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Old 11-17-2008, 05:54 AM   #1
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Propane question??

My parents are staying in my trailer right now until they close on their new house next week. Tonight, the propane tank ran out so I flipped the switch over to the other side to the tank that i just had filled last week and I'm not getting any propane. i'm wondering now if the opposite side is even really empty. The red indicator is showing that it's empty but it's not opening when i change it over to the full side. Is it possible that it when bad? Tonight is going to be the coldest night so far and I really need to get heat in there tonight. They have 2 space heaters running in there. Worst case scenario, if i cant get the propane to work do you think between the tank heaters and the space heaters inside the trailer, I'll be ok at around 25 degrees for maybe 8 hours or so without anything freezing?
any help would be great!!!!
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Old 11-17-2008, 06:25 AM   #2
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You may need to bleed the air out of the lines. The best way to do this is to open one of the burners on the stove. When you open the burner the air will escape then you should smell the propane gas, once you smell gas shut the burner off then restart your furnace. Just make sure the gas valve is open on the refilled tank.
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:03 AM   #3
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Or you may have a bad changeover valve. Many of us Rockwood owners, myself included, have had to replace this valve for issues very similar to what you describe.

If you replace the changeover, get a replacement made by Marshall Industries, they are very reliable. Here is a link.

http://http://www.rvupgradestore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1232
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:57 AM   #4
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There's a couple of things it could be. The excess flow device could be tripped shutting off the flow. Close the valve on the tank and S L O W L Y open it again. You may have to do that a couple of times to get it to reset. If that doesn't work, switch the regulator selector switch back to the first side and swap sides with the tanks and see if the gas flows now. This will also give you the opportunity to weigh the tanks to make sure they're not both empty. If it works on one side but not the other you most likely have a bad regulator.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:21 PM   #5
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I had a similar thing happen to me in the middle of a cold nite!!
I had only turned on one of my tanks.
It ran out about 3 AM. Temp 34 degrees.
I got cold, got up and put on enough clothes to go outside
to open the other tank.
I flipped the valve open and ran back inside.
The furnace would not light.
I lit a stove burner and it was a small flame even on Hi.

I went back outside and took off the LP cover,
removed the clamp and regulator, swapped tanks and turned on
the full tank a 2nd time.
It worked. I just about froze my a-- off!!!

Later discussion, we decided I had opened the full tank too fast
and the excess flow valve had shut.

There are 2 lessons here--
1-- turn on your tanks slowly
2-- turn on BOTH tanks in the 1st place and you can avoid this problem.

Peace!
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:29 PM   #6
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i have a related question..... i took my tank off thinking it was empty but it seems pretty heavy.. are tare weights stamped on the tanks and can i weigh it to decide if there is still propane in there?
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:17 PM   #7
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if you listen carefully, sometimes you can hear it sloshing around, you can also buy a propane checker, it has a meter, you put it on your tank, or a strip, good luck!!!
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:25 PM   #8
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a typical steel "30 pound" liquid propane tank weighs about 25-28 pounds empty.
propane tank markings (on collar)

propane weighs about 4.125 pounds per gallon and a "30 pound tank" will
hold about 7.5 gallons so a full tank will weigh about 55 pounds or so.

A TW(tare weight) may be stamped on your LP cylinder
Yes the weight is representative of the liquid level with LP, if you know tare weight
30 lb LP cyl==== 25-28 lbTW/ 55 lb total tare plus cyl weight ==filled with LP 80%
20 lb LP cyl==== 17-18 lb TW/ 33-38 lb total filled with LP to 80 % full
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:04 PM   #9
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I agree with KYDan and the others.
I would go with that before the changeover valve. I've heard of them malfunctioning...but rare compared to the other things mentioned.
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:16 PM   #10
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Thanks Wildwood that was the info i was looking for.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:59 AM   #11
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update... but not exactly solved...
So, the next morning after my original posting on here i decided to swap the tanks to see if the other side would work. Well, to my surprise the tank which i had just had refilled 2 weeks earlier was as lite as the empty one. I thought this was not a good sign.
So I bring both tanks to be refilled. $48 dollars later, i get back home and hook them up.
The red indicator goes away on the changeover valve, but now i can hear propane leaking out of the hose where the collar screws onto the cylinder. I got a bottle of soapy water and began spraying. It appears that BOTH sides are leaking where the brass fitting attaches to the hose closest to the collar that screws onto the tank.
What i dont really get is, I've had this trailer for about 6 months now and this previous time that i had the propane filled was the first time I had taken off the bottles. It seems that if they had been leaking , it would have been empty long before now. I was thinking that by wiggling them around when i took them off last time perhaps that's when they developed the leak. Anyone agreeing with me here???!!
next problem.... Water Heater;
The water heater has been running on electric for about the last 3 weeks and working good. So after all this fun with the propane I decided to open up the compartment for the water heater to check for a pilot light. I DONT SEE ONE.
I turned off the electric to the water heater this afternoon to see if it would kick on once the water temp. drops but i just checked it and I dont see a flame. and yes the switch on the inside is in the on position.
So, does it filter on and off as the water needs to be reheated? not only the main burner but the pilot also??
I'll check in the afternoon to see if the water is hot after having the electric switch off since yesterday and i'll guess that will answer my question.
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:20 AM   #12
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My hot water heater has a electronic spark igniter, no standing pilot just like what is on a gas grill. The fuel will ignite when it calls for heating. You can hear it clicking before it ignites. click..click..click..click..
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Old 11-19-2008, 03:46 PM   #13
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I was told that if you are running your hot water heater on electric, you will not see a polit light. Hope this helps..
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:12 PM   #14
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Ours is DSI (Direct Spark Ignition) too. You won't see a pilot flame. Once the heater calls for heat you should hear the ignitor click a few times and then the burner light off.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:11 AM   #15
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Update... The hot water heater is working fine off of the propane. I'm going to replace the 2 hoses that come off of the changeover valve this weekend to fix the leaking problem and everything should be back to normal.
Thanks Everyone for suggestions and comments.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:59 AM   #16
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I discovered some intersting things just 2 days ago when I had to switch over to my street-side tank & couldn't get any gas to flow
There is a red colored regulator (labeled 18psi) mounted in the street side compartment, but no similar unit on the curb side that holds the other tank & switch-over regulator

The 2nd thing, which caused my 'no flow' problem, is the 2 'm-f reducers' that are mounted at the inlets to the regulator have a back flow valve in them.
The one for my street side tank had totally shut down. I hit it w/ 75psi of air & couldnt break it loose. I replaced it with a standard m-f reducer and problem fixed
I'm still confused why FR would install a secondary regulator for the street tank, yet none on the curb tank
Rig is a 2007 8243 5th wheel
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:43 PM   #17
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They install the secondary regulator on the street side because of the potential problems running a high pressure propane line across the RV. The potential for rupturing an 18 PSI line is much less than rupturing a tank pressure line. As for why they don't put one on the Main side it's because the 2-stage regulator is in close proximity and the installation is more protected from damage.
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:40 PM   #18
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Bama
Knew there had to be a logical answer.
After working on my system for 3 hrs to find the stuck check valve, my mind was no longer being logical!
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