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Old 11-17-2019, 09:34 AM   #1
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What Options for Propane Storage?

I was thinking of installing a forklift tank in the under floor storage.Then I learned there are two different kinds of propane systems, liquid draw and vapor. Apparently the forklift tank falls in the liquid draw category and as such is not suitable for RV use. I don’t want to have a permanently mounted tank that requires me to drive my bus to the propane dealer every time I need a refill. My propane appliances will be a tankless water heater and a cooktop. I also want whichever tank I choose, to be able to fit in my under floor storage and to be operated from there. It is looking like barbecue bottles will be the best, most simple choice. In the long run I would like to have a tank like the one I have linked to below and the ability to switch between it and a barbecue cylinder as needed.


29 gallon propane tank from Home Depot
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:48 AM   #2
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I was thinking of installing a forklift tank in the under floor storage.Then I learned there are two different kinds of propane systems, liquid draw and vapor. Apparently the forklift tank falls in the liquid draw category and as such is not suitable for RV use. I donít want to have a permanently mounted tank that requires me to drive my bus to the propane dealer every time I need a refill. My propane appliances will be a tankless water heater and a cooktop. I also want whichever tank I choose, to be able to fit in my under floor storage and to be operated from there. It is looking like barbecue bottles will be the best, most simple choice. In the long run I would like to have a tank like the one I have linked to below and the ability to switch between it and a barbecue cylinder as needed.


29 gallon propane tank from Home Depot

BBQ bottles are as easy to haul around as they are ubiquitous. What's nice is that they can either be refilled at many campgrounds or RV parks or swapped out at just about any gas station, hardware store or convenience store. Much easier than a larger tank. 2 BBQ cylinders will last us 6-8 weeks, and we cook at least 2 meals every day and also run our Mr. Heater for an hour or so in the mornings. I'm not sure that it's worth bothering with a larger tank, TBH, unless it's going to be used extensively for heating.

We mounted ours using a dual-tank RV mounting rack, bolted to the floor of a storage bin. Your setup may be different depending on your floor storage. Whatever you do, make sure they're secure and not next to a wheel.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:54 AM   #3
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make sure they're secure and not next to a wheel.
Is it OK if the bottles are separated from the wheel by sheet metal? I'm planning on building an underbody box to house two BBQ bottles directly underneath where my propane oven will go. This box will be directly in front of the rear passenger side wheel but they will be completely encased in sheet metal. Is it possible for a tire blowout to penetrate 14 ga sheet?
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:02 AM   #4
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Is it OK if the bottles are separated from the wheel by sheet metal? I'm planning on building an underbody box to house two BBQ bottles directly underneath where my propane oven will go. This box will be directly in front of the rear passenger side wheel but they will be completely encased in sheet metal. Is it possible for a tire blowout to penetrate 14 ga sheet?
I'm not 100% sure about the safety of that, I just remember reading a thread on here about propane piping and it stuck in my mind about the placement near the tires. I had originally planned to put it at the rear of the luggage bin (probably 14-ish ga. steel) but moved it to the front just to be safe. I don't know what a blowout would do to the steel box but I suppose I'd (reluctantly) rather have it destroy all of my fly fishing gear in that location than my propane system.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:06 AM   #5
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I am conducting my first trials with the inexpensive diesel forced air heaters.It will be interesting to see how much of my heating the load I will be able to put on them. Then I will know if I need propane heat and how much. Of course I need to get my insulation up to snuff to really know what my final needs will be.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:06 AM   #6
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I'm not 100% sure about the safety of that, I just remember reading a thread on here about propane piping and it stuck in my mind about the placement near the tires. I had originally planned to put it at the rear of the luggage bin (probably 14-ish ga. steel) but moved it to the front just to be safe. I don't know what a blowout would do to the steel box but I suppose I'd (reluctantly) rather have it destroy all of my fly fishing gear in that location than my propane system.
I could "armor" the side of the box facing the wheel and the bottom with thicker metal, like 1/8", pretty easily (a local place near me has really cheap scrap). I'm going to be adding a similar box at the back of this wheel well for my sunken tub, although a hole in a tub is less of a concern than a hole in a propane tank.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:27 AM   #7
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I'm not 100% sure about the safety of that, I just remember reading a thread on here about propane piping and it stuck in my mind about the placement near the tires. I had originally planned to put it at the rear of the luggage bin (probably 14-ish ga. steel) but moved it to the front just to be safe. I don't know what a blowout would do to the steel box but I suppose I'd (reluctantly) rather have it destroy all of my fly fishing gear in that location than my propane system.
Not sure about my logic here, but: kids sit over the wheel wells, so presumably the thickness of the well metal (which I think is 16 ga like the floors, not sure) is sufficient protection against damage from a blowout?
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:10 PM   #8
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I am doing the same. I hope I understand NFPA 1192 well enough. I didnít see anything about proximity to wheel wells.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:53 PM   #9
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The only difference between a liquid tank and a gas tank is where the pick up nozzle is. On a forklift that uses liquid propane the nozzle would ne in the bottom of the liquid. On a gas tank it would be above the liquid supplying only vapor gas. Fork lift tank could be used with the proper nozzle.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:27 PM   #10
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I am doing the same. I hope I understand NFPA 1192 well enough. I didnít see anything about proximity to wheel wells.
I remember seeing something about the tanks not being lower than the axle, but not proximity to wheel wells. There was a really comprehensive thread on here about propane piping, but it's probably a dozen years old. Someone with extensive propane experience started it and talked about using black pipe and not the braided steel hoses, about copper getting brittle, etc. Wish I could find it, I'd link to it. I think it might have been in that thread where I saw someone mention the danger of locating the tanks where they could be affected by a tire blowing out. I don't know how real the danger is, as I've never seen a tire this big blow out. It was just something that stuck with me.
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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The only difference between a liquid tank and a gas tank is where the pick up nozzle is. On a forklift that uses liquid propane the nozzle would ne in the bottom of the liquid. On a gas tank it would be above the liquid supplying only vapor gas. Fork lift tank could be used with the proper nozzle.
Someone else said that to me. I am glad you reminded me. I will look into that. I am pretty sure that Forklift tanks are D.O.T. approved and therefore suitable for mounting anywhere on a vehicle. And the mounting brackets are readily available. And if you scrounge around you get them cheap. And they are available in several sizes up to 33 lbs.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:24 PM   #12
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I had an 8 ply steel belted radial on the RF position of my 3/4 ton 4x4 suburban pitch a gator. It took out most of the sheet metal inner fender then shot out from under where it attacked the passenger door after which it flew back under the truck wrapping itself around the rear driveshaft breaking the rear yolk and then shot out the back jumped up and bashed the tail gate. Lots of energy at 65 mph.

