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Propane Tank Refill Adapter (from 1lb bottles) - Review
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shepherdsond
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:03 pm    Post subject: Propane Tank Refill Adapter (from 1lb bottles) - Review Reply with quote

I just purchased and used this adapter from TheSamba classified adds:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1567630

The biggest drawback of the Westy propane system in my opinion is the inability to tell how much propane you have left. I have never found the stick on temperature gauges very easy to use (and they only work when the gas is being used anyway). This is not so much of a problem when just using the stove or fridge as the tank will last a long time but when you add a propex furnace there is a real risk of running out unless you are continually topping up which is quite inconvenient.

One solution is to install a second tank - but that involves a fair amount of work, expense and added weight and for a syncro adds something else to get hung up on or destroyed by a rock.

Another option is to install a deluxe extend-a-stay kit which allows you to hook up an external tank, or with the right fitting a 1lb disposable bottle - but fitting an extend-a-stay "T" onto the Westy tank is a fair amount of work and results in the regulator being located away from the protection of the tank guard. I purchased one but have not installed it for this reason.

The Propane Temp Refill Adapter is an attractive, simple and fairly economical solution as it offers the potential to top up the Westy tank from 1lb bottles. These bottles are safe and easy to carry and 1lb of propane should see you through a 2-3 hours of Propex use, and plenty ofcooking and fridge use. Two or three bottles would be enough for me to get by until I could fill up the tank in most circumstances, also I carry these bottles anyway for my BBQ. However, exchanging propane between tanks can be tricky so I was a little skeptical.

With this in mind I ordered an adapter from "monstersteve". It arrived promply - and did not fit. If you read the add closely, in spite of the fact that the picture is of a Vanagon, the $34.95 adapter is for the POL fitting presumably for the Eurovan. What you need for a Vanagon Westy is an ACME fitting and this costs $59 + shipping, quite a bit more.

This evening I received my replacement ACME adapter. After weighing a 1lb propane bottle I followed the instructions and first attached the ACME fitting (confusingly the instructions say that the thread is reversed but on my tank it is a regular clockwise tightening thread). Then I attached the 1lb bottle to the other end which immediately initiated a strange groaning sound from the tank. This went on for about 3 minutes after which the sound stopped, I shook the bottle a few times and disconnected it which resulted in a quick spray of propane from the gas left in the hose. I weighed the bottle again and it weighed almost exactly one pound less - Success!

In case it matters the temperature at the time was in the 40's and the tank was probably about half full. If I have any negative experiences with this adapter I will post them here but for now I will sleep happier knowing that I have an option if the Propex stops working before the coffee is ready.

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Last edited by shepherdsond on Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kbeefy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review.

Did you hold the can upside down while refilling? Did the instructions mention anything about that?
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shepherdsond
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have mentioned that, yes the bottle must be upside down and above the tank so the liquid propane can flow from one to the other.
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:37 pm    Post subject: Well, Good, But... Reply with quote

I'm glad you got it working! There is another way, though...

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3760766

That's my peace of mind, and all you do is leave the bottle connected.

Best!
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shepherdsond
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks pretty nifty although hard to replicate without more information. I looked at the bottom of my regulator and the only opening appears to be the vented opening of the diaphram. Maybe not all regulators have this option? An advantage of the adapter is that you dont have to leave a bottle attached after it is emptied.
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what is the best way to have both:

1. A refill option from an external tank

and

2. A fitting so you can extend a hose and cook outside on a grill/stove

???

Would this refill adapter work if you also had an Extend-A-Flow?
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Propane Tank Refill Adapter (from 1lb bottles) - Review Reply with quote

shepherdsond wrote:
I just purchased and used this adapter from TheSamba classified adds:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1567630


Thanks for the review - good to know that it really works.

I considered that item and got in touch with the seller. Yeah, you have too read the photo captions to see what a Vanagon needs to make it work. From the ad:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I think my inlet has both the external Acme threads (requiring the adaptor for an extra $60) and the internal POL threads (good to go for just the 40 bucks) but there is something screwed in there using those internal threads:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I assume that piece inside there is present for a pretty good reason - but lack a real understanding of the system. If it matters, this is a complete tank from GoWesty.

My questions: What is that piece inside the fitting? Is there a way to use those internal threads?

The difference between this being a $40 solution and a $100 solution is the difference (for me) of getting it or not.
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThankYouJerry wrote:
So what is the best way to have both:

1. A refill option from an external tank

and

2. A fitting so you can extend a hose and cook outside on a grill/stove

???

Would this refill adapter work if you also had an Extend-A-Flow?


