Installing a Propane Quick Connect 

Monday 27th April 2020 
by Matt 
 
Installing a Propane Quick Connect

This inexpensive and simple mod lets us easily run our Blackstone griddle directly from our onboard propane without clunky adapters or separate tanks.

Introduction

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When we bought the RV, it came with a 3-Port Brass Tee and Extension Hose. This connects directly to one of the propane tanks, feeding high pressure gas through the extension hose. It's designed to be used with a gas grill or BBQ.

It worked, however there were a few issues with it.

First, it connects directly to the tank which meant when one tank ran out I had to switch it to the other tank - no auto-switchover here.

Second, the shape of the tee connector made it almost impossible to fit on the tank on one side due to the arrangement of the hoses and regulator. So I had to physically switch the tanks around on the trailer too.

After a while we gave up connecting it to the tanks on our trailer tongue, and bought a separate 20lb propane tank that we'd use just for the grill (and as a backup in case we ran out of propane).

But a separate tank is, honestly, a pain too. Propane tanks need to be stored upright, and keeping it secured in the truck bed proved difficult - it loved to try and escape out of whatever straps I used to hold it down. Then when it came time to refill, it was another tank we had to carry that usually only needed a tiny amount topping up anyway.

What is a propane quick connect?

What we needed was a quick connect on the trailer.

Some trailers come with one already installed. And in fact, I believe Outdoors RV even used to include one on theirs.

Propane Quick Connect
The propane quick connect has a locking lever to make the connection secure.

So why did they stop?

Unlike the tee adapter, a propane quick connect is installed after the regulator - it's on the low pressure side. A lot of gas grills and BBQs need a high pressure propane feed, and people were getting frustrated that their grills didn't seem to be working properly - which they wouldn't when connected to the low pressure quick connect.

But our 17" Blackstone griddle can run on low pressure (and so can the 22" model). In fact, when running off high pressure, there is an external regulator you have to connect before feeding gas into the griddle. Everything inside the griddle is low pressure!

The layout of our RV means that all our propane appliances are in one spot, about halfway down on the passenger side. We have a single low pressure supply line that runs down to here, then splits as it heads up into the trailer to supply the various appliances.

RV Propane Lines
Our trailer has just one main supply line that splits here into the various appliances up inside the RV.

This spot is right by the kitchen, and coincidentally the exact spot where I like to stand to grill - the Blackstone griddle is a little sensitive to wind, so the trailer acts as a nice wind break.

We decided to install a propane quick connect in this spot to supply our Blackstone griddle. It would also work nicely with a propane fire pit if we buy one in future or simply borrow one from a friend one evening.

If you intend to install a quick connect then check the sizes and types carefully to make sure you get male and female connectors that are compatible with one another.

Installation

Disclaimer: I am not a qualified propane technician and this installation is based on my own research. This blog post is for informational purposes only and anything you do is at your own risk. You should do your own research and if at any point you don't feel confident then STOP and consult a qualified professional.
Quick Connect Parts
This is what we'll be installing on the trailer - some 1/2-inch black iron fittings, a reducing nipple and the quick connect. I used sealant on all of these connections.

Disconnect the propane

As when installing our new propane regulator, I turned the propane off, disconnected and physically removed the tanks, and drained the lines by burning the stove inside until all the gas was gone.

Installing a High Capacity Propane Regulator

We upgraded our propane regulator to a high capacity model to ensure we can reliably run all the propane appliances in our RV.

Installing a High Capacity Propane Regulator

Remove the supply line

With the lines cleared, I disconnected the brass supply lines leading off the main line under the trailer. I took my time, not wanting to damage any of the lines.

Flared Fittings
These flared fittings don't need sealant.

My goal was to remove the end connector, insert a T-adapter in the middle, and reinstall the end connector - there was enough play in the existing pipes to make this work. The black iron pipe fittings were seriously tight! What I needed (but didn't have) was a couple of pipe wrenches.

Using what I had I could not loosen the end connector. In the end, the entire pipe started unscrewing from the far end. While not ideal, I unscrewed the entire pipe to get it free, and then finally managed to loosen the connections.

Installing the quick connect

The exact parts needed to do this will depend on exactly how the RV is configured. In our case, the simplest solution was to add another tee connector into the supply line since the location as convenient and there was plenty of reach in the existing lines to do this. I picked up the 1/2-inch black iron parts I needed from Home Depot. It's pretty standard stuff so any good hardware store should stock it.

The quick connect has a 1/4-inch female thread so I also needed a 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch reducing nipple. I bought the quick connect while we were in Oregon visiting Thompson RV and picked up the reducing nipple online - but you can also buy the quick connect online too.

