Gas line Problem or Not? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-11-2007, 03:18 AM   #1
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Name: Gerry
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HI Gang:
I went on the first trip last weekend and before I left I could not get the furnace started but the stove top did and I had an electric heater so no worries.

When I got to the campground I then had no gas getting to the gas stove top but the table top stove I always have did the job.

Guess it's true: Hope for the best but expect the worse and prepare for it.

Yesterday I took the regulator off, to replace with new one, and noted that there seemed to be alot of oil in the 3/8 copper gas line. Is there any easy way to get this oil out or should I just replace it all, or not to worry about it?

Gerry the canoebuilder
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:08 AM   #2
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the oil comes from the breakdown of the flex hoses heating cooling cycles. depressurize system and keeping flex hoses as short as possible when not in use will go a long way in preventing oil .
to clean out you can blow most of it out with air , disconnect lines going to at all the appliances. orifices hate getting this gunk. be very very careful if you use a solvent in the line , fire is one melting plastic is another concern!
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:14 AM   #3
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Hi: Since Propane is a bi product of Oil Drilling (Almost Garbage) and usually burnt off at the well head there are probably lots of impurities in it...Are you seeing the condensed impurities??? Is it possible to unhook the other end of the line and blow out the oil with a compressor or air tank??? Usually when someone strikes oil they consider themselves LUCKY!!! Regards Alf S.North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:23 AM   #4
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We must always purge our gas lines B4 the furnace will light. I do this by lighting the cook top Ė all burners, let them run for a minute then try to re-light the furnace several times B4 it will actually light. Our furnace has an electric spark ignition and it attempts several times automatically. If U have a pilot light then heat the sensor and hold the pilot switch for a long time until it lights.

On our house system, the propane line has a trap at each propane unit and I always assumed that was for moisture. I guess it could B4 oil residue or any other contaminate in the line.
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Old 05-11-2007, 04:13 PM   #5
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I found this on a Onan Generator site FAC:

Can LP fuel plug up the regulator?

The most common contaminants found in LP fuel are the oils from the LP pumping facility and the production process. The oil is removed from LP fuel at the location the fuel vaporizes. In liquid withdrawal LP fuel systems, this occurs in the regulator. Oil contaminants can then clog the regulator. The Marquis Platinum, Marquis Gold and Emerald Advantage liquid withdrawal LP fuel systems provide a drain for oil removal. See your Onan Certified RV Service and Parts Dealer for assistance.


So based on this explanation, the oil collects in the lines between the regulator and the applinace when the LP hits the oriface, the gas burns off and the residue is left behind and works its way back doen the pipe to the low point.

I did read up on the ordorant and the rubber gas line degredation theroy. The odorant is introduced in gas state so it is not an significant contributor and the theory that the rubber lines are the cause is actually the reverse. Oil brakes down rubber so it is more likely that the contaninates causing the oil bulid up degrades the rubber.

I do know that in my house (natural gas), any place that the pipe turns 90 deg. vertical they put a tee instead of an elbow. The bottom of the tee has a 1-2" nipple and cap. I questioned the tech the last time the furnace was serviced and he said it was a trap to collect any contaminates.

Since my entire system is out right now as part of a major renovation I am considering putting a similar type of trap set up in.

Hope this helps.

Rob
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Can LP fuel plug up the regulator?

The most common contaminants found in LP fuel are the oils from the LP pumping facility and the production process. The oil is removed from LP fuel at the location the fuel vaporizes. [b]In liquid withdrawal LP fuel systems, this occurs in the regulator. Oil contaminants can then clog the regulator. The Marquis Platinum, Marquis Gold and Emerald Advantage liquid withdrawal LP fuel systems provide a drain for oil removal. See your Onan Certified RV Service and Parts Dealer for assistance.


So based on this explanation, the oil collects in the lines between the regulator and the applinace when the LP hits the oriface, the gas burns off and the residue is left behind and works its way back doen the pipe to the low point...
... but our trailers (like just about any recreational propane application) use a [b]vapour withdrawal LP fuel system; the fuel vapourizes in the propane cylinder (tank), so it travels through all of the lines, the regulator, and the orifices of the appliances as a vapour. Following the Onan explanation, the oil should be left sitting in the bottom of the tank, which makes sense to me.

