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Old 08-05-2007, 08:30 PM   #1
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pamwinn
Gas Leak

We are not having the same kind of luck with our 2363 as with our 1950. We spent the weekend at Indian Springs State Park. It is abput 25 miles from home.

This was our second trip in this trailer. We were on a buddy site with our friends and when we arrived, I smelled something rotten and thought there was a dead animal nearby.

About an hour late, my husband told me we had a severe sewer problem. Remember this was only our second trip in the trailer and we use "The Sewer Solution" so we should not experience this.

Ten or so minutes later. I went in the trailer and immediately stepped out and yelled turn off the gas.

I have never smelled a gas leak like that. I am sure a spark would have sent me to heaven. The odor abated almost immediatley after that.

Remember how close we were to the campground. The only use of gas was to keep the fridge cool from home to the park. This did not occur on our first trip which was 275 miles from home.

Is there a simple solution or do we have a big problem?
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:33 PM   #2
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Pam,

I take it the odor was most apparent INSIDE the trailer?

First question has to be: Why didn't the propane detector go off? That needs to be addressed, regardless of the cause of the leak.

Now, take a good look at your stove. If one of the burners was turned on even a little tiny bit, it could rapidly fill the trailer with gas. All three or four of them need to be fully turned off.

Just to be safe, make sure the oven control is set to OFF (not PILOT) when not in use. Some stoves may not have the pilot light safety thermocouple, and if the knob is set to PILOT, it will merrily fill your trailer with propane if the pilot light goes out.

I point out the stove first because it is most prone to this kind of thing.

The only gas connection to the hot water heater is in the outside compartment, and can easily be checked to see if it is tight. Spray a bit of soapy water on the connection - if you don't see any bubbles, it's tight.

That leaves the refrigerator. If your fridge is a Dometic, check the dometic website to see if your unit is covered under the huge recall they recently announced. The website is www.dometic.com if memory serves and the recall link is right on the home page.

There are several extensive threads about that recall here as well.

You can shut off the gas to the refrigerator from the outside service hatch. It should be a small valve on the gas line, and you'll probably need a regular flat blade screwdriver.

With the gas turned off to the fridge, you can safely run it on 110vac if you are in a campground with hookups. And you should be able to safely use the other gas appliances.

If the odor is strongest outside, the trailer, go over all the connections, regulators, and hoses on the A-frame with the soapy water and check for leaks. Make sure everything is tight and leak free.

Propane leaks are not to be taken lightly. If you don't quickly find a stove burner left slightly on, or some other easily spotted problem, it is worth it to get the trailer to any competent RV service shop and have them go through the entire system.

If you recently bought the trailer from a dealer, it may still be under some kind of warranty. A lot of dealers are real good about units that they recently sold, even if the manufacturer is now out of business (like Sunline.)
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:22 PM   #3
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I know this will not help you immediately, but this is EXACTLY why many people never travel with the gas on. You are right, you are very lucky.
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:09 AM   #4
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Yes, I don't think we'll travel with the gas on again. We turned it off at the tanks. The friends with us experienced the stove issue once so we immediately knew to check that. But I am not sure about the oven pilot. Is that some kind of switch inside the oven?

Taking it to the dealer is not an option. The most knowledgeable worker they had told me my hot water heater did not have a bypass.

WHere is the propane detector? I have a smoke detector and I have a CO2 detector. Does the CO2 detector detect propane?

Would someone from the gas company be good to call instead of an RV dealership?
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:34 AM   #5
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Pam,

There is no switch on the oven. The control knob has several settings. OFF, PILOT, and various temps. In the PILOT position, it allows gas to flow at the pilot light in the oven, which you have to then manually fire up in most models. Leaving the oven in PILOT without lighting the pilot light will surely full your trailer with fumes quickly. The pilot light in most RV ovens is not self lighting, unlike our gas stoves at home.

The CO detector is totally separate from the LP (propane) detector.

CO (carbon monoxide) is lighter than air, so they locate the detector at about shoulder height. That way it alerts you before the build-up of CO becomes deadly while you are sleeping.

My propane detector is located just above my convertor about a foot off the floor in the kitchen area. Propane is heavier than air, so they locate it near the floor. That way it will detect propane build-up long before it becomes hazardous.

There is a 1 amp fuse for the propane detector in your power center. It would be a good idea to verify that it is there and not blown.

Your local natural gas company may be able to help you, but you should really find a local propane dealer who has a decent service shop for this.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:33 AM   #6
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Pam, remember all of our appliances are covered by a manufacturers warranty!

We had an issue with our stove, "puffing back" and the smell of propane...brought it to a "local" ( to us it is 2 hours away) Atwood representative.

Problem was fixed without any problems. Apparently on the "piezo" (sp?) stoves if the igniter is not lined with up with propane line, you can get gas feedback BUT the knobs on the stove would have had to been partially on.

In our case the "igniters" were not lined up and in addition to that they we cracked......two trips to the representative repair shop and we where fixed and no more propane odor!

Like I said I'd start there first! Let them rule out the stove and if that is not the problem, move onto the refrigerator!
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:18 AM   #7
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Hi pamwinn!!!

