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  1. #1
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    What kills propane regulators and gas valves?

    Our imagine 2400BH is only one year old and both the propane regulator and water heater gas valve failed after our 2nd trip this year. Since they both failed at the same time I think it must be related but I am not sure how. Can you get a bad tank of propane?

    The last thing I did before it failed was hooking up a new grill to the quick connect at the outside kitchen and sprayed some dry lube on the outside of the quick connect after disconnecting as it was not working well. It then sat for a week before we took it back out and noticed the propane was not working.

    I replaced the regulator and gas works to the furnace, stove, fridge, and outdoor kitchen. I have bench tested the water heater valve and know it is bad. The solenoids ohm out at 40 per spec and each moves when given twelve volts but gas does not pass through when both solenoids are open. So it is the valve that is bad not the solenoids. This leaves me to believe whatever damaged the water heater gas valve is the same thing that damaged the regulator.


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  2. #2
    Site Team Second Chance's Avatar
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    Regulators fail at times - for no apparent reason. But since you have had two failures at the same time, I would start to suspect contamination. This is usually oil contamination in the propane. Have you noticed oil in the outlet of the propane tank(s) or in the line(s) going to the regulator? I think there have been a couple of threads on this. You might use the search function and search for "propane" and "oil."

    Rob
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  3. #3
    Setting Up Camp
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    Quote Originally Posted by Second Chance View Post
    Regulators fail at times - for no apparent reason. But since you have had two failures at the same time, I would start to suspect contamination. This is usually oil contamination in the propane. Have you noticed oil in the outlet of the propane tank(s) or in the line(s) going to the regulator? I think there have been a couple of threads on this. You might use the search function and search for "propane" and "oil."

    Rob
    Yes, there was a small amount of brown fluid at the water heater. The regulator had clear fluid at the output that bubbled off, I think that would be propane but was surprised it was still liquid at that point. It smelled a little closer to gasoline than propane though.
    Last edited by wsterling; 06-29-2021 at 06:17 PM.


    2020 Imagine 2400BH
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  4. #4
    Site Team Second Chance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsterling View Post
    Yes, there was a small amount of brown fluid at the water heater. The regulator had clear fluid at the output that bubbled off, I think that would be propane but was surprised it was still liquid at that point. It smelled a little closer to gasoline than propane though.
    I can't say what those two substance were, but it sounds like it might be contamination, then.

    Rob
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  5. #5
    Seasoned Camper
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsterling View Post
    Yes, there was a small amount of brown fluid at the water heater. The regulator had clear fluid at the output that bubbled off, I think that would be propane but was surprised it was still liquid at that point. It smelled a little closer to gasoline than propane though.
    I had oil in my propane last winter. It started on the passenger side and made the low pressure regulator fail. It was a brown oil. I replaced the low pressure regulator, both pig tails to the tanks and both tanks since I didnít know which one was contaminated. No problems since the initial problem. I did a lot of research and the internet thinking was contamination in the propane, over filling the tanks and laying tanks on side during transportation. In bad cases the oil would flood the flame in the furnace but I donít recall any reports of bad valves from it. The guy at the rv store in Quartzite AZ told me oil in propane is a common problem. If you have oil then there is a propane problem. Take your pig tails to the tanks off and hang them up and see if they drip oil.
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  6. #6
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Contamination has never happened to us (yet?) but we did have a main regulator go bad (leaking internally) I found it by using my propane sniffer.
    I have read a few stores from others that had the oil contamination problem. In some cases I read the owners took the lines apart from the regulators and other appliances and blew them out using air pressure to get rid of a lot of the oil. Reconnected all the lines then checked for leaks. In one case when the owner reported back it fixed their problem and I believe in their case they started having problems with their water heater on propane.

    I confess I don't know much about the propane industry and how oil gets into propane tanks in the first place. Is it a natural phenomena or is the oil a part of the process when added to the propane to make it smell so humans can detect it?
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    Site Team Second Chance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven@147 View Post
    ...Is it a natural phenomena or is the oil a part of the process when added to the propane to make it smell so humans can detect it?
    No. A chemical odorant is added to propane to make it smell - and that odorant, as you know, smells much worse than oil.

    Rob
    U.S. Army Retired
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  8. #8
    Fireside Member
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    Contamination or Butane

    Quote Originally Posted by wsterling View Post
    Yes, there was a small amount of brown fluid at the water heater. The regulator had clear fluid at the output that bubbled off, I think that would be propane but was surprised it was still liquid at that point. It smelled a little closer to gasoline than propane though.
    It could be contamination. However, in my 10-years with a propane company, we never had a contamination issue. I did hear of issues with a few companies cutting their propane with butane during the summer months.

    Brown liquid could be oil or ethyl mercaptan (the stuff added to make it smell like rotten eggs). I'd suspect either of these only if your cylinders were filled from a tank that was almost empty. Hard to determine that at this point.

    The clear liquid that bubbled off was propane converting to vapor and dissipating. As stated before, it's odd that you would have liquid at this point. It should have been vapor in the line. It's been 15-years since I was in the LP business, so there may be a reason for a few liquid drops...I just don't recall that.
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