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Old 03-29-2011, 11:09 PM   #1
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Question Fairview Automatic Changeover Regulator 2011

I just tried to turn on the gas furnace on my brand new 2011 Forest River trailer and I got some strange results from the Fairview Automatic Changeover Regulator.

The regulator "changeover lever" already pointed at a tank so I left that alone and opened both valves (two tanks) and went to turn on the gas furnace inside the trailer.

Got some nice heat for about 5 minutes then all of a sudden a very loud whistle noise started coming from the regulator. I pulled off the cover to see what color the "indicator" was and it was red.

Turned everything off and started over with the "lever" pointing at the other tank. Everything worked fine. Ran the heater for about 10 minutes without any more whistling noise. The indicator showed green.

My questions, if anybody knows anything about these regulators are:

What was that horrible train whistle noise ? Was it a warning of excess pressure build up ?

Why was indicator red on the first tank? (brand new trailer with supposedly brand new full tanks and anyway the heater was obviously getting gas so it is doubtful that tank was empty.)

Is this just an idiocyncracy of these regulators or an urgent repair problem?

Lastly, there are 3 positions to point the changeover lever, to the right tank, to the left tank, or straight up. What does straight up do? Is that a neutral position when I want to close down system completely?

Any advice greatly appreciated as I am a novice at modern RV equipment.

Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:44 PM   #2
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Straight down both tanks will empty at same time. When dial turns red both tanks will be empty and you will not have any reserve. I have 3 30lb tanks. When one tank is empty I change empty tank for full. When second tank is empty I take 2 to be refilled. I have been in TT all winter and have not ran out of propane. There is nothing worst then running out of propane at 2am and not have a replacement.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:17 AM   #3
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This is probably the easiest post I have found that explains how the dreaded black arrow works:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...html#post13644

As far as the whistling noise and subsequent shutdown, maybe something wrong with the pigtail lines?

During PDI, my dealer was adamant about me opening the tank valves completely and S-L-O-W-L-Y each and every time. Dunno if this is related........

If someone else doesn't chime in with something more useful, I say get it back to the dealer.
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:33 AM   #4
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Straight down both tanks will empty at same time. When dial turns red both tanks will be empty and you will not have any reserve. I have 3 30lb tanks. When one tank is empty I change empty tank for full. When second tank is empty I take 2 to be refilled. I have been in TT all winter and have not ran out of propane. There is nothing worst then running out of propane at 2am and not have a replacement.
Thanks for your post. Now I at least know what the straight up position of the regulator handle will do; this is not explained in the all-too-brief instruction brochure that I received with my new trailer. I assume you are referring to the same kind of regulator as mine? I am herewith attempting to insert a picture of the regulator, as a link to a 2008 posting by someone else.

I am impressed that your propane is lasting you all winter; I'm sure 3 tanks instead of 2 makes a difference but just out of curiosity, are you wintering in a very cold part of the country (I'm in Montana)? Also, how big is your furnace; mine is apparently 20,000 btu which sounds huge to me considering the trailer is barely 21 ft long...makes me wonder how often I would run out of LP if I spent a full winter in Montana (I just bought the trailer at the waning of this winter).
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:49 AM   #5
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my fairview regulator will not turn red even when disconnected.I E mailed fairview 3 times with no answer. I asked Forrest river about the problem and they did not answer either so I will purchase another regulator but it will not be Fairview fittings.
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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This is probably the easiest post I have found that explains how the dreaded black arrow works:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...html#post13644

As far as the whistling noise and subsequent shutdown, maybe something wrong with the pigtail lines?

During PDI, my dealer was adamant about me opening the tank valves completely and S-L-O-W-L-Y each and every time. Dunno if this is related........

If someone else doesn't chime in with something more useful, I say get it back to the dealer.
Many thanks for that link. The posting by BOUDX therein I think tells me everything I need to know ! I now suspect that either the dealer did not give me full tanks to start with (although I paid the usual onerous "dealer prep" fee) or something interfered with the flow from that first tank (its the one on the starboard side of the trailer, to use nautical terms).

The Dealer tech did not tell me about SLOW opening of valves but I saw that mentioned somewhere else, and now you have confirmed it. I'm gonna try what BOUDX suggests in his post including the SLOW valve trick and see what happens. Right now the LP system is totally off because I did contact the dealer who told me to just "bring it in and we'll fix it"...except that there is hail/snow/rain coming down by the bucket as we go through another late winter storm up here in NW Montana (terrible winter)...