Hate to hear you are having another problem - DEFINITELY would not go back to that dealer, yikes. Have you thought of trying McDonough RV? They seemed nice when we went by that lot, and they would be nearby for you.....I hope it's easily resolved.
Now I need to check to see if we have an LP detector!
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:22 PM   #8
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Hi GreenWillow. McDonough RV is very close to my house but the friends that we camp with bought their RV their and have had tons of trouble with it and it seems to never get fixed so I don't really want to go there. There are a few dealers in Conyers that I may check in to. I saw a large Propane dealer on the way back from Indian Springs sunday in Jackson that I am going to call as suggested abobe. It was very scary when I went in the trailer. I knew immediatly what it was but Rex had stayed in there quite a long time thinking it was the black tank. He even put chemicals in it. The odor was so strong that it was noxious smelling. I know I was a spark away from eternity. I hope your luck is better than mine.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:19 PM   #9
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I am so glad y'all caught it before anything bad happened!!

If the propane place isn't any help, I saw someone post on the other forum that they were happy with the service people at Peco Camping, which is out in Tucker towards Stone Mountain. We have actually thought that may be where we go if we have service needs. Also, we found an RV service center that does warranty work for all major appliance brands, so we'll probably use them for appliance work. (They actually refer to themselves as a warranty center, and sell parts too). It's Performance RV in Madison, AL (I think it's near Huntsville). The link is:
http://www.performancerv.com/index.htm
They are closer for us than they are for y'all, though.

Did you find out if you have an lp detector? I haven't checked mine yet but I think we have one on the front panel of one of the dinette seats. I need to check!

Please let us know what you find out!
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:16 PM   #10
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I think the smoke detector is also a CO2 detector and the thing on the floor must be the propane detector. It appears to be on but it certainly did not go off.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:44 AM   #11
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Hmmm.....I wonder how you would go about testing the lp detector? Does anyone know?
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenWillow
Hmmm.....I wonder how you would go about testing the lp detector? Does anyone know?
The LPG detector in my '99 Sunline has a test button - the manual says to press the button until the alarm sounds - takes about 15 seconds or so.

That would at least tell you that the DPG Detector has power and is sort of working, but it may not truly indicate that the detector will accurately detect a build-up of LPG in the trailer. You may need to take it to a LPG shop who is equipped to do other tests on these items.

But the first thing to do is to ensure that there is power to the detector and that it appears to be working properly. I believe that all Sunlines have a dedicated 1 amp fuse on the 12vdc side of the trailer that supplies the LPG detector. That is the first thing to check. it is one of the 12vdc fuses on the main panel in the convertor.

If the fuse is OK, then see if the LED on the detector is flashing normal. Check the manual for the proper color and such. On mine, it flashes Green every 30 seconds for normal operation.

Then try the test button. If the test works OK, and you are sure that the detector was operating when the build-up of LPG occurred, then it would be time to either replace the detector, or get it looked at.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark
I know this will not help you immediately, but this is EXACTLY why many people never travel with the gas on. You are right, you are very lucky.
Regarding traveling with the gas on, I'd like to know what most people do. We were told at the dealer that it was safe to do so, but now I really have to wonder. I also have to question whether Pam's problem with the gas leak has anything to do with traveling with the gas on. And last, for those who feel you should not travel with the gas on, do you mean not on at the refrig or do you mean completely shut off at the tank?

Thanks for you help.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:43 PM   #14
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Although I WANT to travel with the gas on, the other 1/2 says no. Its off at the tanks.

The idea is if the tanks are on, and you in any kind of incident----and their is a fire, the tanks will literally add fuel to the fire.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:18 PM   #15
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I prefer to travel with the gas refrigerator functioning especially during hot summer days. However, I too have mixed emotions about this practice. If you ever travel the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, they make you turn the gas off at the bottles before allowing you to proceed.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al in PA
I prefer to travel with the gas refrigerator functioning especially during hot summer days. However, I too have mixed emotions about this practice. If you ever travel the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, they make you turn the gas off at the bottles before allowing you to proceed.
Same here. We've always run the refer on the road and had no problems. I also do have mixed feelings as to on or off, but I guess I'd only rethink if we did have a problem.

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Old 08-13-2007, 06:43 AM   #17
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When you think about it, this is one of those age old trailer/towing problems---like sway control, or undersized vehicles.

Its hard to convince someone until they experience an "event", and then (if it not too late) they are convinced for life.
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:13 PM   #18
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For those who travel with the gas off at the tanks, like us:

We use several freezer blocks in the fridge while traveling to keep it cold and we have 2 Camco fridge fans inside to move air around.

We freeze the freezer blocks in the ice chest the day before as we cool the fridge down, then move them to the fridge when we head down the road.

I know all the safeties they have on the fridge propane system and they are pretty sound. But the rest of the gas piping inside is bouncing down the road. I know I’m conservative and that is my choice. Just after reviewing everything, we found alternate ways to accomplish cool things in the fridge while traveling.

Happy camping

John
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