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Old 01-08-2011, 07:40 AM   #15
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I love those old gas lights but they do have some problems. First is the heat they put out. I've read some old camping tales that mention that the gas light was enough to heat the trailer in cold weather. Next is the CO problem, you must be sure to open a vent so you don't build up too much CO in the trailer. Last, the mantels are very fragile; you'll need to stock up to be able to keep the light in working condition.
It's a nice vintage touch but LED lights make a lot more sense today.
The tools needed to run the gas lines are very simple. I beleive that 3/8 copper line was used on your trailer. You have two choices; flare fitting or farrel fittings. The flare fitting is a bit more difficult to do. You cut off the line with a tubing cutter, slip on the fitting and the use the flare tool to flare the copper tubing. Practice this with scrap tubing until you are sure of your skill. The farrel fitting is much easier. Cut the tubing, slid on the fitting and a new farrel and make up the connection. The flare fitting last longer and leaks less.
I wouldn't worry too much about code. Unless you are building trailers for sale or doing work for the general public you only need to do the work in a safe manner. My old 72 AS had tee fitting inside the trailer body. Most of the fitting were outside the trailer body.
One way to avoid making long runs of copper tubing is to use a small propane canister. (the ones you see in the camping section at the store) If you mount this in the cabinet next to the light, you can avoid trying to get the lines through the walls. Also, this will be a small amount of propane. If you do get a leak there will not be a big problem.
Good luck.....post a pic of your gas light when you get it running.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:51 AM   #16
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Aaaggghhh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Lindy I should mention that you will most likely have to replace the original line you want to tee into. Copper TUBING gets britle with age and will not flare properly. Since your mentor is now posting I will now bow out and leave you to his wisdom.
I'm should replace ALL the copper tubing? I think I'll put this project on hold for a while. Besides, my neighbor with all the tools is quite ill and it would probably be rude of me to ask to borrow his tools right now.

Are we talking BIG bucks to buy what I need? If I'm able to buy the little Pacer I'm looking at maybe it would be more expedient to go ahead and have the tools on hand (it is SO easy to rationalize buying new tools!) since that would mean replacing all the propane lines on it as well...

PLEASE don't bow out!!! As you can tell from my electrical thread, I need all the help I can get!
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:52 AM   #17
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FWIW , I believe that gas fittings required what is refurred to as a double flare , different technique and tool than a single flare.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlb435 View Post

One way to avoid making long runs of copper tubing is to use a small propane canister. (the ones you see in the camping section at the store) If you mount this in the cabinet next to the light, you can avoid trying to get the lines through the walls. Also, this will be a small amount of propane. If you do get a leak there will not be a big problem.
Interesting you should suggest this since that is originally what I wanted to do. It's not as though I'll be using the lamp a lot - mostly just when we're dry camping. Problem is I haven't been able to find a hose connection that has the fitting to connect to the lamp on one end and to the canister on the other. I've been to True Value, the lumber company and two propane providers and nobody has one (Home Depot is 2 hours away). One of the propane companies said that the canisters aren't really propane (huh? it says propane right on the canister). So, any suggestions as to how to do this?
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #19
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Lindy: here is another website that may be of some help.
How to Flare a Copper Tubing Gas Line | eHow.com

In doing some seaching for material that will help on flaring copper tubing. I find that the use of the word "pipe" and "tubing" are not mutually exclusive. They are used to interchageably describe the same thing.

I have understood that "pipe" was measured and sized by the inside dimension and "tubing" was measured and sized by the outside dimension. But I can't find anything that will confirm that understanding.

I hope wasagachris will come back to this thread, his general knowledge and especially knowledge of the code are very valuable.

In regard to using the small propane bottles to supply the light. You will need to install a regulator. You cannot and should not connect the bottle directly to the light. If you have access to an old gas fired BBQ, you might be able to adapt the regulator for use with the light and small bottle. The regulator will screw onto the bottle and the other end of the hose on the regulator may be able to be adapted to the fittings for the light. But you should bench test this set up, I don't know if the BBQ regulator would be of the proper pressure and volumn for this application. If the pressure is too high, you won't have a light: you will have a blow torch.

