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Old 07-16-2020, 06:19 PM   #1
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Attaching propane directly to back door?

As Iíve been building out my van Iíve considered where to put the propane tank. Iíve got a small 5lb tank. It would fit underneath, but then changing it would be a pain, turning the tank on / off, looking at the pressure gauge, etc. I also considered bumpy roads and rocks flying up at the thing if it were underneath.

So Iím now thinking of attaching it to the back door, right to the door metal, with the attachment shown in the picture. Some washers, the attachment holds the tank snugly and I would ďreinforceĒ the tankís connection to the attachment with a bike lock - which would prevent theft and should the attachmentís strap give way, hold the propane tank in place until the problem was discovered.

In theory this would seem to work just fine. But we drive a lot of bumpy roads in this 2006 E350 which rattles enough already.

So what do you all think? Would this hold up? Any potential issues or failures Iím not considering? Any alternatives for back there that donít involve a $1200 bumper?
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:42 PM   #2
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My take on it was to buy a used underbody mounted tank. Refurbish it and make some brackets to mount it on the frame rail.
$80 for a tank. Wire wheel, 2 cans of spray paint, $20 maybe. Couple 6 packs as payment for a friend to weld.
Even if you had to pay someone to make brackets/weld, nowhere near 1200.
And much safer and more secure.
Lots of good info here on the subject. It’s what I followed to do mine.
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:48 PM   #3
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I have one of those on my VW Bus. I would scrape it / bottom out regularly. Maybe not as big of an issue on the Ford as it sits a bit higher? While we’ve never scraped the middle of the van, the back does catch some dirt when exploring dirt roads. No 4x4 or lift on ours, just the factory 2 wheel standard that came with it.

I did look I to that too, though, and it’s not out of the question but...would be interested to know if anyone’s tried mounting directly to the back door. Shouldn’t be too much weight for the hinges with a 5lb tank but wondering if those screws will be prone to “come out” or warp the metal over time.

Also considered a spare tire rack, the triangle type that bolt to the door and then into the hinges, and then getting a metal plate on there to attach this all.
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:56 PM   #4
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It has been done. People will argue having the propane tank mounted in such an exposed area is not a good idea.
Others will argue it will be fine!
You would want to use bolts with a backing plate inside the door to have a really solid mount. No reason it can’t work.
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:09 PM   #5
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I have a similar bracket for my 5# propane tank, mounted on the side of my teardrop camper with no issues whatsoever. The mounting bolts go through the teardrop wall:
  • .040 aluminum skin
  • 9 ply Baltic Birch



They also offer a 10# option, though I don't have one.



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Old 07-16-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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Timberline Vans put a 10 lb ish tank made for under mounting on my van with a remote fill port and a quick connect supply fitting at the rear bumper. I've seen the tanks and line kits on Amazon.
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUFFALO View Post
It has been done. People will argue having the propane tank mounted in such an exposed area is not a good idea.
Others will argue it will be fine!
You would want to use bolts with a backing plate inside the door to have a really solid mount. No reason it canít work.
This!!! ^^

Exactly half the people you talk to will say it's a horrible idea and the other half will say any other way is a horrible idea. I've seen it done many times and it's fine. It's the 'overlandy' thing to do these days to mount a small exposed tank on the back of every offroad vehicle. You'll be fine.

Do use sizable backing plates inside the rear door sheet metal, and use butyl tape around your through bolts.

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Old 07-16-2020, 08:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
It's the 'overlandy' thing to do these days to mount a small exposed tank on the back of every offroad vehicle. You'll be fine.

That's the best reason I've heard for mounting it underneath !!!
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Old 07-17-2020, 11:13 AM   #9
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I’m just concerned about the stability of the thing, so any argument that doesn’t like it being exposed—while understandably noted—isn’t really a concern for me. Airstreams and plenty of other travel trailers have their tanks outside and exposed, and while theft may be a concern, hopefully the bike lock will help prevent anyone who doesn’t have a screwdriver on them from stealing the whole setup.

Going to give it a swing and will report back.

Oh and backing plates and tape noted!
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Old 07-17-2020, 12:20 PM   #10
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I'm on the side that thinks putting the tank on the back could be an issue if your rear ended. Tailgater's already make me crazy, and if I had a propane tank back there, I'd be even more concerned. You might consider doing what Rally Panam did, and that's removing one rear window, installing a blank metal plate and mounting the tank to that. That way, even if you are rear ended, the tank would most likely be above the impact zone, and there's no reason it can't be mounted very securely.
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