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Old 04-11-2010, 12:27 AM   #1
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Propane Smell A Warning for All.

My wife returned home from our 10 day trip today (a day after I did) and I backed our rig into the garage for the night. Yesterday before I left camp to come home I noted that we had 2/3 tank of propane. Tonight I stepped out to the garage and noticed the strong smell of propane. I checked the gauge in the rig and it read zero! I next checked the gauge on the tank itself, again zero! I immediately shut off the valve. I started checking around for anything out of place. I grabbed the shut off solenoid (seen at far right on the pics) and wiggled, low and behold the entire pipe assembly was loose. I removed the white plastic regulator guard/cover and this is what I found:

There is a bracket that holds the regulator assembly together. The joint in the middle of this is not a threaded joint but appears to just be a slip joint. As one of the bracket screws had loosened this assembly was able to wiggle and thus propane to escape at this point. I am not that knowledgeable about propane regulator setups or how this is supposed to work but I would think that all joints should be solid. I also believe that the entire setup should be supported at the heavy end so that it can't move. I will be doing more research on how this is supposed to be so that I can fix it and make it safe.

I would suggest that the rest of you with similar setups keep an eye on this with your rigs. I feel fortunate to have found this as it could have been a real disaster.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:05 AM   #2
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Nice catch.....glad you caught that before things went "boom" !!!
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:02 AM   #3
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Dang...

So I just checked mine. Getting pretty loose... I had the valve at the tank shut off so I don't appear to have lost any gas.

But mine is a little more interesting. I have a plastic cover over that whole section, and the pipe is aligned so that the 3 screws face the tank, which makes it so much easier to maintain.

So I unscrewed the bib that's right at the tank valve, took off the plate with 3 screws and put thread locker on the screws.

Then I put it back together and put the cover on. The cover gives it some support, but not enough, so I rigged a chain of zip-ties to support the pipe.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TulsaSteve View Post
Dang...

So I just checked mine. Getting pretty loose... I had the valve at the tank shut off so I don't appear to have lost any gas.

But mine is a little more interesting. I have a plastic cover over that whole section, and the pipe is aligned so that the 3 screws face the tank, which makes it so much easier to maintain.

So I unscrewed the bib that's right at the tank valve, took off the plate with 3 screws and put thread locker on the screws.

Then I put it back together and put the cover on. The cover gives it some support, but not enough, so I rigged a chain of zip-ties to support the pipe.
Mine had the cover too and I suppose they think that provides enough support to the pipe but mine was not fastened down to anything so it could just rattle around. I will be heading to the RV parts store tomorrow to pick up another dual stage regulator. From looking at this one it appears that the joint in between the two stages isn't meant to be loose but is a crimp down setup instead of being a solid housing or a threaded connection. Not a good design in my mind. I will be looking for a replacement that is solid. I will also be making up a metal support bar to hold the pipe in place and solid too. Will post pictures when I get things fixed.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:45 AM   #5
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How long have rv's been around with propane tanks and they haven't come up with a better set up for this? How can the RVIA approve something like this?
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tmmar View Post
How long have rv's been around with propane tanks and they haven't come up with a better set up for this? How can the RVIA approve something like this?
That's a million dollar question right there. Wish I knew.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWJeep View Post
My wife returned home from our 10 day trip today (a day after I did) and I backed our rig into the garage for the night. Yesterday before I left camp to come home I noted that we had 2/3 tank of propane. Tonight I stepped out to the garage and noticed the strong smell of propane. I checked the gauge in the rig and it read zero! I next checked the gauge on the tank itself, again zero! I immediately shut off the valve. I started checking around for anything out of place. I grabbed the shut off solenoid (seen at far right on the pics) and wiggled, low and behold the entire pipe assembly was loose. I removed the white plastic regulator guard/cover and this is what I found:

There is a bracket that holds the regulator assembly together. The joint in the middle of this is not a threaded joint but appears to just be a slip joint. As one of the bracket screws had loosened this assembly was able to wiggle and thus propane to escape at this point. I am not that knowledgeable about propane regulator setups or how this is supposed to work but I would think that all joints should be solid. I also believe that the entire setup should be supported at the heavy end so that it can't move. I will be doing more research on how this is supposed to be so that I can fix it and make it safe.

I would suggest that the rest of you with similar setups keep an eye on this with your rigs. I feel fortunate to have found this as it could have been a real disaster.

That metal plate where one of three screws came loose is the pipe support, but it would help to add another. You can use Thread Lock on all three screws so that they do not back off again. FYI... if you use Thread Lock check the date code on the back of the bottle, it has a shelf life.
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:00 AM   #8
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Wow!!
Am I correct-- you have an automatic LP shutoff that is supposed
to shut the tank in the event of an LP leak and IT leaked and
drained a tank of LP in your garage?!?!

Sheesh!!
I'm thinking simpler might be better here!
I'll just stick with my manual tank valves......

Sure glad we aren't reading about you in the news!
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
Wow!!
Am I correct-- you have an automatic LP shutoff that is supposed
to shut the tank in the event of an LP leak and IT leaked and
drained a tank of LP in your garage?!?!

Sheesh!!
I'm thinking simpler might be better here!
I'll just stick with my manual tank valves......

Sure glad we aren't reading about you in the news!
Yeah I was thinking of this myself that they should have the shuttoff before the regulator right at the valve. The problem is that it wouldn't have shutdown the tank anyway as the gas detector is just inside the door of the RV, so LP being heavier than air it leaked to the floor of our garage and wouldn't necesasarily rise high enough to get to the detector inside the RV which shuts the valve off and even then I would have had to have left the entry door open for this to have a chance of working.

The leak detectors are meant to protect against a leak inside the RV, outside the RV there is no protection. Will be heading to the parts store today for a better regulator, hopefully one that has a solid housing all the way across and I will be adding extra support for the entire pipe.

I feel lucky as our furnace and on-demand water heater (both of which work on propane) are in our garage just 20' away. Luckily neither came on or the level of propane in the garage disapated before it could get that high (the water heater is 6' off the ground).

The minute I figured things out I opened the RV bay door and we were having one heck of a wind storm so it vented out the garage really quickly.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockwood06 View Post
That metal plate where one of three screws came loose is the pipe support, but it would help to add another. You can use Thread Lock on all three screws so that they do not back off again. FYI... if you use Thread Lock check the date code on the back of the bottle, it has a shelf life.
Though of this too, should have been that way from the manufacturer however if you notice there is 2 screws on one end of the bracket and only 1 on the other side which still allows this crimped joint in between the two stages to move, not a good situation. If it was done right there should have been two screws on both sides. What a Mickey Mouse way of making something that is so potentially dangerous.
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