When I started to investigate a propane tank installation, the first question was where I would mount it. The second and bigger question was where to get one. Covid and/or the Van craze made it very hard to find a tank for purchase. Just one more thing that was difficult to find in the madness, Luckily, I found a guy offering one the Transit forum and it kind of solved both problems. He had already made some custom brackets to mount it under the back of the van. The unit was a GoWesty 5.9-gallon tank
The best part was the brackets for mounting were already made, these brackets would mount to existing are two M12-1.75 threaded holes in the frame. This puts the propane tank between the first two cross members behind the differential, centered between the frame members.
A couple of problems with this location is that it pretty much out of reach, so I need to add a 12-volt high pressure solenoid valve. The unit came with a 24-volt valve, so I just needed to swap that over. I could have probably just saved myself some plumbing and just switched over the solenoid part. I replaced the whole unit and added some wires for the harness. I intend to use a Deutsch DT Series 4 pin connector connectors. The solenoid for the connect valve will be turned on by a switch on my electrical panel. The switch is conveniently located by the two appliances that will need propane. The power for the solenoid is also run through an engine off circuit. If the vehicle is running the output of the switch is disconnected.
Next was to wire in the propane gauge, this was also included in the purchase. It is the standard Manchester Tank G12846 LP Gas Tanks 90 OHM Remote Sender
. These wires have no actual polarity and will go to the tank input of the Victron Cerbo Unit. This will be a nonstandard tank setup, I set the empty level to 0 ohms and the full to be 90 ohms.
With some wrangling I was able to get the tank up into place and bolted in
Now I just need to wire the other side of the Deutsch connector up to the Propane on switch and the Cerbo Gx. The first step was to find a location to go through the floor. The electrical stuff is on the passenger side of the van, so I went thru right after my battery. My standard practice is to use a cable gland, the first step is to map out location and drill a pilot hole. After that I get out the hole saw and cut a hole large enough to fit the back nut of the cable gland. Need to be careful to just cut out the wood floor and insulation. When that is done, I finish drilling out the floor to fit the cable gland. Clean the burrs and spray a shot of primer over the new hole. I Generally use a socket that will fit the hole and hold down the nut, I use a wire up thru the socket so I can pull from below and screw the gland in and tighten it up. I use some butyl rubber as a gasket. Now I just check for wire length and make the male end of the DT 4 pin Deutsch Connector. Now it is just a process of running the cable through and tightening the gland.
Two of the four wires go to the Cerbo for the tank measurement, the other two are power and ground for the gas valve solenoid. This will be run to a switch on my control panel.
Now I need to finish the propane lines to the Truma Combi Eco Plus and the Stove/Oven. This will be making flair joints and the appropriate bends. I have chosen to go from the passenger side (Stove/Oven) to the driver side (Truma Combi). I will up and over the muffler heat shield, I will also run the tubing thru its own heat shield. I will run a T back the propane tank. First, we have the connection to the stove.
And the other propane device is the Truma Combi Eco Plus. These will be the only two connections inside of the van. All other connections such as elbows and tees will be outside of the van.
The two different devices tee together and head back to the tank.
At this point is was time to get ready to test the thing. First I decided it would be good to install the CO/Propane detector before proceeding any further. I found a nice compact unit that is flush mount from RVsafe.
While this was a new install, they make a couple of different size plates for replacement purposes. In any advent it is a simple two wire hookup. I also had to wire in the switch to turn on the propane and of course the tank gauge needed to be wired to the Cerbo GX. The Cerbo uses some pressure release connectors, while these are simple to use, I find ferrules are pretty much needed. I think you need at least a 12mm long.
The above screen you can see the red flame indicating my propane solenoid is on. You can also see that the tank is being seen by the Victron Cerbo.
The CO/Propane detector is up and running.
The next step is to check for leaks. To this we will go with standard bubble detection and an electronic detector.
I had to redo one flair joint, this was done under the van, and I think I didn’t have the jig tight enough. All in all, everything checks out OK, so it is time to test the stove and Truma Combi. The stove is easy to test, turn the burner knob to light (it turns red) and turn the piezo lighter knob.
Now I move to the Truma Combi, I change the fuel dial to propane only and turn on the heat. After some time I get a couple of error codes that show up E112 and E212. Both point to the gas valve possibly being turned off. I get out the documentation so I can find the switch for the gas valve in the Truma Combi. Success, the switch was off. I turn it on and cycle the unit again, the next thing I know the unit is blowing hot air.
The next problem will be filling the tank. While it might be possible to find someone crawl under the van to fill it, I decided to go with a remote fill kit, I found one at Nash Fuel. I happily put my order in on an item they said they had in stock; they promptly reported the shipping label had been created and was waiting pickup from USPS. A month and a half later the item was finally shipped out.
The kit contains a bracket to mount the new fill and bleeder valve extensions remotely to a more convenient position. I found a couple of videos of installations on transits on the web, both of these installed the remote fill on the back bumper. They were both extended Transits like mine, I chose to move mine to the side. The one video complained of not having instructions, maybe they were put up after the video but the Nash Fuel site does have instructions, they don’t get shipped with instruction in the box. I also found that if you twist the connectors the correct direction they go on the hose pretty easy. I am already to do the hook up, but we need to burn off some propane first.