Plumbing Into an RV Propane System

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.

2016-09-23-ID-1060357.jpg

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.

2016-09-19-ID-1060203.jpg

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

2016-09-23-ID-1060359.jpg

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
2016-09-23-ID-1060361.jpg

This is the brass tee that gets plumbed into the high-pressure line coming out of the RV’s tank

2016-09-23-ID-1060365.jpg

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:

2016-09-23-ID-1060363.jpg

Connecting the extension hose to the adaptor…

2016-09-23-ID-1060368.jpg

… 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

2016-09-23-ID-1060373.jpg

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

2016-09-23-ID-1060379.jpg

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!

2016-09-23-ID-1060380.jpg

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

2016-09-23-ID-1060387.jpg

Testing everything right to the burner before adding the rocks

2016-09-23-ID-1060389.jpg

Adding the bag of included lava rocks

2016-09-23-ID-1060393.jpg

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.

2016-10-01-WA-1060987.jpg

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

2016-10-01-WA-1060994.jpg

Love it when a plan comes together.  Cheers!