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Old 02-23-2015, 09:28 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Propane Leak from one side?

I did a search and didn't see anything quite like what I've got......

Cougar 27' 5th wheel. 30 lb propane tank on the driver's side and a 30 lb propane tank on the passenger side. Regulator and tank switch is on the passenger side.

Last year, I had some leaks in lines and fittings on both sides. I used the genuine gas/propane sealer and redid ALL the connections. I now have a leak on the passenger side that I CANNOT find.

If I have the selector set to the driver's side tank, no problem. Tank lasts just fine. When I switch to the passenger side tank, it runs out even when not using any propane... And there's a propane smell on that side. To ME, this says the line from the regulator to all the appliances isn't the problem. And the line that runs over to the driver's side tank isn't the problem.

I've checked everything I can think of. I've put bubbles on everything I can find on both sides and NOTHING bubbles. I've checked the lines, the tanks, the fittings, lines going into the regulator, and everything I can see.

At this point, the only idea I have is that the regulator or the selector to switch between tanks, which is attached to the top of the regulator, is leaking. I don't SEE any leaks, I don't get any bubbles, but SOMETHING is leaking...

I can't do anything today, but eventually, it's going to warm up here and I'd like to have some idea where to go next...

I'm ABOUT to take the ENTIRE propane setup OUT of the trailer... Both tanks, lines, the line that goes across the trailer, regulator, EVERYTHING. And set it up on the driveway, and see if I can get SOMETHING to bubble... But, before I do something silly, I figure I'd ask in here and see if anyone has had any experience with a regulator that's leaking but doesn't show bubbles on the outside? Or the tank selector? Do I just say "screw it" and buy a regulator and selector and see if that fixes it?

I've talked to the local propane place - which knows me WAY too well 'cause I keep having to go in there and get tanks filled WAY too often. They told me the way I"m testing is exactly the way they test, and there isn't anything better than a mix of water and soap for testing. I talked to the dealer and THEY said the same thing - they diagnose with a bubble solution...

So, anyone have any good ideas for me to try this spring (presuming spring ever comes)?

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Old 02-23-2015, 09:41 PM   #2
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i would try to get my hands on a gas leak detector it samples the air and will pickup very small leaks

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Old 02-24-2015, 06:27 AM   #3
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Can you submerge the regulator and valve in water with pressure on them? If there is a leak you will see bubbles.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:38 PM   #4
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I may be able to submerge stuff...

I looked at regulators and such today and realized I can replace the regulator with selector switch and ALL the hoses to both tanks and connections for less than $100.... It cost me more than that last year getting the tank refilled a half dozen times 'cause it kept leaking out!

I thought there would be a gas leak detector available at either the dealer or the propane place - it's a BIG propane place with trucks and tanks and all that, and NEITHER had any such animal. They both told me they just put soap on things and look for leaks...
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:33 PM   #5
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Just for grins--have you swapped the tanks? If the same side still goes down...
I have replaced lots of parts trying to cure a problem when I should have been a little more patient in the analysis part--would have saved me money several times.
Good luck.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:29 AM   #6
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Have you checked the hose for cracks?
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dkperez View Post
I may be able to submerge stuff...

I looked at regulators and such today and realized I can replace the regulator with selector switch and ALL the hoses to both tanks and connections for less than $100.... It cost me more than that last year getting the tank refilled a half dozen times 'cause it kept leaking out!

I thought there would be a gas leak detector available at either the dealer or the propane place - it's a BIG propane place with trucks and tanks and all that, and NEITHER had any such animal. They both told me they just put soap on things and look for leaks...
I suggest you pay the "BIG propane place" to locate the leak for you.
(IMO throwing parts at a problem can be more costly than hiring someone who knows what he's doing).
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:13 AM   #8
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I had a similar problem, which finally turned out to be a leak in the regulator. I replaced it, and the leak stopped. My leak was so slow, that I did not see any bubbles from the soap solution. There was as distinct mercaptan odor in the area.

