Filling Propane Tank

L. F. Miller

New member
In all the discussion of Westy propane tanks, valves, etc. (mine's an '84) I don't see any mention of the physical difficulty of getting a filler hose coupled to the thing. Without exception, the folks (and LP pros, at that) who have filled mine have complained about the scraped knuckles, pinched fingers, etc. involved in connecting to the filler back within that shroud. There's darn little room; and you don't want to be using a tool without first finger-tightening the nut to make sure it's not cross-threaded. I don't see how the pipe could be extended, but did anybody ever hear of hacksawing about 1-1/2 inches off the shroud down at that end?

Capt. Mike

What you're running into is probably a combination of the difficult access AND changes in filling apparatus. Westaflia did apparently use more than one tank design so I can't speak for all, but on my '90 the difficulties are the awkward angle as it's almost under the rocker panel, which can't be changed short of using spacers to lower the tank which would then jeopradize ground clearance.

The lower plate is supposed to be horizontal to the ground. It's meant to protect the tank & fittings from bottoming and stone damage. Is your guard flat? They can become turned, but are just held on with a bolts at the ends, so should be adjustable to some extent.

The original plastic factory shroud around the regulator does not have any real spare overhang backwards toward the fill valve to trim. They fit pretty tight. Again I'm speaking from the 2 Westies I had.

The problem with the new oversize filling hoses probably has no cure except to buy and carry your own adapter. Most stations now have to cater to a variety of fittings, including some that may have EPA type vapor containing system. The original that the Westy was designed around was no more exotic than a gas pump looking nozzle with a collar -- not much difficulty with the nut. Later, they began to have fittings for large tanks on big vehicles and some new LP industry standard fittings. I've seen cases where it actually took two adapters and did get tight for working room.

Try a visit to your LP supply center -- the one that supplies the stations with their equipment -- and see if an extension adaptor is available that will move the hose connection out from under the body. I wouldn't leave it on full time, but it may get you past the station guys gripes.

But don't count on it -- they don't seem to like crawling under for a 5-6 lb. sale! On mine, they still gripe about reaching the manual overflow valve, up and under even higher!

Capt. Mike

Transferred from archives.

Where do i fill the LP tank

joe snow (, 1/9/00 (7:03 PM)

I just bought a westy, and i don't know where to go to fill the LP tank, could anybody help me out.

-- joe snow

sandy (, 1/10/00 (8:53 PM)

Joe, Did anyone else reply to you? I have an '85 Westy. You fill the propane tank on the outside, underneath the van on the driver's side about half way down the van's length. One note I have from using my propane tank is that the bleeder valve has to be opened wider than on most propane tanks and you need to tell the person filling the tank this. Good luck. Hopefully your valve still operates on the lpg tank; I am looking for a replacement valve for mine.

-- sandy

Capt. Mike Soehnlein, 1/11/00 (6:43 AM)

You need to get a copy of the camper's supplement to the owner's manual. It has excellent instructions on all the Westy equipment. Sources of obsolete publications are posted elsewhere on this site. Also read search other Archives, there have been numerous discussion of various Westy fill problems.

The LP tank fills like almost any other. Any good LP dealer can fill it for you and show you which fittings do what.

Most Westies have a yellow cap that covers the fill nozzle. That removed, the LP dealer's fill line goes in there and screws on, opening a check valve. Dealers usually have a variety of adaptors to fit most tanks; the VW uses the standard LP fill of an LP-powerd vehicle (Canada has a lot of LP fill stations; in the US it's usually your local Quickie Mart.)

There is also an overflow valve that is opened while filling. When LP starts to come out the valve, you stop filling. This give a full tank with enough room left for the necessary expansion. I've heard some have an automatic overflow valve, but haven't personally seen any yet.

The 3rd valve on the LP tank opens LP to the regulator and then on to the vehicle appliances. It is opened when setting camp and closed for ALL driving conditions.

Capt. Mike

Transferred from another post to consolidate similar subjects.

LP tank pressure relief valve

bholman. Junior Member, 09-12-2000 08:32 AM


I bought a 87 Westy last Friday and have called some local places about getting the LP tank filled. They told me that starting next year they cannot fill tanks that do not have a pressure relief valve. I can't seem to find the one on my tank. Could someone tell me where to look? Has anyone else run into this problem with filling LP tanks? The tank has not been filled for a long time. Does anyone have any suggestions about filling/operating the LP system after it has been unused for years?

Thanks for the help...

Capt. Mike, Moderator, 09-13-2000 08:59 PM

Most Westies have a manual bleed valve for filling so a pressure relief valve is not required for that process. It, at atmospheric pressure, would release long before any pressure relief valve. See the post on Auto-fill valve leaking.

