LP Gas Valve Help!! for an old Suburban convection - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-06-2008, 09:28 PM   #1
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Trailer: Trillium (mounted on Jeep FC170)
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"Help!! See images of valve and trailer (1976 Trillium Jubilee)

My Gas valve is leaking propane and needs replaced. It is an old Suburban convection furnace (do not know the model number as the rig is parked 5 hours away at my research site (bringing it home at the end of next week, after a week of field work without a furnace)).

Talked to a local RV place and they said the was a conversion valve:

"A RETROFIT GAS VALVE KIT IS AVAILABLE FOR THAT PARTICULAR FURNACE - IT'S AN RV28 GAS VALVE - RETAIL COST IS $299.95 + TAXES. THIS IS A SPECIAL ORDER PART AND WOULD BE NON RETURNABLE."

Just wanted to know if anyone new a place to get the valve for less, seems really high even for RV standards for the worlds simplest valve.

Also I want to make sure the unit has enough life in it to warrant the $.

Are there convection style replacement furnaces available anywhere? I was thinking of Fabricating my own (copy of the existing in thicker metal and with a Peizo electric fan.

The only solution they had to replace is was a small forced air that would kill my house battery in 2 days! (seeing how it goes 5 months between plugging it in seems a little extreme!!)

Thanks for the input.

David


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Old 11-07-2008, 10:27 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2000 19 ft (formerly 17 ft) Casita Freedom Deluxe ('Nuestra Casita') / 2000 4WD V8 Tundra
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David,
You might check to see if there is a difference between those valves used in stationary structures and those in mobile (or manufactured) homes and RV's. Your local building code or building permit office should be able to give a definitive answer.

Remember to get not only the model number, but also the BTU input and output numbers, serial number, & manufacturer and model name of the furnace. Once in a while there is more than one manufacturer for brand name products and slight changes exist among them.

Have you tried any heating/air conditioner/plumbing repair businesses? Bulk propane (those who provide home delivery) suppliers often have repair facilities. RV repair shops aren't the only ones who deal with gas valve replacement issues. For liability reasons, it is not legal to repair most gas valves.

If it makes more sense (rather than taking the whole vehicle)--- take just the burner with valve attached to their shop. A substitute valve may be found, but be aware that the control knobs may not be in the same locations (sometimes that is an issue if they protrude through a panel).

Remind the technician...the furnace uses PROPANE for fuel.

When removing the old set-up try to visualize if a larger or smaller size valve would work. The location of the incoming gas line. the position of the pilot gas line and thermocouple connection may or may not be issues.
If it makes any difference. valves for home wall furnaces are sometimes a little smaller than those used for forced air units.

We hope you and your Trill will soon be warm again,
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:07 AM   #3
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David -

Those old gravity furnaces are awesome. I just replaced the entire valve assembly on one for an old trailer I am working on - it too had gone bad. I found that many of the parts for PROPANE gas firelog sets are exactly the same as was used for these older type furnaces. I got the part to fix mine from Home Depot for a whopping $22. It was called a "Denso Safety Valve" for propane firelog sets. It included the propane valve assembly, pilot assembly, thermocouple, and as a bonus, a Piezo ignitor. It transferred very easily into my old gravity furnace with only the addition of a few extra fittings to make up for the slightly different dimension of the valve assembly.

If you can't find what you need from your RV dealer, this might be a good alternative.

BTW - I'll never understand why Suburban stopped making the gravity furnaces - they consume no electricity, and are vented outside - really fantastic, and I think there would be a market for them would someone start manufacturing them again....
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:23 AM   #4
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Thanks Jake...Home Depot I go!!!

I was thinking with all this small trailers being built again the market is there as well. Also, I was thinking that a Peizo-electric fan (converts heat to electricity to runt the fan, used on wood burning stoves would be perfect! forced air furnace without need for anything more then propane).

Thanks again!!

David
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
...Those old gravity furnaces are awesome....
About what year was the last of thes used in trailers. I dont really recall what a gravity furnace is compared to a non-gravity.

Wondering what my 85 5er has. Have not looked that close.... or used it yet.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
About what year was the last of thes used in trailers. I dont really recall what a gravity furnace is compared to a non-gravity.

Wondering what my 85 5er has. Have not looked that close.... or used it yet.
The gravity type has no blower of any kind. I don't know when they stopped making them, but I believe around the end of the 1970's?

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Old 02-15-2009, 09:30 PM   #7
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Update....

I finally got to looking at the furnace...Easy fix. I could take out the off/pilot/on knob that was leaking. It was removable and uses a spring on a tapered valve for the settings. No seals. I cleaned it up, upped the spring pressure and reassembled.

Very minor leak gone! (It made a small bubble in about 2 minutes before.

Happy!! Now I have to see if those wood stove pezo-electric would have enough heat to move a little air for the best furnace ever.

Cannot wait for field season!!!
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