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Old 12-26-2013, 07:03 AM   #1
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I found a little propane leak!

I have always suspected that our 2012 Airstream might have a propane leak somewhere on the exterior. I don't tend to turn off the valves at the tank and a couple of times I have come back to an empty bottle that I remember being mostly full. I never smelled the telltale propane smell so I simply wrote it off to confusion.

This time I wanted to sure. I filled both bottles when I put the Bambi away in the fall. Sure enough, about 4 weeks later I found one bottle about 1/2 full! Time for a leak check.

In the end the leak was easy to find and the source was disturbing!

The leak was at a fitting between the flexible hose coming from the regulator and the solid copper pipe feeding propane to the trailer.

It seems that when the trailer was assembled at the factory someone used an incorrect connector (flare on one side pipe thread on the other) and simply crammed the two parts together with pipe sealer!!!

Notice how the distance from the flare nut to the connector is different on each side. That is the giveaway.

I sent pictures to Airstream and suggested that they look into this as I believe it a potentially dangerous situation. No one has returned my call or e-mail.

I used this as a rationale to replace the tanks with 30lb aluminum tanks and add a quick connector for our propane grill (our Airstream came off the line just before this feature was added to production). The leak is now a thing of the past.

I have no way of knowing if this was simply a single incorrect fitting in the
parts supple that a worker "made fit" or if the practice was more wide spread.

If you wonder if you are loosing propane though maybe it would be wise to give it a quick look...

Bruce
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:20 AM   #2
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propane leak

is the fix replacement of the threaded fitting?
I've had a small leak there also.
Lou
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:24 AM   #3
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The fix for my trailer was to replace the fitting with one with a flare seal on both sides. I replaced the flare fitting on the hose end too as it was damaged from the process of craming it onto the pipe thread end of the incorrect fitting.
Bruce

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Old 12-26-2013, 07:25 AM   #4
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There are people who cannot smell the odorant that is added to propane. If it is possible that you are one of them, please take precautions.

(I can smell the smallest amount of it, my DH can't smell it at all)
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
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That is the strange part of this story. I do smell propane. I never had even the slightest whiff or I would have taken action much earlier.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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Hey Bruce. Good, no, Very good that you found your leak and it was a simple fix. Any chance you could post a photo of the quick connect you made ??? I'm thinking of doing one myself and would appreciate your input.

Merry Christmas and Thanx
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:51 AM   #7
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look like "somebody" at factory did not know, take time to look for, the difference between a flare/pipe vs flare to flare connector..

QC and just knowing what makes is a proper connection, especially on propane lines, should be top priority for the person making the connection.

(Maybe a bit of refresher training for the tech. ?, maybe there was a new guy on the line that day and he was not aware the difference..? )

Seem like a small thing and JC should at least respond to this owner letting him know they (JC) are looking into this and taking steps to make sure this is not an on going issue so far. Just a bit of common courtesy at least.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:27 AM   #8
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Bruce, glad to read you had a positive result to this troubling issue. The quick connect you installed caught my attention. Can you share info on this upgrade?
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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Bruce,
Thanks a million for the heads up and sharing the fix. This is a huge value of this forum when folks photo document issues and the repair so others can replicate it if needed.

I'll add to already voiced requests for details on your quick connect for the grill. Where did you locate it?

BTW, where did you get your aluminum tanks?

Too bad Airstream doesn't acknowledge reports when you send them to them. I too experienced that recently and was disappointed by the sound of silence! I suspect they must hire a lot of temporary help when production demands rise above a certain level and it could be the temporary folks who do stuff like you just found. An experienced technician would not.

Thanks again,
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:44 AM   #10
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Ok
I just shot a couple of pictures of my "homemade" propane tap. Basically, I installed a T fitting (flare at each end thank you very much) where the original incorrect fitting was installed.Then a 90 degree fitting so that the next pipe had the simple job of making small angle turns. Then that short next pipe was cut to about 14" and terminated in a quick disconnect fitting. I spent about $75 on this project and the local propane dealer had all the parts, made the line up and later made a 20' hose for the bbq. The hose was additional money ($50.00?).

I leak checked everything when I was done and all is well.

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Old 12-26-2013, 09:46 AM   #11
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One additional picture of the T fitting.
Bruce

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Old 12-26-2013, 09:53 AM   #12
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The fitting that will allow a connection for a line to a grill or other propane use is called a Stay-a-While (I think). You can get it at Campers' World or other camping suppliers. You can also get the hose that fits into it to lead to your appliance. Make sure your appliance has a regulator since you will be delivering tank pressure through the hose.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:55 AM   #13
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I forgot to mention in the previous post that the Stay-a-while fitting goes between your current tank connecting hose and the tank so you end up with a tee connection.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgan guy View Post
I forgot to mention in the previous post that the Stay-a-while fitting goes between your current tank connecting hose and the tank so you end up with a tee connection.
My connection is after the regulator.
I spoke to the company who makes the quick disconnect for our bbq and their tech support promised me that the regulator used on the Airstream would regulate properly for virtually any regulated propane appliance.
I can only tell you that our Tec BBQ works just fine when hooked up to the new port I installed.
Bruce
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