Your question on an unused system was just answered a couple of posts down. Please read the message forum rules linked at the bottom of this page.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic


BYRNES Junior Member # 3398 posted 02-22-2002 09:49 AM

I recently bought an '87 Westy. I took it to two places to have it filled and neither place could do it. We unscrewed the yellow cap and installed the LP hose, we opened the valve to the left of the LP intake and attempted to fill the tank. It did not work. I suggested that we try turning the knob to the right of the intake... but the LP attendant said that would not do anything.
I noticed on earlier discussions there is mention of an overflow valve or check valve. Wondering if that is the small valve to the right and if so what to do with it to fill the tank.

I've never filled the tank before and can't read the sticker near the take to get the instructions. A step by step guide for filling the tank would be most helpful. Many thanks.

nosliwmit Member # 267 posted 02-25-2002 02:37 PM

Assuming it's the same tank as my '85 (with the Auto Stop fill valve):

Extinguish all pilot lights and close the main valve.

Open the small valve at the far right all the way (I think it's called an "outage" valve on the instructions placard). Note that many propane dealers argue this one, but the instructions are very explicit--open it all the way. It's tough to get at--small hands help.

Attach a 3/4-inch acme adaptor and fill the tank. The valve will automatically shut off at 3 gallons. It works surprisingly well, in my experience.

Close the "outage" valve.

Note that there's a "reset" button (mine is covered with a red rubber button) that you may have to press if your tank isn't taking a fill. I usually give it a good stab for good luck before I fill the tank.

Good luck.

Moderator Note: Get the Camper Owners Manual. It describes filling in detail. The small 'outage' valve upper right nosliwmit describes acts as a bleeder and you fill until the LPG begins to come out as a liquid. Stop fill & quickly shut the bleeder. Caution -- liquid LPG is very cold. Use gloves.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Stevie Bee Junior Member posted July 02, 2002 12:13 PM

My 82 Westy was origionaly made for Germany, and imported to the UK a few yers ago by a previous owner.

It uses a removeable gas bottle for the propane - but it is not the same size as normal British bottles, which won't fit into the space. Does anyone know of fill adapters or have experience in changing to UK or aftermarket tanks?

Ta very much.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

chamois Junior Member posted September 19, 2002 03:32 AM

The decals on the rock guard below the propane tank on my '87 Westy have deteriorated over the years to the point where they are unreadable. I tried to get the tank refilled the other day, but the attendant said that the bleeder valve was broken. I examined the autostop valve and determined that the bleeder valve was fine, though there was clearly gas coming out of a small pinhole on side of the valve body opposite to the bleeder valve. I have examine some notes from other boards that indicate the westy tank doesn't fill the same way that BBQ grill and other vertical tanks fill. To wit, there can be "tremendous" releases of propane gas during the fill, but that the fill will stop once the tank is full AND the gas release will stop at that time as well, with maybe just a little liquid coming out of the aforementioned pinhole. Before I go potentially waste an entire tank of propane on this advice, I thought I would check to see if anyone can tell me how this is really supposed to work in their experience. Also, if anyone knows of some place that sells propane in the San Francisco Bay Area that knows how to fill these tanks, and perhaps that can comment on whether my valve is really busted or not, please let me know!

Also, the camper extension to my manual didn't really talk about propane filling... are there multiple camper manuals?



New member
With all of the hassle of getting a dealer to fill the tank, I have been wondering about doing it myself. I have seen adaptors to refill the disposable one pound propane cyclinders off of a twenty pound tank; under the same reasoning (diffusion- movement of a gas from an area of greater concentration to one of lower), it shouldn't be to hard to make an adaptor to allow you to do the same with the Westy tanks. As long as the tank you are filling from has more than six gallons, your upside pressure will be higher and the tanks will try to equalize, filling the smaller tank.

I think I will look into doing this for mine; it can't be that hard. I also want to splice in a tee that will alow me to use the one pound disposable bottles for the stove. Plumbing isn't very hard, just use some common sense and be careful to double check for leaks afterwards.


New member
I have read the posts and still unclear. could someone please list the steps.I see the small white valve to the right of the fill valve but is clockwise open or close, does it leak out during filling. Pleae try again for me.

Capt. Mike

What year? What model? See site Guidelines.

Most Westies have a small valve above the fill fitting near the top of the tank. This is the vent/overflow valve. You open the valve counter-clockwise while filing. When LP comes out of the valve, you close it. This means the tank is full and has left the correct amount of air space. Get a copy of your vehicles owner's manual & camper supplement. It should describe filling your model.


