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Old 06-18-2018, 12:52 PM   #1
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Post LP Fill Port and Generator Muffler Relocation

For those that have the LP fill port on the lowest part of the rear passenger side of the AI



This is not an ideal location for it since it is prone to be taken out by a curb, a parking stop or...

Also, depending on the terrain where you park or if you have Air Ride suspension option and lower the back to level the AI, you will not be able to connect the line to the grill since it will be to low to the ground, rendering the quick disconnect useless...

I will try to document what I did to relocate this higher. There are several ways of doing this... this is just one of them. I assume no liability for anything, you are on your own blah blah blah... just sharing what I did... proceed at your own risk and if it fails, it was nice knowing you!

Also, what looked like a very complex task turned out to be fairly straight forward. You do need to be extremely careful as you are dealing with gas lines and things that can go BOOM! So if you are not able to do normal maintenance, unconformable dealing with tools, sweating or your knees are shot... have someone else help you with this.

I wanted to maximized raising it from the stock location and I wanted it to look factory.

It went from this:





To this (more on the chrome or color matched trim... you do not have to do that trim it will depend on your ability to cut straight the first time ):



Parts:

1 - Stainless steel piano hinge 1-1/2" x 12"
1 - Stainless steel spring double roller cabinet door catch
1 - Aluminum pop-rivet 3/16" x 1/2"
9 - Aluminum pop-rivet 1/8" x 1/2"
6 - Aluminum washers for 1/8" pop-rivets - these are for using the rivets on plastic parts to avoid breaking the plastic as the expansion of the rivet is done on the washer instead...
1 - Small roll of 3M double face tape - this helps keeping things in place while you decide to drill and make it permanent.
2 - Aluminum Flat Bar 1/8" x 3/4" x 24"
5 - Stainless steel 1/4"x 1-1/2" bolts with stainless steel nylon nuts and flat washers
Color of choice door trim... if using it... this is optional

Tools:

Jig saw with a quality metal cutting blade (and a few spare blades just in case)
Hack saw
Drill with metal drill bits in size 1/4", 3/16", 1/8"
Painters tape (to protect painted parts)
Pop-rivet gun
Couple of open wrenches for the 1/4" bolts (7/16" I think)
Open wrench for exhaust clamp bolts - 1/2" (or 13mm)
File - to smooth the edges from the cuts made
5/16" socket bit for drill (this will be use when relocating exhaust bracket)
Flexible ruler or flexible flat edge - to mark the like on the side sill
Marker/pencil

Skills:

Patience of a saint - I lacked this so reason why yours will come out a heck of a lot better than mine did
Yoga experience. And reuse the foam pad to ease the pain in the body while cutting and drilling while on the floor...
Ability to handle a drill and keeping the drill bit from going all the way in... must hold back...
Ability to cut in a straight line while avoiding a gas line and/or a body panel (in the case of the side sill, and no, I did not do that )

Threads for reference:

LP fill port damaged

My all-included thread...

Will finish thread in a couple of hours...
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:48 PM   #2
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Wachuko, that looks very nice, and should have been built that way from the factory. That got it up and out of the way, and gave a very tidy appearance...great work!

Do you have a picture of the modification in the open position?

Had a 1976 GMC van conversion I did forever ago. Put the propane fill in the running board with a cutout section to access the tank. Worked out that the cutout piece, flipped over and secured with a couple of custom end plates and some 1/4 turn fasteners from an aircraft surplus place did the job. Looked tidy and the finish and shape matched. The tank held 30 gallons--filled it once during the 10 years we owned the van, since we only did occasional cooking with the propane system...everything else ran on 12 volt DC.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:33 PM   #3
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Great work wachuko! Thanks for posting this summary thread with links to other discussions. I got some of the part yesterday from Amazon. Now just waiting for weather to cool a bit before I get started.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:34 PM   #4
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Thank you! Will finish write up in just a few...
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:52 PM   #5
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Couple of comments from my experience replicating Wachuko's project.