The Extend-a-Stay is designed to plumb in a secondary tank so that appliances run directly off it. Since I already have an E-a-S installed, I'm more interested in an adapter to plumb in a 1lb. bottle with the supplied E-a-S hoses. Is this what you are asking also?
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singler3360 wrote:
ThankYouJerry wrote:
So what is the best way to have both:

1. A refill option from an external tank

and

2. A fitting so you can extend a hose and cook outside on a grill/stove

???

Would this refill adapter work if you also had an Extend-A-Flow?


The Extend-a-Stay is designed to plumb in a secondary tank so that appliances run directly off it. Since I already have an E-a-S installed, I'm more interested in an adapter to plumb in a 1lb. bottle with the supplied E-a-S hoses. Is this what you are asking also?


No. I want to run a grill outside me van ("Extend-a-Flow")... And be able to fill up my OEM Westy tank if need be from an extra 1-5 lb. tank like the OP's adapter does.

E-A-S and E-A-F are different.
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Last edited by ThankYouJerry on Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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shepherdsond
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "T" fitting in my E-a-S deluxe kit has an inlet for hooking up an outside cylinder and a high pressure pigtail that screws into this, the other end of the pigtail has a fitting that screws into a 1lb bottle so that you can run your system off a 1lb tank (or other kind of tank with the correct adapter) but it might also be possible to pour the contents of the bottle into the main tank through this hose. It is possible though that this would not work as the liquid gas might just go through the regulator into the rest of the system. Certainly there is nothing to stop you using this adapter with an E-a-S kit.
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monstersteve
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since it appears that there may be some confusion, it should be noted that the tanks fitted on buses, Vanagons and Eurovans differ. In other words, not all Vanagons have one type of fitting, not all buses have a particular fitting and so on. In addition, many originally fitted tanks have been replaced with aftermarket units. You have to look at your filler fitting to see if it has the POL (inner thread) or the ACME (outer thread) fitting. Unfortunately, the ACME fitting is a big brass sucker that is more expensive and costs more to ship. This ups the price of the adapter over $20. We are in the process of ordering more of the ACME fittings and should know more on this soon. Hope this helps.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my solution to the propane question. Acme to male/male hose to tee to 5 gallon tank and quick connect for outside appliance, shower, etc. All the parts cost about $100.00. I also have the adapter, pictured last, just in case I need to use one of the throw away bottles

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Negative Nellie Sez:

If you're going to carry a 1-5 gallon propane tank, why even bother with an EAS, and why even bother with a Westy propane tank refill kit?

You can hook a grill direct to the propane you're carrying in the 1-5 gallon portable tank.

And why on earth would I want to dangle a 1 pound propane bottle outside my westy? Thats just a stupid, risky, irresponsible, accident prone, BAD idea.

And if you want a backup for the times when the Westy propane tank runs dry, and you're going to carry the 1lb Propane bottle anyway, just bring a coleman stove along. Then you can even cook outside if you want..

Using a propane tank to fill the Westy propane tank, to power an EAS to run an outside grille, seems like going backwards to me.

So, if the goal is to run an outside grille, bring portable propane.
If the goal is to finish boiling water when the propane runs dry in the westy tank, bring portable propane and a stove. Even a small single burner that screws on top. Same for heat, a small Coleman Cat, powered by the same 1lb propane bottle, makes a good backup to a Propex that ran out of fuel.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John, your on fire the last couple days! Look over there, it's a viscous coupling:)

Primary reason is propex and a long stay someplace.

Jon_slider wrote:
Negative Nellie Sez:

If you're going to carry a 1-5 gallon propane tank, why even bother with an EAS, and why even bother with a Westy propane tank refill kit?

You can hook a grill direct to the propane you're carrying in the 1-5 gallon portable tank.

And why on earth would I want to dangle a 1 pound propane bottle outside my westy? Thats just a stupid, risky, irresponsible, accident prone, BAD idea.

And if you want a backup for the times when the Westy propane tank runs dry, and you're going to carry the 1lb Propane bottle anyway, just bring a coleman stove along. Then you can even cook outside if you want..

Using a propane tank to fill the Westy propane tank, to power an EAS to run an outside grille, seems like going backwards to me.

So, if the goal is to run an outside grille, bring portable propane.
If the goal is to finish boiling water when the propane runs dry in the westy tank, bring portable propane and a stove. Even a small single burner that screws on top. Same for heat, a small Coleman Cat, powered by the same 1lb propane bottle, makes a good backup to a Propex that ran out of fuel.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottShelley wrote:
John, your on fire the last couple days! Look over there, it's a viscous coupling:)

Primary reason is propex and a long stay someplace.


