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Old 10-10-2018, 10:14 AM   #1
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Unhappy What's wrong with my manometer?

Sorry I don't have pictures, but I built a manometer taking direction from various websites about how to build one. I used 1/2" clear PVC with 3/8" ID. Mounted to board, drew 1" marks, added red water. When I hooked it up to the stove burner, the water only climbed to the 7" mark. I don't think my regulator is putting out 7" of pressure rather than the standard 10-11". I'm too unsure of my manometer build to trust it. There were some conflicting designs online, one had you totaling the drop on one side with the rise on the other?


Regardless, I have a propane leak somewhere in my brand new 2019 Widlwood 171RBXL. I can smell the mercaptan inside and the manometer pressure very very slowly drops after the tank is shut off. I have a trip this weekend and need to get it repaired fast. Where should I look first, what is the most common leak location? The stove coupling? The propane alarm inside isn't going off and the rotten egg smell is extremely faint (yes, the drain traps are full).


Also strange is that after the tank is shut off and the system is bled 3" to equalize pressure, the pressure slowly rises about 1" until it starts to drop slowly to almost 0. It takes a little over an hour to depressurize.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:35 AM   #2
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You should be testing with a spray bottle and soapy water. Looking at fittings and connections and where they would be swedged on to the tubing. On a 2019 unit it would be unlikely but not impossible cracked hoses. Anything obviously pinched?Lp gas connections for grill, maybe? Mine pushes inside the coach behind a door/plate and has a shut off valve on the quick connect.
Sounds like you constructed the manometer OK. When nothing is on( incl Lp) or it's disconnected the "0" of your drawn scale should be at the static position. Graduations to either(both) sides of the zero are drawn in inches. Add both readings together for a total in inches WC. Once you've run the system with a couple gas appliances operating, and see you can maintain the 11" WC, you know your regulator is doing what it's supposed to do and from my experience you can remove the manometer and just go to the leak checks without it, just lp on and nothing lit. Don't know how your TT is laid out but with mine, in a 3 ft area resides the refer, furnace stove/oven, WH and the outside grill line. Once you've exposed the areas from removing access panels, the testing should go quickly. But, you need to look from the propane bottles, hoses and regulators back to the appliances( up to gas valves). Just like you were troubleshooting electrical... one end of the circuit from source to finish You lost me on on what you're seeing/doing on your last paragraph, sorry. Good luck!
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:40 AM   #3
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Not an expert.... I don't think that is a "true" measure of Inches of WC. I will try to research and post back.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:44 AM   #4
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While I cannot comment on your manometer build, I tried making one, and was not happy. Yes, as I recall, you have to add the movement from both sides. May have needed someone familiar with them show me how.....but...

With a leak as you describe, I would get out the soapy water at the connections and look for bubbles. It is possible that you may even have a chafed line somewhere. Be careful....you can get “nose blind” to the smell, and it may seem like it is dissipating, but is still building up.

I was having pilot lights flame out only to relight and run a while, then kick off. It seemed to me that I had too much pressure, as the flame seemed ‘ratty’ sounding and not even, nor was it yellow-ish.

I bought a digital one from Amazon for...24? Turned out that my main regulator was set at 14.4”. Set it for 11” and all is fine now. Tossed the meter into the electronics kit I keep.

Hope you find the leak for your weekend.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:47 AM   #5
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So if you're supposed to add the inches from both sides, I'd have 14" of pressure (7" rise + 7" drop). If that's the case, then I probably have a regulator that's turned up too high? Maybe it's overpressurizing the system and causing leakage?
The 171RBXL doesn't have an outdoor LP quick connect, I wish it did. There's 4 endpoints, furnace, fridge, hot water and stove/oven. I'd be curious as to which connections fail/leak more often than the others, so I don't have to dig around as much.
My last bit was about the tutorials which tell you to pressurize the manometer and then bleed off a few inches before you let it sit for a leak test. When I did this, the pressure briefly rose back up a small amount after being bled. I can't figure out why, both tanks were fully off.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:47 AM   #6
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Here's a quick basic paint drawing I threw together to show how the manometer works. I built one myself and have used it several times. Had a regulator putting out 5psi at 50% flow- not good. And it wouldn't adjust. Had it replaced under warranty- so they do go bad- and this was on a less than 1 year old camper. One more thing to keep in mind- some appliances have a regulator that reduces pressure to less than 11"WC.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulie1138 View Post
I bought a digital one from Amazon for...24? Turned out, my main regulator was set at 14.4. Set it for 11 and all is fine now. Tossed the meter into the electronics kit I keep.

Which one did you buy? I poked around on Amazon previously but didn't find anything that looked like it would work.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:53 AM   #8
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This might help...
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/...20150806001423
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:56 AM   #9
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Couple other things:


1. Make sure the temp of the lines has "normalized". Change in temp during the test can give inaccurate readings.



2. Regulator lockup occurs at a max of 14" WC. So, if you're turning off the appliance and then going out to turn off the gas, you might see as high as 14". On this note, you should check regulator lockup pressure as well. Keep the gas on at the cylinders but off at the appliance for a minimum of 3 minutes and make sure the regulator isn't allowing the pressure to rise too high during lockup. Once again, make sure you don't have a secondary regulator at the appliance you're testing or this won't be an accurate reading.



3. Make sure you are dropping pressure to 8"WC to do the time pressure drop test. This is to make sure the regulator is out of lockup.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustman_stx View Post
Here's a quick basic paint drawing I threw together to show how the manometer works. I built one myself and have used it several times. Had a regulator putting out 5psi at 50% flow- not good. And it wouldn't adjust. Had it replaced under warranty- so they do go bad- and this was on a less than 1 year old camper. One more thing to keep in mind- some appliances have a regulator that reduces pressure to less than 11"WC.

Thanks, the drawing is similar to one of the ones I saw and makes a lot of sense. The side text about running another gas appliance is good info too.


I'm running my manometer off the Suburban 3 burner stove/oven combo that's in practically every camper you see with an oven. I don't think they throttle the pressure, but it does have the additional regulator.
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