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Full Version: 6 in. clearance and Roads in these places
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One of my main problems with most of the roads I have seen in my short time out here full-timing, as mentioned in another thread, is that my van has only 6 in. clearance.  This is due to the safety shield to protect the propane tank that is attached under the body of the van.  I am posting photos here that show what I mean.  Someone on here seems to not quite believe me about this amount of clearance...so here you go.

I hope the photos show.  If not I will try again.  It took me a bit to learn how to resize them, and thanks to whomever posted the steps for adding photos.

This is an older Class B and I have been doing my best to keep it in as good a shape as I can.  I like it a lot and hope it provides me with a few more years of traveling.  So I am not looking to change it for something else; I need to be mindful of where we drive.

Regarding the definition of the roads in all these places:  I have been in the Flagstaff area since July 11.  The monsoon rains do a number on the red muddy roads, making all kinds of huge ruts and very difficult to traverse roads.  Most of what I have seen, anyway.  Plus there are a lot of rocks here that you don't always see at first.  I have seen some better roads, but not many.  So, since this is my first and only, so far, experience out here, this is all I have to go by.

And as far as only going carefully and slowly...I would have been in deep do do if I had only done that, with the hills, big ruts, mud and rocks.  I even hydroplaned on mud...this place was a mess.  Now it's dried out some but the ruts remain.  When it was that wet and muddy, if I had gone slowly, I would have been stuck.  In deep mud a mile up a hill off the road.  I know...I was given the advice from camp mates to gun it, don't stop, just keep going.  It was very bad.  I almost got stuck several times, but gave it the gas.

Now that it has dried out some, the ruts remain and they are often more than 6 inches deep. At the campsite I was at, anyway. So I had to make alternate arrangements.

What the roads are like in the Quartzsite and such areas, is something I will learn. Someone told me yesterday that I can do it with my van, so that's good to hear.
it's kinda hard to get a clear idea with those pictures. I can't really tell what I am looking at. this is a common problem with RV's, when they build them the really don't take stuff like this into consideration. can the tank be moved up at all? can you get taller tires on it without rubbing? for every inch taller tire you gain 1/2 inch of clearance. highdesertranger
Hello highdesertranger.  I had to lie down on the ground to take these pictures. There is no way to move the propane tank. It is attached right to the bottom of the van with some kind of short hangers or something.

Maybe I can get a better view of this another day.

That safety shield is about 3 or 4 feet long.  It can't go anywhere either.

I'm not really complaining about this.  I love that I have propane for the stove, refrigerator and hot water. This was never an issue before on city streets.  I just have to be mindful of what I'm doing. 

And I can't forget that these types of roads cost me over $400 for two new tires and repair on the 3rd. And they were fairly new tires with only fifteen thousand miles on them and I paid over $200 each for those originally also. I guess I didn't have the right type of tires for these kinds of roads.

Thanks for the tip on other tires. WheelEstate told me the same thing today.  I guess we all learn along the way.  For the newbies out there, it's still worth it.
highdesertranger pointed out something about my two photos that I hadn't thought of. 

I know what I'm looking at but how the heck are you supposed to?

Okay, the white thing with the red mud splotches on it is the propane tank. That other straight long thing hanging down is a piece of metal that is also attached to the underside of the van that protects the propane tank from getting too close to rocks and the road. This is what cuts the road clearance.

I hope that makes it a little more clear.
so is that white thing attached to the propane tank or the van? if it is a separate skid plate I would just build a bullet proof one and not worry about it. highdesertranger
I have firestone ride rite airbags on my rear leaf springs.
I usually keep 15PSI passenger and 25 PSI driver side to keep wheel well clearance even on all 4 corners.

But If I pump one bag upto 100PSI, then the other, then go back to the first( which fell to ~80psi, then back to other bag, it raises the rear over 5 inches.

Does nothing to help clearance of differential, but would increase GC in the middle of the van.

The van rides horribly with this much PSI in the bags, and the increased angle puts more strain on the driveline U joint.

I could use some coil spring spacers to increase GC up front, and Gabriel make some coil over shocks which could actually fit inside the existing coil springs in on my dodge but I would never choose that option.

Timbren makes some load assisting bump stops for up front, but I do not trust those either.

Been a while since I required ground clearance but getting out and walking any iffy areas beforehand has saved me from bottoming out and breaking something, or getting stuck, and I have made it to campsites where I was the only other 2wd vehicle.

I've not actually used my airbags for a ground clearance issue. mostly for leveling the van in curbside camping, and in general just to keep rear from sagging as my leafs are tired tired tired.
(09-10-2016, 06:46 PM)pamerica Wrote: [ -> ]There is no way to move the propane tank.

Just a minor correction. There's no easy way to move the tank. It would require some steel fabrication, welding and significant modification to your vehicle and probably incur a fair bit of expense, but it could be done.

That said, six inches is only a half inch less clearance than I have on my little Kia. I've been on some pretty rough roads with that car and done just fine. I just take my time getting where I'm going.
(09-10-2016, 07:20 PM)highdesertranger Wrote: [ -> ]so is that white thing attached to the propane tank or the van?  if it is a separate skid plate I would just build a bullet proof one and not worry about it.  highdesertranger

That white thing is the propane tank. The big piece of metal that you see hanging down there is the only thing protecting the tank. Well, there is a little metal faceplate in front of the gauges and the place to put the propane in.  It would be great to get rid of that metal that is called the safety shield.

And wonder what it would take to build what you call a bulletproof box around that tank.

To tell you the truth, I didn't know about these things before and I do wish I could get a class B where the guy doesn't have to get under the van to fill the tank.

I have so many new parts on this, including the propane tank, that I think I would be lucky to get half of what I have in it.
If somebody put the tank and protector on, somebody can take it off. I would guess they are both bolted on, but even if they are welded, somebody can take them off. a friend here has a car lift if you pass through pahrump. He has cutting torches and a welder as well. Maybe moving the tank to another location is the key, (like sideways behind the rear axle). Or convert to a standard tank.
Well, I still want the tank and what would I then have to protect it?   Don't I wish we could put that tank someplace else.  But that's silly talk now because this old geezer shouldn't have any more money put into it except what's absolutely necessary.  Shhhh.... don't let him hear I said that.  His name is Bob, short for Bucket of Bolts.  But he has been good to me for all the time we have been together, three and a half years.

The tank is cylindrical, about 3 feet long, maybe.  I don't know how you could mount it sideways. And when you said convert to a regular tank, where would that go and how would that get hooked up?

Thanks for the invite to the car lift, DannyB1954
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