YouTube Video Player
Outdoors RV Mountain Series vs Titanium vs Back Country vs Trail explained at Thompson RV dealership

Blue Mountains of Oregon

We've come to Oregon to learn more about Outdoors RV, and our boondocking spot showcased exactly why we bought this RV.

Blue Mountains of Oregon

I installed a 1/2-inch black iron tee and 1/2-inch black iron nipple in the gap, and then installed the propane quick connect fitting - using Rectorseal T Plus 2 Pipe Thread Sealant on the pipe thread fittings.

Quick Connect Supply Line
Quick connect installed on the supply line, with sealant used on the various connections.

It took a little work, but I managed to get the entire pipe assembly reinstalled under the trailer, and reattached the mounting clips.

Breaking the quick connect

Then I broke it.

The brass quick connect wasn't quite straight (my OCD couldn't handle it), so I tried to tighten it just a fraction more to straighten it, at which point the brass connector snapped clean off! Well, except for the piece that remained lodged in the quick connect and would not come out. Oops!

I tried everything to separate the quick connect and brass nipple but to no avail - even with one of those threaded screw removing tools, it wouldn't budge. Fortunately I had bought a black iron plug so I removed the snapped brass piece (which thankfully came out without too much fuss), and plugged the open female end (with sealant).

Black Iron Plug
I plugged the tee connector until my new quick connect arrived - a good spare to have on hand!

Since we were boondocking in the middle of nowhere, it took a while before I was able to order a new quick connect and reducing nipple. In the meantime, I reconnected the other propane lines and sprayed down the whole area with soapy water to make sure there were no propane leaks.

I ordered both a quick connect and new reducing nipple online. Eventually they arrived, and completing the install took no time at all.

New Quick Connect
Look - it's yellow! No point hiding my mistake, here's the replacement quick connect and reducing nipple.

Once again, I disconnected the propane and drained the lines. Then I was able to simply remove the plug I had temporarily installed, and install my new reducing nipple and quick connect (using more Rectorseal T Plus 2 Pipe Thread Sealant) - being sure this time not to over-tighten it!

Installed Propane Quick Connect
I successfully installed the replacement quick connect on the trailer without breaking it!

I tested the whole system again by spraying soapy water on all the connections, and was pleased to find no leaks anywhere.

Blackstone griddle quick connect adapter

Along with the propane quick connect that I installed on the trailer, I had also ordered a 12ft Quick Connect Hose with the correct fitting for our 17" Blackstone griddle - it will also fit the 22" Blackstone griddle too.

They also sell similar quick connect hoses for the Weber Q Series grills, and Roadtrip LXE portable grills. If your grill runs on low pressure propane then have a search to see if you can find an adapter for yours too.

Installation of the adapter was super simple. Instead of screwing on the existing pressure regulator, just attach the included adapter! It just screws on by hand.

Blackstone Griddle Quick Connect
This is the quick connect adapter that screws onto the Blackstone griddle - I remove it when not in use.

In fact, I tend to remove this little adapter each time we store the griddle in the RV since it sticks out from the side and I don't want to risk it getting damaged. I keep the adapter and the 12ft hose coiled up inside the griddle for storage.

We keep our 17" Blackstone griddle covered up when outside but not in use, and then in a carrying bag for storage - the cover and bag come together in a pack. This keeps it clean and organized, and makes it very easy to quickly pull out of our storage bay when we want it.

Review

Instead of messing around with the old T adapter or pulling an extra propane cylinder out of the truck bed, I can now use the quick connect on the trailer. With the hose and fitting both stored neatly inside the Blackstone griddle, they're easily available when I need them.

Had I not foolishly over-tightened the quick connect during the installation, it would have been a pretty quick mod to do! The hardest part was removing the existing supply line without a pipe wrench, and if I were to do it again, I would definitely buy or borrow a couple of pipe wrenches!

Blackstone Griddle
This is what it's all about - cranking up the grill for dinner!

We installed it in fall last year, so we've probably only used it a dozen or so times since then. But each time I plug it in, I'm reminded how easy it is compared to dealing with a separate propane cylinder - in fact, we returned that cylinder and now have one less thing to carry around!

Quick Connect Hose
As long as you can find the right adapter, this quick connect hose can be used for other appliances too.

A friend of ours has a propane firepit with the adapter for a quick connect, and we plugged that in one evening - it worked great! On both the firepit and grill, as far as I can discern there is no difference in the propane flow rate. I did this mod after upgrading our regulator, so maybe that helped.

Installing a High Capacity Propane Regulator

We upgraded our propane regulator to a high capacity model to ensure we can reliably run all the propane appliances in our RV.

Installing a High Capacity Propane Regulator

All in, this relatively inexpensive and simple mod has meant no more carrying around a separate, heavy propane cylinder, and no more messing around with the propane tanks on our trailer each time we want to use the grill.

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