Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini split???

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini split???

Postby mikeyk101 » Tue Aug 29, 2023 10:40 pm

I'm kind of getting ahead of myself because I still haven't started the teardown yet. But one issue I will be running in to is the tongue. It's beam consisting of an over and under square tube but doesn't come out very far. There is absolutely no room to add anything on it. It would have been nice to have trailer with an A frame but that ship has sailed. The small 12v battery (soon to be upgraded as well) is on the inside all the way up front which I'm fine with. But I would really like to go with a mini split AC as well as having the propane tank(s) outside somewhere up front. I have seen wall mounts for the propane but not sure of their durability. But not really sure what my options are to mount a mini split. Does the outside unit need to have space in front and rear or would there be a way to mount it on the front wall as well?

So what solutions have others used for mini split AC systems and propane mounting?
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mikeyk101
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby GTS225 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 8:16 am

I'm thinking wall mount(s) for your propane, one on either side of the forward "bow point", with through-wall bolts and load plates, or at least fender washers inside.
As for an A/C unit.......frame in a through-wall opening and hang a low dollar window A/C. Seems a mini split is overkill and more complex than needed.

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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby mikeyk101 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 10:04 am

Wall mounting the propane is the way I think I will have to go. Based on what I think my needs will be, I could probably get away with a single 20lb tank. But the mounts I have found are rather pricey in the $250+ range. Is there anything cheaper that someone could recommend? And I agree that the mounts will have to be reinforced on inside either by a plate or wide fender style washers like you mention.

And yes, a wall opening would be perfect and fairly simple for a window style AC but I'm not a fan of how the finished product would look. I was swayed away from one of the RV style roof mounted ones because of the price and the constant mentions of the noise. And they just aren't very efficient and have dealt with them before in my traditional toyhauler camper. And price wise, a mini split would be similar, maybe only slightly more than what a window/wall mounted AC would cost me. It also seems like it would be a lower amp draw which is important as well as provide better cooling. After watching numerous installation videos, I know I have the mechanical skills to do it.

And after posting this thread last night, I found numerous wall mounted brackets that I think may just work. I would also probably have to reinforce the bracket on the inside just like I would need to do with the the propane brackets.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=mini+split+m ... _sb_noss_1

Although they are not necessarily designed for mobile RV use, if mounting bracket is reinforced, I don't see why they couldn't work.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Gulfcoast » Wed Aug 30, 2023 10:05 am

I installed a mini split in mine and only had about a 2" hole in the floor for the lines. Simple and easy to install, and will freeze me out in hot weather.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/185562411967?_ ... 3059424193
Last edited by Gulfcoast on Wed Aug 30, 2023 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby mikeyk101 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 10:14 am

Just to add on reason that I think a mini split is more of what I would like... On my road trips before, especially on longer ones, I will sometimes stop in various parking lots like Walmarts to grab a few hours of sleep. In my toyhauler with Coleman roof top AC, I was unable to use it as it would require me to run my generator which wasnt allowed. I had some miserable nights because of heat. I did use 12v fans and open windows to help circulate the air but it just wasn't enough. I am planning on eventually adding solar panels as well as lifepo batteries. With proper amount of panels and battery capacity, it seems like it would easily be able to run the mini split during these stopovers and it would be more comfortable.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby mikeyk101 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 10:26 am

Gulfcoast wrote:If it were mine I'd extend the tongue about 16" and mount a mini split outdoor unit on it. A longer tongue is easier to back and work around anyway.

I'd never cut a huge hole in my trailer for a window type unit. One day you may want something different and there's the big hole left to deal with.

I installed a mini split in mine and only had about a 2" hole in the floor for the lines. Simple and easy to install, and will freeze me out in hot weather.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/185562411967?_ ... 3059424193


I have to agree about cutting the huge hole for an AC. It would also be a weak point as that part couldn't be insulated and another spot for hot air to infiltrate. I will already be cutting at least one hole in each side to install windows and would like to go with double pane glass.

