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Old 08-21-2008, 05:55 AM   #1
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Bloody Gas Valve!!!

I have two Airstreams, the Atwoods on both have been misbehavin'. Neither seems to want to run for more than 10 minutes or so. Finally, I bit the bullet, and resolved to fix one with the available parts and buy a new heater for the other. Many, many thanks to Jeff at American RV in Uzusa, Los Angeles, for arranging to get me a new Electronic model for around $ 400 - Delivered to the UK!!

Now, to the other. I eventually found a combination of Valve and Board that fired up and continued to work for a day or more. Then, it stopped. Well, it didn't stop exactly, it would only run for a few seconds. However, it would run if I stood by it and watched the flame with the door open. They say a watched pot never boils - every exception proves the rule!

The odd popping when it started up led me to the problem. The gas valve is leaking! When I fire up the heater the combustion will only run for a few seconds because the space behind the door is filled with gas! I'm a coal miner's son. In fact he's an expert in methane drainage and he tells me the optimum mix for gas/air combustion is between 8 - 15% Gas! Anything more than that and there's not enough oxygen to support combustion and the flame - flames out! Lol!

Now, you experts out there might be able to tell me that this is a fault that I can solve - or do I need to contact Jeff?

Marc
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:12 AM   #2
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sounds like a dangerous situation to me. If it's a loose fitting tighten it up.
Personally I would just put in a new valve.
Al
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:29 AM   #3
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Water heater doors are not sealed and should allow any propane to drain out on to the ground. If you compartment is filling up, you must have a big leak. Not a safe condition.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:41 AM   #4
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Finding big gas leaks

Sometimes the gas leak is too big to look for soap bubbles.
Take an old disposable water bottle, squirt a shot of liquid dish soap in and fill half way. Shake well. Then squirt out the bubbles across the valve and fittings. A big leak will show up as a hole in the foam. If it is in a threaded fitting, just close off the gas and fix. If the valve is cracked, toss it.
Good luck!
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:55 AM   #5
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Marc, you've had two LP operated appliances fail at almost the same time. Is there a chance you may have something in the gas that shouldn't be? Have you changed suppliers of LP recently?
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Marc, you've had two LP operated appliances fail at almost the same time. Is there a chance you may have something in the gas that shouldn't be? Have you changed suppliers of LP recently?

Thanks Terry! That is a concern to me because the other valve doesn't seem to want to open at all. The solonoid clicks but nothing comes out and I wonder if I'm suffering what the airline world calls FOD - foreign object damage.

I wouldn't hesitate to get a new valve - safety IS my first concern and a barrage of advice to that effect will send me scurrying for a new one. My problem is, being in the UK, I feel my troubleshooting needs to be "Airtight" if not gas tight before I reach across the water for a new item!

Thanks

Marc
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
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Thanks Terry! That is a concern to me because the other valve doesn't seem to want to open at all. The solonoid clicks but nothing comes out and I wonder if I'm suffering what the airline world calls FOD - foreign object damage.

I wouldn't hesitate to get a new valve - safety IS my first concern and a barrage of advice to that effect will send me scurrying for a new one. My problem is, being in the UK, I feel my troubleshooting needs to be "Airtight" if not gas tight before I reach across the water for a new item!

Thanks

Marc
Next question, since you are there...I know you would like to keep your Airstreams equipped as they were constructed, more or less, but is there an alternative over there for these things? It may be cheaper, and better for reliability in the future, if you could adapt , or completely replace, with common (to you) stuff?
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:50 AM   #8
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Next question, since you are there...I know you would like to keep your Airstreams equipped as they were constructed, more or less, but is there an alternative over there for these things? It may be cheaper, and better for reliability in the future, if you could adapt , or completely replace, with common (to you) stuff?
I agree that, where possible, it makes sense to take the path of least resistance. But here in the UK, I can't see that it exists in any meaningful way. I would be paying significantly more for a non-standard appliance, and have all the headache of fitting it .

As far as reliability is concerned, both trailers/heaters are around the 20 year mark in age. Do I have the right to expect that a gas valve or a board should last this long, let alone give a service life into the long term future?

It's money well spent to get the valve, there's no question of that! I just wanted to be sure nothing else could account for the problem. Well, the count's in and I'm off to get a valve! Thanks all!
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