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Old 08-11-2018, 09:44 PM   #1
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Propane Vapor Relief by Emergency Shutoff Valve Going Off

Hello,

Today, I was washing our 2016 Winnebago View 24J, and I suddenly heard a loud gushing of air sound ... it was coming from where the propane tank is filled, near the drivers side door, below a small panel. So I opened the panel and turned off the propane by using the "emergency shut off" switch. After doing that, the vapor coming out slowly died down and stopped. I did smell propane.

I wasn't sure what was going on, or why out of the blue, this happened. After waiting some time, I tried turning the emergency shutoff valve back on, and the same sound and what appears to be some sort of vapor pressure relieve started again. I have attached a video.

To be safe, I've closed the valve on the main propane tank below the chassis until I understand what is going on. Does anyone know what is happening here - is it some sort of pressure relief? Would that be necessary if the tank is only 3/4 full? It occurred towards the end of the day when things were cooling down, and while washing the RV ... so ambient temperature would be lower. Also, the week before we've been able to use the propane tank no problem at the hot beach.

We are new to RV'ing and have little experience, so any insight on this is much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:02 PM   #2
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That relief valve can be extremely dangerous because there is no shutoff for it.

I had a neighbor at storage whos tank valve opened from a rusted spring and vented the entire full tank out. I happened to drive up when it happened and was able to attach a hose to the valve that had a drop tube that the hose fit over. I took the other end to the top of his latter to vent 12 in the air and was lucky that nothing ignited while all this was going on.

If its venting see if you can get a fan over there to dissipate the vapor and call the fire department
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:06 AM   #3
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Thanks SCVJeff for your reply ... I re-uploaded the video in MP4 format ... hopefully this will play.

As far as the emergency shutoff valve, in my case, it did work and the escaping vapor stopped coming out after flipping that switch. I also turned of the valve at the main tank after that. I just have no idea why all of the sudden propane vapor would be escaping in that location. As in the case you described, if it really isn't "pressure" relief, I am surprised there wouldn't be some sort of additional safety feature that would prevent vapor from spewing out when there is an abnormal excess of propane flow.

In the video, you'll notice I placed my hand below an area where I felt the vapor. After doing more research, I believe the regulator is further behind that panel inside that compartment ... perhaps the regulator has gone bad ... but still, if I hadn't been out there when this happened, I'd hate to think that the propane would have continued to spew out.
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:10 AM   #4
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Also, if the videos I uploaded still do not play for you, perhaps try using a different browser. I noticed I had problems playing the video with Chrome, but it worked in FireFox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:47 AM   #5
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The remote vapor vent (used for filling the tank) is just to the left of the switch. That vent is normally closed and I don't think that was the source of your leak. I do think you have a problem in the remote filling fitting - either a hose off or cut/break after the filling valve.

Your regulator is mounted near the tank and not in the fill area and I don't think that is a source of your leak.

I would take it to a propane dealer and let him diagnose it further.
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:44 AM   #6
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Thanks for the reply. I am having it checked by a local RV technician who is RVIA Master Certified. I've discovered, though, that the regulator is NOT attached to the tank. It is near the remote fill area in the same area where the leak is.

My understanding is that this 2016 Winnebago View (and I'm sure other years) has a "remote fill" area which is separated from the main propane tank which is further towards the rear under the chassis. I looked at it myself and there is no regulator on the tank. Instead, the regulator is in a compartment just behind the emergency shutoff switch and bleeder valve. So it may be a loose/damaged hose or bad regulator I suppose. Hopefully I will find out today.

The RV tech said that most have the regulator on the tank, and that there is usually a safety feature that detects rapid loss of propane after the regulator, but not before. Since the View has a regulator detached from the tank, I guess that means if there is a rapid leak between the main propane tank and regulator, there is no protection from that. Disconcerting.
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:08 AM   #7
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Be interested in the followup once the repair is made. Not a common problem for sure.
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanside View Post
Thanks for the reply. I am having it checked by a local RV technician who is RVIA Master Certified. I've discovered, though, that the regulator is NOT attached to the tank. It is near the remote fill area in the same area where the leak is.

My understanding is that this 2016 Winnebago View (and I'm sure other years) has a "remote fill" area which is separated from the main propane tank which is further towards the rear under the chassis. I looked at it myself and there is no regulator on the tank. Instead, the regulator is in a compartment just behind the emergency shutoff switch and bleeder valve. So it may be a loose/damaged hose or bad regulator I suppose. Hopefully I will find out today.

The RV tech said that most have the regulator on the tank, and that there is usually a safety feature that detects rapid loss of propane after the regulator, but not before. Since the View has a regulator detached from the tank, I guess that means if there is a rapid leak between the main propane tank and regulator, there is no protection from that. Disconcerting.

This almost seems more like a failed connection or hose rupture. By chance is your rig in the LP hose recall that I read about a few months ago? You might want to check into that. I am so glad that you were there to stop the discharge of the LP. That could have been a real disaster otherwise.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:45 PM   #9
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Here's the latest on this ... per the RV Tech that made the repair, the regulator needed to be replaced. He said the "diaphragm" in the regulator had broken.



@jerichorick - thanks for mentioning the recall on the hose issue. I did look up my VIN and it did not indicate that was a recall for my vehicle.


Anyway, let's hope this doesn't happen again!
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by oceanside View Post
Here's the latest on this ... per the RV Tech that made the repair, the regulator needed to be replaced. He said the "diaphragm" in the regulator had broken.



@jerichorick - thanks for mentioning the recall on the hose issue. I did look up my VIN and it did not indicate that was a recall for my vehicle.


Anyway, let's hope this doesn't happen again!
I have heard of, and had, regulators fail but never in that manner. That was an easy fix. Only 2 years and it failed catastrophically? I wonder if Winnebago would admit if they had received a batch of bad regulators and will pay your repair bill? Worth a shot.
Happy trails. Safe travels.
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:46 PM   #11
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Well, there may be a reason for that early failure. One of the questions the RV tech asked me is whether or not I had recently filled the propane tank. I had done so for the very first time (the Winnebago is new to me) a few weeks ago. I had it filled at a campground. I relayed how it was done to the RV tech ...

I told him that when I went to have it filled, the person filling it opened up the remote fill tank and expressed confusion that there was no "tank gauge". Since this was all new to me (I had never filled a propane tank on an motorhome before), I really didn't know what the process was. So I asked him if that is unusual. He said there usually is a gauge. I told him there is an electronic panel inside that tells me it is 1/4 full. So he told me to go inside the cabin and yell to him when it was 3/4 full so he doesn't overfill it. OK - at this point you are probably reading this shocked (as I am now after understanding how it is supposed to be filled). At that time, I did not know what the normal procedure was. So ... I did what he asked.

When I relayed this story to a trusted RV Inspector and the RV Tech, they both were shocked and explained that's NOT what they are supposed to do. In fact, it is very dangerous to rely on gauges, inside or out. Instead, they should have opened the bleeder valve on the remote fill, and looked for liquid propane coming out when full to 80%. The RV Tech assured me, though, that it's very unlikely they could have overfilled the tank because of the OPD (Overfill Protection Device). BUT, I suppose they could have affected the hose line pressure and regulator in some way to make the regulator fail early? Not really sure ... but I've learned a lot through this whole experience.
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