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Old 04-28-2016, 09:27 AM   #1
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I'm smelling gas... BIG TIME

Ok so ... just back from a short trip, Airstream is parked in my driveway for a couple days after returning.

Yesterday morning I walk by it, and smell something.... I don't know.. something between a poo smell and burnt brakes.

I keep sniffing around and it leads to me to the front of my airstream. I open the propane cover lid and now it's REALLY strong!!

I removed the cover, turned off the tanks...wait 30 minutes... still smell it.

I pulled the tails from the tanks, and the smell lingers for several hours, but continually gets less and less.

The regulator "looks" fine. Everything looks just fine.

Ok... where do I start!?
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:34 AM   #2
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Could the problem be a battery that is cooking and not propane?
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:39 AM   #3
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could be... should I pop the covers and look for water? Or is there some other way of telling? Yes the trailer was plugged in, and probably the button was in USE mode.... but I've done this many times before without a problem.
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:52 AM   #4
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Pull shore power, open the covers of the batteries. If they are low use distilled water.

Did you get your propane tanks recently. If they were overfilled as the temperatures rise the propane may be release out the valve's pressure release valve.

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Old 04-28-2016, 09:56 AM   #5
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checked my batteries, and I would describe a cell or two as "bone dry"
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
Pull shore power, open the covers of the batteries. If they are low use distilled water.

Did you get your propane tanks recently. If they were overfilled as the temperatures rise the propane may be release out the valve's pressure release valve.

Kelvin
As to the tanks,,,, honestly, I've never filled them! (hard to believe) I've been using whatever gas was left from the dealer... for almost a year... But I figure they have to be really low bout right now.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:00 AM   #7
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more description of the smell.. it was strong enough you could smell it 100 feet away down wind. And it lasted for about 8 hours off an on..... no way that could be pressure relief....

but about 4 hours into "still smelling it", I did question if I had put the switch in STORE, and so I did... of course there is NO indication if you had been in STORE or USE mode cause the light is always on... that has to be the single dumbest system any manufacturer could possibly use... and it's disappointing.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:02 AM   #8
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Do you have a recent build AS?

If so, you may have one of the recalled MB Sturgis regulators that is starting to fail.

I'll go find the thread, be right back.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:04 AM   #9
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face of my regulator says

TYPE 924N
Cavagna Group
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:04 AM   #10
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f287...ll-144250.html

Our regulator failed in Tombstone AZ. We had it swapped out under warranty.

I did smell gas for several weeks prior. I wish I had taken action earlier.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasma800 View Post
I pulled the tails from the tanks, and the smell lingers for several hours, but continually gets less and less.
Don't rely on that as an indicator. The human nose gets desensitized when exposed to the same smell for a long period of time. Ask anyone who works with asphalt, creosote, or roofing tar. After about three minutes continuous exposure, you gradually start to not notice the smell as much— until you go away long enough for the smell to go away, and then when you come back, it seems as strong as ever because those scent receptors have been cleared.

Works that way for any smell, and is one reason why over-perfumed matronly ladies don't realize how much they reek.

The propane cover is designed to not trap propane, so if you shut the valves off and the smell is still there, the smell isn't propane. I second the cooked-battery theory. The ethyl mercaptan odorant added to propane is a sulfur compound, and so is the sulfuric acid in a wet-cell battery. They will smell similar. On Edit— the fact that you had dry cells confirms it.

Do a visual inspection of the outside of the batteries first, and if they look wet at all, don't touch them until you've liberally covered them in baking soda to neutralize any acid, then brush off the baking soda with a whisk broom after a few minutes. Only then should you pop the covers to look inside.

On edit— the advice about the baking soda is too late now, but a tip for next time.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasma800 View Post
face of my regulator says

TYPE 924N
Cavagna Group
I'm no expert, but my understanding is

Cavagna Regulator = Good
MB Sturgis = Bad

...reference the recall.

The AS dealer removed the failed MB Sturgis unit and put on what I am told is a Cavagna regulator under our warranty replacment last week.

What Protagonist said sounds likely, batteries don't do well without water.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:11 AM   #13
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If in Store then the battery wouldn't be charging via the converter/charger. For something that you can smell at a 100f distance I would think its propane. Is one tank empty now and you are running off the other tank? The additive to propane to give it the smell can linger on adjacent parts if there is a leak. Was the hose connection on tight? Do the hose look in good shape.

My brother in laws Class C had a propane leak from the built in tank and you could smell it as soon as you rounded the curb side back end. He had to get the tank replaced. We never found the leak but there was a lot of rust and we suspected a pin hole leak in the tank somewhere out of sight. He would loose noticeable amounts of propane.

You can remove the tanks and brush on soapy water to all the fittings and weld marks on the tanks to check for leaks

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Old 04-28-2016, 10:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Don't rely on that as an indicator. The human nose gets desensitized when exposed to the same smell for a long period of time. Ask anyone who works with asphalt, creosote, or roofing tar. After about three minutes continuous exposure, you gradually start to not notice the smell as much— until you go away long enough for the smell to go away, and then when you come back, it seems as strong as ever because those scent receptors have been cleared.

Works that way for any smell, and is one reason why over-perfumed matronly ladies don't realize how much they reek.

The propane cover is designed to not trap propane, so if you shut the valves off and the smell is still there, the smell isn't propane. I second the cooked-battery theory. The ethyl mercaptan odorant added to propane is a sulfur compound, and so is the sulfuric acid in a wet-cell battery. They will smell similar. On Edit— the fact that you had dry cells confirms it.

Do a visual inspection of the outside of the batteries first, and if they look wet at all, don't touch them until you've liberally covered them in baking soda to neutralize any acid, then brush off the baking soda with a whisk broom after a few minutes. Only then should you pop the covers to look inside.

On edit— the advice about the baking soda is too late now, but a tip for next time.
I didn't pull the batteries from the box, I just popped the tops in place. I didn't notice anything other than a good looking battery. Some cells were pretty full, just a regular top off level. Some were "low" and some were dry.

I had planned on replacing the batteries regardless as they hold a charge for about 9 seconds, came that was from the dealer..... but was just being lazy / busy on holding off on that. I'm being facetious, the batteries held a charge for a while, but usually they were done in about 12 to 14 hours.
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