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Old 10-29-2006, 12:09 PM   #1
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At wits end with propane leak.

I'm at wits end with a propane leak.
A few months ago I smelled the tell-tail odor of garlic coming from the tank compartment of the A/S.

A few squirts of soapy water showed a leak at the indicator cap of the regulator.

I replaced the regulator and all hoses to the metal flange under the trailer, all smells gone and the manometer showing no loss in pressure over a 24 hr period.

Fast forward 2 months: The strong garlic odor has returned to the tank compartment.
Soapy water shows no leaks at any connection including furnace fridge and water heater.

With tanks closed, the monometer (located in the fridg compartment)shows a complete loss of pressure within a few hours.
This is true regardless of which tank is selected.

I can be found sniffing and squirting soapy water around the tanks intermittently over the past several days now and am completely sniffed out.

I was wondering if any member owns a propane sniffer, and would be willing to lease it, or sell it, if not I am considering buying on and am wondering if somehow we could make it into a forum owned specialty tool?

Any thoughts on both issues?



Michael
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:56 PM   #2
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Check the regulator. I had two of those Marshal Brass regulators fail in a short time.
I have one of the sniffers from campng world. Works well and not too expensive. Am in Iowa, just north of Cedar Rapids. If I can help, send me a pm. Jim Mickle
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:39 PM   #3
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Smell

Keep in mind that propane is a liquid and of course if you spill a liquid it will
continue to smell untill you clean it up. So My guess is although you have fixed the leak maybe you still have some of the propane residue in the compartment. Maybe use Mr Clean or something with a strong pleasent smell to clean it up then when it is dry try a little fabreeze or equivalent. Propane is deadly it always remains in an invisible cloud like a balloon in the air but also rides low. You also have to have alot of Prts Per Million to explode (PPM)
Hope this helps
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:06 PM   #4
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Propane is not a liquid at atmospheric pressure. As soon as it's released from the tank it is a gas. The new OPD valves are never supposed to be layed on there side because the liquid propane can damage them.

Propane gas is heavier than air so it can be trapped in places but that doesn't sound at all like the problem here. Propane gas "pooling" is the reason they tell you to run the blower motor on the furnace before lighting. The gas pooling in areas are what can lead to an explosion. Hence, propane isn't very popular on boats where the hull/bilge can become a huge bomb.

Are there shut off valves inline with the appliances? On my '78 Argosy there are inline valves under the trailer to shut off the supply independently to the fridge, furnace, stove and hot water heater. It sounds like your manometer won't work if you shut off the supply to the fridge so I'd start by shutting off everything else first. If you still see the leak then shut off the line to the fridge. If everything in the line from the shutoff valve "downstream" is in good shape then the pressure should hold on the manometer. That will tell you the leak is a common point forward of all the valves. Since you can duplicate the leak with either tank I think you can further narrow it down to the between (and including) the regulator and the shut off valves. Something to do with the regulator sounds most likely.

-Bernie
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Old 10-29-2006, 06:51 PM   #5
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You might disconnect the outlet hose from the regulator and put in a plug. If you still smell propane, get a new junk marshall regulator under warrenty, or buy something else that is reliable. I did the latter after two marshall regulator failures.
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Old 10-29-2006, 11:20 PM   #6
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Are there shut off valves inline with the appliances? On my '78 Argosy there are inline valves under the trailer to shut off the supply independently to the fridge, furnace, stove and hot water heater. It sounds like your manometer won't work if you shut off the supply to the fridge so I'd start by shutting off everything else first. If you still see the leak then shut off the line to the fridge. If everything in the line from the shutoff valve "downstream" is in good shape then the pressure should hold on the manometer. That will tell you the leak is a common point forward of all the valves. Since you can duplicate the leak with either tank I think you can further narrow it down to the between (and including) the regulator and the shut off valves. Something to do with the regulator sounds most likely.

-Bernie[/quote] Thanks Bernie, On the 95 there are no shut off valves, so I'm out of luck there. I guess I'm back to a sniffer?
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:17 PM   #7
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Propane is very dangerous, as you are well aware. My father was a gov't gas inspector and he spent many a sad day at RV explosions with the fire marshall and coroner. If there's one RV thing I learned from his experiences is that with propane in particular, when in doubt, tow the trailer to a certified gas person and have them find the problem, so you can fix it yourself or have them do it. IMHO, given your problems at finding the leak (or leaks), for the couple of hours you may have to pay to have this properly found so it can be repaired, you eliminate the risks associated with not finding the problem. One of the fellows who tows with us is a former gas company employee and once a year on our first trip out he always goes from unit to unit with his tester and gives our trailers a once over. It's much appreciated and it's surprising what he's found over the years.

Good luck with your search.

Barry
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:37 PM   #8
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Thanks 57,
Here is what I have discovered




Marshall 250 2 months old

With all the stove burners on full:

1) If I close the supply tank valve with the spare tanks valve open, should the regulator switch to the spare tank (it does not)

Condition: 2
With the supply tanks valve open and the regulator indicator pointing to the supply tank and the spare tank valve open;

Action: Turning of the supply tank valve.

Result: Indicator remains pointing to supply tank, flow of gas is not interrupted as shown by burners remaining lit and continued hissing sound from regulator.

Red and green indicator cap shows no gas (red)

I'm pretty sure I have a screwy regulator but wanted to make sure.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
Condition: 2
With the supply tanks valve open and the regulator indicator pointing to the supply tank and the spare tank valve open;

Action: Turning of the supply tank valve.

Result: Indicator remains pointing to supply tank, flow of gas is not interrupted as shown by burners remaining lit and continued hissing sound from regulator.

Red and green indicator cap shows no gas (red)

I'm pretty sure I have a screwy regulator but wanted to make sure.
This sounds like the correct operation to me. The regulator switched as the supply tank was shut off. The indicator is now red which indicates that the selected tank is empty. The lever that selects the tanks will not move when the tanks switch.
At this point you would move the lever to the spare tank and it would turn green. Remove the empty supply tank and have it filled. Hook it back up and open the valve.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:25 PM   #10
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Thanks AZ, you're right.
Here is the Marshall test sheet (pdf)
for future reference.
http://www.shleggitt.com/edlees/250acft.pdf

But of course I still have a leak
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmickle
You might disconnect the outlet hose from the regulator and put in a plug. If you still smell propane, get a new junk marshall regulator under warrenty, or buy something else that is reliable. I did the latter after two marshall regulator failures.
I reiterate what I said previously. If the gas smell is under the cover, it is probably 99% that your new regulator has failed and is leaking. Get a new one. Marshall had some real quality problems when they revised the design to reduce cost, and moved production to Mexico.
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmickle
I reiterate what I said previously. If the gas smell is under the cover, it is probably 99% that your new regulator has failed and is leaking. Get a new one. Marshall had some real quality problems when they revised the design to reduce cost, and moved production to Mexico.
Thanks Jim,
I think your right
I'll pick a new one up tomorrow and post the results.

PS, is it normal for all the hoses (2 months old) to stink of garlic too?


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Old 09-23-2015, 12:20 PM   #13
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I know this is an old link but what did you eventually find for your propane leak? Regulator of a feed line (copper)
Thanks
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Old 09-27-2015, 07:55 AM   #14
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Hello, FYI to all, I picked up a gas sniffer LP/ Natural + for $25 at the Home Depot. It was in stock (plumbing) (FL) and worked perfectly. I tracked the leak to the thermostat for the fridge in my '67 Safari. For $25 I removed the batteries and leave it with my tools.
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