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Old 07-01-2015, 05:04 PM   #1
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Location: Anacortes, WA
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how to safely carry extra propane tank in motorhome

I am considering getting a 2.5 gallon (~11 pound) propane tank in my motorhome. I am also considering adding an external connection in a passenger side compartment (on the opposite side from the propane tank access compartment) for using a crab cooker. The crab cooker has a flame that sounds like a jet engine and uses a lot of propane.

I think that the first thing I will do is to get the small 2.5 gallon tank which I am considering carrying in one of two possible locations.
1) I could put it in the compartment on the passenger side (backs up to the propane compartment) whidh also has a propane stubbed out with a shutoff valve and the end is capped. As this compartment has access to propane it has a vent in the floor that can be opened when transporting and/or storing the propane tank. The tank would be secured so that it won't bounce around.
2) I could put a small wooden shelf above the horizontal propane tank and store the small 2.5 pound tank on it above the main tank. I would secure the shelf to the side of the compartment as well as using straps Non Metallic) to attach the shelf to the main tank. I would then attach the 2.5 gal tank to the shelf - with a tank base or even a milk crate. With everything secured so that nothing slides around. There is adequate vertical and horizontal space to store the 2.5 gal tank above the main tank - even with the shelf and base/crate, etc.

If I have frequent occasion to use the crab cooker a lot it will really suck up the propane compared to a gas grill which I don't use - we prefer charcoal! If I need more propane for the crab cooker I would have to go to our friendly propane dealer to get the attachment and hoses etc to connect the external crab cooker to the main RV tank with 30+ gallons. I would probably have to connect it in front of the regulator but that would be done by the 'gas guys' to get a safe installation.

If anyone has comments on the above (particularly items 1 and 2 ) I would appreciate it.

I checked other threads but i couldn't get my answer.

Beth, Lee and Buster (AKA Busticator, 14# King of All Pomeranians - Protector of His People)
2007 40' HR Ambassador & 2005 CR-V
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:41 PM   #2
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For Safety Sake, My choice would be to tie into the main propane system. 30 gal will last quite a while and you don't have to be concerned about storing loose bottles of propane.
I have mine set up with a 20' hose with a quick couple at the grill. The propane will not turn on until the quick couple is fully engaged.
You will likely need to tie in before the regulator but that is not a problem for a qualified gas tech. If you get a 15-20' hose, you could also have a second one as an extension with quick couples.
2019 Unity LTV CB, pushed by a 2013 Honda CRV, BlueOx Baseplate, Aventa Bar & Patriot Brake
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Old 07-02-2015, 05:22 AM   #3
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I carry a small ( I think 4 lb tank ) with me all time. I got tired of those little green bottles. So I got an adapter and use the small 4 lb tank. I really don't see much difference in carrying a small tank as opposed to the green bottles. In fact I think the green bottles are more prone to leaking. Remember the type of propane tank is just a smaller version of what most travel trailers use. The new valves aren't supposed to leak even if turned on if there is no hose attached. I just make sure they are turned off each time I use them and I never leave the hose attached.
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Old 07-02-2015, 06:33 AM   #4
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When I carry a tank with me, I strap it in the rear of my Explorer and remove it as soon as we arrive at destination
Jerry & Patsy Potter, Taz & Jake Jr.
2000 Winnebago Journey
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:04 PM   #5
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carry extra propane tank

Thanks for the replies.

At this time I am going to opt for the 2.5 gal tank as I can store it in either of the vented locations I have. The location over the existing built-in propane tank has about 12sf of open space under the tank and I can securely mount the 2.5 gal tank above it on a shelf that I will build. The shelf will have holes in it so that I don't trap any propane gas in the event of high temp venting ot the 2.5 gal tank. The shelf will have supports at the ends with the same radius at the tank to ensure a tight fit so there is no sliding/tilting of the shelf when on the road.

Initially I may use the vented compartment on the passenger side but eventually I will go over the built-in tank with the shelf I will make.

One reason for having the 2.5 gal tank is that I have a coleman 'tree' that attaches to the top of a tank for use of lantern and camp stove.

