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How To Connect a BBQ Grill to an RV’s Onboard Propane Tank

How To Connect a BBQ Grill to an RV’s Onboard Propane Tank

When you drive a vehicle with a large built-in propane tank, carrying around small disposable propane cylinders for your barbecue grill somehow seems, well… wrong. We’ll show you exactly how we set up our RV to allow us to connect our grill to our on-board propane tank.

While small portable grills are often designed to use disposable propane canisters, we have a whole list of reasons we object to doing that.

First, there’s nothing much worse than thinking dinner’s ready, only to discover that the propane ran out right after you put your food on the grill. Since those little canisters are so… little, that seems just about as likely to happen as not.

Second, we’re full-timers, so space is at a premium. Removing disposable propane cylinders from the list of gear we need to keep on board saves space, and of course avoids running out of them, too (the best way to exacerbate objection #1 above: rummage around for a fresh canister to finish cooking dinner, then find that you already used the last one). Even though you could connect the barbecue to one of those larger 20 lb portable tanks typically used for grilling in a sticks & bricks house, those of course take up even more of that precious storage space. And… they run out, too.

Third, there are the dual evils of waste (the type that ends up in landfills) and waste (spending money unnecessarily). Those little canisters cost more and are bad for the planet.

Lastly, a prime directive of a do-it-yourselfer is to identify ways of improving the RVing experience through simple modifications. How great is it to be able to eliminate a redundancy, while improving functionality and reducing costs. So having the grill connected to the RV’s propane system is a triple win. A quadruple win if you do the modification yourself. ;-)

Because we’ve received so many questions about this, we’ve added some additional details. Besides the video above, we’ve diagrammed out every part we used to modify our propane system to make grill connection (and disconnection) quick and easy. You can click on the two images below to view larger versions of the diagrams.

Click to view a larger version.

Click to view a larger version.

Click to view a larger version.

Click to view a larger version.

And if you want to download a copy of these images & the parts list, here’s a PDF document that contains both:

Downloadable PDF with Parts Diagrams and Shopping List

Of course, your system may be a little different, but these details will hopefully make it easy for your to get your grill connected to your RV, and toss those canisters (figuratively, of course).


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Please Note: the parts listed here worked for us for connecting our Weber Q1000 grill, but that only has an 8,500BTU/hour output. If you are connecting a higher-output grill, or a propane fire pit, the PRESSURE output using these components will be sufficient, but the FLOW RATE may be too low to support the full output you require. Larger diameter hoses and/or connection parts (be sure they’re for high-pressure propane) may be needed to supply what you need, but the list below & diagrams above should help you to piece things together successfully.


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Gerald Kutza

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

My winnebago Journey already has a passenger side quick connect and valve shutoff for gas grills from my 40gal onboard tank. I want to buy the Weber Q 1000 which only uses propane bottles. I want to connect it to my existing quick connect(no bottles) Could you please tell me which parts I need to buy?

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Hi Gerald... the bigger issue is going to be that the quick connect that comes installed on your Winnebago is likely tied into the LOW pressure propane system for your onboard appliances (you may want to contact Winnebago to confirm this 100%). That won't be enough pressure to cause the regulator on the Weber Q to open and allow propane to flow. So if you're going to buy the Weber, you're also going to have to remove the regulator from the setup (we don't have tips for how to do this, as we've never attempted it)... which will also change the parts/pieces you need.

You might be better off getting a grill that's designed to operate using the already-regulated onboard propane pressure. These grills are typically called "Low Pressure Grills" (like this one on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ev2l63 and you'll also need their compatible propane hose: https://amzn.to/3qcYxJn) and you can usually find them at RV dealers or Camping World.

JohnS

Sunday 26th of June 2022

hello @RVGeeks! thanks so much for your tips & tricks for RVing! specifically at the moment, thanks for this one connecting an external grill! wonderful! however, naturally for me, I'm having an issue.

I have leaks on the outlet side of the add-in regulator (connected to the Extend-a-Stay). using my homemade leak detector (dish soap solution), it seems to be leaking where the nipple connects to the regulator and on the outlet side of that nipple, where it connects to the 1" male thread x 1/4 female NPT thread adapter.

I've taken this "assembly" from the connection to the Extend-a-Stay to the hose connection out, broken it down, retaped with thread sealing tape, but still, it leaks!

any suggestions please? and thanks in advance!

JohnS

Sunday 26th of June 2022

after reading, thinking & trying to come up with ideas, I had a thought & called my plumber brother.

we decided that because the one piece in common is/was the nipple, that it was likely the source of the problem, that something was not quite perfect about the threads or the process or something. he recommended replacing the nipple, try to find one even in galvanized steel which would also be acceptable. he also suggested grabbing some pipe thread sealing compound (aka pipe dope) & applying the pipe dope ON TOP OF the yellow teflon thread tape for gas service use & reassemble.

so that's what I did - replaced the nipple with a brass one from a big box hardware store. retaped the nipple & then applied pipe thread dope on top of the tape; reassembled all of it, retested for leaks & tightened them when I found them.

PROBLEM SOLVED!

Dean Oakes

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

What is the regulator pressure on the main tank, can't I just Tee in after the regulator so I don't have to add another?

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

The output of the pressure regulator for the RV’s propane supply is only 11” WC (Water Column), which equates to about 0.5 PSI. Nowhere near enough pressure for your grill’s regulator to open up and function. That’s why you need to tap in before the RV’s onboard regulator. But if you don’t install the second 15 PSI regulator, you’ll end up with an oily residue in the extension hose that will eventually clog up your grill’s regulator (happened to us).

Dean Oakes

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

So the the grill will work with 2 pressure regulators in line? One at the grill and the one at the big tank?

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Hi Dean… only as long as the first regulator outputs enough pressure to satisfy the inlet pressure requirement for the grill’s regulator. That’s why we used a 15psi regulator at the tank end… it’s low enough pressure to prevent the build up of oily residue in the hose leading over to the grill, but high enough that the grill’s regulator functions normally.

don

Friday 13th of May 2022

HI, I have been using this setup for four years. I got a notice that the Mr. Heater 1/4" quick disconnect has been recalled. Talked to them today, they want me to send the it back (pre paid), but have no solution for a replacement. Looks like I will to do some searching for some other solution.

TheRVgeeks

Friday 13th of May 2022

Oh wow, Don. Thanks for sharing that. Can't believe that Mr. Heater has a recall, but no plan of action for replacement! There are certainly other (no-name, likely knock-off) brands available out there... here's a list of them on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3w8xSB8

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