Cap in-coming gas line - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-13-2020, 01:02 PM   #1
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Cap in-coming gas line

Good morning. Working on the trailer this morning (finally stopped raining!!) and after capping the free ends of the interior gas lines (that would have originally gone to the water heater and the furnace - no longer there) I briefly (3-4 seconds) turned on the propane. Hissing ensued. Went back inside and found that my caps and valves are fine. It is the spot where the gas line comes in through the floor to the water heater that is the problem. It would appear that years of being manipulated and bent and shifted, it has developed a crack.

I am happy to disconnect it at the T underneath and cap it there for now, since I do not plan on using it for anything. The replacement water heater is electric.

Question - would it be better to remove the original line that comes through the floor at the T and cap the T (my thought would be that it would be easier for a future owner to put a new line back into the trailer that way). Or remove the T completely and put a connector between the two ends? How much forgiveness is there in those gas lines? I'm suspecting not much.
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Old 07-13-2020, 01:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Mac View Post
Good morning. Working on the trailer this morning (finally stopped raining!!) and after capping the free ends of the interior gas lines (that would have originally gone to the water heater and the furnace - no longer there) I briefly (3-4 seconds) turned on the propane. Hissing ensued. Went back inside and found that my caps and valves are fine. It is the spot where the gas line comes in through the floor to the water heater that is the problem. It would appear that years of being manipulated and bent and shifted, it has developed a crack.

I am happy to disconnect it at the T underneath and cap it there for now, since I do not plan on using it for anything. The replacement water heater is electric.

Question - would it be better to remove the original line that comes through the floor at the T and cap the T (my thought would be that it would be easier for a future owner to put a new line back into the trailer that way). Or remove the T completely and put a connector between the two ends? How much forgiveness is there in those gas lines? I'm suspecting not much.
I agree with your thinking. It appears you could simply remove the cracked line and cap the tee, thereby also leaving an option for a future owner.

Attempting to replace the tee with a 90 or a coupler might end up causing more damage elsewhere. Sometimes simpler is also better.
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Old 07-13-2020, 01:35 PM   #3
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By the way, the soft copper tubing through the floor should have been bent with a spring tubing bender. It appears there is a kink, indicating that it was not bent properly to begin with.

There's also a turquoise color that suggests the copper has leached over time. This could indicate a chemical process that would result in a weaker, more brittle line. Although it's a nice high-resolution photo, it's tough to say.

In any event, I would be tempted to remove any unused lines from service, especially in the interior of the trailer, if that can be done readily. In other words, I would tend to only pressurize what I actually needed unless I had closely inspected it and felt that it was all well-secured and in good shape.

Incidentally, propane alarms are a nuisance. Mine occasionally goes off for no apparent reason and then quiets down for days or months. Vacuuming it this winter seems(?) to have helped.

I have not implemented a shut-off switch or removed the detector. In the final analysis, I'd rather deal with a false alarm than suffer the consequences of not having an alarm when it was needed.
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Old 07-13-2020, 02:57 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1990 Bigfoot B19
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Thanks Mike. Well a couple of flexes and it snapped at the floor. Originally it went straight to the Atwood water heater from the floor, no active flexing occurred. This damage happened after the heater died and the PO (or some PO) added on the flexible (yellow conduit type) gas appliance tubing but didn’t address the potential (and highly likely) flex/stress point on the copper line at the floor.

So next step is to get the remnant of that line disconnected at the T and cap it. It’s been on there for 30 years and is going to be stubborn. Any suggestions regarding “convincing” it to release are greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the comment on the copper leaching. I will look at disconnecting the other line at the main as well. That’s the one that would have gone to the old Atwood furnace. Have to crawl around and see how it looks at it’s entry point.
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Old 07-13-2020, 03:42 PM   #5
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Pulled out my little pipe wrench an got the connection loose. Covered the open end and I’ll head out to homedepot tomorrow and get a cap for it.

Checked the other line and it is in very good shape where it comes in. That one hasn't been moved since it was installed, so I don’t expect there should be any issues with it. I do have a propane alarm (been lucky and it hasn't given me any false alarms ����). Once this is capped I can start puttering with the fridge.
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Old 07-13-2020, 04:15 PM   #6
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Just realize those are special flare fittings. So you will need the right size flare cap to cap off that line.
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Old 07-13-2020, 04:26 PM   #7
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Just realize those are special flare fittings. So you will need the right size flare cap to cap off that line.
Thanks Bill. I have the end I took off and it is a 5/8” flare nut. So I would assume a 5/8” flare cap. I will take it with me just to make sure everything matches up. Hate to make a 45 minute trip each way only to find it’s not a fit. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:25 PM   #8
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Under the RV codes, the soft copper gas lines should each have only one joint inside the trailer, that being the joint at the point of connection to each appliance. Any other joints are required to be located outside of the cabin.

The copper should be routed along the frame through clamps with rubber sleeves or with similar provisions to adequately support the tubing while avoiding contact between the dissimilar metals, those being the copper tubing and the steel frame.

If I am interpreting the pictures correctly, (above and below the floor at the same location), the line through the floor looks like it was bent at a much-too-sharp 90-degree angle just above the floor.

