Oven & Propane Install

Ovens. Do you really need one? If need isn’t your way of describing it, consider a standard cooktop. You’ll have yourself tons of room, $$, adding a second fuel source, and cutting another hole.

Equivalent cooktops are available in DIESEL model or PROPANE, propane still running more expensive when you factor in tank costs and additional headache tax of the install.

For the Canavan, diet requirements and the idea fresh naturally leavened bread (It’s easy, cheap, and so delicious – check it!) necessitated the oven. Decision made – Let’s get at it!

Pre-build Considerations

Options: They are relatively limited. Atwood (Product Info Here) has a range, ha, of 17″ and 21″ ovens. I bought mine on Ebay, but would probably try to find a retailer if I did it again.

Layout and Design: Where do you want it? Placement over the sliding door allows for open-air cooking during warmer months, and easy routing of the propane hose through the door stepwell (more on that soon). The cabinet was designed itself to the oven dimensions, with room for a large drawer cubby underneath, and additional drawer storage on the right side.

Propane Tank & Regulator: There couple different options here, but in my research the best one is an externally mounted, RV rated horizontal tank. Many people have created propane compartments, which require sealing, venting, and consume precious cargo room, and adds layers of complexity that really aren’t needed. So, let’s put the tank on the outside, where it is safer, easier to fill, and liberates the interior for living.

Manchester makes a RV Rated propane tank to ASME code (whatever that is, but acronyms will make getting post-conversion insurance much easier!) in a variety of sizes. The 5.5 Gallon, Model 6813 is the perfect diameter to snugly fit and secure to the vehicle sub frame, just below the sliding door.

You will need a regulator to accompany the tank. Two stage regulators are recommended to reduce freeze-up issues (this one works just dandy.)

Hose, Fasteners and Extras: Atwood stoves come with a brass fitting that adapt from a 1/4 NPT (National Pipe Thread) female regulator inlet to a 3/8 NPT Male. I searched high and low, this information does NOT seem to exist online… so you’ll have to take my word for it. My local hose supplier provided a 10 ft length, 3/8 NPT Female (Range) to  3/8 NPT Male (Tank Regulator) to with the appropriate adapter for about $50. Pick up some LP rated plumbing tape for the regulator and oven connections.

External propane means the hose passes through the steel at some point. Easiest way to do this? Plastic aquarium bulkhead. The outer diameter of my propane hose was just under 3/4″, and this bulkhead requires a 1.5″ hole saw. I drilled out mine with a 1.25″ hole saw and a lot of cursing.

For mounting the tank, a 32″ length of 1-5/8ths Unistrut, two 5/16th’s elevator bolts and nuts, two 3/8th’s bolts and spring nuts, some washers, and you’re set. To secure the line, zip ties and a couple rubber-coated “P” clamps will do the trick. An industrial fastener/bolt supply should carry this stuff!

Making it happen

I have great hopes for you. You’re an excellent multitasker and have been able to conjure the above in less time than it took you to read to this point in the guide, right?

Mount the tank: Inspired by colinh’s post on sprinter-source there is a perfect space for the Manchester tank below the sliding door. Low enough to access the filling valve, without creating any ground clearance issues. Follow the steps!

  • Drill a 3/8″ centred hole in each subframe mounting point. Note: there are three under the passenger side of the van, one has a partition that does not allow you to fish a bolt through. The remaining two are what we are drilling into. Follow up with some cold galvanizing compound to inhibit rust.
  • Fish through your 5/16″ elevator bolts. I used 12 gauge wire with an elastic on the end.
  • Secure Unistrut length with washers & locking nuts
  • Mount tank to unistrut using spring nuts and remaining bolts
  • Frolic on the notion that you now drive a rolling flamethrower

Route the hose:

[Photo w- dash overlay showing propane line]

Use some petroleum specific thread tape at the stove end and be careful not to over-tighten. Run hose through your cabinetry, securing with P-Clamps along the way. Once out of the cabinet, my hose runs through a bulkhead located to the rear of the sliding door footwell, and is further sealed with silicone to prevent critters/drafts from entering.

[Bulkhead close-up]

Run above the tank body and connect to the regulator, connect the regulator to the tank, and secure/strain relief any excess hose with zip ties. (NOTE: I had to cut a notch out of the bash guard to get the regulator to fit, as you can see).

[Regulator w/ cut out and strain relief]

Spec Sheet & Supplies

(Download a high quality printable pdf here)

Post-build Reflections

First Use: 

After your first propane tank fill, slowly open the tank valve. Should you get overly excited and spin the dial, it’s likely that the sudden pressure change will close off the valving in the regulator, which will take some time to re-equalize. I heard a ‘ping’ when I opened the valve and the stove wasnt working. Shit. After waiting a day, all is well and we’ve got hot eats!

Heat Distribution:

I’m going to throw down some unglazed ceramic tile over the propane element. The stock panel seems pretty useless at distributing the heat and creates a significant hotspot. I found some other great RV oven tips here.

6 replies
  1. Kipp
    Kipp says:

    Hey! Awesome job, thanks for all the amazing helpful tips. What thickness ply did you use for this cabinet? 3/4” if 1/2”? Cheers

    Reply
  2. sjacklin
    sjacklin says:

    Hey Kipp! Thanks for the kind words. Went with 3/4 baltic birch for all the cabinet carcasses – sturdy as heck! The drawers you can get away with 1/2 or 3/8 for the body, but I still used 3/4 for the face-frame to give it a hefty feel.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

    Reply
  3. Kipp
    Kipp says:

    Thanks for the reply!

    Would you mind briefly summarizing the steps to build your galley cabinet? I see it’s pocket joined and you left a gap for the countertop to sit on-do I also see a notch in the ply at the top?

    How is the oven sitting in the image above-what is holding it? How does the butcher block play a role? I have the same oven and am just starting to design the cabinet.

    Much appreciated!

    Reply
    • sjacklin
      sjacklin says:

      Hey Kipp!

      Steps for the galley;
      1. Built out a rectangular unistrut subframe which gives a natural toe-kick to the bottom of the cabinet. This is secured to the existing threads from the cargo tie-down bits, because the alternative of not having it anchored properly could result in a really bad day…

      2. Pocket-joined carcass, you’ve got it. This is attached to the unistrut subframe using sprint nuts, fender washers and bolts. 3/4″ ply throughout. It looks like the oven is floating in the photo, but it is actually resting on a horizontal part of the carcass which separates the oven from the large bottom drawer used for pots and pans.

      3. Countertop/Butcher block; I beefed up the perimeter of a 3/4″ sheet of baltic birch ply to give it the euro butcher block look, measured openings (twice, cut once), then laminated and trimmed with a router! No notch at the top of the carcass – I used “L” brackets to secure the countertop to the body of the cabinet and left 1.5″ of space in my carcass design so that the oven would fit flush on the counter.

      Does that cover everything? Hope so, but keep the q’s coming man! Would love to see photos of your cabinet when done.

      Sean

      Reply

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