1) after doing the vertical cut in the trim I inserted a putty knife into the gap between the trim and Sprinter body panel. I encountered something just rear of the mud flap that I thought was a rivet. So I used a saw to cut it. Turns out it was a phillips head screw - that I might have been able to remove with a screwdriver if I could have reached it.

2) Hinge is a bit thicker than the double-stick tape it replaces. It is a bit of a challenge to get the hinge riveted to the trim piece and Sprinter body panel such that the cut and un-cut pieces of trim lined up in all directions. I put masking tape on the trim piece and panel and marked things several times before drilling. I have no advice on how to do it right - just a caution to double and triple check things before drilling.


3) My hacksaw cut of the plastic trim was not perfectly straight, so I used a wood rasp to make both pieces straight. This resulted in a gap just slightly bigger than the width of the hack saw blade - so I simply painted the two edges with touch-up paint.


4) I was able to make both cuts of the 1/8" thick steel plate with a single jigsaw blade. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the saw cut through it. I had to remove the base plate from my jigsaw - to allow me to cut close to the flange at the bottom of the body panel.

5) I did not need to use the flat bar spacers in order to provide clearance for the remote LPG fitting.

6) This is a very easy project and there is no excuse for Airstream not doing it on a production basis.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:04 PM   #6
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Ok, let's start. Place painter's tape on the lid. If you look inside the side sill you will see a support right next to the LP port black lid. You will be cutting exactly next to the support. You want to leave that support in place. So tape the outside area wide enough.

Take the flexible straight edge, make sure it is aligned with that support outside edge. On the outside, mark a straight line. This is where you want to step back and look... make sure the line is straight... make sure the line is at the edge of the support... if you cut and it sticks out too much from the edge of the support the black LP door will not open when you relocate it... you can open the LP door to see what I mean...

As Alex said...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex AVI View Post
...Just remember measure 10x, cut twice
The side sill is held in place with small self-tap screws on the top (from the inside), double face tape between the AI body panel and the sill, and brackets. The last 12" or so of the side sill, after that bracket, only has the double face tape and one self-tap screw holding it.




Here you can see the support that I am talking about. I had to remove the pop-rivet to move the bracket even with the sill and install a new pop-rivet (3/16" x 1/2" ). Photo is before I removed rivet to realign it flush.

You can see the tip of the bracket touching the black LP bracket... think about it... that is where the black cover will be, so that bracket can't be in the way. Reason for making it flush and out of the way of the door opening afterwards. Hope that makes sense.



You basically have to cut so that it allows the black door to open once the whole assembly is raised. I can't tell you if all of those supported brackets are mounted in the same position... so if yours is further back, great, just make the line so that it allows for the black lid to open and you will be good.

Okay... to cut the sill. Many folks recommend, once the cut line is marked, to remove the sill and cut on a bench. That will make sure that the cut is straight and clean. I was lazy, I wanted to go fast... so instead I made the cut in place... don't... take the extra time and do it right. But it can be made in place with care. I used a small hand hacksaw



But do not be like me... a few screws and the whole side sill comes out. You will need to pull hard once the screws are out to get the double face tape to come apart. Once you make the cut, install back the part of the sill (long segment) that will be fixed in place.

This is what you will have:

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Old 06-18-2018, 04:14 PM   #7
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To answer Wachuko's wondering above: Not all brackets are mounted in the same place. Mine was close to the back side of the LPG box, but far enough back that it did not contact the hinged LPB box lid once I raised it. I had about 1/2" of clearance. Better to be lucky than good!
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:15 PM   #8
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
Couple of comments from my experience replicating Wachuko's project.

