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 Post subject: Propane Odor in Coach
PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 2:00 pm 
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Joined: December 31st, 2016, 6:54 pm
Posts: 51
Hi everyone. I am the happy owner of a new to me 2003 Chinook Concourse.

There is a strong odor of propane in the coach interior. No leaks at the fill valve outside tho. I have turned the propane off and am beginning to troubleshoot the problem.

On the 10 state drive home, I drove the passenger side rear wheels over a curb (oops!) and from that point on noticed a slight odor. Parked now at home the odor is much stronger.

If you have any tips, advice to share, I sure would appreciate it.

I checked previous posts but didn't see anything.

Thanks in advance.

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2003 Chinook concourse
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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 2:12 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
Short answer..
Shut the valve off at the tank.
Open all the windows.
Check all joints with soapy water.
Fix leaks
Get a new propane detector.

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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 2:27 pm 
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Thanks Scott.

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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 4:22 pm 
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It’s best to start with the simple things first. You may have just created a momentary overpressure bumping over the curb that caused the regulator vent to breathe. Since the odor persists another simple item to check is the fill bleed valve that should be snug but not overtightened.

Beyond that, you have the regulator then rubber hoses underneath that connect with copper pipe. As a matter of preventive maintenance I replaced these as they deteriorate with age, irrespective of service. Checking ALL interior copper pipe joints servicing stove, refrigerator, furnace and hot water heater is difficult as some are hard to access.

It’s really better to have a certified propane technician check the system, starting with a leak-down test to confirm there is an ongoing problem inside somewhere. The tank itself is an ASME horizontal tank by Manchester and has an indefinite lifetime so doesn’t have to be re-certified, unlike regular propane tanks with an expiration date. Should any fittings need replacing the tank will need to be evacuated, something you definitely shouldn’t try at home.

Finally, test your propane detector with a butane lighter to see if it still works. I agree with Scott it should be replaced anyway, a small investment for safety especially if it is 14-years old. Good luck

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"The Blue Chook" 2002 Concourse Dinette on 2001 E-350 chassis w V10


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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 4:39 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Did you replace the rubber hoses yourself? I'm thinking mine's certainly old enough to warrant replacement.

For that matter, along with cleaning and painting various underbelly parts, I now want to clean up and repaint my propane tank (which is empty right now). Alas, that side of our driveway is muddy so I haven't had a chance to look closely at the tank yet.

Has anyone dropped theirs? How many bolts and do I have to reach them from the inside floor or is it attached to an external brace?

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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 5:17 pm 
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Thanks Rokrover. I will find a certified propane technician. I appreciate the advice.

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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 5:18 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz
kdarling wrote:
Has anyone dropped theirs? How many bolts and do I have to reach them from the inside floor or is it attached to an external brace?


Mine's attached with four carriage bolts through the Chinook sub floor. One wire to the gage, one hose. You should have no problem, assuming yours is the same.

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PostPosted: May 18th, 2017, 8:03 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Welcome to Chinooking and the forum!

Since you can smell a strong odor IN the coach, I'm slightly skeptical that it's the tank, regulator, or other outside paraphernalia. I mean, presuming you don't have a window open on the passenger side and it's just coming in.

Chinook did a proper job of running the propane lines in that there are (at least on my '99) NO joints inside the coach except for the ones that have to be there, where the line attaches to the appliance(s). All of the other joints are outside (as they should be, but often aren't).

So my first suspicion would usually then be one of the three joints inside:

1) The stove (if you lift the metal part under the burner grates, the joint is in there).
2) The furnace (joint is by the carpeted floor just aft of the furnace, which is generally under the club chair/dinette/or bed that's right behind the passenger seat.
3) The water heater, of which the joint is just ahead of the water heater by the floor (i.e. just under the front of the couch behind the driver's seat.
4) is the refrigerator joint, which is basically outside (you find it inside the lower refrigerator vent on the outside of the coach body, passenger side) but the line itself does pass through the coach behind the false wall behind/under the stove counter.

All the other Tees and such are under the coach (one triple T under the stove/fridge area, for example, from which the lines sprout and go through the floor to get to the stove and refrigerator).

Of course as surmised above, it COULD be a leak underneath that is somehow funneling in. And you did say you went over a curb just before it smelled. OTOH, propane sinks, so... But maybe have a look at that triple T joint (it's sort of an F joint actually) that is under the floor just behind the passenger side dual wheels. Maybe you hit that somehow.

BTW, when it was mentioned to check the propane detector with a butane lighter, I'm sure it was meant to ONLY release butane, but NOT spark or light the lighter. In other words use it as a gas source. The typical RV type propane detector has a finite lifespan, so I'd probably replace it. Mine is near the floor on the sink cabinet (propane sinks).

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PostPosted: May 19th, 2017, 5:48 am 
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Thanks Blue~Go.

I really appreciate the suggestions and the time you took to help me.

And, thanks to all who responded.

deb

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PostPosted: May 19th, 2017, 8:58 am 
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My bad - I just read the fine print on my propane gas detector and it says do NOT test with a lighter! Anyway, this is a timely thread as it prompted me to go check and discover mine should be replaced. For 2002 the unit pictured is an MTI Industries flush mount 40 series # 40-442A in brown.


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