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Old 05-24-2006, 11:50 PM   #1
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Automatic Changeover Regulator

When packing up to return from the Region 4 Rally this past Sunday I found the little red-green pop up button (or flag) that indicates the regulator has changed over to the other LP bottle on the ground. The clear plastic thing that houses the "button" apparently broke. It did not appear that LP was leaking, but I think this is a good indication that it is time to replace the regulator and the rubber hoses that attach to it.

Anyway, I remembered that there was concern over high failure rates of the most popular replacement, the Marshall 254 Regulator, so I searched the forum for threads related to LP regulators. What I found was a general dislike for the Marshall 254 and a general like for the expensive Fisher R966 (which is apparently out of production, but NOS R966's do exist if you can find them).

I then searched the internet and found that there are actually several choices available:
The Marshall 254: or
One by Cavagna:
One by Fairview:
Or another by Fairview:
The Sherwood 1776:
The Fisher R966: or

The Fisher R962:

Interestingly, none of these match the Regulator that is currently on my 1985 Sovereign. I wonder what is on my trailer, but it will require a trip to the storage lot to check it out, something for which I haven't had the time since parking it last Sunday.

Being that the Fisher R966 appears to be out of production, is not the original model currently on my Airstream, and is expensive, is it still the best choice, or is one of the other regulators an acceptible replacement? If so, the Sherwood looks like the next most "robust". Plus I noted one message here on the forums where someone used the Fisher R962, but that one does not comply with the UL 144 or NFPA 58 codes, so is it really correct for an RV application?

Has anyone used any of these other automatic changeover regulators? Is there a minumum "BTU/hr" that I need to make sure the regulator can meet? Can you recommend one of these regulators or advise me to avoid one? Or is it time so "spend the bucks and do it right" with the Fisher R966? If so, InLand RV seems a bit pricey at $195. I'll do it if I have to, but has anyone located another source that might have the R966 for less $$$ that you could pass along to me?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-25-2006, 12:40 AM   #2
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I used a Marshall 254 when installing the LP system on my 63. It seems to work just fine. I have seen many of them on other rv's, so they are definitely not a rare item.
My supplier claimed at the time that he has sold hundreds of these regulators, and has never had a warranty claim on one, or heard of specific problems.
I did read somewhere in a forum that there were a few known cases of failure with the Marshall product. But, as i mentioned, it seems to be a well built item, and so far mine functions without a flaw.
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Old 05-25-2006, 07:48 AM   #3
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I think the prejudice against the Marshall brand is due to a recall of automatic changeover regulators several years ago.

Some people will avoid any product made by them, reasoning that if you screw up once, you could screw up again.

Other people will say maybe they learned their lesson and now make a better product.

The recall covered a manufacturing period of six months in 1994.
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:08 AM   #4
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Field Repot

Most of the trailers and 5-ers that I work on have a Marshall 2-stage as OEM equipment. You could say that is the favorite of the OEM manufacturers. I have not seen a problem with any of them yet. I have one on the LP tanks for my back-up generator system at my house also.
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:51 PM   #5
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It's good to hear that some are having success with the Marshall 254 and that this is apparently original equipment on many new trailers, because this thread indicated that in addition to a recall around 1994, there were apparently a lot of problems with this unit around 2002 as well, including on new Airstreams: Marshall 250 Regulator Failure

One of my concerns is the comment from a Marshall Brass Technician that the 254 should not be mounted low because of problems due to condensation running into the regulator assembly (see post #10). My current regulator is down low between the tanks and I really do not want to find a way to mount it up high under the LP Tank Cover.

It is interesting to note that Camping World apparently no longer sells the Marshall 254 Regulator, so I cannot check the comments that were referenced in the above thread. They must have had a really bad time with that unit. CW only sells the one I identified as the Cavagna now.

So I am still undecided as to which regulator to get, but I'll have to make a decision soon, so that I can get things fixed before a mid-June trip. I am considering replacing the regulator and hoses myself, but it would be my first time working with LP lines & fittings. Is there any trick to it? Do I need to get some special pipe dope or teflon tape to seal the threads, or is it all compression fittings? And yeah I do know to check for leaks with soapy water. Can I assume the new unit will come in set for the correct 11" water column, or should I expect to have to verify this with a home made manometer?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:50 PM   #6
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Joe,

No special tools needed unless you are going to put flare fittings on the copper lines. Then you need a flair tool that will make DOUBLE FLAIRS. It is code now.

Never use any thread locker, sealant, tape or anything else on flair fittings. All of the sealing is done when the flair bulb mates with theh flair cup and anything on the threads will negatively effect this connection.

