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 > Oil in Propane

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Waitin2Retire

Mohegan Lake, NY

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Posted: 02/06/21 12:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey All,
I'm trying to determine how to troubleshoot/correct my propane issue safely. This is on a 1998 Roadtrek 170 Popular on Dodge chassis.

I was smelling propane and saw the hose from tank to regulator was dry rotted. I replaced the hose and regulator. The old regulator was dripping oil when I removed it. I didn't think to check for more oil in the lines or the tank. Is there a safe way to empty the propane tank and flush the tank and lines to the appliances?

Thanks in Advance!
Greg

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 02/06/21 01:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Propane dealer, like Suburban or Amerigas.


Bud
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ajriding

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Posted: 02/07/21 12:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Odd one...

What kind of oil exactly did it seem like? motor oil? cooking oil? or just a black ooze?

There is no reason oil should be in a propane tank. If there is oil then I can't see how it would matter. The propane comes out of the tank as a gas, and if there is oil in that tank it should not vaporize and come out with the propane gas.
Oil in the copper tubing on the camper carrying the propane should not matter either. It should settle out or just stick to the walls and never make it to the appliances.
If oil somehow made it to the burners then what would it do? burn?

I suspect your oil could be a deteriorting rubber hose.

As for the question, how to flush a tank... It will be cheaper to just get a new tank. I assume you have a 30 lb tank, not an exchangeable 20 lb bbq tank.
You cannot flush it. A qualified propane tank business will be able to remove the nozzle and then have full access to the inside of the tank, or maybe they have an easier method.

Flushing your plumbing system? No need that I am aware of unless it is full oil quarts of oil, and if that is the case you have some serious problems that cannot be solved with advice.

wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 02/07/21 03:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not odd at all. Propane is "refined" from oil and sometimes a bit of oil remains in the finished product and is transferred to the customer's tank.

As for the advice to go to a Big Propane place like Amerigas et-al.. (I like Parker's in Flint, MI or Carmichael's in Tekonsha MI) The wholesale places (Quick Stop in Quartzsite AZ is good,, you will find a lot of smaller places that are basically outlets and do not do repair work You need a tank cert place to drain, purge and refill the tank... Sounds worse than it is.

That one in Tekonsha, MI (Home of the Prodgy Brake Controllers) can be hard to find for most folks (For me it's dang near "With eyes closed" 60 years ago it was a dairy farm where (This is a joke folks) I shoveled political promises or something like them.


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after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
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Boon Docker

Mountain Foothills of Southern Alberta

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Posted: 02/07/21 04:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is a "drip leg" installed for home use propane systems to catch the oil, but not with RV's. It is not necessary in RV's as the propane system is not used as much as at home.

Waitin2Retire

Mohegan Lake, NY

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Posted: 02/07/21 07:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Will have to research a tank certification location and give a call. I'm gonna assume it might be cheaper to replace the tank but you never know.

If I get a few warm days I'll pull the new regulator out and see if it has any oil in it.

Greg

Retired JSO

North Georgia Mountains

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Posted: 02/07/21 08:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Waitin2Retire wrote:

Will have to research a tank certification location and give a call. I'm gonna assume it might be cheaper to replace the tank but you never know.

If I get a few warm days I'll pull the new regulator out and see if it has any oil in it.

Greg

Better recheck that, only DOT cylinders such as 20-30-40-100 lb cylinders require recertification every 10 years. Your built in tank should have a ASME rating requiring no recertification as long as it appears in good shape.





MEXICOWANDERER

las peƱas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 02/08/21 06:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Propane, Butane, and Isobutane in refinery process must have lubricant to protect pneumatic valves and sensors. It is usually integral with an odorant. After odorant the gas is stored where precipitation permits the oil to drop to the bottom of the vessel. There must be three dozen ways for this process to fail to capture all the oil. Saturated with odorant the leak causes untold false alarms for leakage.

opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 02/08/21 07:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would probably just leave it unless there is a problem with your propane appliances.
If I was concerned I would open a line near the end to the system and with no flame around open and bleed some propane out to flush the oil.


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mobeewan

Hampton, Va

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Posted: 02/09/21 12:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This article gives some insight into the oily residue in Liquid Propane Gas. Emphasis on Liquid.

LPG is a byproduct of oil refining. It is compressed and becomes a liquid therefore trapping impurities (the oily residue) in it. Part of it could very well be additional lubricants added to protect the equipment from wear when the gas is compressed. It is also difficult to analyze and remove the impurities as mentioned in the article.

After compressing into a liquid state LPG is then shipped with a minute amount of the impurities in it to distributors. It is then transfered again as a liquid into the distributors storage tanks, then transfered again either to dot cylinders, if the they do retail sales or again as a liquid into tanks on trucks to again be transfered as a liquid into tanks at homes, businesses and even retail sellers such as Tractor Supply, U-Haul, Southern States, etc.

So the whole time after the manufacturing process it is handled in a liquid state. The oil is suspended within that liquid state.

When your cylinder for your trailer or the tank on your motor home is filled that oil can coat the internal surfaces in the shutoff valve itself. As propane gas flows out of the tank or cylinder, oil captured on the internal valve surfaces can eventually over time build up in the regulators and hoses of your RV through multiple cycles of refilling the tanks and cylinders. This is not blackened oil coming from the hoses breaking down, but as I myself have noticed as having a yellowish consistency, so it is leaching out from the Liquid Propane itself even before the liquid reverts back to a gas.

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