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Old 12-26-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
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Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Steve just wrote me a question about the Propex I am about to install. I have all the parts ready and am just waiting for the weather to break or some garage space to open up next week so I can hang the tank. Been very excited about this, but something happened yesterday that gave me pause.

Yesterday, I was coming through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, where they *always* stop my van to inspect it. That's where I first realized I really needed to get the "parkway windows" installed, as they're really inspecting for commercial vehicles disguised as passenger. They never inspect me at the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels, for what that's worth.

Anyway, during the inspection, they asked me, as always, about the Aluminess box on the back. I said "it's a generator box. want me to open it?" they said no, but asked about propane. I said I had not but, now that they mentioned it, I said I had a question, and asked about taking propane through the tunnels if I had a tank mounted permanently under the vehicle. I wanted to know for sure.

They said it was not allowed because, if there were a vehicle fire, etc etc etc. I said thanks and moved on my way. Those tunnel authority guys are generally pretty decent types.

Anyway, I was thinking about my imminent Propex heater install and started weighing the pros and cons. I have been planning this for a while. I have all the parts and had been planning on hanging the tank next week, then doing the interior and venting work in early January. I do a lot of business and traveling through the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. I live in southern Manhattan. I started thinking about whether or not I could install it a little higher, essentially hiding the tank from view. This is a bit of a hassle and, if lied about it IF they were to ask me, would not be good, even though they never stop me at the Holland or Lincoln.

I started to think about installing the Propex, but carrying a round 20 pound cylinder in the vehicle, but I really don't want to carry a propane cylinder around inside the truck.

So, I intend to go ahead with it for now, but I'm a little hesitant. For going to Brooklyn or Queens, it's not such a big deal. There are lots of bridges. For the other tunnels, or for the Queens/Midtown Tunnel, I'd really be put out in a big way and I'm wondering whether it's worth it. Basically, I'd have to take the George Washington Bridge's upper level every time I wanted to go to New Jersey. That's 9 miles from me, as opposed to the Holland Tunnel, which is a mile.

Then I thought I could sell the Propex and tank, which are new, and go the Webasto route, but that's more money and the install seems daunting. Hats off to WV Van, whose install thread has been the best reading of the winter for me. I'm not sure I could handle that.

Anyway, I'm a little hesitant now. Trying to figure out what to do .

Should I just plunge ahead and take my chances or re-think the whole thing?

Thanks for listening.

Paul
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Hey Paul,
You've found the second of the two reasons I didn't go with propane. Travel restrictions.
My only suggestion is with the way things are today, TSA grabbing your junk before you can fly etc..., I wouldn't even think about lying to the security guys at the entrance to a tunnel. You might get away with it 99 times but on the 100 time if they catch you you're now a terrorist. You could even be put on the No-Fly list. Don't think I'm kidding. These are crazy days when it comes to civil liberties.
Something to think about.
Good luck.
Dave
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:04 PM   #3
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Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

@WVvan
May I ask what was your first reason? I must have missed it in another thread.

Wife just got me the heatmate5200 and excited about the build around it, but was also planking on making room for Prodex later.
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:49 PM   #4
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Quote:
May I ask what was your first reason?
Sure. I'm trying to do as much DIY as possible and I wouldn't trust myself on pressured gas piping. Not the kind a thing I'd want to take a chance on.
Running a fuel line for kerosene seems a lot safer.
Of course if I was having a professional do the install it'd be a different story.

In the immortal words of Inspector Harry Callahan in Magnum Force.
"A man's got to know his limitations."
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockman
...Wife just got me the heatmate5200 and excited about the build around it...
that's an easy addition to any camp kitchen. my wife and i enjoy ours.
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:40 PM   #6
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Dave and everybody else, I am actually okay with the piping. It's not that complex, plus I'd already found a guy in Long Island - an RV place - that was willing to inspect it and make sure it's up to spec.

I just have to decide now whether this install is worth severely limiting my mobility.

Obviously, I should have researched this a little bit harder, but I can be impulsive sometimes.

Seeing as there's a blizzard outside, it's a good day to contemplate what my next move should be.
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:57 PM   #7
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Wait, what about that large tank of highly flammable gasoline under your vehicle and just about everyone else's?
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:49 PM   #8
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

That may be true, but it doesn't get me anywhere to debate the regulations at this point.

I am going to think on it for a few days.

It may be worth it for me to just do it and take the extra driving in stride.

I don't want to carry a propane tank around inside the van, although I have thought of it.
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:01 PM   #9
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Hey Paul,
I know you wrote it's a extra 9 miles but in NYC what does that translate to in time?
Just curious,
Dave
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:22 AM   #10
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Re: Propane, Tunnels, and is my Propex install worth the hassle?

Dave,

It depends on where you're going and on what time of day it is.

I'm near the West Side Highway. On a good day, I can jump on that and be up at the GW Bridge in under 15 minutes. Not bad, eh? Well, if I have to get to some place across the Hudson River from me, I then have to drive back DOWN the river on the Jersey side. In contrast, the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels would take me right across. And that's on a good day. At rush hour or a busy time, you can double or triple that time.

Long Island becomes tough, as well, because of the Queens/Midtown tunnel, but there are more ways around that and I don't go to Long Island very often.

Still, it's something to consider.

For now, I have to get to Jersey today for a wake and I'm not even thinking of driving after this blizzard. I'm just hoping the trains are running.

Paul
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