Propane leaks


schurrda

New member
Having read the posts on the subject (I have an 86 Westy), I'm still unclear on whether to have the valve rebuilt ($140 - $170), or to buy a new tank with built-in valve (#220 - $250).

Questions:

Is the new tank and valve made by manchester - the manufacturer of the original valve? Is it hard to install?

Is rebuilding the fill valve worth it? Do the rebuilds last?

Thanks - Dave
 

lono

New member
My '85 fill valve leaked. A LPG shop recommended a manual fill valve as being more reliable. It it a much simpler mechanisum. The manual fill system has a bleed screw valve at the top of the tank which is opened when filling. The fill port has a one-way presssure operated valve. When liquid comes out of the bleed valve the filling is stopped and the bleed valve is manually closed. Cost me about $40 including labor.

Lono Patterson,
Sunnyvale, CA
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
I'm a little confused by what you call an "automatic fill valve." Neither of my Westies had one -- both had a fill connection -- no valve -- and then a small brass manual overflow valve.

The filler nozzle would penetrate the check valve in the fill line (which is covered with a yellow cap that LOOKS like a valve but isn't, at least in the normal sense of the word). When the LP begins to come out the overflow, you shut off the fill and close the overflow valve. This leave the appropriate amount of free space in the tank for expansion.

The tank then has a true valve to open the LP flow to the regulator. Examine the picture in the Bentley 76.18 What they label "valve 1" is the fill connection. It is not misnamed because of the check valve, much like a valve on a tire stem, but that is misleading.

Sucess of a rebuild would probably depend on tank condition. If the fill port is corroded, then a rebuild might have problems, but if it's rustfree & undamaged, I would expect a rebuild to work fine. Have an LP shop inspect & do the work, not a car mechanic.

Anytime a repair approaches 50% of the replacement, it's time to examine all options. Barring corrosion, tanks are pretty much bullet-proof, but if a new one comes with regulator, overflow valve and all the fittings, maybe then it's worth considering.
 
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schurrda

New member
My 86 Westy has a steel (not brass) fill valve with a tube running from the spot high on the tank where a bleeder could be installed. The bleeder on myso-called auto stop valve is on the valve itself. The valve operates as both a filling device and bleeder when filled. I'd love to have the two functions seperated, but my local LPG dealers tell me it's illegal to install a regular "manual" intake valve along with a seperate bleeder high on the tank. I don't know why this is, but this is what they tell me. The previous poster claimed he has just such an installation and I'm now further confused. Is it legal or not? And if so, why can't I get anyone to do it? A puzzle.

Any further thoughts?

Thanks - David
 
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lono

New member
Illegal or not mine was installed by Suburban Propane in San Jose, CA phone 408-227-8464. The L.P. Technician was Benny Cano. I have had it filled once by another propane dealer. When i told him it had a manual bleed he just reached up and cracked the bleed valve without comment then filled the tank.

Lono
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Following posts transferred to consolidate like topics.

Pressure expansion safety valve
Chris Custer, Junior Member, 10-18-2000 09:43 AM

Parents Westie is a 90. Mom had the propane tank filled. It has a manual pressure relief valve. Dad thinks the filler guy did not open the manual valve to vent when filled. The problem is: The tank now leaks out a small brass fitting with a hole in it the size of a toothpick. Dad thinks this is some kind of safety valve that has blown. Can it be replaced or does the whole assymbly need changed out? The tank will fill just fine. When done it will seep out this 45 degree brass fitting. Thanks

-Chris

Hydro test propane tank?
radair, Junior Member, 11-02-2000 08:00 PM

I just bought an '84 Westy and am wondering if I should have the propane tank hydro tested before filling. I live in the northeast (road salt capital of the US) and there is some surface rust on the tank. Any recommendations on this?

Capt. Mike, Moderator, 11-03-2000 04:20 AM

Do you have any reason to suspect a leak? Severe corrosion at the inlet & valves? Deep pitting? The usual surface rust isn't likely to weaken what is a very thick tank body.
All of the Westy tanks surface rust rather quickly. Manchester, the OE supplier, was downright stingy in the quality department. Their tanks were just sprayed right over rust & dirt with a single coat of white. No primer, no preps. Most rusted on the surface within months. VW's undercoating is probably all that's saving them. On my own, the protective plate underneath is now due for it's second major refurbishing.

Removing the tank is not as complex as everyone makes it, assuming reasonable fire prevention measures, or have your local LP shop do it for you. 4 bolts & the gas line.

You should be able to do a leak-down or vacuum test with a vacuum tester like Snap-On's, or with air pressure. Just be carefull with your refurbishing that rust removal doesn't create a leak.

I smell propane
maxime@moai.com, Junior Member, 01-12-2001 07:23 PM

I bought an 83 Westy 3 weeks ago, and got the tank filed last week, since there is a faint smell of propane, even when the tank's valve is closed.

I put soapy water every where on and around the tanks valves, I could see no bubbles. Note that the bleeder valve is hard to test with soap bubbles because it has a loose flat disk between the knob and the tank, so it seems hard for a bubble to form.