Do not over-tighten any of the flair connections and test them ALL with a soapy water solution and look for bubbles, or go out and spend a few hundred on an electronic LP sniffer (like I have) that can sniff a mouse fart at 100 feet . Depends on your budget.

Most new regulators are set at ther factory to 11" water guage (new terminology), but I always check them when I install one just to make sure that they are done properly. Saves a lot of time later.

BTW, the powers that be decided to change the designation from 11" water column to 11" water guage to end the confusion found on LP tanks that have WC stamped on them, referring to the 'water capacity' of the LP tank. You can see why 'they' did this.
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:02 AM   #7
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Joe, thanks for sharing your research. Please keep us informed on your search and progress. If you find a source of the Fisher R966 regulators at a more reasonable price I'd like to purchase two of them also.
Thanks, Walter
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:52 AM   #8
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I had a Marshall 254 on my last trailer (05 Starcraft). I sent it back for a warranty claim as it did not seem to function correctly. I ended up selling my trailer after I put the replacement on so I can't confirm it's working correctly.
As a side note, I did notice when I replaced the regulator that there was liquid/pasty yellowish substance in the line. I'm not sure if that was hindering the regulators function, and if it was, will it eventually damage the new one.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:29 PM   #9
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Quick Update

Swung by the trailer storage lot on the way home from work today and noted that my current regulator is some older model by Marshall Brass. In looking things over I noted that it would be nice to mount the new regulator higher to make it easier to change the control over from tank to tank and make it much, much easier to view the flag that indicates that an automatic changeover has occurred. If I can find a good way to do this, I will eliminate the issue of condensation running down into the regulator and perhaps the Marshall 254 could a a legitimate consideration. I guess it's time to try to dream up a mounting scheme to relocate the regulator higher under the bottle cover.
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:05 AM   #10
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Regulators

I have checked with all of my RV parts suppliers, and the only auto-change over 2 stage regulators that they carry are the Marshall 254, The Cavagna 52-C-890 and the Fairview GR 984. All function the same way and prices run from around $40-$48 MSRP.

If you are having trouble finding these, let me know and I can get them for you at the 'Forum courtesy discount price'
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:30 AM   #11
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I had the original Marshall on my 2002 Safari fail with a major leak! I replaced with the same thing as that was what I could get in the small town we were in on on the way to the 2002 WBCCI International as part of a caravan. Airstream people at the rally denied that there was any problem, but had a couple of large moving size boxes with new units with attached hoses for replacement. Action spoke louder than words to me. The replacement unit failed the same way a couple of years later, in the spring of 2004. Fortunately, I had a replacement spare available to get me home. The spare was a used old Marshall trade in that I bought for just this purpose. After returning home, I installed a Cavagna 52-C-890. Have been pleased with it. The changeover flag is easy to read, much better than the Marshall.

For those interest in the mounting, the trailer came from the factory with a high mounted regulator, so mounting loction was not the issue.

I heard that Marshall moved production to Mexico, this and moving to a cheaper to manufacturer design resulted in failure problems. Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me. No more Marshall regulators for me.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmickle
I had the original Marshall on my 2002 Safari fail with a major leak! I replaced with the same thing as that was what I could get in the small town we were in on on the way to the 2002 WBCCI International as part of a caravan. Airstream people at the rally denied that there was any problem, but had a couple of large moving size boxes with new units with attached hoses for replacement. Action spoke louder than words to me. The replacement unit failed the same way a couple of years later, in the spring of 2004. Fortunately, I had a replacement spare available to get me home. The spare was a used old Marshall trade in that I bought for just this purpose. After returning home, I installed a Cavagna 52-C-890. Have been pleased with it. The changeover flag is easy to read, much better than the Marshall.

For those interest in the mounting, the trailer came from the factory with a high mounted regulator, so mounting loction was not the issue.

I heard that Marshall moved production to Mexico, this and moving to a cheaper to manufacturer design resulted in failure problems. Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me. No more Marshall regulators for me.
Where did you get the Cavagna? How much?
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:18 AM   #13
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The first one I got was at the local LP supplier under insurance. I was so pleased with the first one, I got a second one for my other trailer at Camping World when they had it on sale. Sorry, but don't remember the price but it was quite reasonable.

Checked Camping World. No on sale at this time. $52.22 reg. $46.99 club price.

Jim
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmickle
The first one I got was at the local LP supplier under insurance. I was so pleased with the first one, I got a second one for my other trailer at Camping World when they had it on sale. Sorry, but don't remember the price but it was quite reasonable.

Checked Camping World. No on sale at this time. $52.22 reg. $46.99 club price.

Jim
THANKS!
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