Gas regulators on 2004 on vans

Mar 14, 2005
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Went away at the weekend, turned on the gas and 'nuffin'. Some investigation and the result was 'nuffin' coming out of the regulator. Phoned the dealer this morning 'ah' he said 'I've had three or four like that'. So if you have the fixed type regulator be prepared to have to find the nearest pub - or carry a spare.
 
Aug 23, 2005
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I had the same problem with my new Elddis and got no help from the dealer whilst on holiday, but did get the same reply as yourself when I went to exchange it. My brother-in-law has had the same fault with his new Swift and guess what, he was given the same reply by his dealer. His dealer did come up with a theory that it is the Butane gas (blue bottle) that is not as refined as the Propane and has recomended changing gas to stop it blocking up.

I would be interested to know which gas you are using to see if the theory is true, as I am also using Butane.

Thanks
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Paul & Andy

I suspect the dealer does not really know what has happened to the regulator, and they are using technobable to make it sound good.

As you probably already know, Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a product of crude oil. The production process is not 100% perfect and a small amount of heavier oils and waxes can get into the bottles. Being heavier than the LPG, they will normally rest at the bottom of the bottle. However if the bottle is stored on it's side or upside down, some if the heavy ends may find thier way into the neck of the bottle, and if the valve is opened, then into the pipework. Thsi can cause blockages in the small jets of burners.

The size of the orofice in the regulator can be quite small but it is usually an order of magnitude larger than a burner jet, so it would probably tend to self clean. BUT
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Paul & Andy

I suspect the dealer does not really know what has happened to the regulator, and they are using technobable to make it sound good.

As you probably already know, Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a product of crude oil. The production process is not 100% perfect and a small amount of heavier oils and waxes can get into the bottles. Being heavier than the LPG, they will normally rest at the bottom of the bottle. However if the bottle is stored on it's side or upside down, some if the heavy ends may find thier way into the neck of the bottle, and if the valve is opened, then into the pipework. Thsi can cause blockages in the small jets of burners.

The size of the orofice in the regulator can be quite small but it is usually an order of magnitude larger than a burner jet, so it would probably tend to self clean. BUT
Pressed the send button by mistake!

BUT, as the oils tend to be waxy, this could cause the regulator injector pin to stick.

Unless you have been careless with your gas bottles this is unlkely to happen.

For this and other safety reasons you must always keep and use gas bottles in the upright position.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I had same fault on 2004 swift no gas from regulator while on holiday went to caravan access-shop bought normal clip on reg and used hose of gas barbi . Turn off gas tap at bulk head reg. connect barbie hose to bottle & plug in to barbi connection on van worked ok . got reg renewed after hols.
 
Aug 23, 2005
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I had same fault on 2004 swift no gas from regulator while on holiday went to caravan access-shop bought normal clip on reg and used hose of gas barbi . Turn off gas tap at bulk head reg. connect barbie hose to bottle & plug in to barbi connection on van worked ok . got reg renewed after hols.
I would be interested to know which type of gas you were using at the time.
 
Oct 3, 2005
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Whilst away with friends over Spring Bank Holiday they had the regulator fail on their 2004 Coachman. Dealer changed it after the holiday. We cooked their food for them. Went away with them again last weekend. This time we had no gas on our 2005 Swift. Our dealer was unable to assist over the weekend and suggested we spoke to a dealer that was local to where we were staying. They sorted it in 15 minutes by fitting a new regulator.

This dealer told us that they had had loads of them fail and that it was down to the gas being supplied by Calor being contaminated with oil. They showed us a regulator that they had opened up and the oil that it contained. We were told that caravans running on butane were more prone to the failures. Our friends had been using butane, we had been using propane.

If it means that we now have to change the regulator after every 6 months or 2 bottles of gas, caravanning is going to become extremely expensive as these regulators cost
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Hi guys,

Sorry to hear of your experiences with regulators, both fixed and moveable, they shouldn't do that. I design process control analysers and instrumentation systems, so I have some experience of petrochemical refining, and maybe this will help:

Butane and propane are distillation products from crude oil, sometimes from natural gas, sometimes from the further processing of heavier boiling streams.

Butane and propane are the names of pure compounds, but what goes into a gas bottle is the natural mixture of gases that all boil at a similar temperature, but they will all be gases at room temperature.

The key point being that the what goes in the gas bottle has to have been a gas at close to room temperature, and unless there was prior contamination of the gas bottle, heavy components like waxes and oils won't make it into the supply stream.

It is not uncommon for machining oil or other lubricants used in machining aluminium components to be inadvertently included in new regulators, or tubing fittings, whatever.

It's easy to tell the source of the contamination, a simple laboratory test is required, but this can't be judged by eyeball.

European Regulators:

From the Eriba owners groups - there have been no reported regulator problems - but the Eriba uses the German GOK wall mounted regulator.

Robert
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi guys,

Sorry to hear of your experiences with regulators, both fixed and moveable, they shouldn't do that. I design process control analysers and instrumentation systems, so I have some experience of petrochemical refining, and maybe this will help:

Butane and propane are distillation products from crude oil, sometimes from natural gas, sometimes from the further processing of heavier boiling streams.

