Monday, December 4, 2023


RV Mods: Lock your LP cylinders away from thieves

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
With thanks to Tommy Molnar

Tommy Molnar

Most travel trailer owners have their propane cylinders mounted up-front, right on the trailer tongue. While that makes for an easy access for refilling, it can also make for easy access for people with bad intent. Our long-time reader Tommy Molnar provides us with a security mod he uses to keep his LP cylinders from walking off.

Underneath the plastic glamour cover that hides his LP cylinders, you’ll find Tommy’s dual propane bottle rack. Yours probably looks similar – they’re all pretty much the same. But Tommy’s secret weapon in the war on crime involved a slight modification of the notched T-bracket that ratchets down onto the top of the LP cylinders, keeping them from wiggling around.

Tommy Molnar

Tommy simply bored a hole through the T-bracket that lines up with one in his “spinner,” that giant-size wing nut apparatus that puts the pressure on the T-bracket. Now using a long-shackled padlock, the spinner and the T-bracket can be locked together. Without removing the lock, the spinner can’t be undone, and the propane cylinders aren’t going anywhere. No hole in your spinner? Simply bore one with the appropriate bit. Yeah, it would be wise to remove your LP cylinders before starting out on this project, or you might go out with a bang!

For Tommy, there’s a bonus. The design layout of his rig means the batteries are snugged in behind the LP cylinders. Without those cylinders being removed, the batteries aren’t going anywhere either. Safe and secure – both batteries and LP cylinders.

Just one more thing to think about: In the event of an emergency, say a fire, you’ll need to have quick access to the key to get the LP cylinders pulled loose and hauled away. You’ll need to weigh all the factors and make a decision you can live with before using this mod.

##RVT836 ##RVDT1430

Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Irv (@guest_95755)
3 years ago
Drew (@guest_95768)
3 years ago
Reply to  Irv

Irv, I like that device- thanks.

Brian S. Holmes (@guest_96216)
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

to expensive to complicated to over thought something else to do and loose more keys to carry just to everything . Just buy a nut of the size of the rod and tighten it down on the handle with the adjustable wrench that everyone should have in their tool box.
Don`t think a thief will be carrying tools or have the smarts to defeat this.
Total costs– .13 Cents

ed (@guest_21641)
5 years ago

Grab the top of the threaded rod with vice grips. Turn counter clockwise to remove rod.

Travis (@guest_95740)
3 years ago
Reply to  ed

I was thinking the same thing. Its not full proof or theft proof but it makes it harder to just spin off the giant wing nut and take the tanks. Most thieves look for a quick get away so I can see it helping. But to be frank in all my years of camping I have never had an issue with someone trying to steal my propane tanks.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_95758)
3 years ago
Reply to  Travis

I haven’t either, Travis. But when we’re down in Quartzsite and we decide to head off for a day of Geocaching, or just exploring, I use my locking system just to keep the honest people “honest”. When we’re at the campsite I take the lock off. I guess it’s a piece of mind thing, more for my spendy batteries than my propane tanks.

Wayne Caldwell (@guest_21525)
5 years ago

Great idea. I went just a little bit more past the pad lock. I covered the propane tank hold-down rod with electrical metal conduit and then after tightening the butterfly nut and padlocking it, I added two 3/4″ nuts to the top of the rod above the butterfly then tightening everything against each other.
I don’t know why, but I’ve been accused of overkill.

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