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Old 07-20-2016, 05:50 AM   #1
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Carrying extra propane--2006 T1N Interstate Parkway

My husband has an 2006 Interstate Parkway model (T1N). He's a caddie on the Web.com golf tour, so stays in the caddie parking lot week to week. He's finding (well, we knew it would be an issue...) that the propane tank is just too small, particularly when it's really hot and he runs the generator, and he's having to go find propane more often than he'd like.

Has anyone done anything to carry extra propane for situations like this? Thoughts and suggestions welcome.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:00 AM   #2
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I can't fathom a way to carry extra propane safely in an Interstate, then to run the generator off of it, but your husband may try to find at his locations someplace where he can plug into electricity.

There may be a building he can pull up next to....asking permission, of course.

The vent fan does a pretty good job of cooling things off, particularly if you can park in the shade.


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Old 07-20-2016, 06:03 AM   #3
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Not extra propane for the on-board generator, but I do recall one Interstate owner who carried a quiet gasoline-powered Honda EU2000i generator and a jerry can on a hitch-mounted cargo tray in place of using his loud on-board Onan generator. Refueling a portable gasoline generator is so much easier than trying to refill a built-in ASME propane tank from a portable DoT propane cylinder.

The portable generator can be set up some distance away from the van— up to the length of the shore power cord. So not only was the portable generator quieter to begin with, but taking advantage of the inverse-square law made the generator seem so much quieter by placing it farther away.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:26 AM   #4
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That's a great idea, if you wanted to add a cargo tray.

Carrying extra gasoline in a can would then be pretty simple.

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Old 07-20-2016, 07:41 AM   #5
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Or, use a propane converted Honda EU2000i drawing LPG from a portable tank that can easily be swapped out almost anywhere (i.e. Grocery stores, hardware stores, HD, Lowes, etc.). But, will the little generator have enough power to run the A/C?
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:09 AM   #6
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I was wondering how y'all were going to handle that aspect of your intended usage, but I figured I'd wait until the question got asked to make any comments. As a southern-US Interstate boondocker, yes, I have stuff to say on that topic.

I went through a propane decision tree when we replaced our propane tank (blog post on the replacement here). Basically I concluded that there is no practical way to expand upon the T1N's propane capacity. Not with a belly generator and (in our case) an under-mounted spare tire. There just isn't room. Even if room was found or adapted by moving or deleting something else, you have to remember that RV propane tanks are cylindrical. If the volume increases, generally so does the diameter, potentially putting the tank too close to the road. Or even if a long skinny cylinder could be located, I might start to worry about break-over angle issues. Plus I don't even think it would be possible to adapt such a tank because of the way that the chassis is configured.

It is technically possible to mount additional propane tank(s) on a location that is NOT the underside. However that never appealed to me because I have additional carrying priorities (such as a cooler full of food and dry ice and hopefully later there will be bicycles or an inflatable kayak).

Liquid fuel generators are possible but no matter which type of generator is chosen, it's good to remember that you'll run out of fuel in short order with all of them. We live in hurricane country where this issue bedevils people. Where possible, folks are shifting their domestic generators to hard-piped natural gas generators for this reason (everyone used to own gasoline-powered until reality caught up with them). Additionally there is a significant theft risk with liquid fuel containers and standalone generators. And night-time noise ordinances in urban areas.

The T1N's coach air conditioners are generally 11,000 BTU, I believe (ours is). That is small enough to run off some household circuits, but just barely. Two bad outcomes are possible with that scenario. Even if you can get permission to plug into some building's exterior plug, it might not bear the load. It would either trip the breaker (inconvenient if it happens in the middle of the night, plus you'd kill whatever the building owner might have had on the same circuit, pray it wasn't a refrigerator) or you could be running the a/c under-powered, which some folks on other threads have said will damage it (I don't have a technical substantiation of that assertion).

This limitation is one of the reasons why I'm considering open-able rear door windows (Air Forums thread here) even though they are not as attractive as the original T1N windows (for the record, my husband does not like this idea). I think the Interstate would be more bearable in hot boondocking conditions if more air could be made to flow through it. I actually spent a night last week boondocking in a hospital parking lot, yes, in Houston Texas in July, as we were having record-breaking temps. The overnight low was 81 degrees, but the interior of the Interstate never fell below 84 degrees. It was an urban public area so I could not open the back doors for more air (safey issue). I cursed those sealed windows all night long. It's not the discomfort of hot boondocking that bothers me. It's the fact that a person's metabolism must remain so high to cool the body that restful sleep is not really possible. I did sleep, but it was poor, and I was a zombie the next day. I can't do my job if I'm a zombie.

During the warmest months of the year, your best bet is a site with hook-ups, I'm sad to say. Or a site where your husband can throw open the back doors, put up a screen, and basically sleep in the open, which is usually not possible in populated areas.
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:07 AM   #7
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Why not pull a small trailer where you put the extra generator and fuel for it?



With something like that, there should be plenty of space for propane and a Honda 3000 watt generator.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:27 PM   #8
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Very interesting discussion, relevant to many different uses of the AI.

Propane is unwieldy to store, and gasoline is dangerous to carry. A more efficient option might be to purchase a mini towable diesel generator, such as this: https://www.steadypower.com/products...ator-%288kW%29.

Diesel has a higher energy density than propane and is much less flammable than gasoline. The generator could be refueled simultaneously with the vehicle, from the same pump.

The stated noise level of the united cited above is 70 dBA, but it might be possible to further soundproof the enclosure. It could also be parked separately at a distance. 9 kW would be enough to share with two other RVs, if other caddies travel in the same manner.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:30 PM   #9
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A diesel generator would be ideal but the smallest Onan is 6 inches taller and 8 inches longer than our generators.

