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Author Topic: Where to Mount Propane Tank?  (Read 6179 times)
lyndon
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« on: December 18, 2007, 09:37:18 PM »

We've decided propane is going to be a must-have and plan to stay with the handy portable 20lb. tanks. What are the options for mounting for an MC9?

I've considered:

  • One of the bays. Problems: need to isolate, ventilate; wastes storage/utility space.
  • Right rear side engine door. Problems: engine heat, long gas line to stove/furnace.
  • Front left access panel (under driver, by the WW fluid). Long gas line; collision hazard?
  • Outside rear, hanging off an engine door. (Just kidding!)

Maybe these options aren't even legal ones. I haven't looked at any codes yet. What have others done?

Don
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2007, 10:34:04 PM »

Personally, I don't like removeable tanks.  I have a single 100lb chassis mounted tank.  And with only my stove and furnace being powered by propane, I only have to refill the tank once a year.  Then too I have an electric solenoid valve that I can turn the propane on and off from inside, and also have a gauge wired in so no surprises.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 05:29:46 AM »

Personally I don't like permanently mounted tanks. My S&S had one and I found it very inconvenient. I was in a park 2 months and had to unhook put everything away, just to get a little LP. After that experience I purchased an "extend a stay" setup. Also look at some of the LP filling stations in your area and decide if you want to try to get in one with a 40 foot bus and a toad!!!!
 On my 5C I changed to group 31 batteries and moved them to the engine compartment. The original battery area is a perfect fit for 2 30 lb tanks.
                                                                 HTH Jim
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2007, 05:35:04 AM »

   We went with 2 20# portable tanks installed in what was the bus battery compartment (this compartment also holds a 3rd LP tank for use with our turkey fryer or grill). We relocated the bus batteries to the engine compartment, passenger side. The only thing we use that is propane powered inside the bus is our 3 burner cooktop.  The compartment is large enough that we could have used 30# or probably even 40# tanks, but felt that would be overkill for 1 three burner cooktop.  We go well over a year before needing to fill a tank. Our system has an automatic changeover valve on the regulator that switched when the first tank runs out and a red indicator shows that it has switched. I just have to remember to occasionally LOOK at the indicator (don't ask why I mentioned this) LOL. it is easy to take a tank to get it filled without breaking camp. 
   Downside to our system is, I have been told, with 3 ranks, we are not allowed in tunnels such as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.  Only wrong choice is if it does not work for you and your way of using your bus.  Jack
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 05:37:52 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2007, 05:46:22 AM »

We have two 40# tanks mounted in one bay on passenger side. I wanted the capability of filling an empty without moving the coach. Could have gotten by with smaller, but got such a good deal on these I couldn't pass up. Of course the larger the tank, the heavier it is when lifting in and out. The only propane we will use is refer., cooktop and possibly a heater for backup, and of course outside grilling is a must. Our appliances are directly over the tanks so my supply lines will be short to the manifold.
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Kwajdiver
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2007, 06:02:11 AM »

I removed the large 110lb tank because, number one, it was in my gen set/battery compartment, just didn't seem like a good place to have gas  Sad.  Two, it was hard to do maintainance on the large tank.  When I did remove it, it was in pretty bad shape.   I installed two 40's (is that the 3ft tall one's ?) in the front diver side bay, rear wall. They fit like a glove. I use to cargo straps to secure them.  The problem is when the inside one is empty, it is a little of a pain to remove.  I like the duel tanks for the easy of throwing in the car to refill.  

However, if I was doing it again, I would purchase two of the forklift type tanks that lay down.  Lay them down side by side, build a shelf or storage over them.

By the way, I ordered both tanks off the internet, even with shipping they were cheaper than I could find anywhere else.

Good Luck,

Bill
Now in Tampa for the Holidays, Bus less.. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2007, 06:04:29 AM »

Not to hyjack this thread, but along with wondering where the best place is to mount them, what IS the law on going thru tunnels? Can a single 30# tank go thru?
 I just have mine mounted in the rear bay next to the water tanks. That makes it the closest run for what I use propane for. I believe that is pretty important also. I use aluminum forklift tanks.
   Chaz
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2007, 06:11:24 AM »

I agree with 99% of what everyone else said. I have a setup like TomC except that I used two 40# tanks whcih sit in my tank bay. The reasons I used to make this determination were primarily convenience for filling. I use an automatic changeover regulator, so when one is empty, I can remove it and take it in the toad to be filled while the other tank is still in place. Also, I can remove a tank while camping and use it in the screen tent for cooking with my camp grill. Can't do that with a permanent tank, although you could put on a long hose, which I've also done. The final reason I chose removable tanks is because the propane company where I get my tanks filled has a sign on their door that says they cannot fill permanent  mounted tanks due to insurance reasons. Don't know if this is prevalent, but it would be a huge hassle to me to have to break camp just to refill the propane tank.

I've heard that one should not mount the propane tanks forward of the steering axle, or aft of the rear axle do to potential damage from head-on or rear-end collisions. This pretty much leaves the bays, battery compartment, or condensor compartment on a typical MCI bus. All are good locations, but you have to look at your needs regarding other equipment and storage requirements and make a determination that works for you.

