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Propane Distro Manifold and Rust Prev (Pic's & Humor)
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nod7
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Joined: July 14, 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:46 pm    Post subject: Propane Distro Manifold and Rust Prev (Pic's & Humor) Reply with quote

It's been in the plan to re-do how my regulator was mounted and to design/implement a anchored propane distribution manifold. While doing that I figured I may as well get some stone guard or undercoating on the propane tank since no paint lasts long getting sand blasted down there. It's like the fastlane to rust city. I already had it starting in spots on mine.

Before I begin, I have to say, this was one of the most frustrating projects I've done up to this point. Yes, wrestling the propane tank and it's mounting system around those dang A/C pipes is a hassle but, that's not it. It was the challenge of finding the right fittings to do what I wanted. You can get your basic elbows etc. from Home Depot or Lowe's but, specialty pipe fitting parts take special shops (I found that "Sure Marine" in Seattle was a good source). For some reason, I couldn't get it in my had that this stuff is "Plumbing supplies". I kept looking at shops that did propane stoves and fireplaces etc. There's probably lots of "Plumbing" stores that carry what I was having a hard time finding at "Stove & Spa" stores but, by the time it set in that these were "Plumbing Supplies", It was Sunday and none of them were open. I ended up using a 90 degree elbow I bought from the hardware store instead of two 45's that would only be at a specialty store. Turns out, the 45's wouldn't have worked anyhow.

OK nuff about that.

Here's a thread about the propane tank I'm using; http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=438047&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I bought a ton of brass fittings while doing this project then just returned what I didn't use. If you can afford it, this is the best route to go. Trust me when I say, buy it if you think you might need it. I have no idea how many times I went back to the store to get piece I saw. One thing to note here is this stuff gets spendy quick and I began to think brass was more like gold.

Manifold
Here's my original design for a manifold. You can see the Bulkhead pass-through. It's the part with the steel washer is around it. This was key to the whole design. I found it at Sure Marine in Seattle. None of the hardware stores had anything even close.
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Here's a picture of the tank with the Wurth Stone guard on it. Comes out with a nice texture. If your good with paint (I'm not) you can actually coat it thicker on your first application and it will have less texture. After it was dried I used some Contact Cement to put the stickers back on and then coated them with a layer of lacquer for good measure.
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Here's the stuff:
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Here's what I used on the brackets that hold the tank:
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And here they are after paint. If I had it to do over again, I would have just used Worth Stone Guard on them. Originally I was thinking they are coated with zinc so they don't need the extra protection but, even though this hammered paint is tough, I'm sure it will get sand blasted off and zinc will eventually get eaten and the rust will settle in on the metal. You'll see in later pictures that some of the paint got chipped off during mounting. I have to go back and put a coat of touch up on it using a small brush. It's on my future to-do list to stone guard em. But, I'm not wrestling that tank again for a while. ugh.
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Those of you who've read my other post about the propane tank mounting may recall some conversation about putting some rubber or PVC between the tank and the belly of the van. Here's what I found to do that job:
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Here it is laying by the tank before mounting:
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Metal Plate
Designing this metal plate that the bulkhead pass-through is mounted on took the longest. I used Cereal box cardboard to make the template (three different times). I took the original plate that was there for the copper pipes to pass through off and removed the foam gasket that was there as well. I cut the cardboard to size. Then, I held the cardboard template up against the mounting point and I used a ice pick to poke the screw holes through it. I screwed it in and went inside the van into the cabinet area by the fridge. I set the bulkhead pass-through on the cardboard and traced its outline with Sharpee. I then cut out the outline and mounted the bulkhead pass-through on the cardboard. Screwd the template back onto the van to test it.

Easy right? Nope. Here's why; You have to then attach fittings & pipes to the pass-through, remount your propane tank and see if there's room. Then do it a second time cause there isn't room for the pipes to get around the tank. Then do it a third because there wasn't enough room on the second one either. Only this time, you make a couple small cuts in the metal of the van and bend the the metal back to make the hole slightly bigger so there's room for the bulkhead pass-through nut. I did a careful, thoughtful job here. No hack and slash. The type of work you wouldn't be afraid to show others if the whole thing got dismantled. Once you've got the template perfect, Lay it on a fairly thick piece of aluminum and drill out the screw holes and the hole for the pass-through and do it all over again. YAY! Where's a nice fork to poke me in the eye with?

