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Old 04-23-2014, 10:20 AM   #1
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Propane Tank Sizes

I'm getting closer to getting my new/used 197 Sport on her maiden voyage. I now need a little clarification on propane tanks! When i got the trailer it did not have a mounting tray on the tongue, so I ordered one for dual 20 lb tanks since I plan on adding a second tank - (1st mistake.... should have checked tank size and not taken previous owner word).

Question 1. will a 15 lb tank fit on a mount for 20 lb'ers or should I upgrade to 20 lb tanks?

Question 2. the tanks that the hardware store carry (Lowes) are these tanks the same quality etc as the ones used for RV's? I'm not sure if there is a difference between ones used with RV's vs Gas Grills.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:34 AM   #2
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The grill tanks sold at Lowes are 20lb tanks and are likely no less in quality then the ones that come with RV`s. I have not heard of 15lb tanks, I think you are referring to 20lb tanks, which sometimes only are filled to 15lbs (such as the Blue Rhino exchange tanks). The next step up is to 30lb tanks....
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:39 AM   #3
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The grill tanks sold at Lowes are 20lb tanks and are likely no less in quality then the ones that come with RV`s. I have not heard of 15lb tanks, I think you are referring to 20lb tanks, which sometimes only are filled to 15lbs (such as the Blue Rhino exchange tanks). The next step up is to 30lb tanks....
Usually stamped DOT approved and should all be of the same quality.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:58 AM   #4
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Usually stamped DOT approved and should all be of the same quality.
+1; they are inspected by the Railroad Commission here in Texas; "quality" should be standard.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:01 AM   #5
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The most common propane tank sizes for RV's are 20lb and 30lb. 20lb tanks are the ones you see at most tank exchange places and the ones usually used for a home gas grill. I very seldom see the smaller tanks (about 10lb IIRC), even when I used to work at a RV dealer.

The diameter of a 20lb and 30lb tanks is the same, it is the height that is different. So the same mounting tray can be used for a pair of 20's or a pair of 30's. (Note that the threaded rod that holds the tanks down will be longer for the 30's than for the 20's) I'm not real sure about if the same tray will fit the smaller tanks.

For standardization purposes, I'd go with the 20's. They are the most common and can be found at most tank exchange places where you can swap your empty tank for a full one. If you have a tank larger or smaller than a 20lb, you'll most likely have to find a place that refills tanks. If you have one nearby that won't be an issue. But it does limit your options somewhat when you find yourself with an empty tank.

The tanks are all pretty much the same as long as they are steel. There was some talk about a new type of tank made of a plastic or something that had some issues. But if you stick with the standard steel type you should be fine. And yes the 20lb tank used on a RV is the same as the one for the grill in your back yard.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:21 AM   #6
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The most common propane tank sizes for RV's are 20lb and 30lb. 20lb tanks are the ones you see at most tank exchange places and the ones usually used for a home gas grill. I very seldom see the smaller tanks (about 10lb IIRC), even when I used to work at a RV dealer.

The diameter of a 20lb and 30lb tanks is the same, it is the height that is different. So the same mounting tray can be used for a pair of 20's or a pair of 30's. (Note that the threaded rod that holds the tanks down will be longer for the 30's than for the 20's) I'm not real sure about if the same tray will fit the smaller tanks.

For standardization purposes, I'd go with the 20's. They are the most common and can be found at most tank exchange places where you can swap your empty tank for a full one. If you have a tank larger or smaller than a 20lb, you'll most likely have to find a place that refills tanks. If you have one nearby that won't be an issue. But it does limit your options somewhat when you find yourself with an empty tank.

The tanks are all pretty much the same as long as they are steel. There was some talk about a new type of tank made of a plastic or something that had some issues. But if you stick with the standard steel type you should be fine. And yes the 20lb tank used on a RV is the same as the one for the grill in your back yard.

I always fill my tanks. Locally a 20lb tank is $19~$24 for an exchange. A fill is $12~14, and you're never shorted. Once you're used to filling, you can do 20, 30, or 40 lb tanks on the same feet with different length threaded rod. I have been looking into an aluminum 40lb equivalent tank, but they're $$$.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:36 AM   #7
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I understand the attraction to refilling when you have a place to do it close to home. Just keep in mind that you may have a hard time finding a place to refill it when you are out using the camper. There are many more exchange places out there than there are refilling stations.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:49 AM   #8
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I go to Costco to get my tanks refilled.... it costs me 10-13$ for a 20lbs


And the exchange rip off is more in the 20$...
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #9
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I think the 15 lbs tanks you are talking about are from a tank exchange. They really are 20 lbs tanks, that they do not fill full. DO NOT USE TANK EXCHANGES. Buy two 20 lbs tanks. There is a little more upfront cost to purchase them, then find a local propane dealer. We have a number of gas stations around our area that fill them. The price to fill them is about the same or cheaper as using a tank exchange, but you get a full tank of gas. The tanks have to be recertified after 12 years and stamped (fed law). Secondly, and this may vary from state to state, but locally, the tank exchange place do not follow the law, and the old tanks are not marked with current certifications, so you are taking a risk in using them. I have a number of friends that are in law enforcement and are fire fighters. They stated every propane tank incented they see using portable tanks, the tank is corroded (internally) and fractured. The law enforcement friends state that 20# propane tanks are used commonly in drug making and when they are done with them the turn them in for new tanks, and the inside of the tank is damaged, and you cannot tell the condition.

Getting a propane tank filled is really easy, and a better deal than tank exchanges. So do yourself and your family a good thing and buy your own tanks, and hold onto them.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:06 PM   #10
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I understand the attraction to refilling when you have a place to do it close to home. Just keep in mind that you may have a hard time finding a place to refill it when you are out using the camper. There are many more exchange places out there than there are refilling stations.
This is exactly the reason for using 2 tanks. Always a backup. In 22 years of having trailers only once did we run out of propane on a trip and had to have one filled. That was in West Yellowstone, MT. We left for the trip with 1 full tank and one half full tank. It was Sept and it got down in the 20s at night. Should have had the half full tank topped off.
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