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 > Any option for re-filling MH Propane Tank from Small Tank?

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CA Traveler

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Posted: 03/03/21 08:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mowermech wrote:

Many years ago I worked for the Forest Service burning logging slash piles. We used back-pack propane torches. When the torch bottle was empty, we returned to the pickup and filled the bottle from a 100 pound cylinder in the back of the truck. Liquid transferred from the big cylinder to the little bottle using only the pressure in the big cylinder. Of course, we had to open the "80% valve" on the little bottle to relieve the pressure so it would fill properly. As soon as we got liquid from the "80% valve" we shut off the valve on the big cylinder, shut off the valve on the little bottle, disconnected the hose, connected the torch and went back to lighting fires.
This long dissertation is just to illustrate that it IS possible to transfer liquid propane without a pump. Is it "safe"? Probably not. Anytime a flammable gas is vented to the atmosphere it can be dangerous.
Good luck.
Interesting post because every time a tank is filled from a "normal" station with a pump they open the small valve to determine when the tank is full. And some vapor/liquid escapes. So apparently it's a least a somewhat dangerous operation everytime a tank is filled.


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Posted: 03/03/21 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CA Traveler wrote:

mowermech wrote:

Many years ago I worked for the Forest Service burning logging slash piles. We used back-pack propane torches. When the torch bottle was empty, we returned to the pickup and filled the bottle from a 100 pound cylinder in the back of the truck. Liquid transferred from the big cylinder to the little bottle using only the pressure in the big cylinder. Of course, we had to open the "80% valve" on the little bottle to relieve the pressure so it would fill properly. As soon as we got liquid from the "80% valve" we shut off the valve on the big cylinder, shut off the valve on the little bottle, disconnected the hose, connected the torch and went back to lighting fires.
This long dissertation is just to illustrate that it IS possible to transfer liquid propane without a pump. Is it "safe"? Probably not. Anytime a flammable gas is vented to the atmosphere it can be dangerous.
Good luck.
Interesting post because every time a tank is filled from a "normal" station with a pump they open the small valve to determine when the tank is full. And some vapor/liquid escapes. So apparently it's a least a somewhat dangerous operation everytime a tank is filled.


Of course, the fill station is usually fenced off but open area with signs saying stay back and all the equipment is ignition protected, so no stray sparks. While not rocket science, the guy filling it has likely had a short training on what to do and what not to do.

Different from a random guy connecting up and venting the built in tank inside the MH structure where there may be non-ignition protected devices in play and a very flammable RV.


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Posted: 03/03/21 09:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mowermech wrote:

Many years ago I worked for the Forest Service burning logging slash piles. We used back-pack propane torches. When the torch bottle was empty, we returned to the pickup and filled the bottle from a 100 pound cylinder in the back of the truck. Liquid transferred from the big cylinder to the little bottle using only the pressure in the big cylinder. Of course, we had to open the "80% valve" on the little bottle to relieve the pressure so it would fill properly. As soon as we got liquid from the "80% valve" we shut off the valve on the big cylinder, shut off the valve on the little bottle, disconnected the hose, connected the torch and went back to lighting fires.
This long dissertation is just to illustrate that it IS possible to transfer liquid propane without a pump. Is it "safe"? Probably not. Anytime a flammable gas is vented to the atmosphere it can be dangerous.
Good luck.
Done on the farm all the time. Need a tank that will supply liquid from near the bottom.

Perfectly safe using standard precautions. Not so easy to measure and charge by volume. Probably takes a bit longer so more propane is lost gassing off the top of the filled cylinder.


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Posted: 03/03/21 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am the original poster:
Thank you for the information. I am going to pull up stakes and go find a place to refill the propane. But I do like the idea of the adapter that allows me to connect up the propane grill, or be able to pull from an alternative tank! Sounds like a good option to have on the motorhome.
But filling up using another tank? "nope, not going to attempt this".
Thank you for the information everyone.

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Posted: 03/03/21 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

time2roll wrote:

theoldwizard1 wrote:

The pressure in your tank varies with temperature. If you want to transfer the LP, you need different pressures. Cool the receiving tank in an ice water bath. If not practical, heat the full tank with hot water.
To move liquid you would need to cool the tank to maybe -45 degrees maybe a little lower. OK it would move as a gas and condense into liquid in the very chilled tank.
Dry ice at -78F would do the trick.

Yes, I was not clear ! I was referring to a "gas only" transfer.

Works great for combining two 20lb BBQ tanks into one !

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Posted: 03/03/21 11:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry, folks, I should have noted that the cylinder that you wish to remove liquid from must be tilted or upside down so the liquid can be drawn from the valve. Assuming, that is, that you do not have a liquid withdrawal port on the tank you are filling from. The 250 PSIG in the cylinder will move the liquid quite rapidly if the "80% valve" is open on the receiving bottle.
When we were transferring liquid propane, no heating or refrigeration was required.


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Posted: 03/03/21 04:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wanderingaimlessly wrote:

I'm not a specialist on this, but a question, Since many people run a portable grill from a low pressure line run from the RV system, Why , couldn't you attach a tank with a grill regulator to one of those fittings to basically back feed the system after turning off your main tank?


Because the on-board regulator will vent propane if you do that very dangerous, I have seen several "DIY" external propane tricks and franky they scare the black tank contents out of me.

The Extend-a-stay/Stay-a-while. (Another name for it) devices are safe. Most of the other suggestions I'd run and fast and that's not easy for me.


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Posted: 03/04/21 05:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I have my Class A parked, I disconnect the line going to the large mounted bottle and connect it to a 30 lb bottle that can easily be taken just about anywhere to be filled. That way I don't use all the propane in my mounted tank.
I have two small tanks so I always have a backup.

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Posted: 03/04/21 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Simplest, and most effective, solution is to call a propane company that delivers, explain your situation and ask them for a solution. Most likely they will have one of their trucks meet you somewhere (safe) to fill your tank. Now if you're in downtown New York or Los Angeles it's not going to happen but most everywhere else, it's a no brainer.....Dennis


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Posted: 03/04/21 11:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Executive wrote:

Simplest, and most effective, solution is to call a propane company that delivers, explain your situation and ask them for a solution. Most likely they will have one of their trucks meet you somewhere (safe) to fill your tank. Now if you're in downtown New York or Los Angeles it's not going to happen but most everywhere else, it's a no brainer.....Dennis


Good luck with that. I've dealt with three different residential propane companies for our upstate NY family cottage bulk tank, and all three company's delivery drivers have told me they're not allowed to refill the 29 gallon ASME tank on our motorhome when they were there to refill 320 gallon bulk tank. Two drivers did fill it for me a few times, but made I sure I knew they were violating a company policy they didn't agree with. Both of them were fellow RV owners... [emoticon]


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