Still, I'd feel comfortable with 1/8" plating around a propane tank as long as it was in front of the wheel.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:49 PM   #13
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I had an 8 ply steel belted radial on the RF position of my 3/4 ton 4x4 suburban pitch a gator. It took out most of the sheet metal inner fender then shot out from under where it attacked the passenger door after which it flew back under the truck wrapping itself around the rear driveshaft breaking the rear yolk and then shot out the back jumped up and bashed the tail gate. Lots of energy at 65 mph.

Still, I'd feel comfortable with 1/8" plating around a propane tank as long as it was in front of the wheel.
Jack
I think I will armor up with the 1/8" for this, can't really hurt, but stick with 16 ga for the tub box.

Your story makes me realize I was at some risk driving the bus with the big opening in the floor - a blown tire might have launched shrapnel inside. Fortunately it's not moving again until I've finished rebuilding it.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:13 PM   #14
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I am doing the same. I hope I understand NFPA 1192 well enough. I didn’t see anything about proximity to wheel wells.
I just read a bit of NFPA 1192. It just says the propane containers (and any supports for them) can't be ahead of the front axle, and that they can't be below the axles. It doesn't seem to say anything about shielding them from tire blowouts in any way (although I'm certainly going to no matter what).

One interesting thing is that the mount needs to be able to support 8 times the weight of a full container, with that force applied in any direction (to make sure it can handle dynamic loads, no doubt). For my two-bottle shelf, I think that means about 600 pounds (37# x 2 bottles x 8 ).

Also, you can't put any kind of lock on the hatch (which I guess means you need to lock the bottles themselves inside if you want to secure them).

I got worn out from reading it any further.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:25 PM   #15
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Someone else said that to me. I am glad you reminded me. I will look into that. I am pretty sure that Forklift tanks are D.O.T. approved and therefore suitable for mounting anywhere on a vehicle. And the mounting brackets are readily available. And if you scrounge around you get them cheap. And they are available in several sizes up to 33 lbs.
I was originally looking at forklift tanks until I found out the difference. They are liquid tanks. How are you going to make them vapor tanks?

Read NFPA 1192 for where you can mount them.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:52 PM   #16
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I was originally looking at forklift tanks until I found out the difference. They are liquid tanks. How are you going to make them vapor tanks?

Read NFPA 1192 for where you can mount them.
Change the valving to draw the vapor and not the liquid.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:11 PM   #17
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Change the valving to draw the vapor and not the liquid.
Is it possible? I havenít found anything conclusive about the conversion.

I decided that a BBQ tank that can be swapped at any gas station, convenience store, grocery or hardware store for a fresh one beats all other options in that size range.
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:52 AM   #18
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Is it OK if the bottles are separated from the wheel by sheet metal? I'm planning on building an underbody box to house two BBQ bottles directly underneath where my propane oven will go. This box will be directly in front of the rear passenger side wheel but they will be completely encased in sheet metal. Is it possible for a tire blowout to penetrate 14 ga sheet?

big tires can bend/tear up 14 ga metal if they beat on it enough, but penetrate? I wouldn't put my tanks next to a tire well just for peace of mind.
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:56 AM   #19
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Not sure about my logic here, but: kids sit over the wheel wells, so presumably the thickness of the well metal (which I think is 16 ga like the floors, not sure) is sufficient protection against damage from a blowout?

kids don't ignite or blow up from sparks or impact. they also have a seat frame between them and the wheel well.
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:08 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by wrenchtech View Post
I was thinking of installing a forklift tank in the under floor storage.Then I learned there are two different kinds of propane systems, liquid draw and vapor. Apparently the forklift tank falls in the liquid draw category and as such is not suitable for RV use. I donít want to have a permanently mounted tank that requires me to drive my bus to the propane dealer every time I need a refill. My propane appliances will be a tankless water heater and a cooktop. I also want whichever tank I choose, to be able to fit in my under floor storage and to be operated from there. It is looking like barbecue bottles will be the best, most simple choice. In the long run I would like to have a tank like the one I have linked to below and the ability to switch between it and a barbecue cylinder as needed.


29 gallon propane tank from Home Depot

Forklift and other liquid tanks have a pick up tube that extends down to the bottom of the tank so that they pickup liquid instead of gas The advantage being that hey can dispense fuel at a much faster rate than vapor tanks. If you tried to draw an equivalent amount of vapor from a tank, the tank would freeze up and pressure would drop so low that it could not keep up. Another advantage of liquid tanks is that all that I have seen have a fuel gage on them. However, you do not want to dump liquid directly to a burner, very bad idea.
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