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Old 10-09-2014, 11:02 PM   #1
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Propane Tank Gauges

I own a 2011 27FB International Signature Series with dual propane tanks with a switch over valve. My question is how do I know when the tanks are going empty? There's no gauges and I'm told that gauges aren't accurate. Would love to not just run out...how do I regulate this? Click image for larger version

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Old 10-09-2014, 11:15 PM   #2
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I just before every trip make sure one is not empty and when it is I refill it

If I remember which tank had the switch toward it then I can see once it switches after a trip or before the next - then refill

Rate of propane use for most is quite low unless using a lot of furnace or propane for a generator I would think

I would though like to have something that could tell me how full they are but this seems to work ok


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Old 10-09-2014, 11:55 PM   #3
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Did you realize that you have an automatic switch over regulator on your Airstream?

On the regulator you will see a pointer on a round dial. That pointer points to the tank which is supplying propane. When that tank becomes empty, there is a green indicator which turns red and the propane is drawn from the other tank which is left on. You then turn the knob to point at the good tank and the indicator will turn green again. You can remove the empty tank and have it refiled without turning the gas off. When refilled, put it back in place and turn it on. Then when the second tank becomes empty, it will switch back to the first one, and on and on.

This can be a little confusing at first, but it works very well assuming you look now and then at the indicator to see if it is red and you are running on your second tank.
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:57 PM   #4
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I never noticed the change in color - duhhh - thanks!!!


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Old 10-10-2014, 12:16 AM   #5
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Tanks with built-in mechanical level gauge...

My issue with the factory auto-switch regulator is that it only tells you the selected tank is empty.

I have seen 25-pound steel propane tanks made by Worthington at either Sam's Club or Costco that have a built-in mechanical level gauge just under the valve body. These use a float to give the level. The in-line pressure gauge type, IMHO is useless.

Transparent (ish) fibreglass tanks also exist--I'm not convinced of their safety yet...but you can see the propane level directly, and they are supposedly lighter.

My airstream has the auto switch regulator as well, but a real level gauge with a float gives a better indication of when you may run out of gas--I've missed the green-to-red color change in the dark and cold...which got me in trouble with the family in the winter--our A/C has a heat strip and can keep us warm, at the price of way too much fan noise...

Since we also have a tankless water heater, high-enough gas pressure and flow in cold conditions is also critical...suddenly cold showers in the winter are not appreciated by wives (don't ask how I know this...)

And, if all else fails, carry spare full tanks properly secured in the TV.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:30 AM   #6
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These stupid red green color conventions are useless for the 10% or so of us who really don't see the difference. BUT as for being able to quickly tell how much propane is in each tank, I can help.

Put a pyrex measureing cup or coffee cup about 3/4 full of water in the microwave, if you're in the "marina" and bring it to a boil. Or a pot on the stove, if you still have the propane.
You just need hot water. Doesn't have to be boiling.

Pour the hotwater over your tanks. You'll quickly and easily see the condensation line where the liquid propane level is. It's not precise mesurement of how much gas you have left, but it will give you a real good idea which tank is low. And you don't have to dismantle anything to do it.
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:29 AM   #7
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I will refill the tank that has the service pointer pointing to it this afternoon, that way I know I will have two full tanks when we head out tomorrow. So it's important to have the service valve pointing to one or the other, not in the middle because then ( I guess) you would be pulling equally from both tanks all the time....
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goal15 View Post
I will refill the tank that has the service pointer pointing to it this afternoon, that way I know I will have two full tanks when we head out tomorrow. So it's important to have the service valve pointing to one or the other, not in the middle because then ( I guess) you would be pulling equally from both tanks all the time....
Yes, point it at one or the other. The one it is pointing to is the one it will be drawing from until it is empty, then the indicator changes from green to red. Then you flip the pointer to the other tank, remove the empty one, and have it refilled. You do not have to turn off all gas when having it refilled that way, and can have continuous service.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:36 AM   #9
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I threw the (I guess) qualifier in there because while I believe that I learned that pointer info on the Forums, I didn't want to put that out there as the gospel if it wasn't correct... so thanks idroba for verifying.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:22 AM   #10
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I guess I'm lucky with my 2008 Classic 25fb I have the sight gauges with connectors to the monitor panel. On my previous trailer, 2009 Casita, I just waited until the propane switchover valve showed red but make sure the other tank valve is open so when it switches to that tank it can draw propane. I made the mistake of not turning it on one trip and in the middle of the night I was awakened by clicking. It was the refrigerator trying to relight. I had to get up and go outside on turn the valve on to the 2nd tank. Lucky it happened then because my daughter and I were to leave the next day for a 2 day backpacking trip leaving the wife and dog and she wouldn't have been able to figure it out.

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Old 10-10-2014, 12:00 PM   #11
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yeah, the classics have gauges from the Department of Redundancy Department. 1)switch over indicator on the regulator 2) mechanical gauges on the tanks 3) wire from gauge to monitor panel inside.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:03 PM   #12
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Old tanks had a float gage that worked well. New tanks don't have that because of the OPD valve. You can get dual bung tanks that have the valve in one hole and the gage in another. This is the best way although it is not cheap.

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Old 10-10-2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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Old tanks had a float gage that worked well. New tanks don't have that because of the OPD valve. You can get dual bung tanks that have the valve in one hole and the gage in another. This is the best way although it is not cheap.

Perry
That's what mine is....dual bung. Had to have the LP service guy pull one of mine. It was sticking. Just turned it a bit in the bung and it no longer had interference.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:36 PM   #14
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I just use one tank at a time until empty, then open the valve on the full tank and refill the other. This works for me, in the past I have tried using hot water to judge the fuel level in the tank but I find one tank at at time is easy for me.
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