Plumbing Into an RV Propane System

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Steve’s giving me a break and posting one of his tech-thingy articles – yay! 🙂

We recently purchased a portable propane campfire unit, after checking out many of them during our travels.  Mona Liza just couldn’t wait to say, “It’s about time, what took you so long”?, since I had held off purchasing one for over four years.  Dave and Faye gave me the final push, after demonstrating their unit and making me realize it was exactly what I’d been looking for.

We love campfires, but the smoke and the issue of getting good firewood?  Not so much.  And of course, many campgrounds just don’t allow wood campfires.  So I had no problem with buying a portable unit – I just wanted to get the right one.  Some I had seen used “logs”, but I prefer the small rocks and tremendous heat this little unit provides.  It’s Camco part#58041, and I can say after using it for a while that we’re very happy with it.

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The basic fire pit, ready to screw onto a propane tank. But that wasn’t good enough for me!

Back to the main reason for this post – I wanted to plumb this unit into my existing RV propane system which has a 30-gallon tank, and not have to carry and refill extra tanks.

The only downside to this I’ve heard is that I can’t carry the fire pit and tank to another site.  Too bad, folks will just have to come to our place if they want to enjoy it with us!  And in reality, it would be easy to disconnect the fire pit from the extension hose if someone else provided a tank for us to hook up to.

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Staring at the parts didn’t get much done, so I got on the internet and educated myself

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The task was to make this fitting from the fire pit connect to a 12′ extension hose, then get the other end of the hose plumbed into the RV’s system

After researching propane systems and the parts I’d need, I got the job done – and it was quite simple.  The requirement was to safely place the fire pit at least 8-10 feet from our coach on the curb side, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time setting it up.

The parts I needed were:

  • A 12′ extension hose, Camco part#59043
  • A brass tee to plumb it into the system, Camco part#59113
  • An adaptor to connect between the fire pit regulator and the extension hose
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This is the brass tee that gets plumbed into the high-pressure line coming out of the RV’s tank

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I found this adaptor at an RV parts supply place.  It adapts the “propane tank” type connector on the fire pit regulator to one end of the 12′ extension hose.  Sorry, no part# for this one

I’ll let some photos taken by Mona Liza during the project tell the rest of the story:

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Connecting the extension hose to the adaptor…

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… then connecting the other end of the adaptor to the fire pit regulator – easy peasy!  Don’t use teflon tape or any “pipe dope” on these connections

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The tee will go here, between the shutoff valve on the tank and the regulator for the RV’s system. Here you can see I’ve removed the regulator’s plastic cover

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Insert the tee and tighten moderately. Test the connections with soapy water, not a lighter – or you might turn your whole RV into a fire pit!

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The fitting where the extension hose connects (behind my fingers) has a spring-loaded valve in it, so you don’t need to shut off the main valve to connect/disconnect the hose.  Sweet!  The hanging cap keeps dirt out when the hose is disconnected.  To the right under my hand you can see I’ve replaced the plastic cover over the RV regulator at its new location

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Testing everything right to the burner before adding the rocks

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Adding the bag of included lava rocks

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The instructions specified a 30-minute “burn in” for the rocks, and everything worked great

For only another $13.00, I purchased the campfire cooktop also sold by Camco, part#58033.  It’s OK to cook meats or other foods over this fire pit, since the intense heat will burn off any fats or other products that drip onto the lava rocks.

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Throw some shrimp (wrapped with bacon) on the Bar-B?  Oh, yeah!

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Love it when a plan comes together.  Cheers!



8 thoughts on “Plumbing Into an RV Propane System

  1. Thanks again Steve for the details. We have our inside propane heater directly plumbed into our tank so we can boondock and still stay warm. Have to look into this no smoke campfire thing. I used to love fires and smores but over the past years the smoke really bother my eyes and sets me coughing.

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    • Sherry,
      You should be able to simply add a brass “tee” and connect a hose to a fire pit where your existing connection is for the heater, if you decide you want to add one.
      ~Steve

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  2. Glad to see you enjoying your new fire ring. The last time we used ours was when we were camped in Quartzsite. Do you remember that visit? Hmm, perhaps we’ll need to get ours back out of storage in Logan’s garage 😉

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    • Yes, I remember Quartzsite, and when we first met you in Cave Creek – that’s the first time we saw a portable fire pit up close. Next time we meet up we’ll provide the fire!
      ~Steve

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  3. Such a good idea! We have one of the little propane fire pits, but it would be much better to have it plumbed into our trailer. I’ll put it on Eric’s to-do list. :-))

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