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Old 01-10-2009, 12:51 PM   #1
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Propane tank gauge sending unit

I have an excella 2001 with aluminum propane tanks. On the top of each is a gauge which relays information to the monitor panel. One of the gauges is defective; at least that is my conclusion since it reads full even when the tank is empty. I have checked the electrical continuity of the "defective" unit, grounded it out and the panel read empty (according to the manual it should) and know of no other checks to apply. I would appreciate any help. Also, if the gauge is defective I would like to know if anyone has a replacement.


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Old 01-11-2009, 01:26 AM   #2
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I saw on another thread that someone had a stuck safety valve on a propane tank and the fix was to give it a good jolt, like tap it on the ground, to loosen things up a bit. I don't know if I would have the cajones to bang my tank on the ground but if you just have a stuck reader in the tank or a stuck dial on the gauge this may free it up, for free. Otherwise it will be a trip to the nearest repair shop for a donation.
If you try this, and you are still around afterwards, let us know if it worked
Good luck, Rich

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Old 01-11-2009, 06:12 AM   #3
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Check out Vintage Airstream .com I saw that they sell replacement gauges. They mount on the exterior of the tank and are easily replacable except on my trailer where the screws holding them are rusted and not moveable. I don't want to break a screw and have to drill out a broken screw. I imagine you can appreciate my feelings.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:22 AM   #4
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You may want to try taking a magnet and see if you can rotate the dial in the guage. Sometimes if needle is stuck this will free it up.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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when i asked the guy that refilled my tanks about the same issue, he told me that guage is a float so the 'shock treatment' fix sounds logical. he was supposed to call me back about replacing it but it's two weeks now without a reply :-(
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:33 AM   #6
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Sending Unit Attachment

On my 88 I have two places on the tank that I can attach the wire. When I filled the tanks I had the same problem with no readings in the trailer. What I did was move the wires to the other spot on the tank and attached. Now the problem is I can't remember where on the tank the attachment points are and the tank holder and tanks are under snow and ice so I can't go look.
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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One related question... how accurate are these gauges when functioning properly? I've tried presurre based tank gauges back when I had a LPG BBQ and it seemed to tell me I was running 'low' right before it went to 'empty'.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:19 PM   #8
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My understanding of these is that they use a float now in most lp tanks. I just got two new #30 tanks, and they are floats, which are very accurate. the pressure type gauges will sometimes do what you described, I think, because the gauge doesn't register low until there is almost no pressure left in the tank.
The tanks that have two sending units are for mounting vertically or horizontally, and you are supposed to use the correct sending unit connection depending on the tank orientation. I have only seen one of these before, probably due to the cost of the extra sending unit and gauge, which would be about $70. I have also heard that these sometimes work accurately with the wrong gauge hooked up. That, I don't understand.
Good luck, Rich
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:15 PM   #9
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Thanks all of you for the information and advice. I called Airstream, got the part number for a new unit, and then called Inland rv to place and order. I tried banging, shaking, and even a subtle curse word all to no avail. So I decided to order a replacement. I like to try to keep every component part on our 2001 Excella operational. I plan to keep this jewel a lot longer. We currently spend six months in Florida in it. Amazing how we have adapted to an 8x30 (240 less all the space taken up by cabinets etc.) square foot house.
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:45 PM   #10
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I had a LPG BBQ and it seemed to tell me I was running 'low' right before it went to 'empty'.
That is because the vapor pressure of propane is the same weather the tank is full, or has a half inch of liquid in it. Pressure type gauges are useless for telling how full a tank is.
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:04 PM   #11
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What part number did Airstream give you. I need one myself.

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