It appears that this sharp radius is so tight it does not maintain the minimum required radius for the copper tubing. So, while the tight radius of the installation would have required a fitting, any fitting additional to the connection at the appliance is not allowed.

So, it's even possible the copper should have passed through the floor at a different location in order to achieve the minimum required radius/radii between the tee and the point of connection to the appliance.

And, if someone added some corrugated stainless, that would entail another joint, and moreover would likely impose higher, concentrated stresses than would result from using a contiguous stretch of uniform, soft copper material bent to achieve proper, smooth curves of minimum radii.

Hopefully this all makes sense.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:36 PM   #9
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It does indeed. The original copper would have come up and directly to the water heater, probably with minimal bend. It was after that heater died that the PO made the alterations, which placed the stress on that unsupported bare copper line. It is now no more.

I will have to track the length of the second incoming line (that would have gone to the furnace (also no longer there) and see if there any joins inside the cabin. I suspect there may be. Since I will not be using that line inside either, I may disconnect it as well, and then redirect it for use as a BBQ connection. That is down the road a ways though.

Picking up a couple of caps tomorrow so I can cap that line too if I want. Thanks for the code information. Always happy to learn something!
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:10 PM   #10
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Here's a couple of similar threads including a link to a 2005 version of the applicable NFPA 1192, a "consensus standard" addressing RVs and often adopted by jurisdictions as a regulatory code.

These can be very handy if you'd like to learn more, or might even be especially helpful if you are ever having trouble getting to sleep.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ion-87328.html

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...nes-84791.html

https://hamyarenergy.com/static/fcki...20-%202005.pdf
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:35 AM   #11
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I would not trust the propane alarm, my nose, or bubble test to make sure the new work is not leaking. When you are done I suggest a pressure drop test (usually done by pros as part of an annual or after-work inspection). Basically a manometer is hooked up, the system pressurized, then the gas is shut off and the manometer is watched for 15 minutes or more to see if the pressure drops.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I would not trust the propane alarm, my nose, or bubble test to make sure the new work is not leaking. When you are done I suggest a pressure drop test (usually done by pros as part of an annual or after-work inspection). Basically a manometer is hooked up, the system pressurized, then the gas is shut off and the manometer is watched for 15 minutes or more to see if the pressure drops.
I actually have a new auto-change regulator coming and I was considering new pigtails with pressure gauges. Might be worth another look at those.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I would not trust the propane alarm, my nose, or bubble test to make sure the new work is not leaking. When you are done I suggest a pressure drop test (usually done by pros as part of an annual or after-work inspection). Basically a manometer is hooked up, the system pressurized, then the gas is shut off and the manometer is watched for 15 minutes or more to see if the pressure drops.
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I actually have a new auto-change regulator coming and I was considering new pigtails with pressure gauges. Might be worth another look at those.
Not the same thing of course. The manometer will detect very small leaks that otherwise can escape detection. It wont tell you where the leak is however.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:48 AM   #14
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Not the same thing of course. The manometer will detect very small leaks that otherwise can escape detection. It wont tell you where the leak is however.
No, you're right, not quite the same. But it's a start in the short term. Finish my cap, pressurize the system, mark the needle on the gauge with a piece of tape and come back in a few hours.

Off to the shop this afternoon for a few caps, maybe a 90 to run a new line to a BBQ connection (may as well use that empty T connection spot for something!) and a couple of other odds n sods (minimum $20 purchase).
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Deb Mac View Post
No, you're right, not quite the same. But it's a start in the short term. Finish my cap, pressurize the system, mark the needle on the gauge with a piece of tape and come back in a few hours.

...
You can also leave the camper for a minimum of 8 or so hours and come back with the valve still off, open the stove valve and see if you hear gas coming out. But neither of these techniques are sufficient to know the system is really safe.
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:17 PM   #16
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Well got the old water heater gas line off and capped underneath. Will also remove the original line that went to the furnace - it has a connection inside the furnace cavity, and since I won't be using it, I will cap that off as well.

But, before I do that, I thought that I would get at the fridge (it was inconsistent for lighting with the electrode). Pulled the electrode/burner assembly, banged on the stack several times and knocked out a bunch of flakes of rust. Took the burner et al in the house, knocked out a lot of loose rust dust, carbon, cleaned off the electrode and took a small bottle brush to the burner. Blew everything out and reinstalled it. Propped my iPhone up in the access space (again), pushed the gas button and hit the piezo - fired right up first time (Once I saw the video, I knew it was working). I did keep hitting the electrode though, since I wasn't sure and couldn't tell from inside what was going on behind the scenes!. Big problem is that little viewing port isn't particularly visible. But now I know what to look for in the change in "light". I'm going to try to get at the "reflector" glass in the back and clean it up a bit if I can. I have a new burner/electrode assembly and thermocouple coming. When I pull the old stuff out (and keep for spares) I will attempt to get at the "port" with a long Q-tip and some rubbing alcohol.

Burns with a nice clean blue flame (after a few sparks of yellow as some residual debris burned up). Letting her run for a couple of hours at mid-range on the thermostat so I can check my optimal setting on the dial. Thermometers are inside the fridge and freezer units. So, another project of the list.
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