Second Propane Tank

After running out of propane twice too often, I decided it was time to try to install a second tank. Other options were considered, including:

the "Extend-a-Stay" fitting for a BBQ tank. However this meant trying to fit the extender "tee" into the present copper lines, and having to find somewhere to carry the spare tank - OUTSIDE the van. That option was discounted.

fitting a "tee" into the original propane lines and fitting an adaptor for disposable propane cans. I didn't want to cut into the original lines, nor did I want to store propane canisters in the van.

On top of that, there were already mounting bolts under the sliding door side of the van where a second permanent tank could easily be fitted.

Cost for the project:
Second hand tank - $50
New regulator and fittings - $45
Approximately 8' of 3/8" copper line - left over from a previous project
Regulator protective cover - made out of scrap materials
2' of 2" X 1/8" strap steel - scrap

Click on the image to see it full size.

The Auxilliary Tank

Secondhand propane tank blasted and painted and with new regulator.

A new cover had to be made for the regulator out of aluminum and thermoplastic sheet..

Mounting straps are bolted to the top of the tank at the very outside ends. But that was plan 'A'! By mounting the tank to the outside bolts, it left the tank sticking too far out the side of the vehicle. So new holes were drilled and the tank mounted 2 1/2" further in.

Original Fittings

On the left, the original tank and fittings on the Westfalia. On the right, the new 'tee' in place.

The line from the second tank comes over the top of the original tank.

New Fitting

New 'tee' Fitting

The new 'tee' piece is a 3/8" MPT on one end with 3/8" flares on the other end and on the leg. It replaces the original fitting and it is only about 1/2" longer so the original pipe up through the floor didn't need bending.

The Original Seat Track Bolt

Luckily my van had floor tracks for an extra row of seats. Four of these bolts were used to hang the new tank. The short bolts were replaced with metric 10MX50mm (10mm by 2") allen head capscrews, and a washer and nut underneath the tank mounts.

New Track and Tank Mount Cap Screw

Mounting Measurements

I originally thought it would be simply a matter of hanging the tank on the new bolts now extending through the floor. Wrong!

The second hand tank I bought turned out to be off an older VW, and was shorter. The mounting holes were 15" wide and 7 5/8" across. The mounting bolts on the van were 14" wide and 11 3/4" across.

This required making new flat metal straps to mount the tank to. As well, the tank had to be moved 2 1/2" in from the outside edge of the van. The tank is bolted to the straps, then the strap bolted up under the van on the seat track bolts.

Auxilliary Tank Mounted

The tank is fitted, the regulator cover screwed in place.

The outlet line comes from an 90 degree elbow that runs up over the end of the tank.

Secondary Line

The new line runs up towards the van floor to keep it out of the way of road dirt from the front wheel. It also has plastic spiral wrap protection added (not shown). Eventually I plan to add a mud flap to the right side of the van.

The line is clamped in rubber tubing in three places between the crossmember and the gas tank.

The job wasn't as difficult as I expected, although it did take 2 days of fiddling and fitting. I followed the usual recommended safety precautions, and tested all connections with soapy water when finished.

The new tank holds 10 liters (about 2 gallons) of propane, slightly less than the other tank. But, now we should never run out of propane in the middle of cooking dinner miles from the nearest filling station.

The owner takes no responsibility for anyone else making these modifications.
Photos provided by owner. Contact the postmaster for permission for use.

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Last updated December 5, 2016

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