When I take the MH in for it's annual check of the various systems I will consider getting an Extend-a-flow hose/fittings intalled by the RV Shop. I could probably do it myself but I feel better leaving gaseous work to the RV techs.
Beth, Lee and Buster (AKA Busticator, 14# King of All Pomeranians - Protector of His People)
2007 40' HR Ambassador & 2005 CR-V
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Old 07-02-2015, 04:46 PM   #6
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I have manufactured D.O.T. compliant pressure vessels. Propane is one of the safest gasses to transport.

Realistically, if the tanks were ejected out of your RV in an accident, they will bounce and roll down the asphalt or cement road. They will not spontaneously explode, unless exposed to fire or sparks and they are leaking, (statistically very unlikely). Even the Mythbusters TV show could not get one to explode when shot at with a high caliber rifle.

As long as the valve is not leaking, you can safely transport your 2.5 gallon tank in any of your storage compartments. You can even carry it inside the RV during transit in a secure location, so that it doesn't become a projectile during an emergency stop.

Portable propane tanks are actually more dangerous as heavy projectiles, than as an exploding source of fear. More people get hurt with portable propane tanks because they are not secured in their SUVs, cars, minivans, or trucks.

I use a portable 5lb propane tank.
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:23 AM   #7
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I carry a 10 pound tank in a basement compartment away from the electrical bay, engine and water heater to play it safe. Propane is heavier than air so its going to flow downward by nature so in the basement it has a shorter path to venting out into the air in the rare event that the hand valve, safety valve and safety plug all fail.
Neil V
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Old 07-03-2015, 08:57 AM   #8
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We carried a 10 lb tank for the BBQ. I bought a "base stabilizer ring" from CW and bolted it to the floor of a stow-bin. I'd originally planned to add bungee cords to hold the top ring of the tank, but it was such a snug fit in the base ring that it wasn't necessary. I got the "squatty" 10-pounder so the base ring was the same size as a 20 lb. tank
Frank Damp -Anacortes, WA,(DW- Eileen)
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:14 AM   #9
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I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion concerning the capacities in pounds and volume of propane tanks. Manchester Tank has a table of the various DOT and other tanks giving volume, water volume and weight of propane that each sill hold. It is a good reference.

I had occaasion to find out how much propane can be carried in a vehicle on the WSF ferries and I am confused by the way that the WSF describes how many 5 gal (20#) bottles can be taken on a vehicle on their ferries. They refer to the water weight equivalent and state that 100# water weight equivalent can be tranported in a vehicle on their ferries - that amounts to a little more than two 5 gallon 20# tanks - full or not!. Since water is about twice the density of propane this type of 'science' makes no sense to me. At least it doesn't seem to match the college and high school physics I took 50+ years ago. I understand when industry states that the water volume of a 20# cylinder is higher than the propane capacity due to the requirement to not overfill the tank - you need some head room above the LPG to allow for expansion.

Check on the following:
WSDOT - Washington State Ferries FAQs - Security

I made an inquiry to WSF and they didn't really comment on the 'science' behind using equivalent water weight to determine how many propane tanks can be carried in a vehicle on their ferries. They only repeatd their 'logic' and 'science'. It sounds like typical beaurocratese language to me.

Is there any industry standard that would have them use such a convoluted way to calculate how many propane tanks can be carried in a vehicle on their ferries?

Does anyone understand the WSF method of computing the amount of propane that can be in a vehicle on their ferry?

Why can't they just say two 5 gal/20# tanks and just let it go?

FYI: Another item I noticed is that Manchester Tank is advertising a refillable 1# bottle. I found them on ebay for about $40.00+ but if you buy several 1# disposables the new refillable will pay for itself quickly. They have to be refilled from an existing larger tank 5# or above I know that there are people selling adapters to refill the disposable one pound bottles and apparently a lot of these disposable bottles are being refilled whether it is safe or legal at all.
Beth, Lee and Buster (AKA Busticator, 14# King of All Pomeranians - Protector of His People)
2007 40' HR Ambassador & 2005 CR-V
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:53 AM   #10
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I checked on the link in my previous posting and the wording was different. It did say that a 5 gal propane tank was 48 pounds. they did not mention 'water weight equivalent' but that would be how they got 48 pounds.

I found another link that hopefully will convey their twisted logic:
WSDOT - Security at Washington State Ferries
Beth, Lee and Buster (AKA Busticator, 14# King of All Pomeranians - Protector of His People)
2007 40' HR Ambassador & 2005 CR-V
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