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Old 12-28-2009, 09:50 AM   #1
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ran out of LP - can't restart

OK, so I screwed up. Came in late yesterday from holiday trip. With AS out front and knowing it was going to be cold, I set the furnace to lowest setting and left water heater on to keep things from freezing.

Guess I should have been paying more attention. This morning the temp is 26 and the Bambi ran out of LP sometime during the night. I immediately swapped the tanks for a 20# (spare) bottle so I can go refill both tanks.

Problem is I can't seem to get the LP to flow. Regulator is set to correct side, valves are open. Nothing wants to relight. Tried WH first, furnace next; no luck. Tried cooktop burner for several minutes, still no joy.

Help... any ideas? Gone to refill tanks, will be back in minutes. Thanks ahead of time.

Ashley.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:55 AM   #2
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OK, so I screwed up. Came in late yesterday from holiday trip. With AS out front and knowing it was going to be cold, I set the furnace to lowest setting and left water heater on to keep things from freezing.

Guess I should have been paying more attention. This morning the temp is 26 and the Bambi ran out of LP sometime during the night. I immediately swapped the tanks for a 20# (spare) bottle so I can go refill both tanks.

Problem is I can't seem to get the LP to flow. Regulator is set to correct side, valves are open. Nothing wants to relight. Tried WH first, furnace next; no luck. Tried cooktop burner for several minutes, still no joy.

Help... any ideas? Gone to refill tanks, will be back in minutes. Thanks ahead of time.

Ashley.

Bleed the LPG system, CAREFULLY, at the stove.

When a stove burner finally lights, then the other systems will also light correctly.

There is far more air in the LPG lines than we think there is, that must be bled out.

Andy
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:56 AM   #3
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I always light my stove first as it is last in line from the tanks.. It takes a while for the gas to get there and I can keep an eye on it while it bleeds. Once I get it lit, everything else fires right up.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:59 AM   #4
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It takes a while to purge the air out of the lines keep trying the range burner and let it burn for a few minutes before trying to light anything else.
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:59 AM   #5
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Thanks guys.
I guess my patience went with the temperature. Gave it a few more minutes and kept trying the range burner. Finally lit and everything else started up.

No sign of leaks (so far) and the water flows, so I guess I was lucky. NEW QUESTION: What do you think of the inexpensive LP gauges that give an indication of how much is left in a bottle? I'm thinking of some new ones I saw in the last few months aimed at gas grills with green-yellow-red for full to low.

Thanks again, Ashley.
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:07 AM   #6
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The stove top burner should light within a few seconds. If it takes more that 2 or 3 seconds you have other problems.

What is the temperature there?

Low temperature can slow the vaporization rate in the tanks. To test the tanks and regulator crack a fitting down stream form the tanks and check for the smell of mercaptan. If you smell it the tanks and regulator are working.

If the temperature was below freezing there may be a frozen trap of water at the low point in the gas line. There is moisture in gas and over time may collect in the lines. As long as there was pressure gas would pass through. Once the pressure was removed any moisture would settle and could freeze blocking new gas pressure.
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
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NEW QUESTION: What do you think of the inexpensive LP gauges that give an indication of how much is left in a bottle?

Thanks again, Ashley.
They are about worthless. They show pressure in the tank and that varies with amount of fuel AND air temp. They also tend not to give much warning, going from green to empty with little notice.
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:29 AM   #8
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Well, are there gauges or any type of indicators that can be used for LP tanks?

Or how do you keep on top of how much you have left? Thanks, Ashley.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:08 PM   #9
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lp tank guage

i am with ashley-is there anything on the market that will give an accurate indication of lp tank level? I know my dad during his rv days said there was nothing, and i know my 85's guages don't work, so what is AS using today and are they worth anything?
bill
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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ran out of LP - can't restart

One of the surest methods that I know of is to develop the habit of taking the empty tank to be refilled as soon as you switch your regulator from the empty tank to the full tank. Not particularly convenient under some conditions, but it is less frustrating than bleeding the air from the lines.

As a second angle of attack, I purchased 40 pound LP tanks to replace the 30 pound tanks originally on my Overlander; and will likely purchase 30 pound tanks to replace the 20 pound tanks on my Minuet in the not too distant future.

Kevin
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:29 PM   #11
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Well, are there gauges or any type of indicators that can be used for LP tanks?

Or how do you keep on top of how much you have left? Thanks, Ashley.
The LPG gauges that are for sale, is a HUGE JOKE. They just simply quit working after a month or two.

There is one that is flat, and simply sticks to the side of the bottle.

As you use the LPG, the internal temperature of the tank contents, quickly cools.

With this "strip" gauge, all you need to do is use some LPG, and then toss some hot water on the gauge.

The gauge will change color wherever the liquid line may be at.

You need 2 of them per tank only if you will place them on a 40 pound tank.

They are available is "stick-on" as well as magnetic styles.