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Old 03-03-2015, 02:40 PM   #9
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I had to replace the regulator on the left side of my cougar. There is a small pin size hole for pressure relief that goes bad. When I went in and asked parts about it they said they have a lot of failures. It's only a $12 part so no big deal and an easy fix.
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:31 PM   #10
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I had a propane leak in my house near my dryer. I could barely smell it. Had a propane company do a check. they found the leak in 3 minutes.
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:31 PM   #11
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Been off being busy and lost track of a few replies...

Yes, I've switched tanks from side to side. When the regulator is set to the passenger side, the tank leaks. So, it doesn't appear to be the tank.

I went to the "big propane place" to have them find the leak. I'm absolutely serious - I was told they do the leak detection THE SAME WAY I'VE BEEN - with soapy water. I figured they'd have the latest and greatest in propane leak detectors, but the person I spoke to told me they use soapy water.

I've checked all the lines, and wet everything down, and nothing APPEARS to be leaking. If it's a line it's either in a location I can't see or it's not the lines.

As far as the regulator - I have a slight mercaptan odor on the passenger side when using the passenger side tank, and I've had the bubble solution on the regulator, but haven't seen any bubbles. BUT, I also haven't had the regulator OFF the mount 'cause it's ZERO here again today. I was told by the propane person I talked to (remember, this is the same person that told me they use soapy water to find leaks) that it's not uncommon for the regulator to leak, so I'll do more testing if it ever gets to be spring...
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:13 PM   #12
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Had the 5th wheel into the selling dealer - Noble RV in Owatonna, MN, for a couple things including the propane leak a couple weeks ago.

Propane leak got worse this spring and I figured since we'd spent an obscene amount for the extended warranty (yes, I KNOW it was stupid, but it seemed like a good idea at the time given the slides and such), to have the selling dealer fix the leak and the slide that still doesn't work and so on. I figured it would be a SNAP for the dealer, with their high-tech propane sniffer to find the problem......

Not so fast... Since I'd "altered" the system from factory (lessee, I'm in Louisiana, 50+ miles from any town with more than 500 people in it, with a system that's leaking, and they're having an aneurysm because I've tried to stop the leaks with a couple clamps on hoses) they CAN'T look at it until they replace everything that's been changed gets put "back to factory" - 'cause "it's a bomb just waiting to explode"... Remind anyone else of the smarmy days back in the 1980s when the car dealers would pull the same crap if you changed anything on your car?

They did an equally fine job on the other minor problems. The dining slide still doesn't go in and out properly (3 visits) and is still not level when it's out (same 3 visits), the rear stabilizers still don't extend and retract correctly (I told them the motor was bad - I had it apart last year when it quit - found out water had gotten inside and rusted away one of the springs on a brush. Replaced that spring and got a few months out of it, but I told 'em the motor was bad). They ignored that and it failed on the first try at retracting the stabilizers once we were out of there. Had to use the hand crank every time they went up or down last week. And last, needed a simple gasket for the oven door. So far, no gasket, and as near as I can tell, they can't even tell me what the part number is so I can get my own......

I DID get a bill for repairs, though. They were very good at that 'cause, of course, NOTHING was covered by the extended "warranty".

So, after that wasted trip, I ordered a regulator, new hoses, got replacement fittings, had a piece of black pipe threaded on both ends, and COMPLETELY removed everything from the regulator out to the tanks from the RV. Got my yellow teflon tape, the right goop for sealing propane threads, and I'm just gonna replace EVERYTHING. At $90 total for every part I need, it's cheaper BY FAR to do that than to let the dealer go prospecting with a blank check.

I'll pull the motor for the stabilizer out and apart and see if I can cobble it together again, but hopefully I'll find a part number and can order a new one if needed...

I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere, but other than "don't EVER waste the money on a warranty that forces you to trust the selling dealer" I'm not sure what it is...
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:20 PM   #13
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try the old timers methods of leak detection. mix up a mixture of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. spray all of the connections including the regulator(s) and look for bubbles. see bubbles, found your leak.
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:42 PM   #14
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Sounds like my selling dealer. Hope you get your issues repaired.

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leak, propane

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