Propane Line Problems - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-21-2009, 05:16 PM   #1
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Name: Karalyn
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I went camping this weekend. Last trip out in August the refrigerator would not stay lit when going from pilot to on position, then on the last night of that outing the furnace only blew cold air out (it was in the 40's).
This trip the pilot lite on the water heater did light, but when switched from pilot to on, it went off. That is what is happening on the refrigerator too. Now neither one will even light on pilot. I have full propane tanks, gas turned on and know the gas stove works.
I did blow out the refrigerator area best I could with a hair dryer trying to get out any dirt or dust.
Any suggestions short of an RV repair place? Anyone else had this problem?

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:17 PM   #2
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Do you have a stove? Does it work properly?

-- Dan Meyer

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Old 09-21-2009, 09:12 PM   #3
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Karalyn, on my camper (not fiberglass) I have to keep holding the pilot light button down for at least 30 seconds after the water heater pilot light is lit. Then I can turn it to "on" and it will light.

If I try to turn it to "on" as soon as the pilot light is lit, it will go out, too.

I can't help you with the refrigerator problem because mine is automatic, but it might be the same principle.

Edited to add... sorry, I missed the part about the pilot lights not lighting at all now.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:20 AM   #4
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It sounds to me like you have something interfering with the supply of gas -- you are getting only enough to run the pilot light but nothing more.

Is the tank full?

Is the gas valve on the tank fully open?

Is the pressure regulator working?

Is the gas line clogged?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:37 PM   #5
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yes Dan, the stove works fine. (so far) LOL
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:33 AM   #6
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Look to see if the copper pipe is smashed that supplies gas to the fridge and furnace
Get a can of compressed air like for cleaning computer keyboards. And try to blast the pilot gas line at the orfice. If outside appliances are not working but inside are it might be tiny, tiny critters (maybe spiders?) that love to live in these orfices. A blast of air will usually open the clog they made with their nests.

I have to do this in my house furnace every couple of years. You may have to dismantle somethings to get at the pipe.

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Old 09-23-2009, 04:06 AM   #7
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Make sure when you turn on the valve on the tank you do it SLOWLY until the pressure is equalized.

The reason for this is that there is a overflow device in the valve that will shut down the flow if the propane line breaks.

Bill K

Any suggestions short of an RV repair place? Anyone else had this problem?
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:20 AM   #8
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Karalyn, as a propane technician I have worked on propane systems in a number of RVs. I wouldn't recommend using the keyboard air cleaner to blow out pipes as some of those products are flammable unless they say they are 100% air - be very careful.

Most RVs have a section of rubber hose going from the tank regulator to the hard piping in the trailer. In a 9 year old trailer it is good to check that length of rubber hose and make sure it is not deteriorating inside. If it does not say on the hose that it is LP hose it is possible that the LP gas and/or the ethyl mercaptan (used as the odorant, propane actually has no odor of it's own) has caused the interior part of the hose to turn into a tar like substance that will clog the line. Most propane that you buy can have 5 - 7% contamination from polypropylene from the refinery which can also cause the rubber to deteriorate. I have found this in RVs that are about this age. It will cause just enough propane to get through to light pilots and run low BTU appliances like your cook top but not the water heater & heater. Fridges usually have a 1500 BTU flame which is low, so not sure why a problem like this would affect it, but a good trouble shooting step would be to check the hose, which are easy to replace.

Let me know what you find and if the hose is okay there are other trouble shooting steps you could take. Checking for a kinked pipe is a good idea but unless you have had some damage that would cause the kink it doesn't seem likely that will be the problem. I have worked on RVs with damaged copper lines that still ran all the appliances.

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Old 09-24-2009, 04:08 AM   #9
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I had the gas supply problem in my 08 Bigfoot trailer after installing 2 new 30 lb tanks with gauges. The new tanks were purged in the Suburban Propane Facility. Gas stove and LP Onan generator stopped working. My first suspicion was possibly a faulty pressure regulator. Very helpful support person from the pressure regulator manufacturer, Marshall Gas Control ( ) helped me to debug the system. We mutually concluded that it was not the regulator after all but a yellow gooey substance in the low pressure flexible hose between pressure regulator and rigid copper tube. The fellow from Marshall was very surprised to see this gooey problem which he thought went away in the eighties. It was fortunate that the gooey substance did not reached rigid tube which could be more difficult to clean. I replaced the flexible tube with a one foot longer one allowing to loop a hose in the form of a “u-tube” catcher in case of gooey staff would be still coming out of the LPG tanks.

During the debugging process his first question was about possible use of the high pressure tee couplers to provide high pressure gas for auxiliary appliances. Apparently there is a problem with one brand of these tee outlets which is using rubber coated stainless steel balls in their check valves. These rubber coated balls are not cooperating well with OPD (Overfill Protection Device) safety valve preventing high pressure gas reaching pressure regulator. I have 2 of these tee devices but they are not causing problems.



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