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Old 10-21-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
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Propane Tank Question

I just picked up the Motorhome after having some work done by the dealer. I drove it back to the storage facility where I keep it and noticed a propane smell. I went and checked the tank compartment and I hear the sound of hissing air. I noticed that I have air with a propane smell coming out near the purge valve by what looks like a regulator (under the white cover in the first picture). I reached down and shut the purge valve and the hissing stopped. When I opened it back up the hissing started and continued. I let it hiss for about 10 minutes and the propane gauge didn't go down. It still showed just a bit less than 3/4 full.

Ok the questions are: Should the valve (bottom right near white cover in the first picture below) be left in the open or closed position? If in the open position will it eventually quit losing air? If it is supposed to be in the open position without the hissing then do I have a bad regulator?

Here are a couple of pictures of the tank and the valve.

Thanks for your help!


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Old 10-21-2013, 06:23 PM   #2
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The valve with the yellow cover needs to be open to provide propane to the RV BUT there should not be a propane smell or hissing air sound. I'd think the hissing will continue until your tank is empty. You can spray a soap solution on the fittings and look for bubbles and perhaps tighten a fitting. I'd strongly suggest leaving that valve closed until you have time to resolve the problem. I don't know how severe the leak is but it is a serious problem. That's my thought.
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:24 PM   #3
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1. I doubt that it is an air leak. I would guess pure propane.

2. Turn off the valve, then apply leak finder soap to all joints and connections.

3. Turn valve just slightly on and inspect for leaks. You may have more than one.

4. Repost here with the results.
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:26 PM   #4
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If the valve that was leaking was to the right of the yellow cover, that is a bleeder valve they use when filling the tank. If you leave that open it will deplete your propane. Do not leave it open.. If it's still leaking you need to have it repaired. Very dangerous.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:07 PM   #5
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To clarify the hissing is coming from under the white cover next to the purge valve in the picture. (Lower middle and right hand corner of the picture). I removed the cover to find what appears to be a regulator. The regulator has a small pin sized hole at the bottom and looks like it belongs there. This is where the air is coming out. The escaping air is not pure propane since it has just a hint of propane smell. The best way I can explain it is that it is acting like a pressure relief valve on a residential hot water heater. Lots of pressurized air with just a little propane escaping. No leaks are in the system according to the soap test on the valve and joints.

I have the purge valve closed right now. No leaking. I tried to call the service department however they were closed. I will follow up with them in the morning.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:12 PM   #6
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Most RV stores and most propane suppliers stock that regulator. It's about a $25.00 item. I've had to replace mine several times.

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Old 10-21-2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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Turn off the main valve that will stop the leak. The air as you refer to it is propane.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:01 PM   #8
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Shut off main gas valve at tank. The diaphragm is leaking in your regulator, and reg needs to be replaced.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I have the propane turned off.

Problem has been identified as a bad regulator. I've ordered a new 2 stage horizontal regulator and will change out the old one on Thursday. It should be a direct fit replacement. Going to Home Depot tomorrow to get the correct pipe dope / tape for propane fittings.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:28 PM   #10
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There is no such thing as a "Purge Valve" in a propane system. The tank is purged of air when it is first filled by the filling faciliity and if it ever becomes contaminated and needs purging, this has to be done by professionals using the service valves.

The top thing with the yellow cap is the fill port it contains two check valves and should not leak (At least 2)

To the right of it is a little 3-pointed star of a valve, This is the Liquid Fill indicator valve,, This is opened by the pump jockey during filling and closed when it stops venting propane Gas and starts venting Propane Liquid (He shuts off the propane flow at this point as well) it indicates when the tank is full and should be CLOSED during except when filling.

Below that on the left is the gauge and sender
To the right of that is the main propane valve

Then the regulator
Then the Gas Solenoid (Part of your safety system)

NOTHING in that stream should vent propane either

GET yourself to a professional.. i'm guessing bad regulator.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
There is no such thing as a "Purge Valve" in a propane system. The tank is purged of air when it is first filled by the filling faciliity and if it ever becomes contaminated and needs purging, this has to be done by professionals using the service valves.

The top thing with the yellow cap is the fill port it contains two check valves and should not leak (At least 2)

To the right of it is a little 3-pointed star of a valve, This is the Liquid Fill indicator valve,, This is opened by the pump jockey during filling and closed when it stops venting propane Gas and starts venting Propane Liquid (He shuts off the propane flow at this point as well) it indicates when the tank is full and should be CLOSED during except when filling.

Below that on the left is the gauge and sender
To the right of that is the main propane valve

Then the regulator
Then the Gas Solenoid (Part of your safety system)

NOTHING in that stream should vent propane either

GET yourself to a professional.. i'm guessing bad regulator.
Yup it's a bad regulator. I mis-identified the main supply valve as a purge valve since the sticker telling to purge on the initial fill was still on it. The sticker should have been removed when the tank was initially filled.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:25 AM   #12
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When you replace that regulator check to see if there a lot of "oily" residue in the line. If it's excessive you may need to clean the lines as there is another regulator at your stove that can suffer damage if the oiling has made it that far. Also remember, tape or dope ONLY on the NPT threads, nothing on the FLARE fitting.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:43 AM   #13
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Just something to file in the back of your head? Regarding the reason that regulator started leaking? (I feel the more people know about this the easier it is to spot incompetent people filling these tanks.)

IF the tank was overfilled, the potential for that regulator to get a mouth full of liquid propane is pretty good. If that happens, the regulator WILL let go. It's designed to handle propane gas/vapor only!

Also, the tank should never be filled past 80%. That's when that little valve will start spitting liquid propane (assuming it's been opened!). If your guage is reading 3/4 (75%) full, it's never going to read much higher!
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:24 PM   #14
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I thought there was a regulation that propane tanks have an automatic shut-off when the fill reaches 75 or 80%. I think this has been in effect for quite a while since my '95 Safari Trek had this feature. It made a very audible "clunk" when the shut-off activated and would not accept any additional propane.


Quote:
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J...Also, the tank should never be filled past 80%. That's when that little valve will start spitting liquid propane (assuming it's been opened!). If your guage is reading 3/4 (75%) full, it's never going to read much higher!
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