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Old 10-28-2014, 12:54 PM   #1
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LP Tank mounting brackets - weld or bolt?

I am in the process of figuring out my mounting options for an LP tank underneath my Chevy Express. The cleanest way to mount it appears to come off the side of the frame with some angle brace type brackets. I would normally use existing holes in the frame or drill new ones to bolt such a bracket on, but the Chevy frame is of a tubular nature and there doesn't seem to be an easy way to get a bolt or nut on the back side of the frame.

My two options at this point are to use some rivnut/nutserts and bolt the brackets on, or weld the brackets. Now that I am thinking about this, perhaps I should just weld on some tabs so that I have a bracket that welds to the tab instead?

Anyway, general thoughts on the use of rivnuts vs. welding on the frame rail?
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

Since I suck at welding and love riv-nuts, I'd probably bolt it up.......YMMV

I have no idea if welding on a frame has any negative effects...probably not, but I envision the semi trailers going down the highway with "do not weld" stenciled on the trailer frames.

What tank are you mounting? A horizontal mount Manchester?
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Old 10-28-2014, 02:57 PM   #3
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

Yes - a horizontal Manchester. I got it from GoWesty so it is 8" diameter as opposed to the 10" on the Manchester website. I think I have it positioned nicely so it will be tucked up pretty well out of view/obstruction yet still allow filling without needing a door.

Thanks for the rivnut vote of confidence - I'm leaning that way for sure.
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:52 AM   #4
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbender
Yes - a horizontal Manchester. I got it from GoWesty so it is 8" diameter as opposed to the 10" on the Manchester website.

Thanks for the GoWesty info, I think I'll be going this way as 8" will fit easier than 10" with the rear AC Freon lines in my setup.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:06 AM   #5
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

On the Fords there is a warning about welding on the frame because it is alloy steel and requires special welding methods. There are also warnings about drilling on the frame.

How about hanging it from the floor?
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

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On the Fords there is a warning about welding on the frame because it is alloy steel and requires special welding methods. There are also warnings about drilling on the frame.

How about hanging it from the floor?
There are definitely some guidelines to follow and specific warnings from Ford about welding on frames (see Body Builders Advisory Service) but I wouldn't consider the welding methods "special".

Should you know what you're doing and read all of the information Ford provides? Yes, absolutely.

I don't think one should rule out a welded bracket on the frame though. If done right there should be no concern.

All of the 4x4 converters weld suspension parts onto frames... just sayin'...
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:50 AM   #7
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhally
How about hanging it from the floor?
This was my original plan, and I still may go back to it. The fabrication would be a little more extensive as I'd probably need to construct a frame that hangs from the cross beams. Now that you mentioned it though, perhaps a mounting plate directly to the floor panel would work out ideal. My brain was stuck with the picture of hanging it thread rod in which case I would need to do some additional work to isolate lateral and foward/backward movement. I was also thinking I would need to mount to the transverse frame pieces but there is no reason I couldn't bolt a mounting plate/bracket directly to the floor. I'll crawl underneath this evening to have a look and see if this might be a simpler installation.
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I don't think one should rule out a welded bracket on the frame though. If done right there should be no concern.

All of the 4x4 converters weld suspension parts onto frames... just sayin'...
Yep, that was my thought exactly.
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Old 10-29-2014, 08:00 PM   #8
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

I've been thinking about the tank mounting quite a bit (yes, I have no life.... )

I've also been thinking about using all-thread and through-hole threaded hand-knobs to raise and lower the tank easily a few inches. I would use a couple of aluminum mounting blocks with some dowel pins (like 3/8" to 1/2" dia) to allow the tank to move vertically smoothly. Upper blocks mounted to van underside somewhere with dowel pins sticking out facing the ground and a block on each end of the tank with clearance holes for the dowel pins and the all thread.

My need is to look stealth while parked in my driveway; the van cannot start looking like an RV or the neighborhood police will bust me, so the tank would be tucked out of site unless it's getting filled.

The would probably require a rubber propane hose, although copper or a flexy steel line may also work.
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:55 AM   #9
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

One issue with welding to the frame is potential damage to the ECM. Some consider this as unimportant to be too concerned about but following the manufacturers recommended practices can't hurt.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:30 AM   #10
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Re: mounting brackets to frame - weld or bolt?

For visual clarification (hopefully), here are my two options that I am looking at:

The first would be a simple frame mounted bracket. In this instance, I'd either weld the bracket directly to the frame, weld tabs so that it is removable, or use rivnuts on a piece of angle to accomplish the same thing:


My other option (thanks dhally for the moment of clarity!) is to bolt up a bracket to the floor. The bolts heads would end up buried under my floor system, but I really don't see that as being a problem.
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