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Old 05-10-2021, 05:22 PM   #1
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1955 22' Safari
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Propane Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing for Propane - Any Comments???

I need to replace the propane lines on my 1955 Safari.

When I searched for propane piping I found a flexible pipe for propane.

The stuff I took out of the Safari is the rigid copper piping.

Has anyone used this flexible Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing on your Airstream instead of the rigid copper tubing for propane?
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:31 AM   #2
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I had the same question when I started restoring Airstreams and started running propane lines. I think the question depends heavily in the specific (brand, size, material, etc.) you are considering, but for what it's worth, I decided to stick with copper. If you are at all mechanically inclined, flaring is relatively easy, and the tools are cheap. The copper on vintage trailers has lasted for decades, and is this a *proven* material. Most corrugated gas pipe I've seen is rather large in diameter, so perhaps more dangerous because of the amount of gas contained in the pipe, especially for long runs. In general, long runs of propane lines should be copper run on the *outside* of belly pans and *not* contained in a sheath unless it is specifically designed to allow propane to escape. In other words, don't think you are protecting yourself from problems by running propane lines in protective PVC or similar "chases" or conduit. The idea is to prevent propane from building up if there is a leak. In general, this is how it goes... flexible rubber lines from the tanks to copper tubing for the long runs to black pipe (steel) through the subfloor (because it's strong) and then to short, flexible corrugated pipes to the appliance (furnace, stove, etc.). Sometimes I'll use rubber again from the black pipe to the appliance, depending upon the situation (fridge, portable heater, water heater, etc.). Also placing shut off valves in appropriate places for convenience and safety is key. EDIT: be sure to use good ball valves for shut offs, not the old school tiny levers with a spring that corrode and break off.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:38 PM   #3
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I have never heard of anyone using it. No new trailers that I am aware of use it. I never investigated, but beleive it would be against the RV safety code. I would worry about it flexing during travel resulting in fatigue cracks, gas leaks, and worse.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
I have never heard of anyone using it. No new trailers that I am aware of use it. I never investigated, but beleive it would be against the RV safety code. I would worry about it flexing during travel resulting in fatigue cracks, gas leaks, and worse.
Agreed. It *seems* robust, but if you look at the fine print on the corrugated "pipes" that you use for hooking up an oven or a water heater, technically you're not even suppose to reuse those. There is a newer product that is a direct-bury gas line that is supposed to take the place of black pipe and be less susceptible to rust (it's a plastic coated corrugated metal), but the reason they call it "superior" is the fact that it won't rust as quickly, not that it will stand up to a beating. I think they are counting on it being buried, so it would remain undisturbed, and it wouldn't really hold up to a lot of flexing.
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:19 PM   #5
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Hi. I work in Commercial heating and air-conditioning. We use the stuff (corrigated stainless) in buildings for Natural Gas on a regular basis. But the codes require heavy steel nail and screw protection plates in locations where an unsuspecting home owner may poke the gas line when driving a nail or screw . Scheduled 40 black iron pipe, the old standard, is robust enough to get an intelligent persons attention before they penetrate a gas line. Basically corrigated stainless would probably be ok if, a) it was protected from wear and abrasion, b) protected from inappropriate puncture, c) protected from dissimilar metal corrosion. There are several different brands of the stuff and you must use the tools and fittings specific to the brand. In construction we are required to pressure test our gas lines and have a building inspector witness the test. All corrigated stainless products I have been involved with have very detailed instructions. Download the manuals and read them! Honestly even with my experience with corrigated stainless, I would continue to use copper on the Airstream. Copper has worked in the past, it should continue to work in the future. Tried, tested, accepted... Always be aware your working with FLAMMABLE and potentially EXPLOSIVE gas. Be careful, take your time, don't shortcut the install.
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