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Old 08-25-2012, 11:47 AM   #1
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Thought I had made it to the short list

After spending the entire summer removing the old Dometic fridge, inoperable icemaker, and too-small dash TV, then building cabinets to fill the holes and installing the new fridge, I thought I was down to the short list of repairs and modifications.

Two nights ago, we checked all the driving lights - 1 taillight and 1 brakelight out, dimmer switch not working. No big deal.

This morning, I filled my waterhose with bleach to disinfect the tank and lines. Found 2 small leaks, 1 in the kit. and 1 at the bathroom faucet. Easy fix, I think, I hope. The new Oxygenics shower head worked great!

Lastly, I opened the LP tank valve. LP started spewing. Built up pressure, I'm thinking. Closed it, then reopened and sprayed with soapy water. Yep! Leaking around the valve. Anyone run into this before and what is the fix?
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:02 PM   #2
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The gas leak is where, exactly? Around the valve stem? Was the valve completely open (tight?)? Some don't seal real well between full off and full on.

If you can't get it to stop, that's a pretty good reason to replace the valve. Not that big a deal for somebody used to working with that kind of thing, but I'm sure pretty intimidating for somebody that is not. Tank level not that important. You'll loose some but not all. -Al
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:01 PM   #3
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Thanks, Al. I'm not intimidated by it, just not sure how to proceed or what is needed. I'll try to do most anything once I have some instructions on how to do it and the job doesn't cause me to get in a position that aggravates the bulging discs in my neck.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:30 PM   #4
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If you want to do this yourself, you're going to need to be able to park it in an area where the propane you're going to let go won't cause any damage as it blows/dissipates down wind. A couple hundred yards minimum, and that's with a good breeze going? If you don't have/can't find that, you'll need to take it to a regular propane dealer. Not somebody just refilling tanks. More like somebody in a rural area that's supplying/filling tanks for residential heating use?

The valve swap is going to involve removing the POL fitting from the valve (7/8" wrench, LH threads), and getting that metal guard out of your way (2 bolts?). With new valve in hand, properly wrapped with teflon tape to seal the threads going into the tank, it's time to kill the power in the MH. All of it. Disconnect the negative leads of both sets of batteries. Then comes the fun part.

With gas line removed, open the valve, ALL of the way open. It's really noisey, and obviously smells really bad. Your clothes will need to be washed a couple of times afterward! The gas will continue roaring out of there, and you're going to think I'm an idiot (or you are?) for attempting this. Figure at least 15 minutes, maybe a little longer. Shortly though, you'll notice the tank is frosting up, big time! (just like a spray can gets cold while you're emptying it's contents, only this one is on steroids!) Eventually, that roaring will subside to a whisper, and it'll be time to go to work (it will not quit completely). The tank will be frozen solid. Now remember Mr. Nerves of Steel, you cannot make a spark (!!!!) and you cannot touch that tank without getting frost bitten immediately! Have some gloves with you!

So with the above in mind take you tool (weapon) of choice (I use a big pipe wrench to remove valves, for the extra leverage they can supply) and unscrew the old valve - leaving the valve open to continue the venting. If there was a lot of LP in the tank, you may have some liquid propane pour from the opening as you remove the valve. Be carefull of that, as it comes from the tank, or splashes as it hits the ground. For God's sake, don't have your face anywhere near that area!!! (care to hear about how I learned that?) Once the old valve is out, install the new one, and torque it like you would any other pipe fitting. Nothing huge necessary.

Once torqued, you can close the new valve. Doing that will let the tank start to warm up and begin restoring it's internal pressure as it does. Put the rest all back together, leak test it, and you're done!

BTW, the propane dealer will likely have that valve in stock. It's something they'll be involved in changing often.

Best of luck! -Al
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:29 PM   #5
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Thanks.

Thanks. I'm pretty sure I can handle this. Just hate losing all that propane.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:54 PM   #6
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Why not take it to a propane dealer and have them pump out/remove the propane from your tank so you can do the work needed and then refill?

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:32 AM   #7
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You can't "pump out" propane as a rule. That would involve a fitting on the side of the tank that reaches to the bottom of the tank on the inside. As we're generally just handling/using the vapor, there isn't one of those on 99.99% of the tanks you'll ever work on. That's the big reason you never fill a tank beyond 80% actually. Liquid getting to that gas valve not good, as it will blow the regulator. Your appliances don't care for liquid propane much either...

The process I described sounds scary/crude, but it's a pretty common occurrence. "Purging" a new propane tank for instance. That process has you putting a gallon of propane in the tank, then releasing it to evacuate any moisture or air that's in it.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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"ahicks".....good info to know
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy1252 View Post
Thanks. I'm pretty sure I can handle this. Just hate losing all that propane.
Sorry, missed your note. My bet is you'll loose less than you think you will.

Be careful!!!
-Al
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