Dual LPG tank & 6v battery upgrade with puck lock - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-13-2020, 01:36 PM   #1
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Dual LPG tank & 6v battery upgrade with puck lock

Our Hymer came with a single 20lb LPG tank and 12 volt ~100Ah AGM battery. The battery was worthless from the start. And knowing I’d want to add capacity later, I didn’t even bother asking the dealer (1400 miles away…) to replace it.

After a lot of reading, soul searching and thinking ahead about adding solar, I went with two Crown CR-260 batteries in a Moeller Marine battery box and a second 20lb LPG tank. And since I’d be fabricating mounts for both, I went all-in to secure everything with a single lock.

LPG: I toyed with more space-efficient upgrades using a single 30 or 40 pound tank. But the simplicity and ubiquity of two 20lb tanks won me over. Plus I already had them. 20lb tanks and mounts are cheap and readily available. While I do prefer to keep and refill my tanks instead of exchange them, it’s nice to have the option to do either in a pinch. The 20lb size makes that a lot easier. I drilled a few holes into a $22 tank rack and just bolted it to the mount that held the (awful) OEM holder. I

Batteries: The CR-260s are just under an inch taller than the ubiquitous 6v deep cycle golf cart batteries. Group size GC2H rather than GC2. The Moeller box fit’s either size, so I went with the GC2H to maximize capacity. I chose lead acid over lithium for a number of reasons, but primarily two: cost and reassurance. Lithium sounds great, but the extra initial cost didn’t make sense for me. Crown’s been in business for 80 years, makes a proven, durable product, and the extra tongue weight will not be a bad thing in our case.

Puck lock: My welding and fabrication skills are hobbyist-level at best. So this common lock project took MUCH longer than expected. But I had a goal to secure both tanks and both batteries with a single, protected puck lock. So I just kept at it until I figured it out. It’s not perfect, and it’s specific to my layout only. But I’m posting it in the spirit of inspiration. As many others have done here for me. (Thank you.)

I’ve learned a TON from this forum’s members and examples. I am truly grateful for all the sharing of info and photos. This forum has been a great resource for me. Thanks!










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Old 01-13-2020, 08:14 PM   #2
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Very nice; the "bracket" which secures the propane is a very unique approach, at least to me.

I expect if I wanted to obtain a free battery or propane I'd move along to the next trailer.

Do you think some reinforcement of the single frame member forward is in order? It is now loaded with what would seem to be significantly more weight.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:06 PM   #3
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Do you think some reinforcement of the single frame member forward is in order? It is now loaded with what would seem to be significantly more weight.
Oh it’s much worse than you think – I’ve also extended the tongue another 24 inches.

But that’s for another thread.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:37 PM   #4
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Ah, in for a penny, in for a pound!
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:45 PM   #5
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Ah, in for a penny, in for a pound!

For that comment, you get Meghan and Harry.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:25 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting this John. If your skills are hobbyist, how would you rate the guys at the Hymer NA factory who actually built the trailer?

When you put the dual LPG holder on, did you add any reinforcement to it? Did you have to modify the original mounting plate?

Was the mounting plate for the battery box custom or supplied through Moeller?

Your bracket looks great. Very secure. Hope you don't lose the key!

For us, I think our LPG solution is going to be carrying a spare under the passenger side bench. That space is the perfect size to hold a 20 lbs tank and a little padding to keep it in place. I think you are really onto something with the battery upgrade. Our 12v fridges are great at keeping food cold, but they do a number on batteries.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:02 AM   #7
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Thanks for posting this John. If your skills are hobbyist, how would you rate the guys at the Hymer NA factory who actually built the trailer?
I hear you. But there’s a big difference between making money and being an OCD perfectionist, too. About two weeks into all this I mentioned to my wife that I’m beginning to understand why RVs are all built so poorly. It takes a LOT longer to do it really really right.

Quote:
When you put the dual LPG holder on, did you add any reinforcement to it? Did you have to modify the original mounting plate?
I did add an ⅛”x 1 bar across the top of the tongue from below the battery box frame to below the LPG holder. Not sure it was really necessary, but I was there so, why not?

