RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-01-2019, 05:17 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 19' Flying Cloud
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
Propane leak inside trailer

Hello guys. Completely baffled here. So I have a 2020 Caravel 19CB and have used it plenty since purchasing. The other night I was setting it up in my driveway for our next trip and turned the furnace on (not connected to shore power). Left the tank on that night but turned off the furnace and power. The next morning I smelled propane pretty heavily inside so I decided to check the tanks and noticed that the tank side I mainly use was almost out. Refilled the tank, vented the Airstream, opened the newly filled tankís valve to try to recreate the situation and still smelled propane after a couple of hours. Checked the fittings to the tanks and are snug. Made sure the obvious could be ruled out and checked the stovetop knobs. Ran the furnace again in case any remnants of the propane smell were left over. Hooked up the trailer to water and used the water heater (on propane) in hopes of maybe flushing the smell out there. Shut everything but the propane valve off and returned a couple hours later. Propane smell. Doesnít happen when the tanks are turned off. I know not to store the trailer that way but I wanted to try to recreate the scenario that initially caused me to noticed the smell and it happens every time which is a very likely camping scenario in the real world. I purchased a propane sniffer and it goes off soon as it enters the trailer but canít seem to pinpoint the area thatís causing it. Btw, the built in propane detector never went off. All in all, propane seems to leak into the trailer when the propane tankís valve is open, doesnít matter which tank I switch to and canít seem to find the cause. Any ideas?? Definitely taking it in but itíll be in the service dept for a few months and would like to avoid that if itís something I may be simply overlooking. Thanks, everyone!
BullShark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2019, 05:24 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
SteveSueMac's Avatar

 
2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,397
Scary situation and worse that your internal propane detector didnít go off.

Have you done the soapy water test on the portions of the LP lines you can see? Thatís a start.

Iím not a pro on this stuff but my guess is a leaky pipe somewhere inside the belly pan or more likely an ill fitting connection to either fridge, stove, or WH.

Someone with more expertise will come along and offer more insight. In the meantime taking it to the dealer would be my first recommendation (JC if youíre closer) and donít use until you have it fixed.

Good luck!
SteveSueMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2019, 05:31 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
mayco's Avatar
 
1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,887
Over the years I’ve had a couple propane leaks that were pretty hard to find. The best way that I know of to find a propane leak is to soap test every single fitting and valve. Doing one appliance at a time. It wasn’t that hard to do for me but I’ve got an older Classic Motorhome so things might be more accessible than new units.
The hardest one for me to find was the tiny little shutoff valve that is inline on the back of the refrigerator. The seal inside the valve had apparently gone bad. Easy fix but took a while to find.
mayco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2019, 06:19 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 19' Flying Cloud
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
yeah, thanks guys for the prompt replies. I've spray and smell tested the fittings I can see but they do make it almost impossible to see what's in the walls of these things, at least the newer models, without ripping them out and possibly voiding the warranty. My fridge is all electric. The only things that run off propane in my Airstream are the water heater, furnace and stove, I believe. Ah well, looks like I might have to just take it in and not use it for a good while.
BullShark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2019, 06:47 PM   #5
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,119
Hi

As a guess (and only a guess):

How long ago was the last time you used the furnace? I'm guessing it was a while ago based on what you have said. If so, I'd bet the furnace it's self is the issue.

Simple (because I don't have to do all the work ... ) way to sort things out a bit:

The main distribution piping runs under the trailer. You can get at it without driving any rivets. Each appliance Tee's off of the main line. You can disconnect each (and cap the main line). When you cap a leg and the issue goes away ... that's the one.

=====

Zigging a totally different direction: When was the last time the back tank was fully flushed ..... Next in that direction would be a dead mouse ....

Lots of ways this could work out.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2019, 07:20 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
SteveSueMac's Avatar

 
2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,397
Interesting points Bob - the first being a way to isolate where the LP leak could be - but flushing of black reminded me that boiling batteries can smell like sulphur which is related to the smell they add to LP (not exactly the same). So thatís worth checking too.

Either way - a trip to a pro is a good call. Be safe!!
SteveSueMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 08:16 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar
 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,170
I’m not certain of this, but I don’t think joints are allowed in the propane lines inside the trailer or between the skins. You should be able to see every connection, either outside under the belly pan, inside the access hatches for the appliances, or inside the appliances themselves.

As suggested by SSM, it could be a boiled dry battery. Check your batteries to see if one is hot. Others have chased propane smells to find the problem was a battery.

As to the stovetop, I can pull the splash pan forward and lift at the front to get access to the internal propane tubing, including the connection from the tanks. That is the only place where there is a propane connection inside the living space. All others are outside and (supposed to be) sealed by sealant on a flange when the appliance is mounted.