Thanks Scott Twisted Evil
Glad Your Solution does NOT involve Dangling a 1 pound bottle off the side of the van.. ask me how I really feel about that, some other time..

Your ability to pour a 1 lb bottle into the Westy tank is a great option for a Propex. You should tell Karl to start carrying the kit.

but, I heard a Propex wont work at altitude without a VC?.. will get back to you with a video link... LOL
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:09 pm    Post subject: Point of Clarification! Reply with quote

Just to note... I hardly 'dangle a bottle of propane' outside of Winston. The bottle rests on the ground, lets my system run off its contents, and when I want to drive off again--I disconnect it and stow it safely.

It can also be a 2 lb. bottle!

Shocked

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon_slider wrote:
...So, if the goal is to run an outside grille, bring portable propane.
If the goal is to finish boiling water when the propane runs dry in the westy tank, bring portable propane and a stove. Even a small single burner that screws on top. Same for heat, a small Coleman Cat, powered by the same 1lb propane bottle, makes a good backup to a Propex that ran out of fuel.


I considered it for the one thing I have no back-up for: refrigeration.

I have had the gas run out while preparing an evening meal miles from anywhere in a warm season. that usually means you lose all perishables by the time you get lp, even if it is just the next day.

a back-up would be useful but in the end I felt the cost [with the pricey acme adaptor] outweighed the benefit of this rather rare occurrence.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I added a hookup for a small propane bottle after I switched to the 12 volt fridge, in my case a Vitrifrigo. The now unused fridge propane port was an easy spot to add a place for a green bottle. We often camp where there are no tables provided and my wife cooks most meals inside our vans by her choice. On a turkey day trip to Anza Borrego she was making a big pot of soup when the propane ran out. It was cold and windy outside that night and the desert wind would have been a problem for our portable single burner stove as well as for my wife. In 3 minutes I had the green bottle up and running, standing on the ground behind the driver door. Our setup uses a small regulator on the green bottle so the line hookup is a low pressure one to the appliance line tee.

Mark
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon

The real question is if the Propex will work without the rear wheels spinning?

Jon_slider wrote:
ScottShelley wrote:
John, your on fire the last couple days! Look over there, it's a viscous coupling:)

Primary reason is propex and a long stay someplace.


Thanks Scott Twisted Evil
Glad Your Solution does NOT involve Dangling a 1 pound bottle off the side of the van.. ask me how I really feel about that, some other time..

Your ability to pour a 1 lb bottle into the Westy tank is a great option for a Propex. You should tell Karl to start carrying the kit.

but, I heard a Propex wont work at altitude without a VC?.. will get back to you with a video link... LOL
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my solution to always having a propane source backup for my van.

First, since we "Winter" camp a lot I installed another GoWesty propane tank for the passenger side.

I plumbed them together using 1/4" Copper tubing. This size will just barely fit between the floor and frame rails. Since I removed the Dometic fridge I used that (4)four way connection off the main tank for the aux tank connection.

I then purchased a "TEE" for the aux tank and added a quick connect. Usage of propane between the (2)two permanent tanks is seamless and each tanks regulator is in use. Just turn one on and the other off.

Then with a aux regulator, hose, and some fittings you are now able to connect to any size propane bottle you can find. You can also use a hose connection for outside propane sources if you require, and that is regulated from either mounted tanks system.

Rather than using the bottle to fill the tank, I just hook on a 1lb bottle for emergency or when needed. With my Propex HS2800, 1lb will last a little over 2 hours at full blast at 9700 btu. Even in below zero 0F it will still cycle and run a few hours. TESTED Wink

I always carry a couple 1lb bottles, in the van, for the barbie grille so I have a backup if my main tanks ever run out. The Aux (passenger side) tank has pretty much become the (main) tank. It is easy to reach down under the door and turn it on and off rather than go to the other side. Plus when it runs out I just turn on the other tank and then get them both filled when back in town. Since the 1lb bottles can be found just about anywhere they make a great emergency source for propane if you cannot find a propane distributor.

My son calls his van home and has spent winters in Breckenridge and lived in Alaska. We plumbed a 5gal tank on his rear bumper tray for continued propane usage. (a -8F morning) Shocked

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Here is the connection showing the tubing running to the rear, through the gaps between the floor and frame rails (used silicone for vibration protection) then over to the other tank.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here is the quick connect on the Aux tank.
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And here is the hose/regulator, and adapters for the different propane sources.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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