Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-09-2006, 02:42 AM   #1
Full-timer
 
nickglase's Avatar
 
1988 34.5' Airstream 345
new york , New York
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 30
Question LP Wierdness / Where to buy copper LP pipe and fittings?

Hello,

I have a peculiar situation and probably need help figuring out where to buy copper piping and the appropriate fittings.

Problem -There's a subtle leak in one of my copper pipes. The deal is, the leaking increases as the tanks get low --as the tank is almost empty it really begins to stink. With a full tank there is very little leaking or odor to speak of. Why? I could understand this happening with a flexible hose that is designed to let gas out under low pressure, but this is copper inside a protective PVC sleeve.

This leak appears to be at a 90 degree bend where the pipe travels through the floor: I'd have disconnect my furnace and probably peel back the PVC sleeve to find out what's going on.

Solution? -- I'd like to replace the entire 10 foot section and call it a day. Once I have to peel back the PVC, I'd rather not mess around. Can anyone tell me where to buy the stuff I have pictured in my attachment? Do I need some special tool to create a fitting.

Please!

No one seems to sell this stuff on-line --all my searches have been pretty futile. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! I've been enduring this problem way too long.

Thanks,

Nick

88 Airstream 345



http://www.project345.org/copper%20pipe.jpg
__________________

__________________
nickglase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 05:24 AM   #2
3 Rivet Member
Commercial Member
 
Jim Jarzabek's Avatar
 
1950 25' Cruiser
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Lebanon , Ohio
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 238
Images: 16
Copper tubing no longer permitted for propane lines...

You did not post the year of your trailer, but from the picture it appears to be built before 1975...

Soft copper with flared fittings was used on propane and water lines for many early years in all brands of trailers....
It was discontinued. It is no longer acceptable or allowed; part of the reason is that the propane is believed to break down the copper, resulting in leaks & explosions.....
You may try to repair it yourself by getting a flaring tool and soft copper, but flaring copper tubing is an art......
I don't think you can find a licensed plumber to do the repair work because of the liability.....
From a safety standpoint, you should replace the propane system entirely.
This is one of the drawbacks in owning an older trailer...
If this is a leak you found, think of the other ones that you may have not found as well as the ones that will continue to develop....
You can install shut-off valves at each appliance and a propane leak detector as well as a smoke/carbon monoxide detector as part of your upgrade....

This is not what you most likely wanted to hear
__________________

__________________
Jim Jarzabek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 06:10 AM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pick's Avatar
 
1972 31' Sovereign
High Springs , Florida
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 2,310
Images: 36
Send a message via AIM to Pick
Quote:
It is no longer acceptable or allowed; part of the reason is that the propane is believed to break down the copper, resulting in leaks & explosions..
Jim, where in the heck did you get this information?????? They are still using copper for propane. I see new installations all the time. How does c3h8 break down cu????
__________________
ARS WA8ZYT
2003 GMC 2500HD 4X4 D/A Ext. Cab
Propane Powered Honda EU2000i
Lots of Hot Sauce!
Air # 283
WBCCI 1350
Pick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 06:29 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
enduroryda's Avatar
 
1994 21' Sovereign
Down on the corner... , CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 994
Images: 9
I would do a search for abcodelivers.com.....they are a welding supply Co. amongst alot of other things, maybe you'll be able to locate one near you or they can hook you up with the parts you need.
__________________
enduroryda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 06:50 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
1976 25' Caravanner
Vintage Kin Owner
Campton , New Hampshire
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,113
They are still using copper in my neck of the woods . Any good RV service center should be able to help you out . If you are going to DIY you will need a double flare tool and practice using it. If it doesn't have valves at each appliance it would be a good time to do so .Good luck
__________________
ticki2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 07:00 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,282
Nick,

How did you verify that the leak is where you indicated? Did you use a bubble solution to find the exact location? If not, I would suggest doing that. Be certain of where it is before you begin to cut and paste, as this might not be the only leak. The suggestion to replace the entire line was a good one! IMHO that is the way you should go (and what I would do if you called me).

As has been said above (very good advice) you need to make perfect double flares when you add your new line section to the old in order to assure a solid, leak-free fit.
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 07:09 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Nick,
I went to Lowe's and got the correct sized copper pipe. They make pipe benders but I was able to bend the copper line from my refrigerator line to my catalytic heater. I then used a flaring tool, also bought at Lowe's, to flare the ends after putting the flare nut on in the correct direction. I tightened both ends down and checked with soapy water for leaks. It worked for 4 years without problems.
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 03:17 PM   #8
Full-timer
 
nickglase's Avatar
 
1988 34.5' Airstream 345
new york , New York
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 30
Thanks for all the advice. I called my local hardware store and they seem to have everything including a flare tool for $17. Hopefully, I'll be able to find gray RV style pvc tubes to sleeve the copper too. Am assuming the purpose of this was to provide extra protection.

I will investigate the source of this mysterious variable pressure leak further, but not until I have it pulled out and replaced with a new pipe.

BTW, My motorhome is an 1988 classic 345.


Thanks very much,

I'll update with progress.

