Valve & hose for 1lb propane bottle
One day as I was having Westly's propane tank filled I thought about what I would do if it ran out while camping. The tanks holds about 3 gallons of liquefied propane. I don't use the stove much and don't have a heater so the fridge accounts for the greatest propane consumption. I always figure flexibility is the key to stress-free outdoor life, so if I can't cook inside and the refrigerated food spoils, I'm sure I'll figure something out and survive. Besides, my trips usually last at most four days and anybody that can't put up with a little inconvenience for that long might be better off staying home (no, Dear I wasn't necessarily referring to you).
Still, it's always good policy to be prepared. Bus Depot sells a kit of hoses and connectors that allow you attach an external propane bottle for extra capacity (or if your main tank runs out) and you can also fuel portable devices such as a bar-b-que or lantern. But, in an effort to appear clever and resourceful (in reality - cheap), I stopped by my friendly Ace hardware and brought an assortment of fittings, valves, and hoses to the counter. Then I recalled how adept I am at picking out the one part in the bin that somehow became separated from it's barcode, thus holding up the checkout line for 15 minutes. But I scored on a heavily discounted (it had been returned with a missing part, which I didn't need anyway) natural gas grill quick release fitting, hose and regulator.
Back at home, I inserted a brass T fitting into the gas line that runs from the tank to the stove. A ball valve (for shut off) went into that, then the receptacle of the quick-release fitting. This is all inside the storage cabinet adjacent to the fridge, between the stove and sink.
|The valve and receptacle in place|
Important - use a valve designed for gas, not water
Very important - check for gas leaks with soapy water (watch for bubbles) rather than using a flame!
|Hose, regulator and adapter|
|Hose plugged in with bottle attached|
The hose is long enough to place the bottle outside
By the way, some interpret POL as "Put On Left", referring to the reversed thread - it turns to the left to tighten, just of the opposite of "Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty" that applies most everywhere else. The fact is though, that POL refers to Prest-O-Light, the company that originally designed the fitting.
That's a lot of text for one little project, and truthfully, I've not yet used it except in testing. But it's there if needed.
I had noticed some Westy's using 4" computer cooling fans in the window behind the stove/sink for ventilation. These don't move a lot of air, but they are quiet, operate on 12 volts, and very inexpensive. I just happened to have a pile of them in my shop salvaged from defunct computers and planned to install one as we like to chow down on pasta while camping, and cooking pasta produces volumes of steam.
One velvet morning while doing some gardening, I found myself staring at a down-spout to drain pipe adapter (3X3X4 flexible pvc) with a rectangle shape on one end, round on the other. "A 4" fan would fit nicely in the rectangle end with a spacer" I thought to myself (or maybe I said it out loud - I do that a lot) and leaving the Dimorphotheca Sinuata to fend for itself, I headed for my shop. I made a couple of spacers from scrap wood, and cast about the shop for other parts I would need to bring my plan into fruition.
Computer cooling fan with wood spacers
Home theater speaker mounting bracket
Threaded stud with knob from an office chair
3X4 grill (see below)
|Close up of the wood spacers|
|Switch with resister for high/low speed|
The resister is inside some heat-shrink tubing
|Front view w/o grill|
Cell phone cord goes through grommet on the back
and is wired into the switch
|And installed above the sink|
Plexiglass Side Window Rain Shields
The Westy comes fully equipped with a couple of sliding side windows with screens. Due to the curve of the body (yes, Vanagons do have some curves - actually "angles" would be more correct) if the windows are open while rain in falling, some rain will join you inside, dampening your party. And, since the exhaust fan above requires a window to be open and is most effective in wet weather, some means of shielding the open window from precipitation is necessary. I searched the online forums and found that, fortunately, more clever minds than mine had already addressed the problem, and the solution was simple.
|The rain shield in place|
|As often as possible...|
While rummaging around in the shop one day, I found this little fan, left over from another era when I had a muy grande camper sitting on an F350 diesel, double cab, dually pickup.
|The truck, with camper in the background|
I averaged 16mpg on trips with the camper on - not bad for such a behemoth
|The fan that was in the fridge in the camper on the truck|
|I picked up these Hella 500 driving lights at last weekend's |
PNW Springmeet Show & Swap
and devised a cunning way of using Simpson Strong-Tie connectors to
mount them without drilling any holes. Not wired in yet - details forthcoming....
See more of my modifications here...
Or, if you're weary of this piddly crap I've been doing and you want to see some really cool stuff, check out the Vanagon mods on this blog: shufti.wordpress.com
This guy has loads of good ideas, a shop full of tools he's not afraid to use, and seems to be a prolific writer as well with interests other than Vanagons!
Perhaps you're curious to see what happens when you cross a stretched Vanagon Westfalia with a wrecked Tesla? I mean, who wouldn't be? Well there's really only one place to go: http://cafeelectric.com/stretchla/
Absolutely captivating reading!