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Old 10-10-2018, 09:21 PM   #31
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I hope I'm not repeating...apologies if I am.

One possibility: I have a gas grill at home that has a somewhat faulty burner valve. It works fine, but if I don't shut off the propane tank, it will empty the tank over the course of a week or so. I can't smell gas leaking (outside), but the evidence is irrefutable...one of the burner valves leaks, because there are no leaks anywhere in the plumbing from the tank to the burner gallery.

So, if a faulty valve is the culprit, that opens the possibilities to your hot water heater, fridge, furnace, and stove. Time for the soapy bubbles.

No luck with the valves? Perhaps another option.
Crawling around under my camper, I see what amounts to a manifold of propane lines under my camper. That portion is all copper lines and flared copper fittings.

If that all checks out, I suggest building a "plug" for flared fittings. One will do. I'm guessing a brass flare fitting connected to a ball shutoff valve you might install in line to shutoff gas to an appliance like a hot water heater. If you get really lucky, you might get a cap to terminate a gas line. Anything to plug the line. Don't forget the pink Teflon tape. Your hardware store can help.

Using your manometer, systematically disconnect each leg of the copper mess under the camper, plug it, and check for the gradual gas loss you reported. Sooner or later you will PLUG the offending branch of this mess of pipes and isolate the branch that's leaking. If you plug a branch and the manometer reports no pressure drop, that's where the leak is.

Now, from there, find a way to adapt another flare fitting adapter to an air compressor fitting. Reduce the output pressure of your compressor to about 20 PSI...keep it low, so you don't blow out some portion of the gas line. Again start with the soapy water spray bottle. It won't be fun, but at least you've narrowed it down. Hopefully the offending leg of the system is routed through areas that are accessible.

Again, if this is repetitive or too late, sorry.

Good luck.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:39 AM   #32
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Kinda like the stud finders at Home Depot I was looking at... I must have tried a dozen of them... and none of them worked. Just don't make stuff like they used to.

I tell my wife that I can't use a stud finder because it just goes off constantly while I'm holding it. I find it much funnier than she does!
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:18 AM   #33
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I tell my wife that I can't use a stud finder because it just goes off constantly while I'm holding it. I find it much funnier than she does!

I carried the manometer that I built around the house proclaiming "This MAN-o-meter goes all the way to 11!" I also grunted a bit like Tim Allen from Home Improvement. The wife wasn't impressed.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:26 AM   #34
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Adarklake....arrr arrr arruuuggghh!!!! More Power! Turbo charge that manometer!
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:42 AM   #35
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P.S.
I've found several assembly, shall we say, "mistakes" in my rig. Most egregious? A screw driven straight through the floor into the fill pipe for my fresh water tank. It was fine at first, because the screw sealed itself in the plastic pipe. But over time, the hole in the pipe enlarged and leaked the contents of my fresh tank onto the ground soon after filling it. The repair was easy enough (cut the pipe, use a dremel tool to cutoff the offending screw, and use a short length of plastic pipe and hose clamps to splice the pipe together), but the idea that someone would be screwing thru the floor in this location was ludicrous.

My point is that anywhere along the way, an installer could have done something stupid to damage the propane plumbing.

One other observation. You smell mercaptan, so why isn't the propane alarm sounding? I know from experience that the alarms are very sensitive. We once spilled wine on the floor near the alarm, and it took a LOT of cleanup effort to make it stop (the VOCs from the wine were enough to trigger it). This SUGGESTS that the leak may be "outside" the cabin space...or in ventilated space that doesn't enter the cabin.

This, of course, is a warranty (and safety) issue. Be sure to report it to Forest River regardless of whether it's a loose nut on a flare fitting (or compression fitting - which may be the case in appliances), a bad swage on the end of a propane hose, or a puncture thru a gas line (copper or hose). You may snug up a loose nut, but any other temporary repair should be addressed by the dealer for a permanent repair you can trust with your life.

I also failed to mention that the source of the leak could be on the tongue...with the regulator and/or hoses. And you can't rule out a bad propane tank. Try both tanks, and switch the automated switchover regulator to select just one or the other. Hell, if these are new tanks that came with the RV, nothing says that one of the tanks itself (or the valves on the tanks) isn't causing the problem. Every time I get mine filled, the tech who does the filling uses soapy water spray to check everything around the valve and his temporary connection to the fill equipment.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:22 PM   #36
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[QUOTE=jimmoore13;1947499]I hope I'm not repeating...apologies if I am.



If that all checks out, I suggest building a "plug" for flared fittings. One will do. I'm guessing a brass flare fitting connected to a ball shutoff valve you might install in line to shutoff gas to an appliance like a hot water heater. If you get really lucky, you might get a cap to terminate a gas line. Anything to plug the line. Don't forget the pink Teflon tape. Your hardware store can help.

You mean YELLOW tape?
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:22 PM   #37
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My Suburban stove/oven seems to have its own internal regulator. Burner Maybe not the place to test. I tested at the incoming gas line. Best place is at a little test point near the burner in the frig which is where low gas pressure usually impacts you first. Turn off screw right by the burner, then , pull the 1/8 pipe plug between the tiny valve and the burner. Put the manometer there. Open the tiny valve, let the burner come back on and measure the live working pressure there.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:37 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by jimmoore13 View Post
One other observation. You smell mercaptan, so why isn't the propane alarm sounding? I know from experience that the alarms are very sensitive. We once spilled wine on the floor near the alarm, and it took a LOT of cleanup effort to make it stop (the VOCs from the wine were enough to trigger it). This SUGGESTS that the leak may be "outside" the cabin space...or in ventilated space that doesn't enter the cabin.

Thanks Jim, great advice. I posted some pictures of the leak (post #27) that I eventually tracked down. The leak was so slight, the gas never made it to the propane detector. As a matter of fact, the handheld propane detector that I held right up to the leak only flickered at the weakest detection LED. Mercaptan is a heck of a stink, which it should be. But the leak was not serious and has been contained. The manometer stopped dropping once the leak was plugged. The pressure loss rate prior to fixing was so tiny it had to be measured in WC/hours.


I plan on measuring at the fridge one last time, just to be certain the system is closed completely now. If it's still losing pressure, it will go back to the dealer I purchased it from for repair. For now it seems like the stove fitting just wasn't tightened enough at the factory and came slightly loose while being towed.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:14 PM   #39
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[QUOTE=Iwannacamp;1947813]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmoore13 View Post
I hope I'm not repeating...apologies if I am.



If that all checks out, I suggest building a "plug" for flared fittings. One will do. I'm guessing a brass flare fitting connected to a ball shutoff valve you might install in line to shutoff gas to an appliance like a hot water heater. If you get really lucky, you might get a cap to terminate a gas line. Anything to plug the line. Don't forget the pink Teflon tape. Your hardware store can help.

You mean YELLOW tape?
My bad. Yes, yellow tape for gas lines.
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:40 PM   #40
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Alternate to a manometer

There is another way to do this and is a lot less confusing. Get a tall bottle that you can see through and a stiff straight tube. Mark the tube every half inch. Fill the bottle with 16” of water. Insert the tube to the bottom of the bottle. Connect a tube to it and to the point you want to measure. Turn on the propane. There should be nothing coming from the bottom of the tube. Slowly raise the tube until a bubble comes from the bottom of the tube. When this happens the depth of the tube in the water is the pressure reading. You could also use a tub or garbage can big enough to see when the bubble “breaks”. Keep in mind though, you are releasing propane into the air when the tube begins to bubble.
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