They are also very cheap, but they do work. Less than $3.00 for the stick on and less than $6.00 for the magnetic type.

They also are available so that you do not need to use the hot water. They cost less than $8.00.

We see many coaches that come into our shop, with those gauges.

They also work great with your outdoor grill, LPG tank.

Also, the LPG regulator used on most trailers, have an automatic switch-over. When the regulator switches from the empty tank to the full tank, a "RED" flag shows up in a little window that's on the regulator. That normally gives a person plenty of time to remove the empty bottle and have it refilled. When it switches over, it shuts the pigtail off that is from the empty tank.

Just watch for the red flag, that easy.

Andy
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:32 PM   #12
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There are regulators that have AUTO SWITCH systems. Once the tank on line is empty the regulator switches to the second tank and gives a Red Flag indication that the first tank is empty.

Without this type of regulator you are often taking a tank for a refill that still has fuel in it.
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:37 PM   #13
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Andy is corrrect...when we are switching tanks and re-lighting the pilots we use(for example the fridge) You have to lay on the floor- get good and comfortable...then depress the red button and calmly twitch-flick the long stricker over and over til it burps out enough air and then finally lights...we WOULD use the stove to bleed the air but it is covered most of the time. Our visual way to watch the propane is watch the pilot in the oven. For storage we put crackers,cookies and things that need to stay dry in the oven with the door ajar a little. Thats for those of you that have a great respect for 'crispy' crackers.
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:04 PM   #14
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Having run out of propane early on in our RV experience is the best way to make sure you will pay more attention afterwards.

Like Kevin, we get the empty tank filled as soon as possible, but may cut it close when we are at a CG that charges high prices as too many do. The furnace uses more propane than anything and several subfreezing days can empty both tanks fast, so before boondocking in cold climates it's best to keep tanks as full as possible.

It easy to screw up—for ex., one tank full, the other may be nearly full or nearly empty (indicator reads green either way), go boondocking for a couple of days, temp drops like a stone (then ask yourself why you didn't get a weather report first), wake up in the middle of the night very cold and propane all gone. I don't really trust the Airstream installed red/green indicator—how empty is it when the red just begins to show and how far red does it go before the tank is really empty? I don't trust that indicator to be very accurate and it's not the easiest thing to read.

I have planned to get the stick on gauges for about 2 years, but usually forget about it when I have an opportunity to buy them. Maybe I'll have to run out of propane again or listen to my wife who reminds me to buy them from time to time (except when we're in an RV store so if we run out it'll be her fault).

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Old 12-28-2009, 02:35 PM   #15
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To check the propane level pour warm water over the tank. You will feel the difference when you slide your hand down the tank and reach the propane level. This will be more pronounced when the tank is in use.. It is not unusual to develop a frost line at this point when conditions are right.

We carry a third tank, When the first one is empty it goes in the back of the truck for refill. We boondock a lot and try to avoid special trips out for propane. Also gives us the chance to fill where the price is better.
Also with the newer valves it is best to turn on the tank slowly. If the flow is to great at first it may shut down
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Old 12-28-2009, 04:34 PM   #16
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Where did I go wrong??? The original gauges on my tanks seem to provide a very accurate reading of status - both on the read-out at the stove hood and at the tanks. Was there something unique about the gauges on the 2000 series Excella???
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:59 PM   #17
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i believe those gauges are a float type.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:32 AM   #18
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Well the most convenient and reliable way to ascertain the propane level in a tank is to look at the float gauge. If your tanks are not equipped with float gauges, you can buy ones that are. They have them over at vintagetrailersupply.com in both 30 and 40 pound.

The most accurate way to determine the propane level in a tank is to weigh it. They are stamped with the tare weight in pounds on the collar, after the letters TW. So you weigh the tank, subtract the tare, and that's how many pounds of propane you have. A bathroom scale works fine, or a hanging scale from a farm store. Not very convenient but if you are preparing for a trip and really want to know exactly and for sure that's the way to go.

The hot water trick others have described also works. What I do is take a tea kettle full of boiling water and pour a stream down the side of the tank for 5-10 seconds. Then wait for a little bit and (carefully) feel for the temperature change. If you've been running the furnace constantly for a while (half hour) the hot water isn't necessary because the tank walls covered by liquid will already be considerably colder.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:00 AM   #19
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Where did I go wrong??? The original gauges on my tanks seem to provide a very accurate reading of status - both on the read-out at the stove hood and at the tanks. Was there something unique about the gauges on the 2000 series Excella???


Us too...keep an eye on the gauges, red sight glass get it filled.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:41 PM   #20
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Inexpensive Gauge

In reference to racoco's question about inexpensive tank gauges...since our A/S is probably the same as yours...I tried it about two years ago. It wouldn't even fit as the hose from the tanks won't accomodate the gauge because of a sharp curve the hoses take. What I can say about it is that it seems to work well on my barbecue. As for figuring out tank contents, I think everybody who commented on this thread know how to do it.

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