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Old 10-03-2013, 09:49 PM   #1
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1974 Argosy 22
Bradford , Vermont
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Testing the LP system for leaks

Need to check the LP system in my 74 Argosy for leaks. Can I use pressurized air and a soapy solution for this or is it best to use propane? I just don't want to waste the propane if it's not totally necessary. Thoughts?
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:07 PM   #2
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I try to do as much as I can myself, but was glad to have a pro test our system. His tester is very sensitive, much more than any gauge I could find.

But if you're doing it yourself use propane, if you have a leak the smell will help to tip you off. A small leak caught quickly won't be dangerous, but obviously air things out afterwards just in case.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:14 PM   #3
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The propane system on the coach is designed for VERY LOW pressure. Eleven inches of water column.
Using air could cause damage to components in the system.
Unless you have a major leak. You won't waste much propane.
You can test sections of the system by closing the valves below the belly of the coach. Check each fitting with soapy water between the tanks and each of the closed valves. Repair any leaks. Then open one of the valves and check all fittings down stream from that valve. Repair any leaks, then move on to the next section.
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:26 AM   #4
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Another thing you might do to see if there are any big leaks is to have both tanks on to pressurize the system. Then turn them off and watch for how long it takes the "red flag" or red line or red whatever on your propane regulator to come up red. If it is immediate, or within a couple of seconds you have a major leak. If it takes 10 to 15 minutes to come up, you have very little to no leakage.

I test for leaks with a fluid leak detector called Snoop, which I think I got at Home Depot. You put it on all joints and fittings and look for bubbles. I have also just used a solution of dish detergent and water, and sprayed it on with a squirt bottle, but it is not as sensitive.
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:03 AM   #5
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This is a great tool to own. I purchased it and feel that it is money well spent. Professional level tools give professional results. I am a home owner with three natural gas appliances as well as an RV owner with three LP gas appliances. I found a joint with dry joint compound which was oozing enough to be detected with this gas detector. I caught it before it was severe enough to set off the RV's built-in detector. I re-did the joint using yellow Teflon tape.

General Tools NGD8800 Combustible Gas Leak Detector
Sold by HVACR Tools
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
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I've found more A/C leaks with bubble check than any other method. An electronic tester is great for getting you in the ballpark, but nothing says "Here It Is" like bubbles... A spray bottle that will last you years is a few bucks at any A/C supply house. Admittedly, on very large systems, I've had to rely on the sniffer to get me close, because you can't soak a whole A/C unit with bubble spray. But with these trailers, there just aren't that many connections. I can squirt every one in a matter of minutes...

Either way, hope you find your leak. Those things can get nasty...

-Red
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Another thing you might do to see if there are any big leaks is to have both tanks on to pressurize the system. Then turn them off and watch for how long it takes the "red flag" or red line or red whatever on your propane regulator to come up red. If it is immediate, or within a couple of seconds you have a major leak. If it takes 10 to 15 minutes to come up, you have very little to no leakage.

I did this a couple weeks ago and the red line didn't come up until I opened the gas line to the stove. Guess I have no leaks. Impressive for a 40 year old trailer.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:20 AM   #8
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The gas leak I discovered with the leak detector had not set off the built-in detector but we have a dog which sleeps on the floor where the gas can accumulate, (it is heavier than air) and it has been found that when an animal or child sleeps on the floor of an RV even a small undetected leak is not good for their organs and brain.
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