1) after doing the vertical cut in the trim I inserted a putty knife into the gap between the trim and Sprinter body panel. I encountered something just rear of the mud flap that I thought was a rivet. So I used a saw to cut it. Turns out it was a phillips head screw - that I might have been able to remove with a screwdriver if I could have reached it.
Yes! A long phillips screwdriver can get to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
2) Hinge is a bit thicker than the double-stick tape it replaces. It is a bit of a challenge to get the hinge riveted to the trim piece and Sprinter body panel such that the cut and un-cut pieces of trim lined up in all directions. I put masking tape on the trim piece and panel and marked things several times before drilling. I have no advice on how to do it right - just a caution to double and triple check things before drilling.
You can't install the rivets in same location on both sides or it will not fold as flat... to make it as thin as possible you install staggered so when closed, you do not have two rivets touching each other...

I used double face tape to play with the position of the lid before making the holes. This allow you to position it perfectly before picking up the drill...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
5) I did not need to use the flat bar spacers in order to provide clearance for the remote LPG fitting.
I had a question on this. I had to use the spacers for two reasons. I wanted it as high as possible... (1) that meant that the quick disconnect internals would be an issue and (2) the front lid would not closed flush since the black lid would had been further outside.

Did you not run into that? or did you eliminate the black lid altogether ?
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:34 PM   #9
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No, I retained the black hinged lid. I removed 2" of the metal plate, and put the bolt holes 1/2" from the edge of the cut. This allowed me to raise it 3" - putting the bottom of the black box just above the bottom of the plastic trim piece. I thought about staggering the holes - but it didn't seem that it would help since the thickness of two rivet heads appear to be less than the thickness of the center of the hinge where the pivot rod is located.

My black lid (and its closing screw knob) were both inside the plastic trim piece. Raising it by three inches allowed the remote fill fitting to just miss the inside of the Sprinter panel. In fact, I used this 'just miss' location to determine where to drill the second set of bolt holes. I have about 1/16" clearance between the remote fill fitting and the Sprinter body. I will have to remove the bolts and drop the fill panel if I ever need to remove the remote elbow fitting - though I don't know why I would need to.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:57 PM   #10
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Here is where I will move from what I did to what Titus did for the mount and drilling... but with a twist... For the highest possible mounting point...

Measure 3/4" from top and draw a line...this will be your second cut.

Measure 1-1/2" from the bottom and draw a line (this is where you will make the first cut).

Cut the line marked 1-1/2" from bottom... jig saw with a good-quality blade is the way to go. At an angle... both ends is easy, it is when you get close to the hoses that you need to stop and proceed with caution... I went angled with the base/blade so very little of the blade went inside the steel bracket... just enough to cut through but not enough to touch any of the connectors or hoses in the inside... take your time... have a break, have some water, cut some more... there is no hurry... Once this is done, the assembly will fall to the floor, have some rubber cushion in there or change order of cut so that you can hold it while completing the cut...



Do not mind the holes in the photo... this is what Titus did was so much better and faster than what I did... basically, you make the cuts. Hold the two parts (with or without spacers, more on this later) with some clamps and drill both at the same time... saving yourself frustration of hole alignments.



With that bottom part out of the way, making the second cut is a breeze since there is nothing in the way (be sure to move the assembly and hoses out of the way... do not want to cut into them by accident because those were too close when the assembly dropped.

And like I said... a jigsaw with a quality blade will eat through the bracket with ease... I must have had my testosterone levels low and needed a boost , or I just came from watching Home Improvements, or whatever... I grabbed the reciprocating saw and made the second cut fast....





At this point you can sandwich the two together (Titus approach) along with spacer made of 11" long pieces of the 1/8"x3/4" aluminum flat (I used 4 pieces - Titus used none).. clamp them well and proceed to drill the holes. 4 is more than enough... I made 5 holes...



Worst part of the job is done! Take a break and admire your work.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
No, I retained the black hinged lid. I removed 2" of the metal plate, and put the bolt holes 1/2" from the edge of the cut. This allowed me to raise it 3" - putting the bottom of the black box just above the bottom of the plastic trim piece. I thought about staggering the holes - but it didn't seem that it would help since the thickness of two rivet heads appear to be less than the thickness of the center of the hinge where the pivot rod is located.