The LP mixture is at much higher pressure in the tank and the lines (normally hose) from tank to regulator than it is after the regulator, so maybe a bit of the lightest of the "oil" (or naturally occurring hydrocarbon components heavier than about butane) might be carried with the vapour and fall out in the regulator, causing problems there.
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:22 PM   #7
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The "trap" that Darwin refers to is usually called a "drip leg". There may actually be several in a residential or commercial gas plumbing system. The reason for their existence is to trap any contaminants in the gas or which may have been introduced during plumbing installation or repairs.
In residential propane systems the introduced smelly odorant is in the form of an oil. That oil will collect in the bottom of a tank. When the level of propane in the tank reaches 10% or less, one becomes aware of its presence in the air around the kitchen stove due to the proportionally higher oil concentration in the gas vapor. This oil migration is well known amongst propane suppliers. I do not see why that would not also occur in an RV system.

Gerry,
Rather that attempting to clean the oil out of the line, you might figure out a way to install a "drip leg" at the appliance end of the copper gas line. That should trap the oil before it reaches the orifices of the furnace, refrigerator or stove, and also prevent future problems. Unfortunately, you may also have to clean the previously contaminated pilot orifices. After removal, a little hot soapy water in a cup will probably do the job. If that doesn't do the trick, a soft bristle from a paint brush will work if your eyes are good and your hands steady enough. Do not use anything metal. The hole in the orifice is a critical metering device and must not be enlarged. CAUTION, attempting to use water pressure, air pressure or even WD40 in a spray can could easily blow the small orifice out of your hand never to be seen again. Finding the correct size replacement might be like finding a needle in a hay stack. You really don't want to go there.
Please take heed, some of these lessons were learned the hard way in the "school of hard knocks".

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Old 05-12-2007, 04:03 AM   #8
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The "trap" that Darwin refers to is usually called a "drip leg".
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Thanks to all.
I too found out the the oil is the by-product of the LP itself or in the addative so it will have an odor and usually not a problem some bottles got too much oil in it and the oil then becomes a problem in the lines.
I have installed some gas appliances in my home and I do know what a "drip leg" is and its purpose is now instead of putting a drip leg on each appliance would a "TEE" off the regulator with the drip leg outside catch all the oil. Would this work?
Hopefully the oil didn't foul the orifice of the furnace because the Duo-Flo oriface is whay in the back and looks to be misarable to get to without takeing it out of the Boler.
I will blow the lines out with compressed air after disconnecting from appliances and install not regulator and with fingurs crossed I will get it all set for the next trip out.
Gerry the canoebuilder
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Old 05-12-2007, 08:32 AM   #9
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Gerry,
In a new installation in a home, I put one close to the tank to catch the possibility of debris carried in the gas. Then each appliance has its own to remove anything from the plumbing process. In your case, protection from road hazards must be considered in addition to efficiency. If only one "drip leg" is possible the only choice may be at the regulator but that would be the least effective.
In a service facility, the furnace would usually be removed to gain complete access.
"Ya gotta do what ya gotta do"! Please continue to share your thoughts and actual progress,

Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 05-12-2007, 09:16 AM   #10
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The furnace is the hardest to get the air purged out of the lines. We have to do it each and every time we use the egg after the bottles have been turned off for any length of time.

Try this one last time B4 you clean the lines:

We must always purge our gas lines B4 the furnace will light. I do this by lighting the cook top Ė all burners, let them run for a minute then try to re-light the furnace several times B4 it will actually light.

Our furnace has an electric spark ignition and it attempts several times automatically.

If U have a pilot light then use a long propane lighter and hold the pilot switch down for a long time until it lights. Really Long in some cases.
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Old 05-12-2007, 05:50 PM   #11
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My Bad, I forgot to mention:
Our furnace in the Scamp gets water in it from time to time and it will not light.

I take off the inspection port on the furnace that is located on the inside of the camper and drain and swab out the water, put the inspection port cover back on and it lights. It has an electric ignition.

I have also removed the burner through this inspection port and cleaned off the rust.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-12-2007, 09:37 PM   #12
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Not only is the odorant perhaps an oil of sorts, but metal-preservative oil of some kind is deliberately added to the large LP storage tanks to curtail interior corrosion and some of that oil gets into your tank and then your system.