Butane and propane are the names of pure compounds, but what goes into a gas bottle is the natural mixture of gases that all boil at a similar temperature, but they will all be gases at room temperature.

The key point being that the what goes in the gas bottle has to have been a gas at close to room temperature, and unless there was prior contamination of the gas bottle, heavy components like waxes and oils won't make it into the supply stream.

It is not uncommon for machining oil or other lubricants used in machining aluminium components to be inadvertently included in new regulators, or tubing fittings, whatever.

It's easy to tell the source of the contamination, a simple laboratory test is required, but this can't be judged by eyeball.

European Regulators:

From the Eriba owners groups - there have been no reported regulator problems - but the Eriba uses the German GOK wall mounted regulator.

Robert
Hello Rob,

I concur completely, except, I also have much experience in the field of LPG in caravans, and contamination of the fixed pipework and low lying valves (usually Carver Cascade water heaters)is not as uncommon as you might think. The cause is usually down to the owner storing or moving gas bottles on their sides. A heavy waxy oily deposit that smells very strongly of the mecaptin sulphides used to stench the gas.

Generally customers own up and learn from the lesson, especially when the inherent dangers are pointed out.
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Ian,

I would think or hope that they would be identical, the new gas regulations are an EN standard and were accepted by all of the member countries.

It could be a manufacturing batch problem; as an example a few years ago we had a batch of precision regulators from the USA - all of which were contaminated with machining oil.

It could be a contamination problem with the cleaning of the gas bottles.

Robert
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Hi guys,

Sorry to hear of your experiences with regulators, both fixed and moveable, they shouldn't do that. I design process control analysers and instrumentation systems, so I have some experience of petrochemical refining, and maybe this will help:

Butane and propane are distillation products from crude oil, sometimes from natural gas, sometimes from the further processing of heavier boiling streams.

Butane and propane are the names of pure compounds, but what goes into a gas bottle is the natural mixture of gases that all boil at a similar temperature, but they will all be gases at room temperature.

The key point being that the what goes in the gas bottle has to have been a gas at close to room temperature, and unless there was prior contamination of the gas bottle, heavy components like waxes and oils won't make it into the supply stream.

It is not uncommon for machining oil or other lubricants used in machining aluminium components to be inadvertently included in new regulators, or tubing fittings, whatever.

It's easy to tell the source of the contamination, a simple laboratory test is required, but this can't be judged by eyeball.

European Regulators:

From the Eriba owners groups - there have been no reported regulator problems - but the Eriba uses the German GOK wall mounted regulator.

Robert
John,

The mercaptan odourants will dissolve in any oil that is present in the system, because the oil smells it doesn't mean the source of the contamination comes from the gas.

I can see a fun time ahead where the dealers blame the bottled gas supplier, and vice versa.

If we could get a sample of the oil, then it would be very easy for our laboratory to profile the oil and identify it's source.

Robert
 
Mar 14, 2005
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John,

The mercaptan odourants will dissolve in any oil that is present in the system, because the oil smells it doesn't mean the source of the contamination comes from the gas.

I can see a fun time ahead where the dealers blame the bottled gas supplier, and vice versa.

If we could get a sample of the oil, then it would be very easy for our laboratory to profile the oil and identify it's source.

Robert
Hello Rob,

You are quite right, the source of the contamination cannot be identified by a simple visual inspection.

I distinctly recall some of Calor's training advisor's stating that some bottles can contain heavy ends from the fractionating process.and in my own experience some affected caravans demonstrated the same deposit in the valve coupling on the bottle.

Regardless of the source. It is still good practice to maintain LPG bottles in the fully upright attitude at all times.
 
Mar 29, 2005
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hi,there has been a problem with the new regulators,of the fixed in kind,i have read of a few that have gone for a new bottle of gas and bottle was half full on inspection.lucky the wardens are aware of the problem.and a new regulator fixed it.
 
Oct 1, 2005
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There is now a memo from Truma, that states, that they are aware of the problem, the fault lies with a type of black oil getting into the regulator and rendering it useless, they arnt sure where it is coming from, but say it is regional and some parts of the country arnt affected.

They also say until they find out exactly where the oil is coming from they will under warranty replace all affected ones.

Anyone who has had this problem and has dipped their hand into their own pocket, to pay for it should be able to claim a refund.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Interesting comment about 'black' oil because the only heavy ends I have seen are tan or sometimes almost yellow.

From what I have been told it would seem the problem lies or rather the 'oil' lies between the first and second stage of the regulator where it is reduced first from bottle pressure to 150mb and then down to 30mb working pressure.

Heavy ends are present in gas to some degree but as a problem it was rare. If it did under the old system escape from the bottle it as said settles in the lowest part of the vans pipework where occasionally would be moved to damage gas valves at or just above this level.

