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Old 12-02-2020, 05:40 PM   #1
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Propane tank leaking...just let it leak to zero?

I just went to fill up the propane tank for the first time since I bought this RV. At the fill station the guy had the hose hooked up and started filling and said "hey you got a leak here" and proceeded to keep filling the tank and looking around. I asked him to stop and he said "come down here and look". I then said "SHUT IT DOWN!" Finally he flipped the lever and shut it off. By then 5 gallons had already been pumped into the tank.

It appeared that the leak stopped after he stopped filling and I thought there must be a check valve that keeps the gas in the tank from leaking back through the hose to the fill valve. Once on the road home I could smell faint smells of gas. I panicked a bit but was close to home by then so kept driving. Made it home and quickly found that the hose is still leaking.

First thing I did was notify the fire dept in case anyone called. It smells like gas pretty bad around the MH. I opened all the windows, shut off all the master shut off switches. I called a propane service company to see if they would come recover what gas was in the tank. Nope. Fire dept says to let it leak down to zero.

Frustrating thing is this hose goes directly into the side of the tank. NO SHUT OFF to stop the leak and allow service. Kind of surprised by that. Thank goodness I do not have to let a full tank leak down first, but still five gallons is going to take awhile.

You can see if you look close in the picture that the hose behind the big fill cap has some liquid leak detector bubbled up.

Anyone ever have this happen? Seems crazy to just let this leak down to zero. Fire dept also did not recommend accelerating the leak, ie. opening the purge valve
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:18 PM   #2
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Did you apply some tape to try seal off the hose leak?

Did that work?

That might be the only option to save and use the propane.

It sounds like about $15 of propane in your tank...............
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:21 PM   #3
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It is the rubber hose that has a hole in it, not the fitting. I would have to remove the fittings to replace the hose and then all the propane would leak out very quickly but would be kind of dangerous I would think....

edit: after reading your questions again are you saying did I try to wrap something like electrical tape around the hose? No I did not.

The other issue is that even if I could just stop the leak I would need to replace the hose and I am still stuck with a tank that has LP in it. No matter what I need the tank emptied to fix the leak proper. I just would think there has to be a better way to empty the tank other than just let it leak down....
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:24 PM   #4
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$15 of propane.

Let it leak and get it fixed.

Seal the leak and then burn off the propane.

Hopefully the tank is sitting outside and away from flame. You could even set up a fan from a distance to blow air around the tank to disperse the propane.

Not many options that I am aware of.

Having the propane inside the rig and a flame or spark going in there could have a bad result. Stove, refrigerator, water heater etc.

So open the vents and windows if you can.

Do a Google search for emptying a propane tank
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:29 PM   #5
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Yeah I'm not too worried about the $15 Mostly concerned it is dangerous but my buddy came by who is a firefighter and he said it's no big deal. It's a small leak, just let it do it's thing.

I would be very worried to fire up an appliance with it leaking though. That does not sound like a good idea
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:45 PM   #6
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My regulator was leaking earlier this year. It leaked to zero in outside storage so I do not know how long it took.

And no-one, including me, smelled the leak.

You just do not want the propane to accumulate inside a closed rig or space, which likely is not a problem for you since the leak is outside.

I released the regulator fitting and a small bit of propane vented at that time.
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:54 PM   #7
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Yeah I think I will be ok. Once it has leaked down I will probably rebuild everything while it's empty. Definitely will be putting in a valve to be able to shut the tank off completely from any external rubber hoses. That way any further issues down the road could be isolated and repaired without draining the tank (other than the tank itself leaking)
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:02 PM   #8
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There is a check valve on the tank.

If there wasn't, the gas would be shooting out, not leaking slowly.

Remove the hose and let it leak at the tank, while you get a temporary cap or plug for it.

Then get a new hose and install it.

The fitting on the tank should look like the circled one. The yellow cap may seal it.Click image for larger version

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Old 12-02-2020, 09:39 PM   #9
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Fill Valves do not have shutoff valves at tank
Fill valves have internal check valve that shuts off when filling nozzle is removed

1994 Vintage'
Need to replace that Fill Hose from remote connection to tank
Should also replace that Bleeder Valve Hose from remote to tank (Bleeder valve will have a shutoff valve at tank)

Filling is done using Liquid Propane
Liquid Propane when 'spilled' will leave a residue that can stink for longtime


Propane is heavier then Air and will sink to ground level...and dissipate quickly
Reason Propane tanks/Cylinders are installed with exposed/open area
Propane has a Narrow Flammability Range --- 2% to 9.5% so you shouldn't be too concerned as that leak is minor/open aired and not confined

Use up the propane....run furnace, water heater on propane, fridge on propane....cook using stove top burners
When empty...replace the Fill Valve at tank

Or pay to have it done by a BULK Propane Dealer
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:10 PM   #10
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Many propane retailers that fill tanks will not pump them out for liability reasons. If they contaminate their bulk storage tank, well you realize the possible ramifications.
I had this happen 3 years ago, the fill valve seal was worn and leaked. I had 1/2 a tank/approx. 15 G. I parked our MH outside(live in the country) and opened the spitter valve a bit to shorten time to empty, it still took 2 days.
I then drove to my LP supplier, who replaced the fill valve in about 10 minutes. He had to order the special fill valve though, home tank fill valves are different.
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Old 12-03-2020, 04:53 PM   #11
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All fixed!

I found a local propane and RV repair shop that I can't believe I never knew about. Mike's LP and RV Service and they are only 30 mins from me. This is the good old shop you dream of. They have one of everything and only they would ever know where it is. They had everything I needed in stock, made hoses right there onsite, and ordered me a check valve.

I rebuilt or replaced the following:
-both remote fill hose and bleeder hose
-remote ACME fill valve
-valve stem on tank shut-off
-2 stage regulator
-rubber line from regulator to hard line to appliances
-new tee and quick connect remote tank connection on RV
-new 2-stage regulator and line with quick connect for the remote tank

Total repair time: 2 hrs
Total cost: $450

He did order me a new check valve that I will install later at the tank where the remote fill line connects. That way if I have a leak in the rubber hose ever the tank will not leak down. He said some tanks have them and some don't. He thought it was pretty smart to install one since mine was without.
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