Quote:
Was the mounting plate for the battery box custom or supplied through Moeller?
I made it. That’s the one thing that’s simple and generic enough that I’d consider making more of. If there’s interest with the Hymer group, I could probably knock out a small batch at a reasonable cost.

One disappointment about the Moeller box though was all the unused cable holes. Not sure if Moeller sells them undrilled, but that’s the way I’d prefer to get it if I could. One of my next jobs will be coming up with a way to close them up to keep all dust and road grime out.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:32 AM   #8
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I hear you. But there’s a big difference between making money and being an OCD perfectionist, too.
Judging from the bankruptcy, Hymer accomplished neither!

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One disappointment about the Moeller box though was all the unused cable holes. Not sure if Moeller sells them undrilled, but that’s the way I’d prefer to get it if I could. One of my next jobs will be coming up with a way to close them up to keep all dust and road grime out.
Have you considered plastic epoxy filler? First epoxy a thin piece of plastic as a "backing strip" across the holes, then fill in the holes until they are flush with the surface. Black is easy to color match. The holes look large. Maybe you could cut quarter-sized pieces of plastic to use as inserts and cut down on the amount of filler needed.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:03 PM   #9
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Beautifully Done

You may have spent a bit of time on this project, but it shows how well you have developed your skills. Very professional. Nicely done.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:34 PM   #10
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Lock for Casita Propane Tanks

Nice job!!

Since I store my Casita in an offsite storage location, I tweaked the “spinner” on the clamp for the propane tanks by drilling a hole thru it and the bracket below it so that I could use a padlock with a slightly longer than usual shank to lock down the tanks.

When I bought the padlock, I got a packet of two locks that have identical keys. I use the other lock to lock the safety chains together after I chris-cross them around/thru the trailer tongue.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:01 PM   #11
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Mighty fine job you did there, thanks for the excellent photos. Where did you buy the Crowns? I am apparently in a dead zone for them marketing wise, their distributor rep never got back to me with a retailer. I suppose they are only interested in selling eight batteries to a golf cart owner and could not be bothered selling me two. I did actually offer to buy four if that helped.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Justus C View Post
Have you considered plastic epoxy filler? First epoxy a thin piece of plastic as a "backing strip" across the holes, then fill in the holes until they are flush with the surface. Black is easy to color match. The holes look large. Maybe you could cut quarter-sized pieces of plastic to use as inserts and cut down on the amount of filler needed.
I went to two different plastic places nearby. Both told me that there was no glue that would stick to this kind of plastic (some kind of poly...) and that it could only be welded. "And welding it will look like crap."

The batteries are a very good fit. So I may be able to use some version of your plan, but held in place mechanically rather than bonded. It's low on the list, though. Time to move on to... SOLAR, baby!
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:49 PM   #13
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Where did you buy the Crowns?

"I am apparently in a dead zone for them marketing wise, their distributor rep never got back to me with a retailer.
Industrial Power Source in Santa Fe Springs.

I went thru the Crown webcontact form and never actually heard back from Crown – they just forwarded my info to IPS and they contacted me. So could be the local distributor dropped the ball? I'd reach out to Crown again.

Also, I wouldn't expect a "retailer." I live in SoCal (where you'd think there'd be one) and they sent me to an industrial supplier/distributor. No showroom or parts counter – just a concrete tiltup warehouse with a receptionist and a few offices. I was kinda hoping for a place I could snoop around... But they were helpful and super nice.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:54 PM   #14
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Nice job!!

Since I store my Casita in an offsite storage location, I tweaked the “spinner” on the clamp for the propane tanks by drilling a hole thru it and the bracket below it so that I could use a padlock with a slightly longer than usual shank to lock down the tanks.

When I bought the padlock, I got a packet of two locks that have identical keys. I use the other lock to lock the safety chains together after I chris-cross them around/thru the trailer tongue.
That's a much straighter line between points... lol And likely just as effective. I just had a bug up my butt to use a puck lock. (And like you, got two keyed-alike so I could try and make a tongue lock using the same key...)
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