Propane Locker build

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Propane Locker build

Postby jagizzi on Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:52 pm

I am thinking about building a propane locker for the swim step on our R-23. This would simply be a place to store a propane tank, and possibly a gas can, outside of the cockpit, it would not be plumbed in to anything but would have a hose for connecting to the grill when needed.

I love the look of the Cutwater double tank propane locker but spending more than $600 seems overkill for my intended needs so my thought was to buy HDPE Marine plastic and basically fashion a lidded box sized to fit my needs.

Aside from including vents in the bottom and using the plastic bilge dry tiles to keep them off the wet bottom, are there any things that you folks can think of that should be taken into consideration here?

This seems to be a straightforward project but are there any issues that can arise that I might not be thinking about? I'd love to hear comments or ideas so please throw them my way.

Thanks,

Jim
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Cutwater28GG on Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:22 pm

if I was building this from scratch i would spec it to take an aluminum tank and not the steel ones. so much less hassle with rust stains.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby jagizzi on Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:44 pm

That is a great consideration. I will have to look around for an aluminum tank.

Thanks
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Cutwater28GG on Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:07 pm

what I found when I looked at Ali tanks is you cant really get one as compact as the manchester 5lb steel ones as wall strength means they are larger and different shaped.

I investigated whether a larger one laying down was a better way to go and just watch propane usage rather than have a spare.
also as they are more expensive than steel its more cost effective to buy one larger one :D

some options
https://www.fisheriessupply.com/sitesearch.aspx?keyword=aluminum%20propane&sitesearch=true
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Cutwater28GG on Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:23 pm

also dont forget you will need to install the correct approved gas solenoid switch if you don't have one for gas coming into the boat. if just for an external BBQ then you dont need to worry (to my knowledge) also make sure box has a drain for heavy propane gas to leak overboard if you have a leak.

if routing pipework into the boat you will need to follow the regs for pipework as well.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby jagizzi on Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:41 pm

No piping into the boat so I am not planning on a solenoid. This is simply to allow for easy hookup to the rail mounted grill. I will connect and disconnect with every use.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby knotflying on Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:01 am

I think you will still need to vent it. propane is heavy, so if any should escape from the tank, for whatever reason, there is a possibility of explosion if the gas has no way to escape.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby jagizzi on Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:45 am

I will definitely vent it. I was thinking a couple of screened holes in the back of it on the bottom.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Pourhouse on Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:24 am

I don't think the factory built unit on the rangers are vented that way.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Dale777 on Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:36 am

On my 2014 R31S, any venting in the propane locker must be very minor. The reason I say that is because when I remove the two propane tanks and gas container then wash down the interior of the locker with a full locker of fresh water, it takes a really long time for all the water to drain out.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby NorthernFocus on Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:44 pm

To avoid the rust issue you might check out the fiberglass tanks, Not sure if they are same dimensions as steel or not. They look like they take a bit more space but I haven't actually looked at dimensions on them.

Regarding venting the box, you'll want a hole in the bottom as a water drain anyway. It can do double service as the vent.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby jagizzi on Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:04 pm

I've heard that the fiberglass tanks can be hard to get filled in places due to the recall on some of them. I like them a lot but given the chance that filling might be a problem I will probably skip them for now. It is a shame as they are a great concept since you can see the level in the tank.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Cutwater28GG on Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:06 am

yes id avoid the fibreglass. so many have failed testing. Go Aluminum
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby rpmerrill on Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:05 pm

Maybe install one (or more) of those flapper-valve scupper drain fittings ?

Laying the tank down: Don't use the tank when it is laying down. If you do it can feed liquid, to the BBQ burner. Not a good idea.
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Re: Propane Locker build

Postby Romakeme IV on Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:40 pm

I use a cooler on my swim platform. It holds 2 - 5pd. tanks as well as several butane canisters. The water drain in the bottom provides a vent and the cooler offers the tanks some protection from the heat of the sun. I leave the mesh netting on the propane tanks - the one that comes on them when they are new. I also wrap each butane canister separately. Don't want metal cans banging into each other maybe causing sparks? The 2 5pd tanks with the butane canisters between them make a nice tight fit so they don't move around.

The one thing to consider is that it is getting difficult to find places that refill propane tanks. Because of insurance regulations a lot of places are going to the "leave an empty, take a full" type of service. This becomes a problem if you have an expensive special purpose tank(aluminum, composite, etc.). When we did the Trent Severn the only place we found that refilled tanks was in Coboconk. And that is a side trip on the Trent - also required a long walk with the tank to the local IGA.

Regards, Rob
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