Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Leak

The propane is still leaking. I poured soapy water over all the connections I could see and no bubbles. Chris suggested going to a local hardware store where they keep lists of tradespeople to help with projects. We did that and we found a local plumber who said he knew propane. It seems that it is not a separate trade in Mexico but is done by plumbers. The plumber and his helper showed up and basically did what I had already done. They tested the obvious connections for tightness and checked all the connections around the tank with soapy water. He tried to convince me it was probably the fill valve where sometimes a piece of foreign matter gets stuck during a fill. He cleared this by sticking a small screwdriver into it to cause a jet of propane to come out, clearing the valve. I was sure this was not the problem as I can stop the leak by turning off the shutoff valfe which is not connected to the fill valve.

Anyway, he seemed to be at the limit of his abilities so we paid him $100 pesos or about $7.75, his asking price for a house call. He actually did not ask for $100 pesos. Instead he told me to pay what I thought he was worth' Juan told me to offer him $100 pesos. Try to get that in Canada ot the US!

He suggested leaving the valve open and to call him back if the problem returned. Well, it returned but we are not going to call him. I don't think he is all that familiar with propane systems in RV's where connections are hidden.

We are going to do without propane until we get to the USA next week. The only time we need it, or at least use it, is while moving to keep the fridge working. Many people turn their fridge off while they travel as they are afraid of having propane open in case of an accident. We (and most others) have never worried about this and travel with the tank open. It will not hurt to turn the fridge off for a few hours as long as we keep the door closed. We just won't be able to boondock along the way to San Antonio, TX where we will get it fixed.

More Important Stuff:

Our friends Chris and Juan have left as Juan had something he had to attend back in Monterrey. It was great to see them! Chris keeps saying he is "almost retired" but takes the odd contract from the publishing house he works for, traveling around Mexico training teachers and presenting new school books. Juan is also "sort of" retired but is working on his Doctorate in Education. His specialty is kids leaving high school before graduation in both the USA and Mexico. Perhaps his studies and work will lead to a solution of this problem that knows no borders!


  1. Find someone with one of those sniffer tools it will find a leak that soap water won't. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. Hi Croft:

    Just a suggestion, have you checked the valve bonnet itself? Sometimes these leak just below where the handle is.



  3. we turn off our propane but only to save propane and occasionally drive 4-5 hours with it off... as you said with the door closed it is not a problem...

  4. Hi Croft,

    We had a propane leak in our class A last year. We had it"fixed" 3 times, but it still leaked. Finally, someone sprayed soapy water on the seams of the tank, itself; it was leaking at the seam where the tank was attached to the motorhome frame. Got it welded, but the leak came back. Finally had to spring for a new tank. might try spraying at the seams of the tank. Hope that's not the problem, as a new tank is not cheap!

    BTW: Have enjoyed your blog for a couple of years now. Thanks!

  5. On kids leaving high school early: I think that we should have a schooling credit, kids could bank their credit and go work for a bit and then when they find out that a little education is a good thing in the work force, they could cash in their high school credit for something they know they need. Our cookie cutter system of education is too much of a 1800s type system to fit the needs of the 21st.
    On the leak:people who sell propane sometimes have their own sniffer, kind of like tools of the trade.

  6. Other than the ideas presented by others, I can't offer any new suggestions to help you resolved the propane leak. I hope you get it resolved soon though!

  7. The leak has to be downstream from the shutoff valve as I can stop the problem by turning off the shutoff valve.

    We will be in the USA in a few days and will see about iy then. No hot water until then!

  8. We have had a propane leak in the kitchen for over a year and have had into the shop twice and had 2 different RV techs come to us. No one can find the problem so we live with it. Still use the burners, etc. Our propane tank still shows full since we filled it in Parker last October. We use electric for heating the water and for the fridge.

    Nice of everyone to come up with suggestions to help you out.

  9. Hi again Croft:

    It probably isn't the valve, but I've found that in some tank valve applications that the valve leaks in the open position but not in the closed position (different packing).

    Is the valve fully open, sometimes a partially open valve can leak through the valve bonnet as well.

    It's worth a second soaking of the valve with soapy water to check.


  10. If you open the shut-off valve fully you will see a nut for the valve guts. This nut will have small lines cut into the corners, this means it is reverse thread. So its not lefty loosey its lefty tighty. Tighten 1/4 turn and soap test. For the check engine light, just disconect the battery for a few seconds, and reconnect.