Al
__________________
ďYou cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"
Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO WBCCI 1322
2002 Classic 30 Slideout -S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 10:18 AM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Excella 500
Chappell Hill , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 455
Images: 1
The only joints inside are where the propane line connects to the appliances, stove, fridge, w/h, furnace. Appliance integral control or on off valves can leak and give you that smell. It doesn't take much of a leak to smell it. It shouldn't be hard to access the few connections inside to bubble test. I'd also bubble test all outside fittings.
tbashin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 11:00 AM   #9
Silver Star
 
rucos's Avatar
 
1970 23' Safari
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 317
when I had one I found it with soapy water test in a stove fitting.....but it did take several tries until I finally found it !!.. There should be no pipe joints in the walls as Al said.
rucos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 12:37 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,130
For some reason when tank pressure gets low some trailers smell strongly of the smell agent in the propane. I have seen this on multiple trailers. So either something fails to seal without some pressure or the dregs in the bottom of the tank are very strong. I expect your smell issue will go away once you change to the full tank and valve off the empty one. What you are most likely smelling is the odor put in the gas not the gas.


Perry
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 12:41 PM   #11
Stay CazuaL
 
cazual6's Avatar
 
2018 25' Flying Cloud
2014 19' Flying Cloud
Reseda , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 858
Images: 1
I'm 99.99% sure there are no fittings or breaks on the propane line where it can not be accessed.

SO ... capping off under the belly might an option.

Easier to hardest process of elimination be the following IMHO:

1. Check battery levels
2. Flush the heck out of your black tank, including the gray while you are at it.
3. Cap off propane lines.

Good luck, let us know what it was when you find out.
__________________
"No job is so simple that it cannot be done wrong."
"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."
"Either I will find a way, or I will make one."
WBCCI 9164
cazual6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 02:17 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
bugdoc's Avatar
 
2018 26' Flying Cloud
, California
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 34
Rubber Lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by BullShark View Post
Hello guys. Completely baffled here. So I have a 2020 Caravel 19CB and have used it plenty since purchasing.
In 2018 we ordered a new 26U from the factory and when it was delivered I noticed there were no copper gas lines in the trailer. All gas lines had been replaced by rubber hose. Closer inspection of the stove installation showed the gas supply line coming into the back of the stove to be lying against a sharp flange projecting from the back of the stove. Short story we rejected the trailer and found one built before Airstream went to all rubber lines. I pointed out the potential problem as most of us realize, when moving, the trailer acts like it is in a 7.2 earthquake. That rubber hose would easily have been cut through where it was lying on the metal flange. I was assured the rubber hose is the industry standard for gas lines. It may be for white boxes with a less than 10 year life span, but not for Airstreams that are built to last.
The suggestion to disconnect the supply lines at the tee back under the trailer and cap/plug the tee should reveal the line that is leaking. If the situation I saw on the trailer we ordered exists it is probably the line feeding the stove.

Good luck
bugdoc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 02:23 PM   #13
Rivets?
 
nvestysly's Avatar

 
1992 29' Excella
2010 22' Interstate
Van By The River , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,175
The comments about no copper line joints inside the trailer is correct AFAIK. Yours is a new trailer so it should be up to code. An older trailer may have had some modifications.

uncle_bob has a good idea. Cap the lines one by one under the belly pan to see what changes. It seems like any leak would be from the stove/oven or the furnace as the propane line and connections for the water heater are likely on the outside.

Faulty workmanship may be to blame for a loose connection or something similar. It's possible the solenoid valve for the stove/oven or furnace is not seating properly when the appliance is turned off. Solenoid valves are intended to be spring loaded and "fail safe," that is, close when the power is removed but the valve seat could be dirty or otherwise compromised. Regardless, capping the lines one by one should help you narrow down the culprit.
__________________
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic / 2010 Interstate
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
2018 GMC Sierra K1500 SLT, 6.2L, Max Trailering
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
nvestysly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 03:26 PM   #14
2020 Classic 33
 
Box Elder , South Dakota
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,731
Images: 1
Why would your new trailer be in a service department at your dealer for several months for an issue that could literally blow up your trailer? Save others and let us know what dealership would put you in a life or death situation.
__________________
Gary
2020 Classic 33 Twin, 2019 Ram 3500 Longhorn, ProPride
NōVPN
ghaynes755 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2019, 11:45 PM   #15
:SPACE A" S/O 11 Air19745
 
guskmg's Avatar

 
2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,398
Leak test the system by using a LPG water column gauge after turning off the tank supply valve(s) or watching the auto changeover indicator to see how long it takes it to turn red. If the pressure stays up for a while the smell was from an empty tank. None of our trailers have a low point drain to eliminate all the junk fluids in propane these days and they all pick up the safety smell while in our systems.
guskmg
guskmg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2019, 03:41 PM   #16
Airstream Ambassador
 
