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Old 03-31-2017, 07:10 PM   #1
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Propane filling- smell inside after (T1N)

2006 AI

After filling the propane tank, I get a strong propane (well, the stuff they put into it to make it stink anyway) inside the vehicle.
Since the filler is inside the body of the original Sprinter- I'm guessing there should have been something to keep it from getting to the interior?

Anyone know?
(I ran the interior fan and left the doors open for awhile and it cleared out. Ok at home, but would be a bit of a pain if I was traveling)



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Old 03-31-2017, 10:27 PM   #2
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Hey Mark,

We have not had the propane smell you describe -- at least not so far.
We have basically the same Interstate. We fill with propane of course like everyone else. The gauge on ours is probably as bad as all the others. When we get the red light we go to the propane fill place and just about every time it takes between 4 and 5 galls to totally fill it up to overflowing whereas the tank is supposed to have about 8 galls capacity. When we get filled up we turn off the fridge, turn off the electric solenoid valve switch located just inside the propane fill door. We get everyone out of the coach and get the guy to hook up his fill hose. I bought a pair of needle nose pliers where the tips are bent over at an angle so they can grip the square propane vent valve located inside the propane fill door and I provide this to the propane dealer. He then does his fill sequence and allows propane to vent out the vent valve until the tank gets full. We smell propane outside during the fill sequence especially when the tank fills up and liquid propane squirts out of the vent valve but have not really had any indication of a gas smell inside the coach. We do of course have all the windows closed during this fill process. After we leave the propane fill station I make sure the vent valve is well closed.
Sorry you seem to be getting the smell inside though.
We just got back from another 3300 mile Interstate adventure down to the very south of California where we finally found 80+ degree weather. Our last propane fill was in El Centro, CA and again no issues.
By the way we had bought a 65 quart YETI cooler late last year to augment the small Dometic refridgerator and it lives in our 4x6 enclosed trailer we tow and this has been a good addition to our travels. The ice blocks we make in our freezer before leaving home last about two weeks by the way -- so we always have ice.
The trailer also holds all our junk like BBQ, bikes, lawn chairs, step ladder extra folding table Etc and it is hardly noticeable when we are on the road.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:31 PM   #3
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When we had our interstate it smelled every time we filled with propane, one of the many reasons we sold it. That was years ago.
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:30 PM   #4
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Thanks
Looks like I need to see what sort of seal they have to keep it from getting inside- mine must be bad.
I'll take the borescope and see what I can see.


I turn everything off and turn off the electric valve- the bleed valve on mine is round- but no easier to reach. I like the idea of just making some pliers for the poor guy fueling it.
I'm still figuring out the gauge. It said something like 3/8 and it took around 4 gallons (manual says 23 lbs, which I think is about 5.5 gallons?- I'm not sure about that, not very much)

Thanks for the tips.

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Old 04-01-2017, 11:25 AM   #5
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Remember that the tank can only be filled to 80% of its capacity.
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:35 AM   #6
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I have done it at the same place so far. They filled as they normally do, open vent, fill until it comes out vent?
I'm not sure how else to do it with no way to know how full or empty the tank really is.

I know way back when I filled large propane tanks all the time that's all I did. (But they were not on a MH, they were large 'luggable' tanks.)

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Old 04-01-2017, 12:20 PM   #7
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Every time we refill propane we get propane odor from the relief valve, but the first fill the attendant did NOT open the relief valve and pressure blew the hose to the tank. He was new to process and I was also new to process, now I tell the attendant that story every time to remind them what can and will occur.
After 5 minutes or so there is no odor of propane and the propane alarm quiets. A great way to check if propane alarm is functional. AEW
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Old 04-01-2017, 01:40 PM   #8
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Overfill. When it heats up from the outside temp, the relief valve opens to let the excess escape. You can do this yourself by opening the valve the fill person opens to let some out.
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Old 04-01-2017, 10:24 PM   #9
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I've been trying to find documentation on how the tank filler is setup.
Since it is inside the body of the Sprinter- somehow it must be sealed off so vent gas doesn't go inside the vehicle (well, on mine it does get in, so something is wrong).

I've been looking through the docs and can't find anything.
If anyone knows- please send me the right direction.

BTW, even thought the manual says the propane tank is 23lbs, the parts manual says:
2088-422-144 Tank-LP 38 lbs , Sprinter
(Which equals about 9 gallons like was mentioned).


While I can't say that it was over full (I don't think so, since the smell goes away fairl soon)- but even if it was, I can't imagine a setup that would allow the vent gas to go inside the vehicle.

I tried looking with my endoscope- but was having a hard time seeing. I"ll have to try again.

