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Old 01-22-2021, 03:11 PM   #1
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External Propane Tank and Appliances

I can't believe that when I search "external propane tank" there are NO returns on this forum. It makes sense that it wouldn't be a popular topic for trailers since pretty much all trailer propane tanks are "external," but there are no threads containing information regarding hooking up an external (larger or portable) tank to a motorhome with a permanently mounted propane tank?!

Well, let's fix that.

This thread is in regard to allowing you to hook up external portable appliances as well as an external tank. Why would you want to do this? Lots of reasons, but the biggest one would be that you need propane, and you can't move your rig! The second biggest reason would surely be if you were semi-permanently parked somewhere and wanted to hook up to a much larger tank than what is able to be mounted to the frame.

So... there are kits marketed by names such as Stay-a-while, Stay-longer, 4 port tee adapter, etc. Basically they are an adapter that goes in between the tank and the pressure regulator, and they have available 1"-20 Male Throwaway Cylinder Thread, 1/4" Inverted Flare (female) ports.



The available ports were driving me crazy, because while the throw-away cylinder thread makes sense (you can hook up a portable grill or whatever uses those little 1lb. propane bottles with an extension hose made for throw-away style cylinders), the 1/4" port doesn't seem like a "temporary" solution to anything. I'm not sure if you're supposed to leave a pigtail always connected to this port (dragging along as you drive down the road?), or if you are suppose to thread and unthread the 1/4" flare connection every time you want to use an external tank (like a 20# cylinder), but it seems like it would make a lot more sense to be able to use a hose with an Acme Nut type connector on both ends (like what hooks up to a typical 20# BBQ grill tank), so you can easily connect and disconnect an external tank.

I know you can plumb anything you want by simply using the appropriate brass fittings, but for the life of me I can't figure out why this set up is the standard for this type of kit.

If you could use a quick connect for the 1/4" inverted flare port, that would make more sense, but all the "quick connect" hose and connector options on Amazon are low pressure only, so they won't work with this type of set up. When using the Stay-a-while type adapter, the adapter goes before the pressure regulator, so all the connections you are making are high pressure.

There are certainly high-pressure quick connects available from propane specialty sources, but the lack of availability gives me pause.

I feel like the aforementioned Acme Nut to Acme Nut hose would be a great option, so I'm tempted to make the 1/4" inverted flare port my permanent (to the motorhome) connection, and leave the acme threads (like what a typical tank has) open for the external tank connection. Is there a reason not to do this? This would also allow one to hook up a regular grill to the motorhome, because there would be an available port that functions like a regular 20# BBQ tank.
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:16 PM   #2
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I use the Camco Extend-A-Stay. The 4 way kit allows external tank in, and supply out (for an external gas grille). To do that there is a 12ft hose (that reaches from one side the the MH to the other) to basically connect to anything that runs the little 1lb cannisters.

Click image for larger version

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The manifold is hard plumbed (you can just see it on the tank outlet, before the regulator on Bella).

Click image for larger version

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Means there is a 'in' port, and and 'out' port, so the propane 'in' has to go into the 1/4" which has the left-hand propane thread for connection to a cylinder.
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Old 02-01-2021, 06:51 AM   #3
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I used one of those extend a stay kits as well as adding a dual input regulator to mine. In hindsight simply the dual input regulator would have worked. Off the other input of the regulator is a convenience fitting for external tanks.

If I ever want to run a grill or a propane fireplace I can T it off the extend a stay so long as it has its own regulator, which they usually do
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:49 PM   #4
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I need to make time for a "picture day" for all the photos I've taken over the past month that need to be uploaded to various threads. In the meantime, I will just type what I did... I ordered and installed this from Amazon. It's made to simply fit in between the RV propane connection that already exists, but I reconfigured mine. I unscrewed the Acme thread part from the end (right hand side in the picture) and moved it to where the 1/4" connection was (below the 1lb. disposable connector in the pic). I then used regular 3/8" gas pipe to attach the adapter back to the existing propane line. Now I have an Acme thread (like what's on a 20# BBQ tank) option and a disposable 1lb. connector option to hook up to.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been using the tanks on my Airstream trailer to run my Argosy RV.
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:05 PM   #5
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Following along as I'll do something similar when I install my in frame propane tank with remote fill. I definitely don't want to have to break camp if i run out.
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
Following along as I'll do something similar when I install my in frame propane tank with remote fill. I definitely don't want to have to break camp if i run out.
It's kind of weird that this isn't just a standard fitting on RV's. Definitely something to make sure you do when installing your own frame-mounted "permanent" tank.

The fact that I can swap out readily available BBQ tanks now instead of driving the rig somewhere just to refill the propane is fantastic.
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