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Old 10-29-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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propane DOT regs and safe practices

So we were going to go with a wood burning stove, but that would pretty much eliminate any stealth capability (as much as you can with a bus). So we decided to go with the olympian wave 8 and just run it off a #20 tank. Here's a couple things I couldn't find through google.

How safe is it storing the propane tank inside, under the bed in the rear?

How do propane tanks fare outside in below freezing temps?

what DOT regulations are there for storing propane on the outside of your vehicle?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-29-2017, 11:27 AM   #2
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So we were going to go with a wood burning stove, but that would pretty much eliminate any stealth capability (as much as you can with a bus). So we decided to go with the olympian wave 8 and just run it off a #20 tank. Here's a couple things I couldn't find through google.

How safe is it storing the propane tank inside, under the bed in the rear?

How do propane tanks fare outside in below freezing temps?

what DOT regulations are there for storing propane on the outside of your vehicle?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

CaptSquid is your guy. He lives/loves those things.

Store the tank under the bus and have someone run a line up into the heater. It's safer.

Will you cook with propane or make hot water?
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Old 10-29-2017, 11:46 AM   #3
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Sweet hopefully he'll see this and chime in. I wanted to store the tank underneath originally, just wasn't sure of the logistics about it. From my research asme tanks can be mounted horizontal but the regular dot tanks cannot? I wanted to keep it hidden so I didn't have to announce to the highway patrol that I had propane tanks. I'd like to keep it outside though. Heading out to orientation for snowmaking right now, hopefully he'll chime in by the time I get back.
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Old 10-29-2017, 11:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gatorbait View Post
So we were going to go with a wood burning stove, but that would pretty much eliminate any stealth capability (as much as you can with a bus). So we decided to go with the olympian wave 8 and just run it off a #20 tank. Here's a couple things I couldn't find through google.

How safe is it storing the propane tank inside, under the bed in the rear?

How do propane tanks fare outside in below freezing temps?

what DOT regulations are there for storing propane on the outside of your vehicle?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
It's safer to store it under the bus in a ventilated locker. If you want it under the bed, create a sealed locker with a ventilation drain. Propane is heavier than air. Keep a detector plugged in.

Propane does just fine under most weather conditions. It has a lower calorific value than butane. In Europe, butane is preferred, but it ceases to turn to gas around 32F, so propane is used as a "winter gas". In the US, propane is almost universal and it gasifies at very low temps.

The heater you propose burns propane inside the bus. You will probably need two of them in a larger bus, in cold weather. Burning propane inside will contribute quite a lot to condensation issues. Every gallon burned produces a gallon (roughly) of water vapor.

For the $700 that two of them will cost, you could get a 5kW blown-air diesel heater. Worth considering.
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Old 10-29-2017, 11:52 AM   #5
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Regarding propane and cold weather:

When you buy propane, depending on location, season and vendor, you may be getting butane or a propane/butane mix.

The problem is that the boiling point of butane is 30F. I you fill a tank in a warm climate you may wind up with butane. Then you head for cold weather and all of your propane appliances stop working.

I figured this out after filling both of my tanks in southern AZ then heading for Spokane. Landed in 17F weather and "ran out of propane". Tank didn't feel like it was empty. I switched to my spare tank and it didn't work either..... Hmmmm... Must be the regulator. Replaced the regulator. Still didn't work. Then I bought a new tank and had it filled in Spokane. Problem solved.

Two tanks with failed OPV valves at the same time? No. When the weather warmed up the two "bad" tanks were fine. Swapped the old regulator back in and it worked fine.

Then I talked to the local propane distributor and they explained the whole propane/butane thing.
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Old 10-29-2017, 11:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Regarding propane and cold weather:

When you buy propane, depending on location, season and vendor, you may be getting butane or a propane/butane mix.

The problem is that the boiling point of butane is 30F. I you fill a tank in a warm climate you may wind up with butane. Then you head for cold weather and all of your propane appliances stop working.

I figured this out after filling both of my tanks in southern AZ then heading for Spokane. Landed in 17F weather and "ran out of propane". Tank didn't feel like it was empty. I switched to my spare tank and it didn't work either..... Hmmmm... Must be the regulator. Replaced the regulator. Still didn't work. Then I bought a new tank and had it filled in Spokane. Problem solved.

Two tanks with failed OPV valves at the same time? No. When the weather warmed up the two "bad" tanks were fine. Swapped the old regulator back in and it worked fine.

Then I talked to the local propane distributor and they explained the whole propane/butane thing.
This should never happen. Butane and propane require completely different regulator pressures. Putting propane through a butane regulator would damage it severely, and propane tanks need to be considerably stronger than butane as the pressures involved are much higher.

Maybe your regulators can be used for both gasses, and the tanks are built for propane ... but you should always be told what you are getting.
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
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Most DOT cylinders in bigger RV's are horizontal and mounted below the floor. They come in a wide range of sizes. Manchester makes most of the better ones and you see them routinely on Ebay (where I found mine).
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Old 10-29-2017, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Regarding propane and cold weather:

When you buy propane, depending on location, season and vendor, you may be getting butane or a propane/butane mix.

The problem is that the boiling point of butane is 30F. I you fill a tank in a warm climate you may wind up with butane. Then you head for cold weather and all of your propane appliances stop working.



Then I talked to the local propane distributor and they explained the whole propane/butane thing.
Today I Learned.

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Old 10-29-2017, 03:07 PM   #9
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:14 PM   #10
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This should never happen. Butane and propane require completely different regulator pressures. Putting propane through a butane regulator would damage it severely, and propane tanks need to be considerably stronger than butane as the pressures involved are much higher.

Maybe your regulators can be used for both gasses, and the tanks are built for propane ... but you should always be told what you are getting.
Don't know..... Given that I am not a propane/butane expert, when I got stumped, I went to folks who are. Their explanation fit my observations and my follow up (Google) research seemed to support it.
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