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Old 02-02-2011, 11:34 AM   #1
Superdave
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propane regulator freeze

we're in Texas in this cold front and I'm not ale to get the gas furnace - which has been working fine until today- to light. I have two full bottles, the indicator bubble comes up into the green , but when the heater tries to ignite, it throws the indicator back to the red zone.
getting the second bottle filled today, the propane guy said that he's had several people with rv's in and they were having heater issues also. Said that water in the propane could from inside the regulator and creaqte a small ball of ice that would bounce around until it blocked the gas, shutting the whole thing down. He said you could pour warm water on the regulator to unfreeze it. I tried this but still fo ignition.

Any quick ideas as the sun goes down ??
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:49 AM   #2
pineranch
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You could have the problem you described or you could have a problem with the regulator. Search the forum for propane issues and try the fixes described by the experts. Can you light your stove? If so the problem is not propane related.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:52 AM   #3
nunya
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how bout tryin a light bulb? Never heard of this type of freezin before on a regulator, and I have been thru 4 winters with mine. Hope ya get it goin, its cold out there.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:55 AM   #4
H. John Kohl
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If the empty bottle is at the regulator switch then move the full bottle to that location. Actually swap bottle locations and flip the lever to the full bottle.
Good luck and let us know what you find.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
Superdave
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I just put a drop light into the tank well with the selector switch and it fired up . I'm going to leave the light on until July.

Like I said , everything is perfect, two full bottles, a replaced selector regulator switch with a much better indicator ( the kind with a glass bottle top), but when the demand came on it sucked the gas out and flipped the indicator to red immediately.
So there's either some ice in the line as the guy said, or some other debris that finally let go due to the Karmic suggestion I made about ripping the whole damn thing out and starting all over hehe . Anyway , knock on wood that the drop light will do the trick . We're at Lone Star Lake in northeast Texas and it's gettin down to 20 tonite.

I dearly love our Montana, but the propane system has been problematic since day one. Since my dealer went belly up , i guess I better find somebody to R and R the system.

thanks for all the help so fast - keep this one in your file drawers cuz you might get an ice bubble too ! Thanks to all !!!
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:16 PM   #6
dpam
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We had a similar problem with our propane. I think the key is maybe how you turn your tanks on. A few people on this forum also had propane flow problems and it was suggested that when you turn the tank on turn it on very slowly. I started doing this and we arn't having a propane problem anylonger. A dealer told me they have had a lot of people coiming in with propane problems and the actual problem was due to a junk regulator made in China. The dealer also said some of the problems were due to one of the small hoses failing.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:33 PM   #7
exav8tr
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When living and flying the bush in Alaska, I put a 200 watt drop light next to my carb in my snow machine. I never had a problem with no gas flowing and it was much easier to start. Others would crank seemingly endlessly to get their machines started. Mine usually started with a little choke then one or two pulls. Love those drop lights.....

Glad you got your heat back. Here in Casa Grande, AZ, it is supposed to get to 20 degrees tonight. I had the belly open as the RV tech was waiting for a new flusher valve to install, I had him come out and button it up to keep the heat in, (if there is any)....

BTW: The suggestion of turning the tanks on VERY slowly is a good one. The newer tanks have a fast flow shut off inside. This shut off is in place in case a sudden rush of gas should escape, it shuts itself down. Opening slowly prevents the valve from opening. I crack the valve until I no longer hear the swishing of gas then open it up all the way. Anyway, that's what I have been told.....
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:36 AM   #8
Superdave
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I'm well aware of the turn the valve slowly issue and do so. I was also shown that a lot of issues on RV propane systems come from not screwing the hose connection tightly against the tank valve. The connection pushes the interior valve to open and allow gas to flow. There is a very small distance here that has to be completed to open the valve. Sometimes if you can't seem to get gas flowing at all, you can take a paperclip or similar pointy object and push it against the valve on the tank to get it to open and hopefully blow out foreign objects that may have clogged the opening.

Again, i had everything "looking " correct. the indicator was green , etc. But once the demand for the gas furnace began, it sucked the " ice" into the opening inside the valve and shut down. I'm talking about one second here.
the drop light seems to have done the trick and I'll leave it on until this unbelievable weather breaks this weekend.