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Old 04-02-2017, 12:44 AM   #10
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We got fumes in our 2005 Interstate whenever we filled the propane tank. I suspect that it seeped through the windows or vents. So....for 8 years I slid the side door open when we filled, and let it air out before driving away.
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus54 View Post
...
BTW, even thought the manual says the propane tank is 23lbs, the parts manual says:
2088-422-144 Tank-LP 38 lbs , Sprinter
(Which equals about 9 gallons like was mentioned).
...
FWIW, that tank *should* be a Manchester # 68612, capacity 6.9 gallons. It should say so on the tank plate, if its visible.

I had to do a lot of research on that tank to find a compatible replacement, because it's no longer manufactured (we successfully had ours replaced with a #6813).

I have Manchester's engineering drawing if you think it might be useful to you. Email me interstate.blog at gmail.

These tanks are not without issues. We had to have ours replaced, and currently there's another 2007 owner, not a regular forum contributor, who is also having fill issues with his tank. It seems like it could be a problem with his relief valve. He's thinking of taking it to the same service manager who replaced our propane tank, given that we paid that guy to get up to speed on how Airstream managed T1N Interstate tank installations and theoretically he should now be more efficient at that type of work going forward.
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:56 AM   #12
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There has always been a short-lasting smell of propane when we have had our tank filled, which we attributed to the fill being relatively close to the driver side door.

It dissipates within a few miles of driving.

I would be more concerned if the detector by the cargo door was going off....


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Old 04-02-2017, 09:55 AM   #13
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I'm probably extra sensitive to the smell. The alarm never went off.

this time I ran the roof vent and heater fan (with center vents in my face) and it wasn't as bad- but still smelly.

I'll have to crawl around and see exactly which tank it is- looks pretty good from what I could see, but everything on this looks really good.No rust, inside looks like new. Someone really took care of it and didn't use it much.
I'll also crawl around and see how they sealed off the hole punched through the body where the filler is- could be just a bad seal/sealant etc.
could be something missing!

Thanks for all the input.

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Old 04-02-2017, 10:57 AM   #14
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I would go to a established Commercial Propane dealer and ask for advice. Yes if the vent is open while the tank is filled there will be vapor surrounding the tank but if all the doors and windows are closed at that time none should get into the truck. Maybe it is as simple as waiting a few minutes, leaving the door closed, before jumping back int the truck.

Mercaptan is added to propane to give that notifiable smell. It will not set off an alarm as there has been no combustion byproducts.
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Old 04-02-2017, 02:07 PM   #15
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Mercaptan is added to propane to give that notifiable smell. It will not set off an alarm as there has been no combustion byproducts.
It will set off the propane detector tho.
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Old 04-02-2017, 04:15 PM   #16
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I ran the AI up on some ramps and it has dried out (sun even out and maybe 55!)

I see how they did it now. The hole cutout for the propane filler and bleed valve goes through the body- BUT it is below the inside floor level. I didn't realize it was that high.
But there are several holes through the floor in that area- big one for Black Water tank, another for various hoses etc and a third for the grey water plumbing (probably several more).

Currently I'm speculating that one of those holes is not sealed quite well enough. I'll need to get in and re-calk/seal those. I have some non-Hardening putty that is great stuff- that may be the best bet. It is sort of hard to reach all those parts also, and probably impossible from inside. The one that has a vent and various hoses looks a likely culprit to me- so I'll start with that.

The propane tank is on the other side, so hoses go from the filler and vent over to the tank. I have not looked for numbers on the tank yet- but it looks great, just like everything else on this. Rust is a very unusual thing on this one.

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Old 04-02-2017, 05:19 PM   #17
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You might want to cram some copper wool into those crevices before you add the putty or sealant layer. Plumbing cuts can become interstate highways (pun intended) for rodent entry into the interior spaces. We've had our share of rodent-related lamentations on this forum over the past few years.
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:31 PM   #18
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Good idea, thanks.

I have been told a mouse can get through an opening the size of a pencil. And from what I've seen- I believe it.
Everything seems pretty tight- BUT I have not looked really closely yet.

I took a picture (had to clean off a bit of undercoating) but I still can't read it all.
It does appear to be a 6.9 gallon and looks very good condition.




Quote:
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You might want to cram some copper wool into those crevices before you add the putty or sealant layer. Plumbing cuts can become interstate highways (pun intended) for rodent entry into the interior spaces. We've had our share of rodent-related lamentations on this forum over the past few years.
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:22 PM   #19
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Undercoating? Did the previous owner do a rust preventative or something?

Def 6.9 gallons but I cannot read the model number.
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:23 PM   #20
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Undercoating? Did the previous owner do a rust preventative or something?

Def 6.9 gallons but I cannot read the model number.
It looks like it.
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