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Old 07-26-2009, 10:21 PM   #1
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1960 18' Traveler
1975 27' Overlander
La Honda , California
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Propane basic question

Hi all,

I have an 18', 1960 Traveler that I recently acquired. Supposedly all the appliances work on it, but the previous owner used it as an office so never actually used any of them over a 10 period.

I have been trying to get the propane to work. The tanks are OK. I tested them by running by camp stove and they are fine. But, I have not been able to get any propane into the appliances. All lines are intact and I have tested all joints and do not have any leaks. Also negative on the odor test.

When I turn the tank on I can hear a little flow as if it's filling an empty system. When I put my finger over the regulator vent the flow stops. Is it possible that the regulator is stuck closed/broken/otherwise? Would this prevent all propane from getting to the utilities? Is there a way to test the regulator?

Your input would be greatly appreciated/

Thanks,
BW
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:28 PM   #2
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Addendum, I am using the old tanks which came with the AS. These do not have the OPD valves. I plan to change to new ones when the propane is gone from these one's.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:33 PM   #3
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Yes, if the regulator is broken, it could prevent propane from going any farther into the system. No safe way to test one that I know of. Replacement isn't too expensive.

Does your regulator have an automatic switch-over function? If yes, when you open both tanks, does the red band at the top of the regulator change to green? When you close the tanks, does the band stay green or go back to red right away?

Chris
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:50 PM   #4
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1960 18' Traveler
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La Honda , California
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There is a knob that I can manually turn to change tank access, but I don't know if it has an automatic switchover. I actually only have one hose to the tanks, so I have to do a manual hose change to go to the other tank. The clear bulb on top of the regulator shows red with either tank.

Sounds like new regulator time.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:56 AM   #5
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A side comment from the peanut gallery

We have an automatic swithover valve, but I never open both tanks after having a bad experience several years back (SOB). My wife had left the oven on after making some muffins or something and we did not notice -- well you know where it goes from here. We didnt drain the second tank.

Different story if you are dry camping, and need the gas for the fridge.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:24 AM   #6
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Yes, if the arrow on the regulator is pointing towards the tank you have connected, and the valve on the tan is open, and you know the tank has propane in it, and the band on the top of the regulator stays red, then it's time for a new regulator. You might want to buy two new hoses that connect the regulator to the tanks while you're at it - get the type that will connect to the newer OPD valves. Then you'll have what you need when you replace the tanks.

Are you tanks aluminum or white steel? If they are the original aluminum type, you might consider paying to have them re-certified and having OPD valves installed. If you don't want to go through that expense or hassle, someone here on the forums might take them off your hands. It would have to be someone local as you couldn't ship them anywhere as far as I know.

One other thing - since you're going to replace the regulator, you should consider replacing the rubber hose that goes from the regulator output to the pipe that runs under the trailer. Preventative maintenance...

Chris
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:47 AM   #7
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Home made pressure tester

Operating pressure for propane is measured in water column and can be tested with a manometer. You can make one for little or nothing. Take a length of clear tubing and attach to a board in a tall skinny U about 18" high. Mark the board in 1 inch increments. When you attach the tubing to the propane supply the supply side will go down and the open end side will go up. The difference between the water levels is water column pressure. Your system should have about 11 inches of water column.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:21 PM   #8
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1960 18' Traveler
1975 27' Overlander
La Honda , California
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As per your checklist, all systems should be go. I checked it again today and still no flow. The red in the bulb never shifted. I'll invest in a new regulator tomorrow, and get new hoses to allow access to both tanks without having to change hoses. The one hose I have is something more than ten years old, so now is a good time to change and start fresh.

Interesting note, is that some former owner changed the rubber hose from the regulator outlet to copper piping at some point in the past. So I don't need to change that one.

Given the rust on the one tank I think it's safe to say that it's steel. The other one is painted (without visible rust) but I presume it's also steel. Are aluminum tanks marked as such in any way?

I may try the manometer this weekend if I feel adventurous.

Thanks again for the help,

Bob
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:24 AM   #9
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Hi Woodywhite, I live right over the hill from you in Boulder Creek.

The copper pipe is probably the original for your year. Mine was copper, and it appeared to be original from 1964. I'm going to be replacing mine with new copper.
I also used what was left in the tanks when I first got the safari, last year, to test the systems and troubleshoot the appliances. The first thing I bought was new Worthington #30 tanks and a new regulator with new hoses and connectors. I got them from Vintage Trailer Supply for a fair price. They look fantastic on the front of my Airstream. Unfortunately, the refer is the only gas appliance that I can safely reuse!

Good luck with yours.
Rich
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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1960 18' Traveler
1975 27' Overlander
La Honda , California
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Hi Rich,

All right, more mountain folk. I'm new to the trailer biz, but having a good time. My Traveler spent the last ten years parked behind a house as an office, so I'm going through all the systems and so far most stuff has been time consuming because I haven't done any of this before. The forum has been invaluable.

Your Safari looks great. Mine still has the "vintage" (as in needs polishing) look for now. Theoretically everything works on mine, but I haven't been able to test the propane appliances (or water system) yet. Why are your appliances unsafe? Makes me think about how to test mine beyond the propane leak concept. BTW, I can't find a pilot on my oven or stove so I assume I light them with a match or lighter. Is this similar to yours and am I right?

Do you have parts supplier or RV/trailer repair person on the peninsula you trust? I'll be over the hill tomorrow on errands and will get a regulator and hoses so I can try to progress with testing on the weekend.

If your coming through La Honda, send me a note and stop by for a tour.

Thanks for your input,
Bob
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:19 PM   #11
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Hi Bob,
My furnace was made with a rubber seal between the combustion and service areas and it would blow out of place each time the furnace kicked on. It could be repaired but the damn thing is so noisey I couldn't stand it anyway.
The water heater has a leak under the on/ off knob. It actually caught fire once when I was trying to light it.
The oven has a pilot under the bottom tray. There should be a pilot under the cooktop cover as well. I never lit the oven pilot because it was so rusty I knew I wouldn't use it. My manual may cover the oven you have. We'll have to see.
For parts you can try Ideal RV in Redwood City. They are not particularly into Airstreams but they have been around forever.
I go from Boulder Creek to Hayward everyday and my path goes through La Honda. I'd love to see what you are up to with this. Send me a PM with your E-mail or phone and I'll see you soon.
Rich
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