A longer tongue would be an excellent idea and I agree that side benefit is easier maneuverability. My only concern would be the ability to handle the weight of the trailer. I have done it on much smaller trailers before that were only in the couple hundred pound range. I just replaced the whole tongue with a new one bolted on. This is going to be different. Do you have any tips on how I could get this done? The tongue appears to be 2 square aluminum tubes. Would I just have the existing one removed and a new longer one welded on? Or would I just have an extension added to the existing one?
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Gulfcoast » Wed Aug 30, 2023 10:49 am

I'd check with a reliable aluminum welder for that job.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby mikeyk101 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 11:16 am

Gulfcoast wrote:I'd check with a reliable aluminum welder for that job.


Good idea, thanks.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Grummy » Wed Aug 30, 2023 12:25 pm

Actually, you do have an "A-Frame", it just that they built the trailer walls to use/create all of the space possible.

If it were my trailer, I'd hang NOTHING on the outside of that V-Nose. It's too pretty.

I'd build a weather tight, smell tight, rigid bulkhead out of aluminum, across the trailer INSIDE, just back far enough to fit everything you want in this new nose cavity. It can be done with thin aluminum angle and the same .030" aluminum sheet, all pop riveted in place. After, caulk everything tight, Upholster accordingly... Oh, and consider proper access doors in it if necessary during the build.

I would then add 2 of the flushest mount radius topped doors or hatches in matching color to the nose walls, one on each side for access to the equipment (hinges forward), and finally cut in whatever venting, top/bottom that would be proper. Now you have an designated equipment "room".

Everyone tends to add a pile of stuff to the A-frame of a cargo trailer conversion, kind of just because there is unused space there. I myself have a custom box on my A-Frame tongue. I get it !

But I'm not a fan of "cobble". The last thing that looks nice on the nose of a trailer is a mini split with tubes poking thru holes gobbled with drippy caulk to keep the 60mph rain from coming in when your on the road. We have all seen it. (apologies to those who have given better consideration to how it looks).

Of concern however is that mfg axle placements never take into account that people are doing this, so when you design the rest of your trailer layout and loads, people need to take that extra tongue weight into account and make sure your trailer is properly balanced and that the tow vehicle is actually up to the job.

Lastly, I've mentioned it before, but I think the ultimate cargo conversion really consists of a flat nose trailer, with a full height V-Nose add on... One with cargo doors, shelves etc, specifically there for a Utility/Garage room, capable of separating all the mechanicals like HVAC, Propane, Solar Controls, and gear. Again however, axle placement and trailer design can come under scrutiny to be done right.

You essentially can have the same thing if you "Build the Wall" ! Good Luck !
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Gulfcoast » Wed Aug 30, 2023 1:02 pm

I will keep my mini split outdoor section on the outside.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Grummy » Wed Aug 30, 2023 1:25 pm

Window Air units are not designed to be fully invisible and built into a cavity either... yet, we.. many people do it with success. You can not see that I have one in my conversion at all. So, No one knows I even have it... until they come inside.

How is a mini split different ? It's really no different. It's not been designed to be used on a cargo trailer at all.. at least not envisioned by the first guy who built one. But, frankly we will do it anyhow if we really want to. It's simply just about adequate, unimpeded duct work if you do not want to look at it.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Grummy » Wed Aug 30, 2023 1:35 pm

A reminder to the OP, if you decide to hang some things on the nose of your trailer, first take the trailer for a ride, find an empty parking lot and do full hard lock right and left turn circles with your tow vehicle (always watching that you do not hit already before full lock).

If you are able to get your tow vehicle to go in circles full lock a few times, stop, get some template cardboard and make templates of both right and left full lock events between the trailer profile and the rear bumper of your vehicle. Then when building, make sure you leave a little headroom for if you are on uneven surfaces.

Another issue is any tailgate or door opening issues between tow and trailer, both when straight or turned. Here too, you should leave headroom for elevation changes.

