Extra propane? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-08-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
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Extra propane?

Hello. It looks like I am going to have to ditch the fiberglass tongue cover on my 1988 Bigfoot 17 in order to make room for more battery mass. I was thinking, since I have to make a battery box and get a new cover for the tanks anyway, it might be worth it to increase from 20# cylinders to 30# cylinders. I was wondering if people here think 60# capacity vs 40# is worth some extra trouble and expense. How quickly do you fulltimers use up propane?
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:10 AM   #2
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Hi there - just a note to share our experiences with propane usage.

We full-timed for over 3 years in a Scamp 13 (no frig, Furnace or WH) so we used gas only for the cooktop - we only filled our 20# tank about 3 times a year, even when dry-camping a lot.

In Feb we upgraded to a wonderful Scamp 16 with refrigerator & WH (still no furnace) - we topped off our tank in late Sept when we arrived in Quartzsite and just got filled again last Wed - 2.3 gallons. We have FHU's here, and only run the WH when use is planned but even when we dry-camped during the summer and ran the 'frig on gas, our usage seemed to be quite low.

Hope this helps ... don't know if we'd bother with bigger tanks. More battery space for solar seems a better idea. L 'n D
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:25 AM   #3
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Question Instead of raising the cover, lower the contents

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Originally Posted by pindraak View Post
Hello. It looks like I am going to have to ditch the fiberglass tongue cover on my 1988 Bigfoot 17 in order to make room for more battery mass.
Bill Abbay a long time member with a Bigfoot 21 did some remarkable modifications that I have been impressed with. Check out His 21' Bigfoot Mods and Embellishments and scroll down to the "adding a second battery" chapter. It looks to me like he has two 30# propane cylinders plus two Group 27 twelve volt batteries contained under his original cowl.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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For either more batteries or propane I think you would have to consider how much it would affect the hitch weight.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:24 AM   #5
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Propane is available just about anywhere anymore, unless you spend weeks on end in the boonies. Usage depends on weather and how much you cook. I wonder if hauling the extra weight, with fuel prices rising, would be a good trade off? I do know from reading the forum, most people don't burn as much propane as they think that would/should. Personally, if I was looking to boondock, I'd buy better batteries and go solar rather than bigger/heavier propane tanks. YMMV
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:47 AM   #6
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Thanks. Yes, I am already planning to expand the battery situation to two t105 batteries. In my case, I think I actually want the tongue weight. The couch I am putting in the front is lighter than the dinette that was there, and the storage up there is also reduced. Meanwhile, the 30 gal water tank and waste tanks are behind the axle. When I drove it home, there was too little tongue weight, without even adding liquids or stuff. I threw a 50+ lb bag of tools in the front at a rest stop and it helped a little.

I thought that since I have to buy or make a new tank cover, now would be the time to upgrade the tanks, if necessary. I don't cook a lot and plan on avoiding cold weather, so it sounds like sticking with the smaller ones is fine.

I'm holding off on solar for the time being and going with a generator instead, as it is separate from the trailer and has other uses. I will probably convert it to dual or propane. I suppose if I get into a lot of hot weather and AC use and the tanks seem inadequate, I can always upgrade the tanks later. Right now just buying a cover only costs about $30.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #7
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You could still build a battery box and make it large enough for your generator (maybe) there's several good box builds with pictures here on FiberglassRV and the other fiberglass forums. Then use it to carry items you don't want in the tug/trailer like chocks, outdoor carpet, waterhose/fittings, etc. etc., etc. I mean that weight has to go somewhere and if you need it on the tongue...
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:26 PM   #8
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That is a point about the box. Right now I am thinking of just making a simple one with a slip-on top out of sheet steel and painting it. I have a capped pickup bed, so I was thinking of carrying the generator and most things in there, keeping the trailer as light as possible. It's a Ford Ranger 4x4 that is stiffly sprung and light in the rear anyway, plus I think the vehicle may be a bit light in relation to the trailer overall, so I think making it heavier will also help.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by pindraak View Post
That is a point about the box. Right now I am thinking of just making a simple one with a slip-on top out of sheet steel and painting it. I have a capped pickup bed, so I was thinking of carrying the generator and most things in there, keeping the trailer as light as possible. It's a Ford Ranger 4x4 that is stiffly sprung and light in the rear anyway, plus I think the vehicle may be a bit light in relation to the trailer overall, so I think making it heavier will also help.
You should check out the Tongue Box Construction Project recently posted on the Casita Forum under the electrical section. It's very well done. You have to be registered to access it, but definitely worth it.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:00 PM   #10
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You should check out the Tongue Box Construction Project recently posted on the Casita Forum under the electrical section. It's very well done. You have to be registered to access it, but definitely worth it.
Seeing it requires registration but here's a direct link:

http://www.casitaforum.com/invboard/...showtopic=8046

That's a beautiful piece of work, but the concern I have is that the installation suggests it could throw the weight balance off. I think I read 120# somewhere as it's a sheet metal box.

Quote:
An engine hoist with an extended boom is used to install the box. Box dimensions are: Front width=22": Rear (lower) width=42": Front height=18 1/4": Rear height=19 3/4": Length (f to r)=20 ¾".
Regards,

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Old 01-16-2011, 02:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by pindraak View Post
I was wondering if people here think 60# capacity vs 40# is worth some extra trouble and expense.
Ken,

I don't think upsizing is worth the trouble and expense. 20# tanks are available just about everywhere. I've even noticed an increase in vending machines to swap tanks 24/7. I'd only consider switching tanks for downsizing. Unless you plan on spending a lot of time in very remote locations.

OTOH extra battery power is a good idea for boon docking. BennyK and others have posted how they have added vented battery boxes inside their trailers. Solar has come a long way in recent years, check out posts by peterh. You can do solar for a lot less than a generator.

Me, I've got 2 11# tanks on my boler American with solar. The 11# tanks suit my needs for height because I've added a tongue box and battery. What I've posted may give you some ideas for your situation. Adding a tongue box
I bring along an other 20# tank for the kitchen tent. We use that more than the ones on the trailer.

OTOH, I've got 2 - 20# tanks with battery on my Trillium 4500. One tank is not connected and used only to supply my kitchen tent and propane lantern once we stop and set up.

I understand your concerns with the 4x4 Ranger because that is what I tow with. Once you figure out your needs, you can then figure out how you pack to keep the tongue weight in line with both the trailer and your tow vehicle.

Each of us presents different needs and solutions. What works for one, may not be best for all.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:51 PM   #12
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Thanks. Interesting tongue box. I got a plastic cover to go over the 20# tanks. I'll buy my batteries this week and probably weld up a simple box for them on the weekend. Anything like the custom tongue box or solar will have to wait until after I've done everything basic and used it for a while.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:17 PM   #13
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There are several people on this site looking for a BF tongue cover if you are parting with yours.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:41 PM   #14
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I too felt I needed 60 lbs of propane when out on long trips. Instead of changing to 2 - 30 lb bottles, I bought an extra 20 lb to carry as a spare. When one bottle goes empty, I switch to the other and attach the spare as my backup. For my portable barbecue and stove I carry a 5 lb bottle and a propane "tree". My fridge, furnace and cooktop run off of the 20 lb bottle, and three bottles last nearly a three weeks.
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