Warning faulty LPG gas cylinders

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by redlorry321, May 2, 2014.

  1. redlorry321

    redlorry321 Read Only Funster

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    Hi, as a new member I wanted to seek other member advice but also to flag a warning. When I bought my used motor home I had it fully serviced, new MoT and also paid for a habitation check which included all gas appliances and fittings. Everything seemed to work fine and I went for a 3 day break to check all was well with the motor home. This was a prelude to a 2 month tour of Europe down to southern Italy. I'd filled up the twin LPG gas cylinders at Dover and started my tour. The following week I was going through the lower Alps in Provence en route to Nice. As I was tired from the driving, I pulled over in an Aire and went for a sleep on board. I started to wake feeling extremely groggy - the cabin was full of gas - I barely made it out and collapsed on the grass outside. It was a very hot summer's day with outside temperatures in excess of 30 degrees C. When I eventually felt well enough to get up, I checked the 2 LPG gas cylinders and both stop cocks were fully turned off and shouldn't have leaked gas.
    I got no support from the provider of the Gas equipment (not mentioning any names at the moment) and it left my confidence badly shaken, not to mention if I hadn't woken up in time I probably wouldn't be writing this now!

    Eventually, when I returned back to England, the gas equipment provider investigated and found that both Gas safety stop cock valves had been screwed down TOO FAR and impacted on the internal safety mechanism. Every cylinder has a mechanism which is located internally that allows filling with LPG to 80% only. The remaining 20% is a margin of safety. The engineer told me that because the stop cock valves had been screwed down all the way (should have stopped about 1 cm from the end) then this prevented the safety mechanism from being activated and as a result both tanks became over pressurised to 100%. The engineer told me that this is likely to have happened at their factory and when I got to the south of France the higher temperatures probably triggered the regulator to discharge the gas. He also found there were several holes in the compartment that vented to the inside of the cabin - again a poor installation.

    I'm not sure what I can do in this situation as the gas equipment provider wants to wash their hands of it and hush it up. The Gas Habitation check never picked up on this, even though I got a nice certificate saying everything was safe and in order - so left me with a ticking time bomb. Potentially, I don't think most motorhomers would know about this at all - there is a lot of trust from the consumer on the providers to get it right - but mistakes are made. So all I can ask is that members who read this get their gas cylinders double checked to make sure the stop cock valves on top of each cylinder are adjusted and sealed to the correct distance from the top of the cylinder housing to allow the safety mechanism inside to operate correctly to 80% of max pressure. I foolishly believed that once the stop cock valves had been tightened to the fully closed position i.e. shut off fully, that there could be no escape of gas. This is not the case and the gas regulator system will still allow gas to escape even with these stop cock valves fully closed.

    There have been fatalities due to faulty gas equipment - last year I read that a family were killed by this type of event whilst sleeping on a boat. The gas equipment supplied is similar.
    So all I can do is flag this as a warning based on my own experience. I would welcome constructive comments from the forum. RedLorry321 (new to site)
     
  2. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    :Eek!: OMG.... another thing for me to worry about...:Doh::Doh::cry::cry: I'm paranoid as it is...:Sad:
     
  3. makems

    makems Funster Life Member

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    I have had two Gaslow cylinders leak where the tap assembly is attached to the tank. Both replaced under warranty without quibble, but makes me wonder about quality control.
     
  4. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    :Sad:So would squirting with that leak stuff that bubbles up be a safe thing to do every couple of weeks or so, then? If so can you tell me what the stuff is called please and where to get it?
     
  5. Ali n Tim

    Ali n Tim Funster

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    Thanks to the warning and welcome :Smile:
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Water with a bit of washing liquid does the same job.. just squirt it about the valve and connections... watch for small bubbles..

    but your nose is an excellent detector..LPG stinks.. ( the smell, or stench is added at the refinery to enable easy leak detection) poke it into the locker every once in a while .. especially after filling..
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
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  7. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I welcome and thank you for the warning but what type of cylinder are they? Gaslow, Alugas, Gas It or other? The warning will be more valid if directed at owners of the particular cylinders.
     
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  8. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Hello and welcome, what an intro

    Glad you survived, but it highlights an issue of expectation, what does a habitation check cover, I for one would not expect it to include the gas tanks

    It would expect it to cover combustible gas related areas, fridge, hob and oven, and maybe a visual check of gas cylinders, nothing more on the gas side

    There will be other checks / tests damp for one, hopefully electrical safety checks, but maybe I am over optimistic in this

    I am surprised that gas could build up so much inside, have you checked to see if the floor vents have been covered by a previous owner?

    What did you do for gas while you were away after this experience?

    Just re-read the OP, you say it was really hot, when did this happen?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  9. laneside

    laneside Funster

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    Joy if you cannot smell it just sit back and relax as this is one in a million and a bit over egged in my opinion
     
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  10. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    I am in no way belittling the original post, but certain parts dont make sense. the 80% cutout device is on the inlet not connected to the cylinder isolation valve. the regulator would over pressure and lock up, not release gas. and lpg is far heavier than air and especially in hot weather would drop out the bottom of the gas locker

    sounds far more like carbon monoxide from a faulty appliance being lit. as already mentioned lpg stinks by default and your natural gag reflex would wake you long before you suffocated.

    always a good idea though to fit a gas detector, not for knockout gas, but lpg and Carbon monoxide. they are available from under £20 so it makes sense
     
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  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    DON'T PANIC PEOPLE.

