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Gas Not Flowing


RichardT
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Slightly disappointing start to the season as we're not quite cooking on gas.

I checked out both the space heater and gas cooker last week to ensure both had survived the winter and ran both for 5 minutes. Now however, there is only a trickle of gas getting through.

I have 2 propane bottles, one half full, the other full. Gas definitely comes out of both bottles. I tried switching bottles as well as blowing down the pipe (with my wife holding one of the cooker hob-knobs pushed and turned) but no joy.

I can just light the smallest hob which burns a moderate flame but instantly dies down to being barely visible. The other burners sometimes light with a 'pop' but go out instantly. Same goes for the heater which just about supports the pilot light but won't fire up fully.

I spoke to the dealer where we bought the 'van a year ago and he said it sounds like the regulator is broken, which in our case is mounted in the front locker, above the gas bottles.

My understanding is that this unit is a simple throttling device with a non-return valve so I'm struggling to see how it could be 'broken', and also wondering if it's 'user serviceable'.

I would very much welcome any advice.

Richard.

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It is not user servicable and needs replacing.

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Your dealer is talking in simple understandable terms, this type regulator though is certainly not 'a simple' throttling device with a non-return valve so the solution is the same and the regulator is very likely not working and therefore needs replacing.

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Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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We had the same problem on our bailey pageant 2007, which we bought last year and the regulator stopped letting the gas through and as our caravan was under warrenty the dealer replaced the regulator and now its better than ever.

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Recent posts have suggested the failure of the Truma regulators has been well documented, and replacement is down to the caravanner ! (although new ones have apparently been modified ?)

 

The solution that has been widely promoted is to use the Gas lo 300 regulator with their Stainless steel connection pipe. Costs in the region of £70 and comes with a 5 year guarantee

Edited by bordeauxderek
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Your regulator does indeed need replacing. The problem is down to the oil in the gas which is very sticky and eventually clogs tbe inner workings of tbe Truma regulator. Truma have made modifications but are still testing varius designs. The stainless steel pipes will not fix this problem. Swift started installing stainless steel pipes on a specific date so that they can get a timeline on the problem, not fix it.

You can instal other types of regulators that allow the oil to pass through but you are only passing the problem further down the line, to your fridge, cooker, heater valves instead, which are way more expensive to fix and replace. ..

The problem lies with the gas itself and the amount of unwanted oil therein. ..

If you decide to replace it, open up the old one by prising off the rear cover and you will see a sticky goey oily substance coating the whole of the inside. The Truma regulator is designed to stop most of oil from passing through, so they are getting all the bad press for tbe gas suppliers problems. ..

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It is very important to make sure the pipes and connections from the gas bottles are ALWAYS lower than the regulator.

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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If, as stated, the oily deposits are not stopped by the bulkhead-mounted regulator & will pass down the line to possibly reak havock elswhere why does this not occur with the bottle mounted regs. Never had ANY probs. with them. The new types are, in general IMHO, an unmitigated, & expensive, failure. Waiting to see how long my new Cleese(?) brand lasts in the Unicorn. Will carry my back-up old style reg. & pipe forever just in case!

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If, as stated. ............ why does this not occur with the bottle mounted regs. Never had ANY probs. with them.

 

 

Simple, because you have been lucky, however a lot depends on the design of the rest of the vans pipework.

 

If to a manifold of taps and then on to individual appliances, then you probably won't have a problem using a Cleese type single stage regulator, the single stage in itself being immune to the 'oil'

In this type installation, the 'oil' will lay in the main manifold pipe and with a 10mm bore, unlikely to block it.

 

As for using stainless steel hoses, these should be good value because they last 25 years, however if in the hope of stopping the reg blocking, then a waste of money.

 

Where then the problem will still arise is in directly tee'ed of appliances, here the oil can move about in the manifold pipe and generally build up in the first smaller bore in the line, here it will be pushed slowly but surely into the appliance, the point being, this damage is several times dearer than a block reg to rectify.

(The first appliance is most often the water heater or gas fire, hence I know far more than most about it. Also, both the Truma and Cleese regs are simply modified bottle mount regs).

So be in no doubt whatsoever, for the above reason, this is not a new problem starting in 2004, it's been around long before that and been causing plenty of problems to pre 2004 vans with the supposedly fool proof bottle mounted regulators.

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Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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If it was an airline system it would be fitted with a filter (to remove water)

 

It is a pity a similar 'Filter' is not used in the gas inlet side of the regulator.

