Go Back   iRV2 Forums > iRV2.com COMMUNITY FORUMS > Vintage RV's
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-21-2016, 06:41 PM   #1
Junior Member
Alle007's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 26
Empty the propane tank?

I have a 1986 class A rv with onboard propane tank. I would like to empty the propane, fill it with air, and remove the tank. It has had a faint smell of propane since august. The gas meter still reads full 6 months later. I called all the rv service places and dealers in nearby areas as well as Ferrell gas and other propane places, no one will touch this thing. Does anyone know how I can do this myself safely or where else I can call to have it done? I tried twisting the main valve knob open but no sound or smell was there. Does that mean it's empty and I'm smelling residual? Or is there something else I must do to purge out remaining gas? I'd like to finally use this camper but don't want to blow up. Thanks

(Sorry for the upside down pics)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1458606437371.jpg
Views:	52
Size:	52.7 KB
ID:	122009   Click image for larger version

Name:	1458606468368.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	59.1 KB
ID:	122010  

Click image for larger version

Name:	1458606502093.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	54.3 KB
ID:	122011   Click image for larger version

Name:	1458606529535.jpg
Views:	58
Size:	52.4 KB
ID:	122012  

Click image for larger version

Name:	1458606547314.jpg
Views:	56
Size:	60.4 KB
ID:	122013  

1986 Allegro 7.4 Chevy 26ft Land Cruiser Fixer Upper
Alle007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-21-2016, 06:56 PM   #2
Senior Member
Mr_D's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Solo Rvers Club
iRV2 No Limits Club
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 31,311
Propane tanks can have a smell even when empty. The shut off valve on the tank is a needle style valve, if tightened too hard it scores the seat and they will no longer shut the flow off completely.
Have you opened the overflow valve (to the left of the fill valve) and see if you get any gas out?

2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
Charter Good Sam Lifetime Member, FMCA, SKP
RV'ing since 1957, NRA Benefactor Life, towing '14 CR-V
Mr_D is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 07:01 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 492
See if your stove will lit. Fire up the WH. Tap on the tank with a screwdriver handle. Does it ring or go thud?
Lovey & Thurston - Cali Foothills
2001 HR Vacationer (SS Minnow) - Gasser!
Obviously A Lowly and Inferior MH
B Dubya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 07:08 PM   #4
Senior Member
Sweetbriar's Avatar
Thor Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,059
Try turning the vent valve which is to the left of the fill fitting to check for pressure. If you still have pressure not sure how to dump it in such a way that doesn't make you nervous. Burning with the coach appliances could take a month if the tank is full. Bleeding to the air might be your only choice.

You might not like my idea but maybe someone has something better. As long as the shut off valve is holding pressure disconnect the regulator and remove the tank. Wait for a windy day and find someplace away from anything, like an open field, and crack the vent valve. Propane needs to both mix with oxygen AND be a high enough percentage AND have a heat source before it will ignite. Wind will disperse the gas enough to keep the concentration below that required for ignition and being in an open field is away from possible heat sources.
Sweetbriar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2016, 06:38 AM   #5
Junior Member
Alle007's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 26
Okay great, thank you very much you guys. so if I open the vent valve (same as overfill valve?) and no pressure, smell, or sound comes out of it then is that indication that the tank is empty?

Also, the knob that says "vapor", when I turn that knob open, should gas come out?

I'll try your suggestions this afternoon and report back. You guys are life savers
1986 Allegro 7.4 Chevy 26ft Land Cruiser Fixer Upper
Alle007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2016, 07:00 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 11,804
The little knob with the red tag is a vent. Open it a bit and let the gas out. Best place is a open field on a windy day. When nothing come out it is empty.

The thing to the left with the red wire is a gauge. See if you can clean the face enough to see the needle.

If the system works, run the heat on high. That will run the gas down in a day or so.
twinboat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2016, 07:20 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Snowbird - Waterford Mi and Citrus Springs Fl.
Posts: 3,609
I'd be getting some soap bubbles on it while it's still got something in it. Though you're smelling propane in the area of the tank, it pretty unlikely it's the tank itself that's leaking in my experience. If the tank is involved at all, it's nearly always leaking at one of the fittings that are screwed into it. You may be facing a repair that's much less difficult than you think! Pulling the tank is rarely required.

The regulator, whatever that thing is next to it, and the rusty pipe fittings all look suspect to me. To help isolate the source of the leak, maybe you could turn the main valve off, let it sit for a day or so, then see if it passes the smell test?

Another thought. That main valve doesn't always seal real well around the valve stem when partially open. It's designed to seal fully open, or fully closed. Some soap suds dripped on that might tell you for sure.

Last, I'd track down a cap for that filler in your travels. Running it down the road without it is a bad plan.
1997 37' HR Endeavor, 275hp Cat, Freightliner
03 CR-V Blue Ox, Ready Brake
ahicks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2016, 10:04 AM   #8
Senior Member
Piker's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1,344
FYI an empty propane tank can smell for years even after it's been emptied and open to the atmosphere. They put a chemical in the tanks called ethyl of mercaptain so you can detect leaks with your sniffer - propane itself has no odor... and the stuff never seems to go away...

1994 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
6BT Cummins -Rebuild Thread Here-
-Exterior Renovation Thread Here-
Piker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2016, 07:16 PM   #9
Junior Member
Alle007's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 26
Thanks for all the advice you guys, I opened the vent valve and no gas comes out. I'm assuming it must be empty. The electric meter inside the camper reads full so I guess the meter is broken. A new problem has arisen. I'll post it in a new post, thanks again everyone. IRV2 for the win!
1986 Allegro 7.4 Chevy 26ft Land Cruiser Fixer Upper
Alle007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2016, 04:55 AM   #10
Junior Member
sremle's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 5
Buy a new gauge for about $75 dollars. Here is the installation link.


Agree with most members your leak is somewhere else. Not the tank. Your system probably has auto shut down anyway. On my 25 year old rig, the pilot on the stove went out. The system alarm came on and shut off the propane tank.

sremle is offline   Reply With Quote

propane, tank

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What is the best way to empty out propane Dan Wong MH-General Discussions & Problems 19 05-14-2015 10:29 PM
Swapping empty propane tanks for full ones Grandpere iRV2.com General Discussion 12 09-08-2014 08:03 AM
Propane not empty when furnace shuts off kcaravelli Winnebago Industries Owner's Forum 8 01-12-2011 02:55 PM
Motoraid & empty hot water tank j griff Winnebago Industries Owner's Forum 4 01-25-2010 12:52 PM
How much does an empty 7.5 gallon propane tank weigh? EAB iRV2.com General Discussion 4 12-28-2006 05:15 AM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:08 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.