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I am using propane in my van for Propex, cooktop and Suburban on-demand water heater. I decided to store the propane tank like they do in the marine industry: in a sealed locker inside the vehicle with an outside vent thru the bottom. I chose a 10lb tank (shorter version of the BBQ tank) and built a sealed baltic birch locker (approx 15 x 15 x 18 high). Its very accessible from the rear doors and I have the tank filled at U-Haul 2 blocks away. It has a solenoid with a lighted toggle switch on the galley, so you know when the gas is on. I manually turn the gas off at the tank enroute. I can get about 3 gals of liquid propane in the tank and it will last 2-8 weeks on a road trip depending on temps (The propex sips propane but can cycle frequently in the cold). Of course, I have a propane detector alarm mounted inside the van near the floor. This system works great and I would absolutely do it this way again. The boaters figured out the locker system a long time ago and they still use it.
I think the boaters have figured out the box and are sticking with it because all the reviews of folks putting it under the boat have said it was a total PITA.
 

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I have a 20lb tank. Regulator and tank are in a sealed box inside the van. Vent to outside is directly under the regulator. At -14 F the propex heater will shut down when running full blast. Any thoughts
My best guess is the low temperature only provides a max of about 15 to 20 psi to the regulator and that this is not enough to allow it to function properly. I also know that low volume AND low temps will shut down my coleman stove. If I grab a full tank it works fine in the same temp. Later in warmer temps the low volume tank works fine.

Here is a chart showing the pressure curve to temp for propane.
Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Plot
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Same dilemma here Dake...I'd MUCH prefer it being outside but the cost versus benefit has become a tough one to swallow. I'd venture to guess the install and refill is a wash for the most part so the next big variable is inside space.
Sizewise Gregoryx 11 pounder at roughly 9"x"9x18" is pretty manageable but integrating into your design provides complexity - It has to be placed on the floor for venting purposes and most likely a top loader. Presumably you'll also want to shut it off so you'll also need access. Lots of variables..
I think I could keep this 11 pounder inside my wheel wells but am unsure since I don't have my van yet. I plan to do a modular moto bike sleeper build with wheel well depth side cabinets to support removable bed and house a 100+ watt solar system, Propex heater and storage. Access to my side cabinets will be from the side and NOT top so there lies my current dilemma with the inside propane tank.
Anyhow...perhaps the outside storage tank cost is simply worth it?
Yeah - the responses to my question are great and there are some really good ideas here. I’m still undecided but I like the idea of a smaller tank inside that I can easily access from the slider. I want to keep the cargo area (under-bed garage) as flexible as possible.
 
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