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Old 02-14-2019, 06:33 PM   #1
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Trailer propane lines - rubber, iron or copper?

Ok, I'm at a snag. I need to get the 5 LP hoses out of the way so I can put a new single piece underbelly back on my Freedom Express 246RKS. The problem is the original lines are all fixed IP fittings into a distribution block in the approximate middle of the camper on the underside. I need to take the lines off to wrangle the big piece of coroplast into place, but those fittings are fixed. So it appears I will need to disconnect the flare end at the individual appliances and then drop the entire line assembly out. Pretty much everything from the LP regulator the each appliance is basically one octopus assembly with fixed fittings. Even if I wanted to slit the belly material to let the lines in to where they transition up to the appliances, I don't think I can get that one piece of coroplast under the trailer as all the other lines are in the way.

Here is the distribution block and those dang fixed connections. As was previously pointed out I will have to unhook the other end of each hose so I can turn the entire hose to unscrew these from the distribution manifold (basically a block with threaded holes in it).



So here is my question. If I have to take this monster of a hose assembly out anyway, why not make what goes back in more user friendly for future repairs, mods, etc... I know eventually I will need to fix something and either the underbelly or a LP line will be in the way.

My last TT was a 1998 model and had black iron pipe under the frame for the LP lines with soft copper to the individual appliances. All the newer ones seem to have these rubber LP lines. Is there any advantage to rubber vs iron pipe or Type L copper (other than to the factory - easier to store and install for them)?

Iron pipe has been around forever and we know it works. Also I've seen TT plumbed entirely with soft copper lines. I'm talking about the stiffer type L 1/2" copper main lines with soft copper 3/8" distribution runs to the appliances. I can solder the fittings and make the flare connections for the appliances. If I break down in East Jesus, Montana, there is probably a hardware store with copper, fittings, a propane torch and solder if I need to repair the LP lines (doubt it will ever happen short of an object bouncing up and damaging a line). If a line is nicked by a road object, I can solder in a splice, etc... You get the idea.

So is there any reason not to use a shorter flexible rubber hose from the LP tanks to the front of the TT and then run hard Type L copper the rest of the way with Copper T & L fittings stepping down to the 3/8" soft copper final run to the appliance.

Or is there some issue I'm not thinking of here?
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:42 PM   #2
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Due to movement in the chassis as you travel, I would nix the black pipe. The copper should be fine as long as you run it with some curves and slip-style support clamps that allow some movement.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:25 PM   #3
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Due to movement in the chassis as you travel, I would nix the black pipe. The copper should be fine as long as you run it with some curves and slip-style support clamps that allow some movement.
Yes I would use the rubber lined cable clamps to keep the hard and soft copper lines in place, but allow for some movement (sort of like a floating assembly under the trailer). The rubber will also keep the copper from contacting the steel frame and help prevent any electrolysis between dissimilar metals. I'm thinking there is not going to be any metal to copper contact at all under the trailer. Clamps like these.



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Old 02-14-2019, 07:38 PM   #4
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Corrugated stainless steel tubing (csst) is an option to soft copper or rubber tubing and readily available.
http://homeflex.com
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:21 PM   #5
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Never use copper tubing. Propane and copper do not get along with each other. The copper will be damaged by the propane and flake off insde the pipe and plug the tiny orifaces in the system.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:40 PM   #6
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Never use copper tubing. Propane and copper do not get along with each other. The copper will be damaged by the propane and flake off insde the pipe and plug the tiny orifaces in the system.

Kindly provide a source for this information. My home propane lines are all copper as are those in most homes I've seen using propane. Years ago black IP was used for natural gas and possibly propane (I was a plumber's helper and installed many natural gas water heaters using black IP) but today copper is apparently approved propane piping in most states for homes. I've lived in my house for 45 years and never had a clogged copper propane line.

My two 5th wheels had and have copper propane piping.

Thus a source for your questionable information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimVWulp View Post
Never use copper tubing. Propane and copper do not get along with each other. The copper will be damaged by the propane and flake off insde the pipe and plug the tiny orifaces in the system.
I have never heard this and apparently neither have any of the major R/V manufacturers as ALL of my R/Vs through the years have had copper tubing somewhere as supply lines for the LP system. (ie: water heater, stove/oven, refrigerator)

Several local Propane Gas companies in our area connect 100 Lb. Extend-A-Stay tanks to the R/Vs in a neighboring campground and they all use copper.

All the homes in our area that use LP for cooking are connected with copper as well.





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Old 02-15-2019, 04:47 PM   #8
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Right!

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Originally Posted by DrLewie View Post
Kindly provide a source for this information. My home propane lines are all copper as are those in most homes I've seen using propane. Years ago black IP was used for natural gas and possibly propane (I was a plumber's helper and installed many natural gas water heaters using black IP) but today copper is apparently approved propane piping in most states for homes. I've lived in my house for 45 years and never had a clogged copper propane line.

My two 5th wheels had and have copper propane piping.

Thus a source for your questionable information would be greatly appreciated.
Agree with Dr Lewie. The poster was probably confusing copper with zinc. Black iron pipe is used with propane and natural gas because the zinc in galvanized iron pipe flakes off and clogs regulators and orifices.

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Old 02-15-2019, 04:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimVWulp View Post
Never use copper tubing. Propane and copper do not get along with each other. The copper will be damaged by the propane and flake off insde the pipe and plug the tiny orifaces in the system.
You are correct but copper has been and is still in use for propane delivery in RV ,s the number of yrs it takes for the copper to deteriorate the RV will be dust by then
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:54 PM   #10
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How about this approach?

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Originally Posted by dward51 View Post
Ok, I'm at a snag. I need to get the 5 LP hoses out of the way so I can put a new single piece underbelly back on my Freedom Express 246RKS. The problem is the original lines are all fixed IP fittings into a distribution block in the approximate middle of the camper on the underside. I need to take the lines off to wrangle the big piece of coroplast into place, but those fittings are fixed. So it appears I will need to disconnect the flare end at the individual appliances and then drop the entire line assembly out.
...
Here is the distribution block and those dang fixed connections. As was previously pointed out I will have to unhook the other end of each hose so I can turn the entire hose to unscrew these from the distribution manifold (basically a block with threaded holes in it).
...
Or is there some issue I'm not thinking of here?
You may have overlooked one of my suggestions in our discussion yesterday. Let me restate it. Perhaps that will make it more obvious.

You don't have to remove the hoses. Just loosen or remove the flare fittings at the remote ends. Then loosen or remove any clamps you can see. Then you should be able to remove the fixed end fitting from the block by spinning the entire hose while it is in place. Even if it goes through a 90-degree turn someplace in the wall, it will probably spin.

Don't write this approach off until you've tried it.

Larry
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