My black lid (and its closing screw knob) were both inside the plastic trim piece. Raising it by three inches allowed the remote fill fitting to just miss the inside of the Sprinter panel. In fact, I used this 'just miss' location to determine where to drill the second set of bolt holes. I have about 1/16" clearance between the remote fill fitting and the Sprinter body. I will have to remove the bolts and drop the fill panel if I ever need to remove the remote elbow fitting - though I don't know why I would need to.
Then folks should follow what you did. There is really no need for the spacers and extra work. Cool!!

This is where mine ended up located with spacers (those in the photo are not the final ones...)

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Old 06-18-2018, 05:34 PM   #12
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For the outside lid, as mentioned, played with the location using double face tape first... once I new it work well and opening was without issues... I left it in place with the double face tape... father-in-law held the lid open and I drilled the holes (1/8" for the rivets) into the body panel.



In this photo you can see the double face tape through the holes.









Removed the lid with hinge and drilled the holes in the lid.



Be sure to use the washers on the other side to avoid splitting the plastic of the sill...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...p;d=1527971587

I cut the excess plastic strip that went beyond the hinge on the lid... you can see it in the previous photo and this one...

And then went back under the AI and installed the rivets for holes in the body panel... always paint any holes made to the body to avoid rust!!

Four rivets in the lid and three in the body panel.. you can see that I drilled a hole in between the other two existing holes in the hinge... I did not wanted pop-rivets touching each other and forcing the hinge to be semi-open or thicker than it needed to be. I also left the double face tape in place (it was of great help to hold it in place while I did the work...

And anything that could rust, I painted...

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Old 06-18-2018, 05:42 PM   #13
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Now for the catch to hold the lid... I think this took more time aligning it than everything else combined...

Got it from Lowes, but provided the link to Amazon... You might come up with a better way to keep it close... this is what I decided to go with. I has worked so far and no lid opening/lifting at speeds up to 75mph...



Again, remember to place washers on the opposite side to avoid cracking the plastic...





Here you do not need the washers since the catch does that function...



Consummated love...

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Old 06-18-2018, 05:45 PM   #14
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Lightbulb

Now... about that photo requested with the lids open...



humm looking at that photo... I am thinking... would be nice to have a hinge/brace that would keep it in the open position while in use...

Oh... and that trim. If you do the cut correctly from the get go... you just paint the border silver and you are done... no need for the trim. I will leave it at that, Okay!?! There is chrome on the side trim, so chrome with chrome matches... it is all good... sigh...
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:03 PM   #15
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After raising the LP fill port the next thing that you could take out by parking in reverse into a curb or parking stop is the generator's exhaust system...







Undo the clamp close to the generator... remove the three or four self tap screws in the outer bracket/isolation mount... and wiggle it out...



All you really need to do is to get rid off the bend...



Make four cuts so that the clamp can do its thing...



and mount back.





Reused the self-tap screws on the bracket with the rubber mount.

The holes from the stock location I painted, filled with epoxy putty, and then covered with 3M undercoating... used some paint and undercoating on the new location for the bracket as well.. remember...anything that could rust, PAINT!

You can stop there... or... install a nice chrome tip. You can find it at the local hardware store... it is a tail pipe for 1-1/2" sink... the piece that goes to the strainer. I decided to use the smooth side for the outside and the T shape end to the inside. Again, four cuts so that the clamp can crush it in place.... and you are done!









This completes the write up... now all that you have to worry about when backing into a space is to not take out the generator
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:49 PM   #16
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More hints on raising the LPG box.

1) You need to put the pivot of the hinge far enough out to allow adequate lifting of the trim piece. I wanted it to lift high enough that the LPG fill port could be approached straight-on. I used a hinge that had 3/4" wings on each side of the pivot. The edge of hinge wing is about 3/8" away from the back edge of the trim piece and 3/8" back from the flange that sticks down from the sprinter body panel.

