several tanks out there that will store horizontally but must be used vertically. Other tanks can be used horizontally but must be filled vertically (because of the way the valve works).

I kept wrestling with the large underbody propane tank like I have on the Class C motorhome versus the 'standard' RV portable tanks. I finally (I think ) decided that I'll go with the standard tanks and carry them in a compartment like Mr. Petty, of BruinGilda fame, is doing; four of them will go a long time.

The thing is, if you have large built-in tanks then the bus has got to get to where the propane fill is. If you have portable tanks then the bus can sit wherever it is you have it set up and only the tanks have to make the trip. I didn't want to have to 'break camp' just to go get more propane. Then too, a lot of places like Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace Hardware and others have propane bottle exchange, which may just mean an easy stop at one of those plaes for a quick swap rather than trying to find a place to get the whole bus into.

I have a forklift here at work and it does have the horizontal propane tank; I bought in at the forklift dealer ($140) and they should be in the Yellow Pages under Forklifts. An Internet search should yield some info too. But be aware the meet regulations only when used on a forklift. They are not DOT aproved and you could by cited for having them installed in a motorhome. I realize this is an outside chance at best but if you're ever involved in an accident (your fault or not) you don't want to risk not having insurance coverage becuse you've got 'illegal' equipment installed. One of the reasons they're not DOT-approved is because they aren't fitted with mounts. [Note: I just looked at the site you linked to; they have forklift bottles there under the propane tank heading.]

Nowadays you've also got to be careful about regulations regarding the tanks. My forklift tanks do not have the OPD valves; they aren't required on that tank. But, it took a few trips and lots of paperwork to get our local filling station to fill them. They're used to seeing propane tanks bolted to a motorhome (they aren't required to have the OPD valves either) or portable tanks (which do have OPD valves); anything else may throw them and they're apt to be 'safe rather than sorry' and refuse to fill your 'oddball' tanks.

The tank you found (and posted the picture of) is fine for RV use and will work. It's not a "swappable" tank, meaning that you'll need to get it filled. And it's intended to be bolted down (and should be); it isn't really the sort of tank you want to lug around and lift into place (although as long as your back holds out I suppose it could be done). Since it has to fit your needs it may be just the thing.

I like BruinGilda's arrangement where you use an easy-to-obtain two-bottle regulator/switch with two bottles in reserve. You just swap out the empty tank for a full one since you're carrying four. Then you can take 1, 2 or 3 empty tanks to Walmart (or wherever), swap them and head back to the bus. And they're of a managable size so you don't wreck youself trying to hoist them around. It's like having three reserves...if you run out after swapping three tanks I'd wonder about taking more Ginko Biloba (sp?)!

The fun continues...more choices!
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Old 04-13-2004, 11:45 AM   #4
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I used those Lp tanks pictured above ...put the in steel truck boxes .
Here's a couple of pics

http://www.mobilehomestead.com/newbus/buspics/lp3.JPG

http://www.mobilehomestead.com/newbus/buspics/lp2.JPG

Michael & Millie
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:30 PM   #5
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only propane tanks between 4 and 40 pounds are required to have the special opd valve.
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Old 04-13-2004, 08:18 PM   #6
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i have a regular house furnace for heating my skoolie. Currently, i use the 20 pound bbq tanks. One of these usually lasts me all weekend in party mode. If it's really really cold, and the doors and windows are open a lot, i can empty it in one nite. I find this most inconvienent. I aquired a 100 pound tank, but i have yet to make a home for the tank on my bus.

Here is the plan: The tank cannot be in the living quarters of the bus, so i plan to build a relatively air tight closet that is ventlated to the outside. Much like most of the modular type ambulances do with the large oxygen cylinders.