AirstreamInc's Avatar
 
Jackson Center , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 663
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by BullShark View Post
Hello guys. Completely baffled here. So I have a 2020 Caravel 19CB and have used it plenty since purchasing. The other night I was setting it up in my driveway for our next trip and turned the furnace on (not connected to shore power). Left the tank on that night but turned off the furnace and power. The next morning I smelled propane pretty heavily inside so I decided to check the tanks and noticed that the tank side I mainly use was almost out. Refilled the tank, vented the Airstream, opened the newly filled tankís valve to try to recreate the situation and still smelled propane after a couple of hours. Checked the fittings to the tanks and are snug. Made sure the obvious could be ruled out and checked the stovetop knobs. Ran the furnace again in case any remnants of the propane smell were left over. Hooked up the trailer to water and used the water heater (on propane) in hopes of maybe flushing the smell out there. Shut everything but the propane valve off and returned a couple hours later. Propane smell. Doesnít happen when the tanks are turned off. I know not to store the trailer that way but I wanted to try to recreate the scenario that initially caused me to noticed the smell and it happens every time which is a very likely camping scenario in the real world. I purchased a propane sniffer and it goes off soon as it enters the trailer but canít seem to pinpoint the area thatís causing it. Btw, the built in propane detector never went off. All in all, propane seems to leak into the trailer when the propane tankís valve is open, doesnít matter which tank I switch to and canít seem to find the cause. Any ideas?? Definitely taking it in but itíll be in the service dept for a few months and would like to avoid that if itís something I may be simply overlooking. Thanks, everyone!
Hi BullShark,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customer_support@airstream.com*

Thank you.*
__________________
Official account for Airstream, Inc.
Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support can be reached at 1 (877) 596-6111, option 1.
AirstreamInc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2019, 01:36 AM   #17
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 19' Flying Cloud
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
Guys, all your points and suggestions are absolutely appreciated. I didn't want to tinker around with things TOO much to avoid voiding the warranty. I'll tell y'all this much, Airstream Inland Empire (California) was supposed to have it for a week to test things out when I ordered it and I've had nothing but issues with their dealership, not the Airstream brand itself. They've just continued to overlook things or break things at their own fault. I've taken it in with a few concerns only to have it returned with new issues from their service department. I truly believe they have no idea what they're doing there and I regret purchasing from them, sad to say. It seemed like a revolving door. So when this new propane issue sprung up, I took it to the dealership who installed my new hitch and I know for a fact that it's in great hands, Airstream Orange County. Those guys are AWESOME! I'll definitely update y'all on what they have to say. Took it in today, should get looked at in about a week or so and I'll make a note to update you guys on what seemed to be the issue. I also have messaged Airstream Inc from this thread and also appreciate them reaching out. How awesome is it guys to have the manufacture take their time to read and reply to our issues? You just can't beat that!
BullShark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2019, 07:06 AM   #18
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,130
Put a new tank on it and see if it leaks before spending days trying to fix a problem that might not be there.



Perry
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2019, 09:56 PM   #19
1 Rivet Member
 
theOrca's Avatar
 
2006 23' Safari SE
Oak Harbor , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 16
I had the same issue. Leak was too slow for bubble solutions. I finally bought a high end gas detector and found that the furnace gas regulator was leaking. Ended up replacing the entire furnace.

The leak drove me nuts for two months. Fortunately no trip planned for that time or it would have been even worse for my sanity!
theOrca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2019, 07:18 AM   #20
4 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Box Elder (formerly of Center Moriches, NY) , South Dakota
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 328
Forget the soap solution and go right for the industrial grade liquid. Lowes should have it and, the small bottle will last a LOOOOONG time. The film strength of the "industrial grade" is MUCH higher than a liquid dish soap solution. Tiny leaks that barely get a soap solution to bubble will result in a softball sized bubble when you "go pro". The pro liquid is not vey expensive; the difference is night and day.

Although it doesn't sound like the issue you're faced with, some (many?) aerosol products use propane as a propellant. A foot powder I used to use would always set off the propane alarm in my first RV.
NY24 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Propane smell inside unit gnijman LP Gas, Piping, Tanks & Regulators 36 06-04-2019 11:10 AM
Propane filling- smell inside after (T1N) Lotus54 Sprinter and B-van Forum 28 04-26-2017 08:02 PM
Water leak inside trailer - kitchen sink cabinet loislane Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 12 07-19-2015 11:26 PM
Propane Tanks Inside? Llano LP Gas, Piping, Tanks & Regulators 17 09-01-2010 08:44 AM
Propane Leak Inside Trailer neil ervin LP Gas, Piping, Tanks & Regulators 14 09-22-2009 09:22 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.