If indeed it is heavy ends then perhaps I could offer this as a

reason. First Butanes bottle pressure is about 25psi while Propane is over 125psi and can be far higher on a hot day. Given that and I would think the heavy ends are going to be most likely suspended in the liquid on arrival at site and when the bottle is switched on, or worse if travelled open!.

Then and this is where I am not sure but the extra pressure in the propane bottle would serve to keep the oil in the bottle rather than the other way round. The reason being the oil would have less chance of moving though the higher pressure gas or staying with the liquid as it changes to gas. This then would account for apparently or should that be allegedly Butane being the main culprit.

Frankly I think I am on firmer ground when I say, I don't hold with machining oils being left in after manufacture, that surely would mean the manufacturing process was seriously flawed and although this is a big problem it's not that big...not on the quantities being produced
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Gary,

Butane and propane are used to dissolve heavy oils, so if the black stuff was in the bottle it should be totally dissolved and not a globby oil slick in the bottom of the bottle.

Like you, the only time I've seen black stuff come out of a refinery is from the bottom of the vacuum still.

Robert
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Interesting comment about 'black' oil because the only heavy ends I have seen are tan or sometimes almost yellow.

From what I have been told it would seem the problem lies or rather the 'oil' lies between the first and second stage of the regulator where it is reduced first from bottle pressure to 150mb and then down to 30mb working pressure.

Heavy ends are present in gas to some degree but as a problem it was rare. If it did under the old system escape from the bottle it as said settles in the lowest part of the vans pipework where occasionally would be moved to damage gas valves at or just above this level.

If indeed it is heavy ends then perhaps I could offer this as a

reason. First Butanes bottle pressure is about 25psi while Propane is over 125psi and can be far higher on a hot day. Given that and I would think the heavy ends are going to be most likely suspended in the liquid on arrival at site and when the bottle is switched on, or worse if travelled open!.

Then and this is where I am not sure but the extra pressure in the propane bottle would serve to keep the oil in the bottle rather than the other way round. The reason being the oil would have less chance of moving though the higher pressure gas or staying with the liquid as it changes to gas. This then would account for apparently or should that be allegedly Butane being the main culprit.

Frankly I think I am on firmer ground when I say, I don't hold with machining oils being left in after manufacture, that surely would mean the manufacturing process was seriously flawed and although this is a big problem it's not that big...not on the quantities being produced
Hi

I would agree. I have only seen straw coloured thick oils, never black as yet.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Another interesting comment about LPG dissolving things because I had wondered if the gas has reacted with any lubricant used, or perhaps a wrong type of rubber,(to use a generic term),in any seals present and again LPG is known to do.

I have talked with Calor in the past about heavy ends, their attitude is it far less of a problem now as refining has improved which bears out my own findings.. only being present in older van systems and then only rarely. But it could be a bad batch of gas as could it be with the regulators

Sure like to get to my hands on the evidence...I like a good mystery!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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hi,not a gas expert,never will be.does the general opinion go for a faulty batch of gas regulators.
As the topic is called regulators on 2004 caravans and I am informed that it is also occurring on brand new caravans I don't see how it can be a regulator batch problem. Also as these regulators have been fitted to caravans and motorhomes since 2002 why are we only now experiencing a problem? For me it would point at the gas being the culprit.
 
Oct 3, 2005
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hi,not a gas expert,never will be.does the general opinion go for a faulty batch of gas regulators.
Thanks for all you responses. I have been offered a refund for the regulator that I had to buy. Reference the colour of the oil in the regulator that I was shown by the dealer where I bought a new regulator - it was a clear golden colour.

Both the failed and the new regulators are of GOK manufacture.
 
Oct 1, 2005
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Update on my previous post.

I had to replace another one today, customer came in while still on holiday, the gas cooker was lighting at full pressure then within 3 sec's, died off to very low flame, but stayed on.

the water heater also lit, but after 2 sec,s started to spark again.

i undid the pigtail to the bottle and with the pressure left in the pipe got my hand covered in a very light mist of clear (ish maybe)fine oil.

I changed the regulator & all was fine again, its not down to butane (at least not alone) as this was a propane bottle & the van had never seen a butane bottle in its life.(guaranteed)

the bottle was bought in the durham area, north east england & is an area that is affected.
 
Oct 3, 2005
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Update on my previous post.

I had to replace another one today, customer came in while still on holiday, the gas cooker was lighting at full pressure then within 3 sec's, died off to very low flame, but stayed on.

the water heater also lit, but after 2 sec,s started to spark again.

i undid the pigtail to the bottle and with the pressure left in the pipe got my hand covered in a very light mist of clear (ish maybe)fine oil.

I changed the regulator & all was fine again, its not down to butane (at least not alone) as this was a propane bottle & the van had never seen a butane bottle in its life.(guaranteed)

the bottle was bought in the durham area, north east england & is an area that is affected.
Referring back to my original posting. These are the exact symptoms my friend experienced at Spring BH, although in this instance he had only ever used Butane. In our case we were unable to light anything and we have only used Propane for many years. In both cases the gas supplies were bought in the West Midlands.
 

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