Refilling Propane Tanks - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-17-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
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Refilling Propane Tanks

We have two 30 gallon propane tanks in the tongue compartment on the Bigfoot 17 that are still full since the trailer was purchased several weeks ago. Removing the tanks when they are empty should not be a problem, but reinstalling them after filling them will be a challenge, especially after putting a second battery in there.

Is removing the tanks the most common and practical way of refilling? If so, the Lite Cylinder solution seems like the best option.

Or, is pulling the trailer up to a propane station a viable permanent solution?

Thanks, Roger
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:47 PM   #2
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I encountered a place in Pahrump, NV that would not fill my tank while on the trailer. I really didn't need propane it was simply cheaper there. I opted not to purchase their propane as I wasn't about to remove my tank. I continued on my trip and at a later date found a dealer who would fill the tank without removing it from my trailer.

If you've got 2 tanks, what I'd do after one has been emptied, is find someone who would fill it while on the trailer. You've got the second tank to use in the mean time. Unless you boondock and use the furnace a lot, you don't really need 2 tanks.

I've run off 1 tank for a month using refridge and furnace nearly the entire time boondocking/dry camping.

My single tank lasted 3 1/2 months while connected to electricity 1/2 the time and boondocking/dry camping 1/2 the time. I nearly always cook and hardly ever eat out.

Forgot to say, my tank is a 5 gallon/20 lb. tank.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:11 PM   #3
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Rare occurance

We rarely have to refill our single tank, I would guess every 2 or 3 months. Part of the reason is that we tend towards warm climates in the winter and hardly ever run our propane furnace.

When we do refill we release the clamp and carry it off.

I can see it's a bigger problem on the Bigfoot with enclosed and larger tanks. If it were my rig, I would consider eliminating one of the large tanks, making more room for the additional battery.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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I really wish Bigfoot would redesign that tank cover. This thread has hit on three points:

1. It is difficult to remove and replace the tanks
2. It is difficult to refill the tanks without removing them
3. There is not enough room for a second battery

I want to add a forth point:

4. The design of the lid or compartment door on top causes any rain or melting snow to run in around the edge of the door and drip directly on top of the battery
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:58 PM   #5
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I have Bigfoot 21RB 2008 and think that both trailer tank covers are the same. Recently, I modified LP tanks installation from two steel 30lb tanks to two 25lb propane fiberglass ones. (http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/new-batteries-and-fiberglass-tanks-for-bigfoot-21rb-48989.html). For me the issue was the weight and awkwardness of removing steel tanks but had no issue with removal clearance. Two batteries located behind LP tanks with Bigfoot 2008 tray design have no problem with clearance. I can envision that two batteries in front of LP tanks could set tanks farther back causing removal clearance problem. Perhaps Bigfoot has recognized the problems and lowered the tray for 2008 model.

George.
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:09 PM   #6
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There are some propane companies that make the rounds of the RV parks (as is the case here in Camp Verde, AZ) and fill right at your site. You could always ask about it at whatever park you're in.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:37 PM   #7
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I've never seen the tanks refilled on the trailer. Everywhere I've ever filled any propane tank they always fill the tank while it sits on a scale.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg H View Post
I've never seen the tanks refilled on the trailer. Everywhere I've ever filled any propane tank they always fill the tank while it sits on a scale.
There are some places in this country that like to rip you off when filling a propane tank. Places like you're talking about use the scales as a measure when the tank if full, and they charge a flat rate for filling. So far I've been able to mostly avoid those places and fill at metered place that charge you for only what they put into your tank. Sometimes you have to ask around a bit, which I did in Orange, TX.
There was a place in NV that would only do an exchange at $26.00, forget that. I got it filled a few miles away for less than $10.00. The highest I've paid was one those flat rate place where I would have needed to drive about 100 miles to find a metered place was $18.00 in Alpine, TX.
Also most states require the 5 gallon (20lb) tanks removed to be filled. Larger tanks, like those on motor homes can't, are filled without removal. I don't know where the size limit is.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:36 PM   #9
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I've never purchased propane by weight.

It's always been filled from a pump like a gas pump with a spinning dial registering the gallons.

The only reason I was asked to take the tank off the trailer was for safety reasons. But as I said that was just once in 11 years of filling my propane tank.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:44 PM   #10
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What excellent feedback!

So removing or leaving the tanks in place are both viable options depending on preference and what's available it seems.

After posting I went out and removed the tanks and moved back the dual tank tray fastened to the tongue brace gaining a 1/2" in front. Removal is tight but doable but like George says dual batteries in front could cause a problem. After topping off the tanks I'll have a better idea of the weight I'm dealing with. The more I think about it, the more sense fiberglass tanks make. Perhaps it has something to do with - this is a Fiberglass RV forum?

As for the nose design my 2006 17 looks similar to George's 2008 21. The dims are 33.5L x 21H x 11"W at the front. That custom battery/propane tank design is sweet, but I'll stick to the original plan of dual batteries in front for now.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy A View Post
I've never purchased propane by weight.

It's always been filled from a pump like a gas pump with a spinning dial registering the gallons.

The only reason I was asked to take the tank off the trailer was for safety reasons. But as I said that was just once in 11 years of filling my propane tank.

I was pretty luck too for a few years and managed to leave the tank on the trailer while being filled. That all changed about 3 years ago, Oregon, California, and Nevada now require the tank to be removed before filling. I don't know about other states. I just remove it now. I managed to not remove it once in CA at Death Valley when I couldn't get the bolts lose. The attendant and I both knew we were taking a small chance that somebody would catch us. I've now fixed that and have an electric screw driver dedicated to removing the tank when filling is needed. When in Big Bend TX it was easier to remove the tank than to move the trailer both times I needed filled, and both times I paid a flat rate. With outside temperatures sub teen you did what you need to do and next closest place to get it filled was about 200 miles away.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:41 AM   #12
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Here in western Wisconsin I go to a little farmers coop for propane. I have to remove the propane tank from the trailer or my vehicle to be filled. If I am transporting the propane in the back of my pickup I have to tie off the full tank in an upright position before transporting off the site . When I pay for the propane I am given a safety pamphlet on use and storage of propane and I must sign a sheet saying they gave me and explained the pamphlet . They also check the date on the tank and will not fill any tank over a certain age without a safety check or any tank without a OPD
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
There are some places in this country that like to rip you off when filling a propane tank. Places like you're talking about use the scales as a measure when the tank if full, and they charge a flat rate for filling. So far I've been able to mostly avoid those places and fill at metered place that charge you for only what they put into your tank. Sometimes you have to ask around a bit, which I did in Orange, TX.
There was a place in NV that would only do an exchange at $26.00, forget that. I got it filled a few miles away for less than $10.00. The highest I've paid was one those flat rate place where I would have needed to drive about 100 miles to find a metered place was $18.00 in Alpine, TX.
Also most states require the 5 gallon (20lb) tanks removed to be filled. Larger tanks, like those on motor homes can't, are filled without removal. I don't know where the size limit is.
I lived 60 miles south of Alpine when I was in Texas. I like the scales which also gives you a gallon reading, flat rate I believe is bad because if your tank is not completely empty then you are paying for gas that you bought the last time.
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:20 PM   #14
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I called the Auto Club about RV propane tanks and two people couldn't help me. I called a local propane service station and they will refill tanks either on or off the RV. The only limitation is whether the RV will fit into their lot. Ditto for UHaul. Both stations charge by the gallon just like a regular gas station.

A search for the California Code on propane came up empty also although I didn't spend a lot of time on it. It's good to know the option is available here in the greater LA area if needed.
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