Here's a good appliance troubleshooting site:

http://rvmobile.com/Tech/Technical.htm

Be careful with compressed air as its pressures are MUCH higher than those of the LP system and can easily cause damage to regulators and controls.
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:20 AM   #13
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Be careful with compressed air as its pressures are MUCH higher than those of the LP system and can easily cause damage to regulators and controls.
[/quote]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yesterday was spent crawling around in the dirt scrapeing and painting the frame of the Boler and under a protective panel underneth there is a 4 way tee.
I will disconect lines at stove, furnace, and fridge, so none of the compressed air will get into the gas valves and blow them out toward the not yet installed new regulator then I will put things back together and give everything a try.
Yes, Darwin, when I was trying to get it lit before, I too would purge the line through the stove top then I would hole the pilot light button for about 2 minutes then let it rest for about 5 minutes then go through the lighting sequence and as said the pilot would stay lit but the burner would not , so.... Maybe the regulator wasn't putting out enough pressure?
The oil problem came about when I took off old regulator and saw it drip out of the line on the outlet side of regulator.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:54 AM   #14
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Ahaa, with that bit of information it leads to another possible solution:

Seeing that you have a pilot light that means that you have a thermocouple and gas coming to the unit.

The pilot light heats the thermocouple and the thermocouple unlocks the gas furnace regulator to turn on the gas to the main burner. This is a safety function that will not allow the gas to flow without the pilot light lit.

If the pilot light is working OK, then U do have gas present and you more than likely have a bad Thermocouple or the flame of the pilot light is not in direct contact with the thermocouple. Look for the thermocouple (A fat copper thing) where the pilot light is and make an adjustment if possible. You can also use the propane match to heat the thermocouple so it will get hot enough to turn on the main gas supply If that donít work, then U have a bad thermocouple or thermocouple connection to the furnace gas regulator.

Thermocouples go bad all the time and you should remove yours, take it to the camp supply place and show them so they can send U home with the correct one. They are cheep and it would B worth your time and money to just replace it to make sure that is or is not your problem.

Now, If you have a digital millimeter and the correct specs, you can measure the voltage of the thermocouple. Not extremely easy but doable.

Clean the furnace gas regulator thermocouple connection with alcohol using a Q tip, B4 you install the new thermocouple.
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:19 PM   #15
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If U disconnect your gas lines, when it comes time to connect them up Ė the gas people around here use Tinker Can Blue #10 sealer on the gas connections.


Stock Number SOS 10-B.

Here is an interesting site about gas lines:

http://www.applianceaid.com/gasconnector.html

The directions on that site says to use either a Pipe thread sealant or a flare surface is OK however around here, they use both just for extra safety. I can see where that might be a major + in a camper that is jolted around.
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:02 AM   #16
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Thermocouples go bad all the time
-----------------------------------------------

Thanks Darwin....I forgot all about the Thermocouples. in fact I thought with with the standing pilot I wouldn't need one because on my house boiler this thermocouples heats up with electricity and has no standing pilot, hence the need for electricity.
I will remove this today and get new one also there is a sensor in the front of the burner chamber, another safty device incase of fire I may look into another one of them.

I did clean lines with compressed air and put on new regulator and had a much bigger flame on stove and at pilot to furnace so the work was not in vain but as you can tell from above still no furnace burner flame.
I will keep you all posted.
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Old 05-15-2007, 04:29 AM   #17
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To all:

I took out the thermocoupler yesterday and thought it very strange the gas line that runs the pilot light was going into a port, on the front of the furnace, that was about an inch above and to the left of the thermocoupler??? Does anyone else have a 1980 DouTherm furnace and does it look like that???

I went to an RV dealer and got another thermocoupler and asked the service man and he said that in some furnaces they used a flame deflector on the end of the pilot nozzle that would redirect the flame into the coupler. He also said this diflector may be burnt off not allowing the flame to hit the coupler. Maybe so but if anyone could check and let me know it would be great. My wife said it worked last year the way it was so do not change the positions of the pilot gas line and thermocoupler.

The sensor in the front of the furnace is a over-heat sensor and the shop didn't have one but I found out it is a normaly closed switch so I will test it with ohm meter and if need be by-pass it for a test run when I get the new thermocouplin in today.

I will keep you all posted on progress of the Lady-Bug.

Gerry the canoebuilder
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:05 PM   #18
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Thanks to all the advice and I am glad to report that the Lady-Bug is warm and toasty now... Checked the pilot with inspection glass off and it looked just fine and then installed new thermocouple but had to retro fit the new couple with old insert becuase the new threads on furnace end would not go in.

After first try pilot didn't lite so I adjusted the pilot up higher on the gas valve and it worked then after about 2 minutes the thermocouple glowed red and "WHOOSH" the burner lit.

So after $45 for parts and alot of help from friends on this site I now can go out without the worry of the wife saying she will never go again this early in the season.

thanks again.

Gerry the canoebuilder
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