Single flare fittings are used on gas lines. Double flare fittings are used on things like brake lines. I'm not sure if ferrel fittings are designed for gas. Maybe someone could chime in here to confirm it one way or the other.

It's been a while since I've purchased tools for this purpose so I don't know the cost. But what I would recommend is to buy a set of quality tools, not something you would find in the bargain bin. If you decide to buy that is.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:37 AM   #20
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New piping

I'm should replace ALL the copper tubing? I think I'll put this project on hold for a while. Besides, my neighbor with all the tools is quite ill and it would probably be rude of me to ask to borrow his tools right now.
If you are going to tie into the main gas line downstream from an existing shut off valve. I would take wasasagachris's advice and install a new section of copper between the valve and the appliance it currently feeds. Included in that section would be the tee to enable you to also connect the light.

In thinking back when you were installing the PVC pipe for the brake wiring you posted photos of the belly of the trailer. I didn't notice any gas line running down the belly pan. Could you post pics of what is there?
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ticki2 View Post
FWIW , I believe that gas fittings required what is refurred to as a double flare , different technique and tool than a single flare.
That is the current standard, which IIRC went into place in the 1980's? My 1975 has the single flare. Also RV standards are different from house standards.

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Old 01-08-2011, 11:30 AM   #22
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If any of you are really interested in the RV code, here's a link: http://webstore.ansi.org/RecordDetail.aspx?sku=NFPA+1192-2008

For $38.00 you can download a PDF of the current version of the RV standards (2008 edition).

I have a copy of a 2000 RV Propane training manual (which I paid for), and it mentions a couple of things relevant to this thread:

Copper tubing for propane must be annealed type K or L.

Regarding double flares, it says to use the double flare method as that will reduce the risk of making a bad flare. But once you become proficient at making flares and using the flaring tool, making single flares in one operation can become routine. In other words, IMO, both single and double flares are acceptable as long as they are formed correctly and do not leak. I know that I will use the double flare method once I get to that point as I do not have a lot of experience making flares.

It further says that single or double flares of 45 degrees are required.

Pipe or tubing joints are restricted from being located inside any wall, floor, partition, or concealed construction.

Any defective pipe or tubing must be replaced and not repaired.

I would check out all the old gas lines before starting any work on adding new. They may be fine, but they may need replacing. Kinda hard to say without inspecting them well.

Like many things, Airstreams used to be built differently. Over the years, standards and codes change. But that doesn’t mean that everything old is no longer safe. It just means that new technology and techniques have been developed over the years, and the newer codes and standards reflect a safer way to build things with currently available materials. But that doesn’t mean you need to gut your current system and replace it all just because the codes have changed.

Chris
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:13 PM   #23
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I agree with Chris.
Out of morbid curiousity, Has anyone heard of an Airstream or the common SOB ever blowing up or catching fire because of a gas leak.
I have heard, but can't confirm that it is not legal to travel down the hiway with the valve(s) on the propane bottles open. How is one suppose to keep the refer running if you have to have the valves closed? Is this fact or fiction?
In the old days of "standing pilots" on the stove and oven if you forgot to shut the valve to the stove off and the bottle(s) were on and the pilot went out, there would be some gas escaping inside the trailer. Not sure if it would be enough to cause a hazard.
As part of my yearly check off; (before heading down the road for the first trip); ie dewinterizing, checking tires etc I check for propane leaks along with checking for water leaks and so on.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:41 PM   #24
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These guys are giving you great advise. You can do it.

I bought the tools (cutter, bender, double flaring kit, proper "tube fitting" wrenches, leak detector) and installed new shut off valve and interior lines to furnace, wall heater, lamp, refrigerator & stove. It's a good winter project. They are right, don't run them in walls! Under cabinets and under belly pan will get you there. Take your time, practice cutting, flaring & bending, practice again. Then toss those practice parts out and make new perfect lines that FIT right and tight.