New member
It's interesting to hear about folks who've had a hard time getting dealers to fill their Westy tanks. We've had our 85 for 7 years and we've never been turned down (probably two fills per year all over the western US).

Knowing that it's a pain and hearing some gripes I've started to put a closed cell sit pad where the attendant will need to kneel. I know that I'd appreciate this and I've been thanked for doing this.

I've also not run into problems with folks requiring the automatic overflow shut-off valve. I removed this system years ago when it started to leak and replaced it with a simple manual fill system. Guess I better star knocking on wood ;).
Last edited by a moderator:

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Bob Willis Junior Member posted November 02, 2003 10:53 PM

I just put new tires on my 95 Eurovan camper and find they must be lower profile as the left side of the vehicle must be jacked up about an inch and a half to allow the male propane fitting to couple with mine. Has anyone else had this problem?


Capt. Mike

There is a listing of allowable tire sizes in your shop manual Section M 00-4 and a discussion of problems associated with changing from factory sizes in the 2 topics on tires in WHEELS & BRAKES forum. Nothing is "Free" when you start modifying from OE.

If it's too late to exchange for correct tires, suggest you look at the "Levelers" topic under TIPS to make a set of drive-on levelers that will allow you to raise that side of the van during refills.

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on November 06, 2003 at 05:33 AM.]

Capt. Mike

Then if you have the correct, factory OE sized tires, and are still having problems with clearance, your problem must lie in either the cover no longer opening or attached correctly, or something in the tank mounting, fittings or fill is no longer correct. The Eurovan "Winnie" campers do not require the vehicle to be jacked up to fill the propane tank.

One other consideration is that your LP dealer has a different fill nozzle or is using an adaptor that is larger than the industry standard was when your vehicle was built. I have to admit, I'm always surprised to see the collection of adaptors my local fill station -- nothing more than a glorified 7-11 -- has. Westy OE tanks take the standard fill line as used on LP vehicles. But fed & state regulators are always changing specs so I suppose they cope as best they can. Try finding an old country LP station and looking at their fill equipment. Or going direct to a major LP dealer and asking him to look at your hook-up for changes.


[See February 26, 2002, post above.]

Another hint: If you have the propane guy fill the tank very slowly. Filling the tank too fast will cause the overflow valve to freeze, and then not shut off properly when full.


Capt. Mike

On board gas tank . . . UK

Transferred from wrong forum.
Junior Member

just bought my first camper in germay and imorted it. its a t25 westfalia '85
but i dont understand the gas system, wher the heck do i get the bottle refilled in the uk? or do uk westi owners get them conveted to standard repalceable bottles?

Junior Member

You can fill your on board gas tank at any petrol station selling LPG, but you may have to get a european to UK adaptor. Have a look at this brochure I am guessing but I think yours is 01-4310 Euro Adapter, this is the reference in the brochure page 16, and you may need 01-4351 Euro to UK Bayonet Adapter page 17.

When you need to fill up you just screw the Uk Bayonet Adaptor on to the Euro Adaptor and when you are finished remove the UK Bayonet Adaptor until you need to use it again.

I hope this helps or at least puts you on the right track.
I have a 1981 Westfalia Vanagon and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I want to know where i can get my propane tank filled, and if there is any maintenance i should do first? :D :confused:

Capt. Mike

Every trip I've made through Canada has had numerous propane fills at gas stations everywhere. In fact, it is far more common in Canada than the US. Any propane filling station for the portable tanks should also be able to do the job. I use a little country store type place near my house. I usually have to show the minimum wage clerk how to do it.

If it's been a while since use, have your tank thoroughly inspected by a professional and test for leaks. Beyond that, the tank is pretty maintenance free.


New member
Where to get "pamphlet" with detailed instructions for filling propane tank?

Responding to a question about the propane tank, our forum moderator wrote:

Transferred from archives.

Capt. Mike Soehnlein, 1/11/00 (6:43 AM)

You need to get a copy of the camper's supplement to the owner's manual. It has excellent instructions on all the Westy equipment. Sources of obsolete publications are posted elsewhere on this site.

Like many other visitors to the site, I'm also looking for detailed instructions on how to fill the propane tank of my 87 Westie (US). I do have the camper's supplement to the owners manual. Here's what is says:

"Instructions for refilling the tank are listed on the sticker and in a separate pamphlet."

Hmmm... OK, so that doesn't really help. The sticker is no longer legible. I can probably figure it out from reading the other information on this forum, but I'd really love to have that "separate pamphlet". So now I'm searching the site for "Sources of obsolete publications". Haven't found it yet, but I'll keep searching.

Does anyone happen to have this pamphlet they can scan and send to me? It would be much appreciated!