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Nice thought Lefthand but not so easy, I believe airline filters use oil to trap the water? what would you use to trap oil? to say nothing of gas safety considerations :huh:

 

If then it was that easy Truma would have cracked it by now, as it and after several years and great expense, their on something like Mk57d and still not perfected a full proof design ;)

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Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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If to a manifold of taps and then on to individual appliances, then you probably won't have a problem using a Cleese type single stage regulator, the single stage in itself being immune to the 'oil'

In this type installation, the 'oil' will lay in the main manifold pipe and with a 10mm bore, unlikely to block it.

 

 

 

Aha ! So that's why Avondales were excluded in an article I read recently about the gas/oil/regulator problem - they all have Cleese regulators and manifold taps.

 

Thank you Gary.

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Ref all the comments about the 'oil' apparently coming from the Gas, if the GASLOW (who supply many gas components) website is to be believed (see below), the problem is not the gas, but the rubber hoses carrying High Pressure gas

 

Going back to the older bottle mounted regulator, this regulated High Pressure Gas from the bottle through the regulator into Low Pressure gas into the system. This low pressure gas went through the low pressure rubber hose to the caravant system pipes.

 

The 'new' system consists of High Pressure gas passing through a High Pressure rubber hose and then into the regulator, and only after the regulator is it transformed into low pressure gas for the caravan system pipes

 

The belief is that the High Pressure gas passing through the High Pressure rubber hose is extracting plasticiser from the rubber of the hose and this is what blocks the regulator, and not oil from the gas.

 

All plastics, cable insulations, ruuber coomponents, etc, contain plasticisers which made the material easy to flow in mould tools when being manufactured

 

I have used bottle mounted regulators with Calor Propane on numerous vans for 25 years without a single problem, so the comment about people being lucky, I do not believe

 

I now have the new bulkhead regulator system in my current van, and have changed to Stainless hose (1. 5m at a cost of £40), and so far without problem after nearly 3 years

Stainless Steel hoses have no rubber and hence no plasticiser

 

 

Gaslow Rubber Hose Assemblies and Oily Substance in Regulators

 

 

There is confusion within the Caravan and Motorhome market regarding the problems caused by an oily substance preventing bulk mounted regulators from passing gas.

 

A PDF file of an investigation report by the National Caravan Council in January 2007 is

Available at the bottom of this article.

 

From a test carried out by Gaslow, it supported the argument that the oil was in fact plasticiser which had been extracted from the high pressure hose.

 

All rubber hoses are manufactured to the British Standard which allows for up to 10% extractables. Understanding the significance of extractables Gaslow have always used a more expensive high quality rubber hose which is produced with an extractability of only 2%, however we have still seen a few hoses with the oily substance.

 

We do not, however, understand why the problem of regulator blockage has manifested itself to the existent that it has. The NCC report estimates only a 4% incident rate of regulator blockage but we have been selling similar systems for over 20 years using the same type of hose and have never seen a problem with any of our systems. That said we have had a few of our systems recently effected one of which was used in the forensic test mentioned above.

 

Whilst the industry is continuing to monitor the situation and make certain recommendations Gaslow is continuing to supply its high pressure rubber hose assemblies to the market and incorporating them in our own Gaslow systems.

 

In the meantime we have taken the view that if we eliminate the possibility of plasticiser altogether the evidence suggests it should resolve the blockage issue. For this reason we have pioneered a range of Flexible Stainless Steel Hose Assemblies which are rubber free and now available

 

 

http://www. gaslow. co. uk/pdf/Gas_Regulator_Blockages. pdf

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Whilst the gaslow "advertising" looks convincing, the flaw in their dissertation is that pigtails are only 450mm long, but the amount of oily residue is far more than the pigtail can possibly produce, or was mixed into the manufacturing process.

I have very grave doubts that pigtails use something like a eggcup full of plasticiser in each pigtail.

Edited by Brecon
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I'm afraid Paj that if it was plasticizer from the hose, then there would be no hose left after a few years. .. Truma have been testing various types of systems to trap the oil, even fitting large stainless steel traps for the oil to fall into, via stainless steel hoses, but they just fill up too quickly to be of any long term benefit. The oil is not from the hoses as they where not using any rubber/plastic hoses, all stainless steel.

As for some people never having a problem, during their ownership maybe not, but you will find that succeeding owners probably did, but just put it down to faulty gas heaters etc.

It's a contentous issue as the gas suppliers are huge companies and won't be beaten into submission by 'small' caravan & motorhome component suppliers. Small by comparison to other gas users. So I'm afraid it's something we will be putting up with for now.