You have to know ahead of time what space you really have, and if you want to ever deal with worrying about sharp turns. Even then, you have to keep in mind that this spacing ONLY applies to forward motion as you can still mangle things when backing up. But at least you have a better idea of how far you can go.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby mikeyk101 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 1:38 pm

Grummy wrote:Actually, you do have an "A-Frame", it just that they built the trailer walls to use/create all of the space possible.

If it were my trailer, I'd hang NOTHING on the outside of that V-Nose. It's too pretty.

I'd build a weather tight, smell tight, rigid bulkhead out of aluminum, across the trailer INSIDE, just back far enough to fit everything you want in this new nose cavity. It can be done with thin aluminum angle and the same .030" aluminum sheet, all pop riveted in place. After, caulk everything tight, Upholster accordingly... Oh, and consider proper access doors in it if necessary during the build.

I would then add 2 of the flushest mount radius topped doors or hatches in matching color to the nose walls, one on each side for access to the equipment (hinges forward), and finally cut in whatever venting, top/bottom that would be proper. Now you have an designated equipment "room".

Everyone tends to add a pile of stuff to the A-frame of a cargo trailer conversion, kind of just because there is unused space there. I myself have a custom box on my A-Frame tongue. I get it !

But I'm not a fan of "cobble". The last thing that looks nice on the nose of a trailer is a mini split with tubes poking thru holes gobbled with drippy caulk to keep the 60mph rain from coming in when your on the road. We have all seen it. (apologies to those who have given better consideration to how it looks).

Of concern however is that mfg axle placements never take into account that people are doing this, so when you design the rest of your trailer layout and loads, people need to take that extra tongue weight into account and make sure your trailer is properly balanced and that the tow vehicle is actually up to the job.

Lastly, I've mentioned it before, but I think the ultimate cargo conversion really consists of a flat nose trailer, with a full height V-Nose add on... One with cargo doors, shelves etc, specifically there for a Utility/Garage room, capable of separating all the mechanicals like HVAC, Propane, Solar Controls, and gear. Again however, axle placement and trailer design can come under scrutiny to be done right.

You essentially can have the same thing if you "Build the Wall" ! Good Luck !


Very interesting and something I didn't even think about. So if I understand what you are saying, I would wall off the V nose and install exterior doors for access? That was how the horse trailers we used at work before I retired were set up. Now you got the creative juices flowing. And a rectangular interior "living" area would be easier to work out the floor plan. Since it is a 7x16, that still leaves plenty of usable interior space. And then I wouldn't have to find a welder and screw around with the tongue or outside frame.

I do have some concerns though. My understanding was that propane tanks were not supposed to be installed inside the trailers. But I guess if it is walled off and completely separated, that would be very similar. Obviously it would have to be vented. I could install salem vents mounted on opposite sides in different directions to allow air flow. or even use 2 small 12v fans, one pulling air in and one pushing air out.

And as far as the "outside" unit for the mini split, what concerns would there be if I was to mount that in this utility room? Is there a required amount of air flow necessary for them to function properly? I have to agree that they look strange on the tongue and would look better hidden away. That's one nice thing about the roof AC units as they are not very visible.

Having a dedicated utility room and using a mini split would also answer one of my possible issues. I had seen where most would mount the inside unit as far forwards towards the front which in my case would be on the v-nose interior wall. That would put the output at an angle. By having a separate "utility" room, I would now have a rectangular living area and mount interior unit on that wall and it would face directly to the rear and be more efficient?

These are great ideas and would tremendously help out with the exterior appearance like you mention. And I am oh too familiar with proper tongue weight and in agreement about axle placement. On my toyhauler, I really need to have my trike loaded and all the way to rear if I want to run a full fresh water tank for my trips. And I still end up packing a lot of stuff around the trike in order to keep the tongue weight in the 13-15% weight range. I had wanted to use 2-30lb propane tanks on it but along with battery and a full fresh water tank, it started increasing tongue weight more than what I wanted so I went back to the 20lb ones. I haven't delved too far in to that yet with this cargo trailer but it is also going to get used to haul my trike as well. So that will definitely need to be taken into account.