Do your hookup right, though. I highly recommend you purchase the electric solenoid valve and lp detector, along with an automatic changeover regulator. Makes life easy.
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2007, 10:20:57 AM »

Hi Lyndon,
We have an MC-9.
We mounted the 100# tank in the Battery compartment when we moved the batts to the engine area.
The old batt area is already ventilated so the propane was a natural for that space.
We fill the tank about once a year, so refilling is not a problem.
The 3 burner cook top, oven and the refer is run by the gas.
At Q a few years ago we had a 25 ft propane hose made so we can BBQ outside.
Hope this helps

Frank
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2007, 12:48:13 PM »


Hi All;
       Speaking of propane,  has anyone mounted propane
       tanks in the battery compartment on a MC-7?  I have
       seen this done on 8's and 9's, but not on a MC-7.
       
                                   Thanks,  Merle.
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lyndon
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2007, 09:45:38 PM »

Wow, thank you all for the great responses. TomC, I like the idea of a chassis mount and would have considered it, but for the two reasons -- mentioned by others -- that I wanted the option to fill without moving the bus and we make a lot of use of a portable stove at campsites (as well as a mantle lamp atop a distribution tree).

Moving the batteries was not a option that even crossed my mind, but now you've all got me thinking. Batteries nearer the engine mean a shorter cable to the starter, at the same time as keeping the stove line shorter. This make a lot of sense. Now, back to the drawing board...

Don
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2007, 10:06:09 PM »

Like Tom C, I have a chassis mounted LP tank. But since I power an RV500 water heater, two burner cooktop, and 5.5kw Onan generator with LP fuel, I opted for a bit larger LP tank than most...86 gallon total capcity, or 365 lbs.

Most propane distributors will bring a bobtail to your location, and fill your tanks if you need some gas while in a campground.

It's working for me.

Jay
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2007, 10:38:00 PM »

Had a nice lady at my last command that had a S&S.  She and her husband went to the desert east of SD a lot and dry camped.  Her husband mounted a couple of tanks to the front bumper because they were spending too much time running into town 20 miles to refill there two small OE tanks.  He didn't want to try to mount them inside or under due to the fire hazard.  O the road to Glamath they rounded a bend and took a Jeep with 5 drunk kids in it head on.  Drove the tanks into the front end and exploded them.  She and her husband died in the crash.  The kids were ejected from the Jeep and received only minor injuries.  KEEP THE TANKS OUT OF IMPACT CRUSH ZONES.

I don't even like the idea of them mounted in the battery compartment as it is right under the skin on the side.  TomC makes the most sense with a permanent tank in a bay but I hope it is in the center of the bay against the front bulkhead.  Wherever, it should have a good seal on the top to keep the gas out of the coach in the event it is ruptured.  I will have propane in any coach I own but the stuff is scary dangerous if you don't do it right and build in the precautions/safeguards.

The comment about the length of the gas run/pipe being "too long" is bogus.  Doesn't matter.  Gas goes thru a pipe real easy like, Partner.  Look at how long those pipes are that come down from Alaska and Canada.

With the tank buried in the center of the center compartment you can plumb and valve to have the fill port at the side in a protected location like high up under the coach floor and in a couple feet.  It was done that way on a friends Vogue.

SAFTY....your TANK VENT MUST EXIT IN THE REAR OF THE COACH above 6 feet from the ground.  I heard that a few years ago and thought it was bogus but it was true.  I don't know the hows or whys or wherefores.  Seems a good idea though as a freshly filled tank can "puke" a lot of gas when it warms up and a 100 gallon tank....well!  I would opt for a tank of that size and I agree with Tom.

John
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2007, 06:05:44 AM »

Just for kicks...would everyone that has posted an answer please state how you have your propane tanks vented.

Propane when it escapes, goes down to the ground.  (When there is a propane leak in an unvented boat the propane settles in the bilge, then a spark from something, usually a switch of some sort, ignites it and the boat usually explodes into smithereens!)  That being said, I am hoping that all of you have vents under the tank so if there is a leak it goes down to the ground so it can can disipate?  You should actually have what the boats have...a "propane locker" in which the propane tank(s) are sealed off from everthing else...AND a means for the propane (In the event of a leak) can go DOWN to the ground where it disipates.

The plan for my bus is to have two tanks at the right rear bulkhead in the last bay, which are encased in basically a 'box' with a door that provides access to them when I open the bay door, and holes cut into the floor so propane can disipate down.  (Not a lot of holes, or for that matter big holes, just enough for propane fumes to escape down to the ground.)

What you don't want is to have a propane leak in you bays not be able to escape, build up, then a switch get flipped automatically, (Or on purpose) and your bus explodes.

I am making this a separate thread, just in case some folk's are not reading this one.

Jack Hart
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2007, 06:09:56 AM »

Quote
The comment about the length of the gas run/pipe being "too long" is bogus.  Doesn't matter.  Gas goes thru a pipe real easy like, Partner.  Look at how long those pipes are that come down from Alaska and Canada.

Sorry buddy......... But the idea of a long gas line is that there is just more opportunity for a rupture in it somewhere along the line. Longer the line, more the opportuity. Be it a wear point, or something hitting it, etc.It has nothing to do with a pipeline professionally welded from Alsaka. By the way, I've heard of an occasional issue on the pipeline not long ago because of lack of maintenance. And that would also be an issue here. Some people may think that it's not that big of a deal, but we're talking safety here. Visual maintenance is a good idea.
  I personally think the best place is a vented bay towards the back, but hey, there are others who may have different opinions. Between the front and rear axle away from the front where people are more likely to be would be mine.
  My .02
    Chaz
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