My biggest concern was that banshee-like whistling noise...nobody seems to have heard of such a thing, not even the dealer...I'm thinking now it may have been build up of pressure in a blocked supply line (is that what you mean by "pigtail line"?...maybe that tank is full after all but the regulator thinks its empty because gas is not getting into it...the whistle noise did sound like a tea kettle getting ready to explode on the stove (i.e. a pressure noise).

If I do not post again on this forum it may be because I have gone to collect my 82 virgins on the other side of the veil after testing my LP system again.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bill and theresa View Post
my fairview regulator will not turn red even when disconnected.I E mailed fairview 3 times with no answer. I asked Forrest river about the problem and they did not answer either so I will purchase another regulator but it will not be Fairview fittings.
Oh ! Oh ! I wonder if that is why 45xxx above refers to it as "the dreaded black arrow"? In my web search for answers I did notice it is a surprisingly cheap regulator ($19.99 advertised price at one site)...maybe that is why it does'nt work...its only supposed to look good... Lucky I mentally prepared myself to have to deal with this kind of problem and I waited until I retired to buy myself what is probably going to be a continuing challenge on wheels...

Thanks for your post.

ADDENDUM:
A couple of extra thoughts just occurred to me:
1. My 2 tank system has a big white plastic hard cover over it with a viewing porthole on top; looking through that porthole I could see the regulator but no colors (red or green) until I realized it was installed pointing towards the trailer, away from the viewing porthole. So I had to take off the entire hard cover before I could get a look at the color and found it to be red.
2. When the dreaded dial (quoting 45xxx) is straight up, there is no color at all; you have to point the arrow towards one or the other of the 2 tanks to get green or red but again you have to have the top cover off to see the other side of the regulator.

You probably already know all of this, but just in case...
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:54 AM   #8
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The whistling noise is more common than you might imagine. It's not anything you need to be immediately concerned about but you're going to need a new regulator soon. The whistle is the diaphragm in the regulator vibrating on the seat when trying to supply gas to a large appliance. I'd have your dealer replace it soon.
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:29 AM   #9
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The whistling noise is more common than you might imagine. It's not anything you need to be immediately concerned about but you're going to need a new regulator soon. The whistle is the diaphragm in the regulator vibrating on the seat when trying to supply gas to a large appliance. I'd have your dealer replace it soon.
Ha! That would explain why when it was whistling and I touched the regulator (to see if it was loose) the tune changed...a diaphragm vibration makes sense. This is a brand new trailer by the way so I guess I have to assume this is a genuine factory installation problem (under warranty of course)...but why does it not whistle when I point the regulator lever to the other tank?

Anyway, I'm taking the trailer in to the dealer next week; I was going to insist they re-install the regulator so that the color dial points towards the viewing port instead of towards the rain cover wall (it must have been put on backwards) but I think I will just ask them to please put a whole new regulator on, if it is an internal part that is already failing.

I think I am trying to "supply gas to a large appliance" as you say, by the way, because my furnace is 20,000 btu. To me that sounds "large"...is it? for a small cheap regulator...

Mostly, I'm happy to hear/read someone say the whistle is rather common and not an imminent 3-mile Island event..!
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
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Problem resolved...maybe

So, I took the TT down to the dealer on Friday afternoon. It was kind of like going to the dentist and your toothache stops when you get there & he says what's your problem?! because when I arrived at dealer & turned on the LP system, NO MORE WHISTLE. Guy looked at me like I was wasting his time but I pointed out that the regulator was showing RED on one side when both sides s/be GREEN because both tanks are allegedly full.

So he tested the whole system (he says) and found nothing was wrong except the regulator had no pressure at all on one side, therefore the red signal. So, they replaced the regulator, allegedly for a better one (went from a Fairview to an Olympia) and everything seems fine.

I told him how a bunch of people on forums had the same whistling problem and after their dealer changed the regulator then the valves they finally had to change the pigtails with the internal checkvalves that can go awry because that turned out to be the real problem. He was not impressed; only interested in the fact that everything worked now after changing the regulator.

So, maybe I'm all fixed up and maybe I'm not (judging from some of the posts on this and other forums). I'm still under warranty for a year so I guess I'll just have to go back to dealer if changing the regulator was not the solution and the dreaded whistler returns.
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