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Old 06-09-2011, 10:56 AM   #1
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DIY Propane tank installation with access door help needed

I'm planning to install my own propane tank on the 2009 E250 RB and would like to get it as high as possible, which means I'll need an access door. The other alternative is to mount the tank low enough to access the valves under the body panel, but this puts the tank as low or lower than the gas tank, which seems like a bad idea near the edge of the van.

The tank is 10" diameter and there is about 12" of space between the frame rail and the inner body panel. The emergency brake cable is very close to being in the way. I think I've got it figured out, but there are a few questions in my mind. Can anybody help with advice or maybe some pictures of similar installation?

1. The e-brake cable mounts to a bracket on the frame just in front of the rear wheel well. This bracket has two holes in it. The e-brake cable is mounted to the lower of the two holes, but it seems like I could relocate it to the upper hole to raise up the cable and make a little more room. Do some of the vans have the brake cable in the upper hole? Would there be any problems relocating the cable up ?

2. Should the propane tank support brackets just be bolted up through the floor of the van?

3. Does the tank need any sideways braces? The brackets that come with the tank only provide vertical support

4. The inner body panel will need to have a hole cut in it, at least big enough for the propane valves to clear. Or should the hole be bigger so part of the tank itself is into the inner body panel?

5. Currently the inner body panel is sealed to the outer body panel. Once I cut a hole in the inner panel, it will allow water and dirt to get into this space. Do I need to install a gasket or flashing in between the inner and outer body panels to keep stuff out?

6. I will probably have to cut off part of the rock shield that comes on the tank under the propane valves. How much rock shield should be left on the tank?

7. A previous post mentioned that the rock shield is attached to the inner body panel. Any ideas on how to do this?

8. There are two lengths of tanks available - 23" and 32" (5.5 gallon and 7.9 gallon). For the longer tank it looks like the rear mounting point will be very close to the fuel filler opening in the floor. Any advice on where this rear mounting bracket should attach to the floor?

Reading the above it seems like a lot of questions for a simple install. any help or pictures would be much appreciated. Or maybe there's a forum member in the NW I could hook up with to look at their installation?

Cheers!

READY TO BE CUT:



DESIRED RESULT:

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Old 06-09-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

If you haven't seen it already I'd suggest reading through this page from my build.
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...3336&start=240

You'd be cutting into the rocker panel from both sides. Adding a water tight door to the outside is doable. It's keeping the inside where you have the tank valves protruding into this space water tight is where I'd worry.

Good luck. It was the complexities of the DIY propane install that made me decide on something different.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVvan
If you haven't seen it already I'd suggest reading through this page from my build.
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...3336&start=240
Thanks for the linky. I remember your incredibly detailed posting on the diesel tank install, but didn't think about it since it was diesel... Your photos and ideas will be very helpful since the tanks are similar sizes and go in the same spot.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:13 PM   #4
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DIY Propane tank installation with access door help needed

Is it possible to have a remote filler somewhere? I'm only asking because my F150's propane tank (motor fuel) was under the box and the filler neck was in the fuel door.
Or how about mounting it on the right side and having the filler in the step accessible through an open side door? There is enough room on the right side for 2 batteries, LPG tank and more.
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:22 PM   #5
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver350
Is it possible to have a remote filler somewhere? I'm only asking because my F150's propane tank (motor fuel) was under the box and the filler neck was in the fuel door.
Or how about mounting it on the right side and having the filler in the step accessible through an open side door? There is enough room on the right side for 2 batteries, LPG tank and more.
A remote filler is an option. However. If the tank is inaccessible I would need to add a remote electrical shut-off valve and a remote level indicator. This would mean more wiring and potential problems. In addition, the electrical shut-off valve draws a current which would add to my house battery load all the time we're camping.

There's nowhere near as much vertical room on the passenger side due to the step. If I mount the tank on the passenger side it would probably need to be dropped down at least 4".
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:34 PM   #6
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

I was thinking about behind the step with access through the vertical part of the step. The frame is pretty clear on that side as well.
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:52 PM   #7
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

Problem with that location is if the valves leak it gasses inside the van.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

I've been scouring the web trying to find pictures of propane access door installations. Managed to find a few, but nothing showing the underside or how the inner sheet metal would need to be cut and sealed.


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Old 06-20-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

Still no inside or underside detail, but here's my only picture of a propane door installation (not my van):



It's a Manchester Tank #6815 (8 gallon).

Cheers,
Mike.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:00 PM   #10
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Re: DIY Propane tank installation with access door help need

That's a nice photo. It looks like there are some mounting screws missing from the access door frame, on the lower edge.

I keep telling myself to go ahead and start cutting, if I mess it up a body shop can fix it no problemo....
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