I bought a reel of K type (I think it was K type) tubing. More than needed.

I'll loan you the tools, just treat them nice and ship them back when you're done.

It's nice to feel safe about the propane lines and connections inside trailer.

Haven't replaced the exterior line yet. Next year.

Part of the fun of these old trailers is developing new skills to repair them...just make it safe.

If you can't be handsome...you might as well be handy!
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:52 PM   #25
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for what it's worth... I added a propane light to the Excella because I wanted the option of light without electricity. The heat is a benefit in the winter. I put a "T" in the refrigerator line. Since old tubing is brittle, I annealed it first with a torch before flaring it. Made supple as a new piece. I don't lose any sleep worrying about leaks. I sure wasn't about to run new lines. It's been working for five years now and I'm very glad I put it in.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:34 PM   #26
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Wow! Good information!

Thanks for all the great information. I've posted pictures of the lines under the trailer and a very fuzzy picture of the inside of the overhead cabinet where the gas lamp is, sort of showing the thing that I would need to connect to. Just for kicks I posted a picture of my galley redo that I just finished today. I thought it came out kind of nice.

So, from what I gather, I need to get somebody (propane provider? stove repair man?) to come test my lines to see if I need to replace everything. If it all checks out ok then I can tee into what? - the main line from the tanks or the stove line (closest to the lamp).

It might be a while before I can find somebody who can test the lines so don't give up on me. I'll report back when I get results of the test.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:31 PM   #27
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That is a single flare fitting. Unless you have a chunk of the old line that came off of it, you will need to get a new nut. From what I can tell it is 1/4". If it is convenient to remove the light, I'd take it with me to get the correct nut. You could tie into the stove line under the trailer down stream from the shut off valve if there is one. In looking closer at your pictures there are no shut off valves so just tee into the line to the stove. It appears that the only shut off you have is the valve(s) at the tank. It's not all that uncommon for a vintage trailer.


When you get ready to test out the system we can guide you thru it. It's a lot less complicated than the electrical stuff you mastered.

The galley is beautiful. What did you use for the back splash?
Are the LED lights battery powered or powered by your new 12 volt system?
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:22 AM   #28
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That is a single flare fitting. Unless you have a chunk of the old line that came off of it, you will need to get a new nut. From what I can tell it is 1/4". If it is convenient to remove the light, I'd take it with me to get the correct nut. You could tie into the stove line under the trailer down stream Does downstream mean after it goes to the stove? I don't know how I can do that since it tees from the main line and then goes up through the floor to the stove from the shut off valve if there is one. In looking closer at your pictures there are no shut off valves so just tee into the line to the stove. It appears that the only shut off you have is the valve(s) at the tank. It's not all that uncommon for a vintage trailer.
You are right - there is no shut off valve that I could find other than the one at the tank. I do have a fitting that was attached to the lamp (with a twisted stub of copper tubing) that I carry with me anytime I go to a real town. I just didn't know what else to get with it. Now, next time I go I can get what I need.

Do you think I could go ahead and hook the thing up or should I have the whole system tested first? It is really difficult (and expensive) to get somebody to come to Saguache (Sa-watch) so if I can get it all tested at one time that would be a lot easier and cheaper.

When you get ready to test out the system we can guide you thru it. It's a lot less complicated than the electrical stuff you mastered. I can test it myself? I thought I had to have some kind of meter something.

The galley is beautiful. What did you use for the back splash? Thanks! I'm really happy with the way it came out. The back splash is 7/8" corrugated tin attached with rivets.
Are the LED lights battery powered or powered by your new 12 volt system?
The LED lights plug in to the 120 VAC. But they have one of those transformer boxes and it says they are 12V. I was wondering if I could possibly make them so that they'd work on both? It sure would be handy to run them on 12V when we're dry camping.
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