Here it is from underneath the van:
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Here it is from inside:
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Here's what the bottom ended up looking like. :
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You'll notice that for some connections I used pipe thread tape an others I used pipe dope. This was due to me learning of pipe dope late in the game. Not just any pipe dope. Rectorseal brand pipe thread sealant. (Make sure you remember the name properly before going to the store to get some. They look at you funny when you ask for "Rectumseal") This is the best stuff out there. So I've read anyhow. I liked working with it and didn't have to redo a single thread that I applied it to. Another advantage is if you undo or even turn back a fitting you're screwing in with pipe thread tape, you have to redo the whole shot. Not with this stuff. It lubricates too. I just makes the whole process easier
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And here's what the inside ended up looking like. I have one extra flare connecter for the inside and one extra for the outside. The inside I'll use to connect a Propex and the outside is for the 4 stroke propane battery charger I'm building. Both ends have caps on them atm:
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In the above picture you'll notice the foam around the base. Here's a picture of what I used. The name of it is "Great Stuff" made by 3M. They should have called it "Great Evil" or just "The Devil". A little bit of advice here; Think about where you are going to apply it. Make sure everything is ready for you to apply it. For instance, make sure you have tightened all the fittings and screws and Oh Yes, applied the needed washers where they go cuase undoing this crap once you've applied it is like releasing the devil. It sticks to whatever it touches. Your screwdriver, your fingers, the side of your van. Your hair cause you set the can down and a blob fell to the ground which you promptly set your head in.... I still cry myself to sleep and have bad dreams....
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Here's the final pic of the inside:
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And here's the outside. I changed over to a direct connect pigtail to connect my regulator. I used a soft nose with a ball in it for good sealing and extra safety. It sits on there tight but, I was nervous about how long the regulator is. The vibration of the vehicle cuasing it to wobble even small amounts could eventually cuase a leak. So, I put a piece of the shower/rubber/pvc stuff between the guard ledge and the regulator. Makes it sit even tighter. It also offers a second point of stability and absorbs vibration. Also of note here; The vent of your regulator should be facing down or at least not into the wind. my previous design didn't allow for that but, now you'll notice I have the shield on the regulator and the vent is facing towards the rear.
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Here's what it used to look like:
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I have to say, I'm glad that project is done. This has been one of those projects that, after it's completed, you ask yourself, if you knew how hard it was going to be ahead of time, would you have still done it?

nod7


Last edited by nod7 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:05 am; edited 20 times in total
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nod7
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to go with an Atwood furnace instead of Propex. I bought a new Atwood heater for cheap ($349) from these guys; http://www.panther-rvproducts.com/Everest-Star-Furnace-8012-II-8012-II.htm So, The first additon to the manafold is comming soon. I intend to install it like is done on this post; http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3680085&highlight=deal+12000btu+++amps#3680085 I'll update with pictures etc.

-nod7
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Last edited by nod7 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DAMN that's a good price for a new propane heater, and the new models are more efficient than the ones I pulled from old campers.
what was your experiance with the Panther RV products?

and why did you go with the 12k vs the 18k btu model?
my brother has a 16K he'd up'd to after a 12k and it recovers better when the door is opened..

I have a 16k BTU to install with my busdepot big tank for our project camper.



nod7 wrote:
I decided to go with an Atwood furnace instead of Propex. I bought a new Atwood heater for cheap ($340) from these guys; http://www.panther-rvproducts.com/Everest-Star-Furnace-7912-II-7912-II.htm So, The first additon to the manafold is comming soon. I intend to install it like is done on this post; http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3680085&highlight=deal+12000btu+++amps#3680085 I'll update with pictures etc.

-nod7
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nod7
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ACK! my bad, I've edited the above link to point to the correct model I purchased. For me it was more a question of Amps rather then BTUs. I went for the 8012 because of it's lower draw of 1.8Amps.

Panther RV was easy to work with. I found their ebay ad then followed that to thier site because I was curious if they would be cheaper off their site. They were. And they are close by the Seatte area, Vancouver.

-nod7
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J Charlton Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:22 pm    Post subject: furnace Reply with quote

The manual below gives me some ideas about the possibility of the furnace being mounted under the rear seat witha side discharge ... hmmm ... great price

http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/furnaces/MPD%2032072%20SP%201.08.pdf
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kuleinc
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any more info on that bulkhead fitting? Can't find one any where...
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ShowaBraun
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use "brass bulkhead fitting" as a search term in the Google.

Here's Sure Marine's page itself:
http://www.suremarineservice.com/npt-brass-thru-bulk-head-fitting.aspx

Nice modification!
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