Nick
__________________
Urban camping in San Francisco, Ca
1988 Airstream 345 Motorhome
1964 Vespa GS
1982 VW Qauntum, turbo diesel
1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500
nickglase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 04:05 PM   #9
Patriotic
 
Chuck's Avatar

 
1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,533
Images: 260
propane trivia:

the reason you smell more when the tank is near empty is because the odorant that they add to propane is heavier than the propane itself, and therefore, sinks to the bottom of the tank. as the level of gas in the tank lowers, the oderant concentration increases. Its more noticeable in larger tanks, and particularly in tanks that are stationary. I haven't noticed it on my trailer tanks...typically, they get re-mixed while bouncing down the road. But my wife, who has a nose like a bloodhound, can tell when the 100lb propane tank we have at home needs re-filling, even though the system has no leaks. apparently, it doesn't burn completely. Its detectable through normal use of the gas stove.
__________________
Air:291
Wbcci: 3752
'73 Safari 23'
'00 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 QC
Chuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 04:31 PM   #10
3 Rivet Member
Commercial Member
 
Jim Jarzabek's Avatar
 
1950 25' Cruiser
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Lebanon , Ohio
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 238
Images: 16
Read the link listed....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick
Jim, where in the heck did you get this information?????? They are still using copper for propane. I see new installations all the time. How does c3h8 break down cu????
Read the link below if you want to attempt to repair this yourself....

@ http://www.knology.net/~tcwilliams/LPG.htm

What the author of this thread has posted is a SYMPTOM of a larger PROBLEM. People often think they can do the work of skilled professionals and find out the hard way that they can't. Having actually worked on & replaced propane piping systems in more than one vintage trailer, I speak from experience. I cannot make a "double flared" fitting and I doubt the guy in the hardware department can either.... (or can he advise correctly & safely to someone who has never done it before).... if he could, he would be a professional plumber making a lot more money and not working in the hardware department. My PERSONAL experience has shown me deteriorated soft copper plumbing lines which have corroded on the inside & physical damage to the outside of the copper lines from vibration, debris, and normal wear & tear. Copper has a life expectancy, just like everything else. Having talked to more than ONE licensed plumber, I can say my EXPERIENCE shows that no licensed & experienced plumber will repair a soft copper line on a vintage trailer because of the LIABILITY.
__________________
Jim Jarzabek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 06:38 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
TomW's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Huntsville , Alabama
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,918
Images: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Jarzabek
Read the link below if you want to attempt to repair this yourself....

@ http://www.knology.net/~tcwilliams/LPG.htm
Jim, you have misinterpreted the information presented at that link. The site talks about a problem with the odorant which was apparently solved long ago as I have yet to run across anyone complaining about the situation described.

Nowhere in the link is anyone urged to replace all their gas copper plumbing.

BTW, that is a link from my web site. The bulk of my original gas plumbing is still in place.

Tom
TomW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 07:08 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Ken J's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: 1975 25' Tradewind
Posts: 3,363
Images: 14
It is very important to use the correct copper - water line copper (sold in most hardward stores) is not acceptable for gas use - I believe the correct copper is sch K - need to check me on that though....Ken J.
__________________
1956 Flying Cloud
Founder :
Four Corners Unit
Albuquerque National Balloon Fiesta
Rally
Vintage Trailer Academy - Formerly the original
restoration rally
Ken J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 07:43 PM   #13
3 Rivet Member
Commercial Member
 
Jim Jarzabek's Avatar
 
1950 25' Cruiser
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Lebanon , Ohio
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 238
Images: 16
Tom....

"In the old days, everyone used copper tubing for gas service as neither natural nor LP gas attacks it. But there was a period where the odorant added to let one know there was a leak did. The odorant would react & form some type of scale inside the line which would break off & clog pilot jets. At one point, the gas industry apparently sold a tin-lined copper pipe to combat this problem. I say “apparently” because I have never personally seen the stuff in spite of looking for it. But it appears the industry reformulated the odorant because I have yet to hear of anyone have problems with copper line used for gas service."

And....

"I’m told that Code now requires double-flare fittings at all joints. I have my own thoughts on the necessity of this particular requirement. But the Code is there to protect the general public"

From your site.....

Your site came up in a google search I did earlier today that I had never viewed before. My own opinion was formed thru personal experience years ago....

I used your site as an example of how one might go about repairing the leak themselves...

It is your opinion; and I do not believe you are a plumber by trade.

I am not a plumber by trade, but I have ran new propane sytems on two different trailers of two different manufacturers that had corrosion inside the factory soft copper. Corrosion on the inside & pitting on the outside from "road rash".

No one here knows the age of this trailer, how much propane was delivered thru the original propane supply lines, what year(s) the propane was delivered in, how many miles of (bumpy, gravel, paved) road this trailer traveled.

If the poster had a background in the plumbing skills needed (more importantly if he was familar with the necessary skills required) he would not be asking for help....

Flaring copper tubing is an skill; double flaring is an art....

A propane supply line is not the place to start.

Again, I speak from personal experience. If you note errors in my postings, they are on the side of caution...
__________________
Jim Jarzabek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 08:58 PM   #14
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,282
double flares

I agree.

Making a necessary double flare requires several things:

A high quality tool
The correct copper line for the intended use
LOTS OF PRACTICE
a very sensitive gas leak detector (read expensive)

It can be learned, as I have done so. I am not a licensed plumber, but a certified Master RV Tech must posess many of the same skills. I trained for an entire day making flares and double flares, then tested each to see what worked properly. After a hundred or so, you either get good at it or you get over it . If one does not have the patience, time or desire to attack this, then I agree that a professional should be hired to do the job. You can usually find such a person in the propane trades, as in a company that installs propane tanks and lines for homes and restaurants. They have the materials, tools and skills to do the job......not to mention the insurance and the required state licenses.

Safety is the most important thing!
__________________

__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Copper vs. PEX ckeysor Fresh Water Systems 19 07-11-2007 01:03 PM
Gas Plumbing Questions aztlanco Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 15 09-20-2004 01:42 PM
Plumbing hard to reach DaveJ General Motorhome Topics 7 04-15-2004 09:40 PM
drain connections, black pipe, etc Chuck Waste Systems, Tanks & Totes 6 04-08-2004 04:45 PM
1950s copper pipe connections ivesterm Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 9 10-02-2003 06:58 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:45 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.