2) Once you decide on the approximate hinge location I riveted the hinge across the length of top of the cut-off trim piece and then drilled one hole in my best-guess location in the body panel. Drill this first hole in the middle of the hinge. I tightened a screw in this hole. By putting this first screw in the middle you can then pivot the entire hinged trim piece in or out to best line up the edge of the cut-off trim piece with the edge of the uncut trim piece. Once lined up you can then drill the rest of the holes through the hinge into the body.

3) I used 3/16" x 1/4" aluminum pop rivets with backing washers to rivet the hinge to the trim piece and #6 x 1/2" stainless steel sheet metal screws to attach the hinge to the body.
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:08 AM   #17
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raising the LPG box.

I would like to share an email I just rec'd from my Airstream dealer regarding my request that my LPG box be modified (raised up) since I needed the assembly replaced.

I shared your message with Lora, Service Manager and she then forwarded it to Airstream. Airstream seemed to like the idea and is going to look into a form of this for possible future Coaches. They are concerned about the modification being up to code. With that said and the concern of it being a Propane system we are not able to do the modification at this time. I

So, I going to do it myself, my question....... Is there a LP tank shut off, where is it, and what is the best way to access it?

thanks
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by joe rv guy View Post
I would like to share an email I just rec'd from my Airstream dealer regarding my request that my LPG box be modified (raised up) since I needed the assembly replaced.

I shared your message with Lora, Service Manager and she then forwarded it to Airstream. Airstream seemed to like the idea and is going to look into a form of this for possible future Coaches. They are concerned about the modification being up to code. With that said and the concern of it being a Propane system we are not able to do the modification at this time. I

So, I going to do it myself, my question....... Is there a LP tank shut off, where is it, and what is the best way to access it?

thanks
Glad to hear that Airstream is looking at this change. Their response is expected until they engineer the change.

!!! WARNING !!!
There is NO LP shut-off for two lines on this panel so be careful. The large fill line and smaller vent line go straight to the tank. If you damage them in the process of making this mod you will have a major high pressure propane leak.

This is why I avoided doing this mode before as I thought I would need to have the tank empty. It is still a concern in doing this mod where you have a powered hacksaw cutting a heavy piece of metal within inches of rubber high pressure LP lines.

BE VERY CAREFUL if you plan to do this mod yourself.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:14 PM   #19
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Not clear to me what code might be violated. Sounds like an excuse to not do it anytime soon.

Agree with the 'be very careful' comment. But … the two rubber lines that cannot be shut off are not in the way of a jigsaw blade. A very long recip. saw blade might be able to reach them if you tried to do so. But they are below the level of the two cuts and you'd have to really work to hit them (Murphy's Law notwithstanding). The remote LPG port is in the way, and there is no way to remove it. You could unscrew the remote hose from the elbow and unscrew the elbow from the pipe fitting, but it is the pipe fitting that is in the way and this fitting is welded to the box that is being raised. This remote is shut-off by the LPG solenoid, so that is some consolation. As Wachuko says you can approach the remote LPG fitting from both sides and angle the blade as you get close to it. I used a hacksaw for cutting the last 1/4" - but only because I felt more in control of the hacksaw. The jigsaw did not give off any sparks that I could see, but you could cover it with a welding blanket if you were concerned.

Don't do this if you are not comfortable doing so - but it was a far easier and quicker project than I ever would have guessed. First time you run into something with the un-raised LPG box you'll be cussing yourself for not raising it. Raising the box is far easier than fixing a damaged box. And I can imagine much more safety problems resulting from a box that is damaged than things that could go wrong when raising it.
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:15 PM   #20
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... ... First time you run into something with the un-raised LPG box you'll be cussing yourself for not raising it. Raising the box is far easier than fixing a damaged box. And I can imagine much more safety problems resulting from a box that is damaged than things that could go wrong when raising it.
Agree 100% about safety. When I damaged mine on the road a few years back I didn't even realize the damage until I got to our destination and turned on the LP valve. Smelled propane outside and went to check as I was dumping propane from the sheered off quick connect. Good this I didn't sheer off the high pressure hose.
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