Perhaps a portable diesel generator could be used and mounted on the rear hitch. If plumbed into the vehicle tank, just make sure the fuel pick up tube is not as deep as the engine pickup or you could get stranded if you run the generator too long.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:41 PM   #10
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Every municipality is different, but here is a scrape from Houston's noise ordinance just for general reference and perspective:

Sec. 30-6. - Maximum permissible sound levels.

(1) Residential property:
a.65 dB(A) during daytime hours.
b.58 dB(A) during nighttime hours.
(2) Nonresidential property: 68 dB(A) at all times.
...
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:46 PM   #11
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There is an on-board diesel generator specifically made for the Sprinter, the Power Tech PT-3SV2. Reviews are generally good, and I planned to use this if I built my own custom upfit. It can be retrofit. As you might imagine it offers a considerably longer runtime. The downside is a loss of ground clearance at the rear, so it should be accompanied by a trailer hitch with skid rollers. Maintenance is also greater than an LP unit, and it would not benefit from Onan's large number of servicing dealers.
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:47 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your suggestions. Looks like he's just going to have to plan ahead and refill as needed!

He asked the web .com director if he could park in the lot with the Tour trailers, and use just a "teeny tiny little bit" of their electricity, but the Tour's treatment of caddies has never been too positive. He was told, rather quickly, that would not be an option.

This next stretch simply crosses the Midwest in the heat of the summer. He left home with a list of places close to each Tour stop where he can get potable water, propane, and dump the crapper tank. He'll survive for now...
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Sec. 30-6. - Maximum permissible sound levels.

(1) Residential property:
a.65 dB(A) during daytime hours.
b.58 dB(A) during nighttime hours.
(2) Nonresidential property: 68 dB(A) at all times.
...
No doubt measured at the property line, not at the generator itself. The inverse-square law is your friend, because every doubling of the distance away from the generator reduces the sound level by 6dB.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:34 PM   #14
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InterBlog...our rear door (the right side) has a built in screen (ours has a rear bath/galley). In order to really get the ventilation, though, I'd need to configure the sliding door screen as well. With temps in the mid to upper 90s the 3 of the last 4 weeks of travel (He used very little propane in New York 2 weeks ago as it was unseasonably cool), he needs that A/C and generator.

In looking at his receipts today, it looks like he's refilling propane every 3ish days. His off days, where he's not spending most of the day on the golf course, really use up the propane as he's sitting in the unit, watching some tv, sleeping, and enjoying the A/C.

It's still, by far, cheaper than staying in a hotel every week.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:24 PM   #15
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He could get a dual fuel portable generator and if he got in a pinch and ran out of propane, I'm sure it would be much easier to find nearby 24 hr gas than propane. I saw one at Costco and they're known to have a generous return policy in case it didn't work out. Also sold many other places.

http://m.costco.com/generators.html
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:20 PM   #16
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The right rear of my 2005 rear galley Tin Interstate was designed for holding the spare tire. We removed the spare to the outer left hand door and find the use of the new found storage space a Godsend. Perhaps a propane tank could be fitted into this area if your configuration is the same as ours. AEW
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unifreck View Post
glfpro
The right rear of my 2005 rear galley Tin Interstate was designed for holding the spare tire. We removed the spare to the outer left hand door and find the use of the new found storage space a Godsend. Perhaps a propane tank could be fitted into this area if your configuration is the same as ours. AEW
There is a reason why propane cylinders are always carried outside the living spaces of an RV. That reason is: collision. You may never have one, but if you do, the very last thing you want is a propane cylinder venting inside the van. Even if it doesn't turn your van into a bomb, that much propane being vented into the air inside the van will asphyxiate you.

The Centers for Disease Control consider propane to be an asphyxiant because it displaces oxygen, and just 2% propane in the air you breathe will send you to the hospital even if it doesn't ignite; that is the Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) concentration.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by glfprncs View Post
Has anyone done anything to carry extra propane for situations like this? Thoughts and suggestions welcome.
I would suggest:

1) Installing an Extend-A-Stay propane T on your existing tank. I don't have an Interstate but they fit nearly all RVs. https://www.amazon.com/Marshall-Gas-.../dp/B002UC4T6C

2) Carrying one or more portable cylinders using a safe method, such as a hitch rack with proper tiedowns, or a roof rack. Alternatively,

2a) having the local propane distributor deliver a 100# propane cylinder (20 gallon) to the site.

The hose is removed from the extend-a-stay T except when needed. When it's needed, it is installed and connects to a portable cylinder, and the appliances draw propane from that.

This solution is widely used by people fulltiming in motorhomes who do not want to have to move their rigs just to refill propane.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:20 PM   #19
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How about renting a 100 lb tank?

When staying at an RV Park in Golden Colorado we rented a 100 lb tank from a local propane distributor. They would deliver the tank and refill it when we called them. When we were ready to leave they came and picked it up.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:36 PM   #20
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When staying at an RV Park in Golden Colorado we rented a 100 lb tank from a local propane distributor. They would deliver the tank and refill it when we called them. When we were ready to leave they came and picked it up.
Meaning no offense, but that doesn't solve the problem of how to connect it to an Airstream Interstate. The OP would still need to modify their Interstate to use an Extend-a Stay system or something similar, as suggested by Jammer, in order to use any external tank or cylinder. And with an Extend-a-Stay, a 20- or 30-pound portable cylinder— in addition to the on-board tank— is all that would be needed for the amount of time the OP would be parked in one place.
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