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I have used bottle mounted regulators with Calor Propane on numerous vans for 25 years without a single problem, so the comment about people being lucky, I do not believe

 

 

 

With all due respect, your 25yrs is nothing, and more to the point, you only have your own experience. In truth and in 14yrs I've not personally had a van with a problem either.

Professionally though I deal with hundreds of customers in any one year which totals far more 'van years', then there are dozens of service engineers I deal with so inturn their customer experiences, perhaps it's not an exaggeration to say a thousand years is my experience on this subject then.

 

So when I say it's pure luck, it's based on sorting out the aftermath of this problem and higher regulators and stainless hoses don't save you as many have found out. But, given the amount of bottles and the number giving trouble, it's not at all a big problem so luck, a lottery if you like is what it still is.

 

Quote from a rubber hose manufacturer; if we took an average length of hose, shredded it and then crushed it under several hundred tons of pressure, maybe just maybe we would get some plasticiser back out, but I doubt it?.

What's more given that average length would contain only a few millilitres, how it is alleged to release a tablespoon full or more is totally beyond me?!... even the NCC report agrees on that point I might add!!

 

I'll give you this though, that 1. 5M length is probably helping not the stainless part though, just it's length

 

The NCC report is well meaning but contradictory, not in possession of all the known facts at the time, did not ask those that would know those facts or the general pre 2004 history of the problem, ie, the trade

No comment on a sales pitch but if you want a Cleese reg and or a stainless hose get them a lot cheaper mail order from www. bes. co. uk

Edited by Arc Systems

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Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Just Curious Gary but as I suspect you know more about this than most a, couple of questions, just 'cos I love a mystery.

 

1. Any correlation as to problems and the type/make of gas used. For example we have always used Calor Propane as I just can't be bothered with butane.

 

2. As I understand it Calor and others claim to clean out residue before refills so the gas must contain some sort of products that are not welcome in the gas. I never take a new refill that has been picked up in the car and put it straight on the system as I was advised by a gas engineer about the turn of the century not too. "Give a chance for any ' Heavies' to settle to the bottom lad before you open the valve" was his advice. He also never connected a new bottle without giving the valve a split second open first. Dangerous and smelly but he did it. Never thought about it but we have not had a problem in all these years (fingers crossed)

 

3. Same man also told me to change the rubber hoses regularly long before the date is due. We do.

 

4. The millions of vehicles running on gas throughout the world do not suffer as far as I am aware and they have injectors much finer than our flame burners.

 

5. Any of our continental friends out there having the same problem. Calor and some of our gases not being available over the ditch.

 

6. Is this residue evident in domestic systems fitted to houses. ? = Same gas - same cookers.

 

Logic says.

 

This oil is generated by something in a caravan system unique to it. i. e. the pig tails. or

 

It's in the gas and our systems trap it (and I agree the regulator is the best place to trap it.).or

 

Gas cylinders are not serviced properly.

 

Given the amount of, shall we say dishonest people about, could it be a case of them refilling bottles and making a hefty profit without cleaning out e. t. c. Given the number of bottles in the world then some would eventually build up rubbish in them. It's a simple matter to connect a Gas bottle to your main tank and much cheaper therefore more profit.

 

As a customer we take it on face value that they are selling a genuine product, more fool us.

 

 

 

 

 

With all due respect, your 25yrs is nothing, and more to the point, you only have your own experience. In truth and in 14yrs I've not personally had a van with a problem either.

Professionally though I deal with hundreds of customers in any one year which totals far more 'van years', then there are dozens of service engineers I deal with so inturn their customer experiences, perhaps it's not an exaggeration to say a thousand years is my experience on this subject then.

 

So when I say it's pure luck, it's based on sorting out the aftermath of this problem and higher regulators and stainless hoses don't save you as many have found out. But, given the amount of bottles and the number giving trouble, it's not at all a big problem so luck, a lottery if you like is what it still is.

 

Quote from a rubber hose manufacturer; if we took an average length of hose, shredded it and then crushed it under several hundred tons of pressure, maybe just maybe we would get some plasticiser back out, but I doubt it?.

What's more given that average length would contain only a few millilitres, how it is alleged to release a tablespoon full or more is totally beyond me?!... even the NCC report agrees on that point I might add!!