    That was a string of faults.

    One or two cylinders had been damaged causing overfilling.

    The installation was sub standard with venting into the interior.

    And the bad luck, before any gas was used he moved to a much hotter climate causing the safety pressure relief valve to vent.

    By chance he was asleep when it vented otherwise he may have heard it.

    He had a poor hab check person who did not spot the gas path into the interior.

    By all means check your systems but the chances of another FUNster having this problem is small.

    Do not think that if you go squirting soapy water and see no bubbles you are safe. This particular fault would occur only: with faulty cut off valves, after filling then moving from a cold to hot climate.

    You can do a reasonable cut off valve check if you run out of gas and make sure when the pump stops you have not taken more than 80% of the tank capacity. Gaslow advise this on the first fill.

    And finally, being the sceptic I am, why does this person make this his first post here ? "Oh I've been gassed, I must find a motorhome site to report this on". Equally it could be someone "I hate motorhomers, lets scare the sh$t out of some of them". I am probably wrong here but it's a funny world we inhabit.
     
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  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    I'm getting old, you beat me by 10 mins this time.
     
  13. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    Equally it could be someone "I hate motorhomers, lets scare the sh$t out of some of them". I am probably wrong here but it's a funny world we inhabit.

    :Eek!:Brian,
    you are psychic... I was just thinking the same thing...:Eek!::Eek!::Eek!: scarey stuff...!!!!
     
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  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Scared you. You don't need that.

    Mr Big1 has made really important point on this, the tap is on the outlet, the cut off is on the inlet. It would have to be weird design for the two to interact.

    His carbon monoxide falls over because the guy says both tapes were off.
     
  15. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Funster

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    Fairy liquid and water will highlight even quite small leaks, but as the OP implied, the leak didn‘t occur until the bottles were subjected to a higher temperature situation. Unless you could replicate this scenario, it‘s doubtfull if a leak would be apparent.
    I can‘t really conceive how over tightening the stop valve may damage the pressure relief valve which is part of the same assembly, unless you were built like Garth, but for that to coincide with a faulty 80% fill mechanism too is very bad luck.
    Gas bottles will dump gas to atmosphere if they are subject to excessive heating, the thinking is better a short blast of gas rather than a cylinder exploding, which is why you must have vents as low down as possible in your gas locker and also why lpg leaks on boats can be more dangerous.There is a video on Youtube of an RV on fire and you can hear the gas pressure relief valve venting followed by a surge of flame but fortunately no big explosion.
     
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  16. Phill D

    Phill D

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    i am pleased that the OP survived to tell a tale. i have however read the OP a few times now, and, there are a few things i dont quite understand and would welcome clarification from the OP.

    the filling port thus connected to the 80% shut off valve is not connected to or the same part as the stop cock to regulator. so if the stop cock was off how does gas get to the regulator, its not a valve operated on pressure its a mechanical closure.

    if the overfill valve was at fault then presumably gas could return out through the filling hose to the filling valve, which if it does not have a non return valve would gas out to the outside of the van or onto the locker ( vented to floor ) if fitted in the gas locker.

    so i dont understand how this can happen as posted.

    will the OP please help clarify this.



    Just had a thought if it was a Safefill bottle ( that is the portable refillable type ) these have the filler and regulator connection as one the same see pic below.
     

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    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  17. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    mind you see full gas bottles in the full heat of the sahara and they arent blowing off gas .
    and they very often do over fill them . well over 80%. seen lots weighed after they have had eu bottles filled over there .
    people leave their empty bottle by the road the gas truck comes and changes the bottle .the money is under the empty bottle . no one steels it . it is a arab country but they arent thieves .
     
  18. Emmenay

    Emmenay Read Only Funster

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    Lets hope this is not someone that carries out hab checks and is short on business, mighty strange first post in my opinion, bet we don't hear from them again..:Rofl1:
     
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  19. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Right to be sceptical.. always keep an open mind.. but no reason to believe the OP has an ulterior motive..

    Let's hear what he has to say before we blast him out the water ...hopefully he comes back to answer the questions..
     
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  20. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Simply called gas leak detector available in arosol form or little pump up bottles from e-bay or any plumbers merchants

    preferred and recommended by the gas sector to washing up liquid,as it does the job better, its as simple as that.
    If you dont have any "Proper Fluid" soap and water is better than nothing such leak test should be carried out at every cylinder change if exchange cylinders are used, and two or three times a season if an installed system is used IMHO
    The very nature of gas, sealed pipework and joints are alien to each other when used in a vibrating environment such as a motor vehicle
    the pic below shows my installed RV domestic gas tank, no leaks were ever detected whilst in use the previous summer and this leak occurred whilst the vehicle was parked up over the winter, as stated in other posts my nose suspected a leak just walking passed the RV. the fluid however pinpointed it,
    In anticipation of the question, the Fluid is better because it has better surface tension properties than soap and water and better cling characteristics,
    Any one willing to deny children's bubble make better bubbles thanfairy liquid and water
    Why??? its made for the job
    G
     

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