Happy trails !
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:41 AM   #9
RCN.Stoker
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Ask your propane dealer if they add a de-icer such as methyl alcohol to their propane. This is used as anti-freeze as it combines with the water in the tank and lowers it's freezing temperature. Same idea as gas line anti-freeze. We add a small amount as a standard procedure for our outdoor tanks for emergency generators. They also have two stage regulators. You can do the same but of course the tank should be empty, transported with the valve close until ready to fill and only a small amount added. Here is a Texas government link that gives you some idea on the quantity. Hope it helps.

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source...1e8Wcw&cad=rja
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:48 AM   #10
Superdave
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the propane dealer here in Jefferson texas mentioned that they do put the de-icer in their propane, but at issue is the fact that we get tanks filled here and there. he also said it was an expensive addition and the supplier didn't seem to like to do this - who knows? ?The main thing is I now know that ice can form and it can create a problem in these extreme cold temps ! i didn't plan to be out in this extreme weather, but as luck would have it , I did !
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:31 PM   #11
Wiarton William
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Considering the number of years we have been using propane, how is it that the systems are screwing up now??
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:15 AM   #12
al-an
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We had one of the junk regulaters for china in ours. We were having the same problem, so bought a good one and have not had any more problems. Good Luck
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:19 AM   #13
sreigle
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Sounds like maybe you've solved your problem. There's another problem that crops up from time to time and bit us a couple of times, too.

I'm not sure about the new Montanas but our 2007 had the normal switchable regulator on one side and a small red regulator on the other side. I guess the RVIA or someone required that extra regulator in case the line ruptured, the one going all the way across the rig. To me that's overkill since the tanks now have built-in shutoffs for excess flow.

Anyhow, I had two of those red regulators malfunction and shut off the flow when there was no valid reason to do so. After the second one I went to an Ace Hardware and found the parts to replace the red regulator with an inline coupler. It took a couple of pieces since the "in" connector to the regulator is a different size than the "out" connector. I just took the red regulator with me to match pieces. We've had no problem with this setup in the several years it's been in place.

In really cold weather, like teens and below (we've been to single digits several times and minus 5 a couple of times) if the offside tank is low, like below half full, the reduced pressure in the cold weather causes the red flag on the regulator to show partially. Part red, part green. But the flow has been sufficient to run the furnace without a problem, even when the other tank was empty.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:49 AM   #14
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Steve, thanks about the info about 1/2 red and 1/2 green. I was thinking that it meant we still had propane, well, you guessed it. ran out of propane and the other tank was also empty, just hadn't filled it yet. when it is half and half how do you know when the tank is really empty and needs switched over?
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:03 PM   #15
sreigle
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Jan, it should still have propane when it's half green and half red. The half red is showing because the pressure is low, usually because of cold temperatures, so it's possible the pressure won't be enough to operate the furnace. It should not be fully empty until it shows full red. If that happens again, try moving the tank to the main side where it doesn't have to flow so far and see if you can use the remaining propane.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:25 PM   #16
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The problem is the check values (safety features) in the lines. It is in the end of the hose, the part that screws on to the tank. A drill will fix it, but the safety feature will be gone, so I recommend both bottle be connected anytime the gas is on.

Also I don't turn both tanks on at the same time, since I want to know when a tank is empty. Yes it means I may have to get up in the middle of the night, but so far I have been lucky.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:15 PM   #17
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So far so good here in Texas. I went 5 days on a 30 lb tank running day and night . Went to fill the empty tank today and discussed the issues with the local propane guy, he also confirmed the ice forming in the valve and said to e wrap a towel around the valve in cold weather to help insulate it. I have a drop light on it and alls been purrfect !
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:23 AM   #18
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Another thing I've found is in subfreezing weather I can tell how much propane remains by looking at the frost line on the tank. This works when the propane is being drawn out and for a little while afterwards. I'm not sure if the frost is visible when no propane is being drawn. I don't think so.

I like the single tank at a time idea and think it would work well in many cases. But when it's cold enough that our lines could freeze if the furnace doesn't run I'm not sure I'd be comfortable using that approach. I'd probably not sleep well, worrying about it. Otherwise it would work just fine for me.

I like the trouble light idea, too, and I think next time we're in subfreezing weather for an extended period I will use that idea.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:52 PM   #19
kerry
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Moisture in your LP tanks can cause these freeze ups. How does moisture get in the tanks? When the tanks are filled for the first time they need to be purged. Some new tanks are purged but most I've seen on new RV's are not. Most dealers don't purge the tanks before they fill them and therefor, some moisture is likely in the tank, not causing a problem in warm weather. This is an FYI post.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:35 AM   #20
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we had that problem and the propane hoses collapsed internally-had to be replaced.
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