And finally, in regards to the extra room, could I get away with just a single door, probably on the passenger side which would leave more wall real estate for the mechanicals? and then the question of insulating comes up. Would I still insulate the v-nose outside walls and ceiling too just like a regular conversion or would I only add insulation to the back of the newly created wall?

Going with these ideas would also allow me to keep a more stealthier look which I think I would like. I still want at least 1 window on each side but might consider smaller 14x22 to tuck in between the walls studs. It would be nice to not have to mess with cutting any studs other than up front to install the utility room door(s).

Thank you and I very much appreciate your post. Hopefully you can help iron out some of my concerns.
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby mikeyk101 » Wed Aug 30, 2023 1:41 pm

Grummy wrote:A reminder to the OP, if you decide to hang some things on the nose of your trailer, first take the trailer for a ride, find an empty parking lot and do full hard lock right and left turn circles with your tow vehicle (always watching that you do not hit already before full lock).

If you are able to get your tow vehicle to go in circles full lock a few times, stop, get some template cardboard and make templates of both right and left full lock events between the trailer profile and the rear bumper of your vehicle. Then when building, make sure you leave a little headroom for if you are on uneven surfaces.

Another issue is any tailgate or door opening issues between tow and trailer, both when straight or turned. Here too, you should leave headroom for elevation changes.

You have to know ahead of time what space you really have, and if you want to ever deal with worrying about sharp turns. Even then, you have to keep in mind that this spacing ONLY applies to forward motion as you can still mangle things when backing up. But at least you have a better idea of how far you can go.


i missed some of your follow up posts while I was typing mine. More great suggestions. But back to your installation of a mini split, you have everything installed basically inside? and it works the way it should? So mounting the outside unit in newly created utility room would be ok as long as there is some ventilation?
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Re: Single beam tongue problems. Propane tanks and mini spli

Postby Grummy » Wed Aug 30, 2023 2:40 pm

>>> as there is some ventilation?

"SOME", is not the immediate answer, as you really need to replicate the ability to circulate the same CFM in and out as it would if it were outside. Now that seems easy enough if you just measure the sq inches of the openings the unit already has, right ? But you have to realize that would be "Free Air" CFM, and outside does not have to address any drag or restriction caused by added duct work.

So, the obvious answer to that is to leave enough headroom (slightly larger ductwork and or less bends) to provide for that. And, if you can not, you add additional forced air methods to move air thru the condensor. Some might not want to add additional current draw with even more fans, but you either size up the ductwork or deal with the extra draw.

Propane tanks show up INSIDE all over in these builds be it right or wrong. Yes, bad things can happen if they overheat like: venting, catching a lick of flame and blowing up. Blevies are cool on youtube but I would not want to be there!

But it's no different really than a leak in a line leading inside the trailer anyhow. People who put them inside a small box create a small vent above for air inlet and a vent below for the propane to escape (it goes/flows down naturally). By the way, why so much propane with diesel heat options ?

Venting the room is pretty easy. Yes, small scoop.evac vents work while underway, but when stopped, there can be all sorts of options. First though, the minisplit needs a dedicated, ducted in and out. I dont like venting forward because it is harder to keep rain out into a 60mph headwind. So, I'd vent heated air out the bottom, and inlet air via the sides thru stainless vents. Check the marine industry... lots of beautiful stainless vents made for just that.

Hey, you might just crack both doors for starters, but I've seen whole floors removed or open, which I would not advise.. I'd make doors that open and close under there... and by the way, that section that is walled off ? Do not keep the same height as your trailer floor. Remove the floor up there and make an aluminum pan that sits down on the frame (corrosion protection between obviously). That way any drips or leaks can get out thru designated duck drains before it can ever reach floor height.

Crap... gotta go to work.... I'll look later if I covered everything.....
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