When the 100 pounder is empty, I'd like to switch to a standard fill anywhere bbq tank. This should allow me to go long periods between fill-ups, but still have the ability to aquire propane almost anywhere when needed.
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Old 04-14-2004, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
only propane tanks between 4 and 40 pounds are required to have the special opd valve.
True, but not every tank between 4 and 40 pounds is required to have the OPD valve and therein lies the rub. A lot of places with propane filling equipment are not that savvy; it you've got the wrong kind of tank (or more specifically, the wrong kind of valve) according to their viewpoint you don't get your propane (legal or not). BTDT [Most RV/corner gas station/etc places will not fill my forklift tank.]
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:10 AM   #8
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Not only will lots of gas stations not fill a Forklift LP tank ....you might think about the problem with a large built-in tank in a bus.

Average sized Buses are pretty long ...having an LP tank that is easily carried by hand makes it a lot easier to get refilled in a small gas station...where it's impossible to back the bus up close to the stations tank.

That's why we went with 2 30 lb. tanks ...I can carry them pretty easily on the folding hand truck we have.

Soul Trader ...here's something you might think about.

The more fancy doo-dad systems you put in the rig ...(auto/manual LP switch-over etc)...the more trouble you'll have later if something breaks or stops working.
Simple is the way to go ...if you want a rig that will 'keep on tickin', and be low maintenance.
World Class Cruisers understand this.
The really successful world class Sailboat Cruisers (Pardey , Hill etc.)….all keep their Boats very simple .
That’s not to say primitive …they’re very cozy & well-outfitted boats. They just know that ‘Things ‘ break…
They’d much rather be having fun traveling about …instead of spending a bunch of time fixing stuff ….Plus ‘Fancy stuff’ takes up space in a rig ; which in my opinion is better suited for food, clothes etc.

Michael & Millie
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:56 AM   #9
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Hi Kevin,

I did a little checking on the propane tanks as it helps me quite a bit too!

The Manchester D.O.T. tanks (like the horizontal model you found) are used in the horizontal position but must be filled in a vertical position for the Fixed Level Liquid Gauge (bleed valve) to work properly when filling. You'll need an easy way to get them in and out of their compartment and since you do need to watch your back consider putting the compartment at a level where you can handle the 60-pound full weight of the 30# size cylinder without wrecking yourself.

Also, consider with multiple tanks and automatic switching that the first time you know you need more propane may be when all tanks are empty unless you're very good about checking the flags on the regulator. Of course, one could always go for a remote sensing system like the big boys.
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Old 05-27-2004, 01:37 PM   #10
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Greetings,
When you get ready to install the tanks, get a copy of the regs for RVs.
They have some interesting requirements.
The one that got me was no more than three tanks allowed.
On a motorhome, to meet the requirements, the tanks must be between the axles - hanging off the back bumper is just asking for trouble.
They must also be in a vented box, with the lowest part of the box not lower than the lowest part of the front axle - presumably if the front axle clears the rock/curb/tree stump, the tank compartment SHOULD clear it.....I squeeked by with about 1" to spare.
I will have to check this when fully loaded.
I now have room for my sewer hose in the LP compartment.
I do carry a 3rd tank for my RoadTrip grill or for a spare for the bus.
The regulator I am using is one of the RV specific Automatic Change Over models. When one tank runs out, it automatically switches over to the full tank. I don't know if the autoswitch completely cuts the empty tank off so you can change it without cutting the full tank off or not. They make a simple indicator that installs on the automatic regulator that only costs 40.00 if you want to get fancy.

My choices were based on buying and reading the applicable specs for RV/motorhomes/travel trailers, the electrical code, etc. and then intertwined with logic (who me????) and convience. I have a bunch of RVing friends who related stories of trying to get propane in their motorhome at 9PM in the evening after everything closed and others who use the BBQ tanks and just pull into any WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. and are on their way in 15 minutes with a warming motorhome.

The availability of the BBQ tanks is what swayed me, but I am not a heavy user - at least not yet! Safety is also an issue and I think the folks that refill the tanks are required to inspect and leaktest the tanks before they put them back in service.
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