 

I'll give you this though, that 1. 5M length is probably helping not the stainless part though, just it's length

 

The NCC report is well meaning but contradictory, not in possession of all the known facts at the time, did not ask those that would know those facts or the general pre 2004 history of the problem, ie, the trade

No comment on a sales pitch but if you want a Cleese reg and or a stainless hose get them a lot cheaper mail order from www. bes. co. uk

Edited by Alan Stanley
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Just Curious Gary but as I suspect you know more about this than most a, couple of questions, just 'cos I love a mystery.

 

1. Any correlation as to problems and the type/make of gas used. For example we have always used Calor Propane as I just can't be bothered with butane.

 

No difference in the actual gas, it all comes from the same source

 

2. As I understand it Calor and others claim to clean out residue before refills so the gas must contain some sort of products that are not welcome in the gas. I never take a new refill that has been picked up in the car and put it straight on the system as I was advised by a gas engineer about the turn of the century not too. "Give a chance for any ' Heavies' to settle to the bottom lad before you open the valve" was his advice. He also never connected a new bottle without giving the valve a split second open first. Dangerous and smelly but he did it. Never thought about it but we have not had a problem in all these years (fingers crossed)

 

Nice to think Calor or any other firm cleans the bottle every time, but far from the truth, about every 5yrs I would expect when the bottles go for their safety check.

I don't though believe it's 'heavy ends' any more, I think it's actually the stuff they test the bottles with and it's this that is not thoroughly cleaned back out

 

3. Same man also told me to change the rubber hoses regularly long before the date is due. We do.

 

Answer, I recomend the hose is changed when it becomes stiff enough to stop you easily changing a bottle, of course you should regularly check for cracking especially around connection points.

 

4. The millions of vehicles running on gas throughout the world do not suffer as far as I am aware and they have injectors much finer than our flame burners.

 

this system delivers high pressure liquid gas all the way to the injectors or at least very close, not sure exactly how it works.

 

5. Any of our continental friends out there having the same problem. Calor and some of our gases not being available over the ditch.

 

there are the same problems aboard but not many

 

6. Is this residue evident in domestic systems fitted to houses. ? = Same gas - same cookers.

 

Logic says.

 

This oil is generated by something in a caravan system unique to it. i. e. the pig tails. or

 

It's in the gas and our systems trap it (and I agree the regulator is the best place to trap it.).or

 

Gas cylinders are not serviced properly.

 

Regards these last few questions, as said, no problem with domestic bulk or large cylinders, however my belief is it's the size of 47kg bottles that protects, it's a long way from th bottom of the bottle to the valve! The problem then only really concerns small propane cylinders at up to 300psi pressure, butane only has about 25psi in the cylinder.

So even if butane has the same 'oil' in the small bottle, the pressure is so low it's not capable of pushing it out, propane on the other hand has plenty of pressure.

The big bottles are heavy and handled with care, even if rolled and any oil present disturbed, it's much more unlikely to get near the take off pipe, but given a small bottle often shook about on it's travels and plenty of pressure, to my mind a small bottle containing 'oil' becomes a giant aerosol

 

Given the amount of, shall we say dishonest people about, could it be a case of them refilling bottles and making a hefty profit without cleaning out e. t. c. Given the number of bottles in the world then some would eventually build up rubbish in them. It's a simple matter to connect a Gas bottle to your main tank and much cheaper therefore more profit.

As a customer we take it on face value that they are selling a genuine product, more fool us.

 

I don't know how much of this might go on, however and as I said, bottles are checked/cleaned once every 5yrs

 

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Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Like the small bottle shake up theory.

Makes sense and in my experience the simple explanation is often the accurate one. Especially as they are often transported on their sides in car boots. So maybe the old boy was right with his 'let them settle lad'

 

 

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Many thanks to all of you for the advice, experience, and sharing of information. It's strangely comforting to know that this is a 'well-established' problem.

As the 'van is due for a service I'll get the Truma reg replaced with a bottle-top one as well as a new hose.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Last trip out lost gas pressure, Caravan Lunar Clubman SE 2010 11 months old, took it to the Dealer who have kindly fetched my service forward by 6 weeks and are looking into the gas pressure problem. l talked to the technician who was convinced it was the regulator, its a Truma by the way. What questions should l be asking the dealer regarding what modifications have been done by Truma to try and alleviate the problem.

 

NigelH

 

 

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I was told that all flexible gas pipes should changed every three years,

regardless,Black pipe in particular as the plasticisers leach out.

Regarding inline filters they do not need oil to make them work they are dry

and just cause the gas or air to spin and throw oil or water aside centrifugally

to collect in a drainable resevoir.

Edited by gumdrop
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