How Adding An Outdoor BBQ Busted My Chops
What can be simpler, I thought, when I set out to connect my new Coleman BBQ to my RV LP tank.
I thought, all I have to do is get a quick disconnect fitting, a 12' gas hose, and few brass fitting at my local ACE Hardware store …AND BOY DID THIS PROJECT TURN INTO AN ORDEAL!
At every turn I ran into problems, but being the optimist I just kept turning these little annoyances into learning opportunities, which I will now share with you so you don’t get blindsided like I did:
* I had no idea how much I would spend.
* I had no idea how long this would take.
* I did not know these LP and Propane Gas fittings are ever-so-slightly different than Natural Gas quick disconnect fittings; and not all of these quick disconnect brands are interchangeable. I.e., you may be able to plug in your 12’ male hose (bought at Camping World) into a quick connect you bought at ACE, but that does not mean the seal inside the quick disconnect will release and let LP gas flow. Why? …Because different manufactures have micro-differences in how they seal the quick disconnect and mate with the male part. This is why when you buy a quick disconnect it always comes with the male side for the extension hose.
So lesson #1:
When you buy an extension hose, you really need to be sure the quick disconnect is made by the same company as the 12’ hose company.
And how did I get into this mess? Answer: When I bought the 12’ hose at Camping World they were out of stock on the quick disconnect part, and the salesperson directed me to go to a professional hose and hydraulic shop located 2 miles away to buy a quick disconnect from them. SO DON”T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!
LITTLE THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN YOU BUY A BBQ
I did not know my Coleman “Roadtrip-Excursion” #9406 BBQ uses a 15PSI regulator. …And why is this important?
Answer: It means I could not use the existing BBQ remote gas line in my RV, which the previous owner plumbed, after my RV tank regulator, because after my RV tank regulator the line pressure is only 12-12.5PSI. So when I connected my Coleman BBQ up the first time, there was no fame.
SOLUTION: I thought I would simply add a second T-Fitting before the RV LP tank regulator... and how hard can that be?
* All I would have to do is cap-off the old ½” pipe and then add a T-Fitting to the high pressure line before the LP tank regulator.
* Well, everything went pretty good until I removed my old high pressure side (350PSI) LP gas fuel line, because I found that fuel line was very hard and unusable, but not until I tried to reinstall it.
* At this point, I found the gas fittings leaked after I tightened them up.
==> So now I'm hunting down place to get a new LP/Propane hose made; and I notice the hose is rated for 350PSI.
* So off I go to find a propane store or Napa to cut the ends off and re-attach the brass fittings. Well, it turns out the nearest propane repair/fueling store/company is located 30 miles away; so I go to Napa and they tell me your old hose is too hard to crimp. Also, one fitting was not a spin-on-fitting so you would to have a straight hose in order to tighten that side of the fitting down.
Note: The Napa store was willing to make a new hose out of a 3,000 PSI hydraulic line, but I opted not to go that route since my old hose had all kinds of LP gas makings and certifications on it.
…And it’s a good thing I did. Why? ...Because the LP tech said if I used that hydraulic hose, over time the high pressure in the line would leach out the propane in the line.
Now to be fair, I think if I was using a 5 gallon tank and the hose I needed was going to be used after the regulator, where I can turn off my gas valve at the tank, then I’m sure I could have gotten into any trouble by using a hydraulic hose with low pressure LP gas… and I would be able to turn the LP off at the tank… before the gas line.
For high-pressure LP applications, before your RV tank regulator, you can't use an air hose or an hydraulic hose. You really do need to get the appropriate rated LP-Propane hose that will handle 350PSI.
So now I’m back under my RV and I reassemble everything, again. And after I did, I perform a leak check with soapy water, and this time I notice my gas on/off valve to the BBQ was leaking when it was not leaking before.
* So off I go to the ACE hardware store and I find 1/2"FPT to 3/8" Male-Flared gas valve (with a yellow handle) and I read the label which says it is rated up to 125F at 5PSIG... which I determine is not good enough for use on the high pressure side of the RV-LP-Tank.
* So then I start asking how much pressure is on the high pressure side of the LP tank? …And the answer is 125-225PSIG depending on the outside temperature (OAT).
* And then I ask what the difference is between the PSI of natural gas in your home? …And the answer is the pressure “INSIDE” your home is in the 2PSI range, which is why a 5PSIG rated hot water gas valve will work just fine.
* Further, there is no standard for yellow or red or blue gas valves, but you will find the standard clearly marked on the side of the gas valve, which is very helpful, providing you know what these marks mean?
The brass parts you buy need to be rated for high pressure LP gas if you are tapping into a high pressure 125-225PSI LP gas line. And these parts are not commonly found at ACE, because they don’t want the average homeowner messing around with high pressure gas. And now I can understand why.
* When you are adding a T-Fitting before the RV tank regulator you are going to need a 350PSI gas line and a 600-PSIG ball valve so you can turn off the gas at that tank.
* Quick Disconnect LP Fitting are made for Natural Gas and Propane applications, but you will find these parts are only rated for 250PSI, which is satisfactory, but not something I would recommend you leave on the high pressure side when you are driving or put your RV in storage.
Why? …For safety reasons, IMO, I think you really need to install a 600-PSIG ball valve at your RV TANK so you can turn off the gas at that point… as close to the tank as possible.
In the pictures posted below, you will see your RV LP tank is located above the ground. So if you have a high pressure or low pressure regulator leak the LP will drop to the ground and spread out… and the wind is your friend… so you don’t go KABOOM!
Now take a look at where your remote BBQ Quick Disconnect (250PSIG) part is located? …And you will see, in my case, it is located in my storage compartment.
So what would happen if this quick disconnect fails, or the ball valve above it fails? …Which albeit is a slim chance, but we are talking about LP here! …And high pressure LP at that!
Answer: LP gas is going to fill your basement and will got leach out to the ground or get blown away for a very long time. And that sounds very dangerous to me.
IMO, I really like this Coleman 15PSI “Roadtrip-Excursion” #9406 BBQ, but after spending $190 just to hook it up to my LP tank; and after all the time and effort I put into this project, right now, all the satisfaction I have is wrapped up in the learning experiences I got.
Further, you can buy a lot of green LP canisters for $190. So there really does not seem like there is any cost savings I can make an argument for until 3+ years go by, more or less, depending on how much grilling you do.
So that begs the question: Would I recommend the Coleman “Excursion” #9406?
Yes, I would, but only if you are prepared to use it with the green LP canisters; and I’m guessing that will satisfy 90% of you all out there.
In addition, for RV use, I really like the Coleman “Excursion” BBQ because if folds down to a very slim-line (height) and then I can roll it into my basement, which the other Coleman grills would not stowaway, because they were too tall when in the folded position.
HOW MUCH TIME & MONEY DID I SPEND TO CONNECT MY COLEMAN BBQ TO THE HIGH SIDE OF MY RV LP TANK?
* $80 for plumbing parts
* $90 for the quick connect and 12' hose
* $20 in gas for my car to drive 120 miles to the propane store to buy a specialty LP hose and high pressure fittings.
* $210 for the grill; and 4 days of on again, off again, work to get the whole setup working without LP leaks.
So these things aren’t cheap! …And I’m too beat right now to tell you if I am satisfied or not. …Ask me next year how I feel and maybe I will be glad I went to all this trouble. However it’s a lot of work and money -- just to avoid buying and running out of those green canister LP tanks.