There's no need to leak test the Westy's body plumbing yet since the tank valve is shut off, right?

The following test tells me that the tank valve doesn't shut off completely:
1) shut the tank's valve
2) open the stove burner to bleed out the gas in the plumbing
3) shut the stove burner
4) wait 24 hours
5) I open the stove's valve and hear a pshhh of gas that lasts 3 or 4 seconds..

- The tank valve doesn't shut completely
- The bleeder valve releases gas OR the inside plumbing leaks the gas build up that occurs from the leaking valve.

Any suggestions?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
A leaking main shut-off valve is possible. Also,when you hear those woosh type sounds, it couldmean a leak in the diapragm of the regulator. LP is dangerous enough it's not for amateurs. I recommend you go to an LP dealer; the system is very generic, US made parts, and most can help you test & diagnose both regulators and for leaks. I'm not talking about the LP filling stations, but the full blown LP installation & service places.
 
The LP shutoff valve on my 76 Westy leaks when I open it- propane hisses out. I took it to a local RV place and they couldn't/wouldn't fix it. Next, I took it to an LP dealer and they couldn't do it either- griped that it was a horizontal system.
I have since tried opening it all the way (counterclockwise) and the leak stops.
1> Is it safe to leave it open, or should I close the valve when not in use- I don't do it on my home bbq grill.
2>Is this an easy fix- generic part? Is it something I could order or get at my local hardware store?
I have checked with goWesty, and I could get a new Vanagon bottle/regulator, but I don't want to spend $250.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
You should always close the valve when not in use -- otherwise you have pressure through two regulators and the burner controls -- potential places for addition leaks.

The valve is very generic, US made and should be able to be replaced locally. Sounds like the LP dealer you tired is just lazy; find another one.
 

dcjowell

New member
I have an 88 Westy. We have traveled with it for several years now. After arriving home I discovered a faint smell of propane from under the stove stainless steel area trough the small opening in- front and above the refrigerator. How do I get into the 2 connections to test them. I have read through the posts and I tried the Bently for info but no luck. I tested all the other connections with solution and they are fine.Also no odor from behind the refrig.

Thanks for any help,
Dennis
dcjowell@sover.net
 

dcjowell

New member
Ok I removed my refrig, doors etc, 2 side screws (L & R)for the front metal panel but the panel still won't move. I am concerned about forcing it out. I wanted to get at the propane connection inside but am unable to.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
From the August 13, 2004, post referenced above:
"Getting under the cabinet surface does have a 'trick' that is not covered in the cabinet part of the shop manual -- there are tiny screws under the front trim strip and another one or two on the side panels of the cabinet that help secure the top to the cabinet."
 

DANALEXANDER

New member
LP gas leak

Greetings from Portland,
I took our 82 Westfalia to the local fill station before we left for a 2 week cruise, and had the propane topped off. When I opened the inlet valve I immediately heard a hiss and then the smell of gas. I shut the tank valve and pulled out the 2-burner back up. After reading many posts on the stove and propane system I wonder now if it was just the overflow passing. I thought that by having the overflow valve open during a fill that all the extra escaped during the initial filling. I am still going over my Bentley repair manual but have not found the page or illustration that covers the lines from tank to burners. Any help would be appreciated
 

DANALEXANDER

New member
propane regulators

Thank you for the information and the diagram. I am going over my do-list to get the camper ready for spring!
 

DANALEXANDER

New member
LP regulators

Greetings from Portland,
I had a chance to open up my camper today, 82 Westfalia. Armed with the material from posts to this thread I started checking for the possible source of leaks in the system. Capt. Mike has mentioned 2 regulators. I only found the one connected directly to the exterior tank. It has a plastic box cover and a small plastic screw cap over a bleed valve. Since the LP tank services both the stove and refrigerator is the second regulator inside the cabin? It was pretty easy to follow the lines from under the cabinet and up the inside wall and then they turned over the stove and fridge. On another note, I did not hear the hiss I had heard previously when the tank had just been filled and only a faint smell outside the tank when I first opened the valve. I will hit all the connections with soapy water before I try and lit the stove. On last question. I basically run the fridge on AC before we leave and then connect to shore power when we stop. If the leaks turns out to be in the refrigeration lines can I just cap the tubing before the leak and just use the AC/DC function? Thanks, again.
:)
 

Jesse Rocco

New member
Exterior Propane Leak

When I turn the exterior valve on to run the stove it leaks propane outside. Has anyone had this problem ? I'm wondering how to trace the leak also. The tank is empty and I wouldn't want to fill it with propane to test for a leak. Is there any other way.

Thanks Much Guys - Jesse in Southern California :D
 

Mike Robinson

New member
...just when you thought that owning a westy was about lifestyle and camping - nope it is about spending mney.

If you smell propane when you turn the value on you have a problem. If you smell propane you have a problem. You can find where the leak is with soapy water - the bubbling will show you where it is, but the smell is enough to you you have a problem.

Get it professionally checked out.

As you own a westy .... it is probably worth replacing the propane tank. gowesty.com has an article on propane tank replacement, the whys not the hows.

Mike '82 Westy 1.9TD with new propane tank
 

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