Designing the Van Part 17 – Installing the Gas Plumbing

Having paid a visit to the excellent, old fashioned Hydrafit in Wolverhampton I was ready to get down to the nitty gritty of installing the gas plumbing. I had an array of clips, plugs, bayonets and hoses which when plugged into each other would give me a working fridge and water heater.  Hopefully.

I had identified a good spot for the gas bottle; a slot adjacent to the would be kitchen area that would keep it close to its connected appliances and also be discrete.

The wood panel behind the kitchen would serve as my platform for the plumbing. I removed it and laid if flat on the van floor so that I could place the hoses as they would be arranged. To me it was the simplest way of doing it and meant that I wouldn’t get into a mess when it came to connecting everything.

In my finite wisdom I bought some cable ties which I would fit through the panel to hold the hoses in place, reducing the risk of wear and tear. Once the hoses were laid out I drew around them and drilled holes for the cable ties. I also marked the hoses so I knew which bits fitted where, a simple coded system of matching numbers and letters which eliminated any confusion.

I then commenced the awkward job of pushing the connectors into the hoses. It sounds like an easy job but the hoses are so tight (as they have to be to stop gas leaks) that it took longer than my obstinate optimism expected.

Now, because the appliances had two differently sized connectors Mick at Hydrafit had got around th problem with a series of adaptors which sat in line on the hoses. Fitting them was a simple matter of screwing them together – a job you should do before you push them into the hoses as other wise you’ll be trying to twist a length of hose as well which can be bloody difficult if you’ve connected the other end to, say, a gas bottle.

I took my time over the installation and a few hours later I had a very tidy, colourful looking plumbing network connected to the Cascade II water heater and the Electrolux fridge. Now to test them.

The water heater could wait but I was eager to see the fridge working so I switched on the gas and hit the ignition…

Nothing. No pilot light in the bottom corner, no sound of a flame burning away or any indication that it was working. This was not good and my subsequent research led me to believe that the fridge was in fact buggered.

I would have to find a replacement of the same size, other wise my work so far would have been a waste. My search took me to Liverpool where, thankfully, I found the ideal replacement.

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