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Old 06-22-2019, 05:43 PM   #1
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Burned propane smell & CO in Camper…

Burned propane smell & CO in Camper…

While camping the past few days at 9,000’ elevation in the Colorado Rockies, I had the propane detector come on (beeping loudly) on Wed. Then this morning, the CO detector came on. I also have occasionally noticed a “burned propane exhaust” type smell in the camper the past couple of days. Not continuous. Just occasoinally.

I had been camping at relatively high altitude (above 7,000’) for the past week and in the past three days, at the 9,000’ campsite with the driver’s side of the camper - the side with the external appliance hatches) directly facing into very strong winds. Up to 30 mph. (I’ve been at a radio controlled glider event where we glide on the orographic lift - winds up a slope. And we camp at the top of the slope.)

Our camper is a 2018 Escape 19’er, picked up in December 2018.

So… What’s up? There are three appliances which could be the culprit. Refrigerator. Water heater. Furnace. All three otherwise seem to be working fine.

I don’t think the problem is the refrigerator, as it has been on continuously all week and the smell, and warning beeps have been infrequent.

So, it could be the either the Suburban SW6DE Gas Water Heater or Dometic DF Series Furnace both of which were being used intermittently while camping.

My sense it it’s probably the furnace. But that’s just a guess.

I’m wondering if running any of the propane appliances at 7,000’ to 9,000’ for a week might have “soot’d up” a burner or something, creating incomplete combustion. Or perhaps even relevant… Might just running appliances with burners obviously made to run at far closer to sea level cause excessive fumes?

Perhaps having the furnace & hot water heater exhaust & air intake facing such strong winds, might have caused the issue.

Or… ?

What’d think? Where might I look for the “problem”.

Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeBoulder View Post
Burned propane smell & CO in Camper…

While camping the past few days at 9,000’ elevation in the Colorado Rockies, I had the propane detector come on (beeping loudly) on Wed. Then this morning, the CO detector came on. I also have occasionally noticed a “burned propane exhaust” type smell in the camper the past couple of days. Not continuous. Just occasoinally.

I had been camping at relatively high altitude (above 7,000’) for the past week and in the past three days, at the 9,000’ campsite with the driver’s side of the camper - the side with the external appliance hatches) directly facing into very strong winds. Up to 30 mph. (I’ve been at a radio controlled glider event where we glide on the orographic lift - winds up a slope. And we camp at the top of the slope.)

Our camper is a 2018 Escape 19’er, picked up in December 2018.

So… What’s up? There are three appliances which could be the culprit. Refrigerator. Water heater. Furnace. All three otherwise seem to be working fine.

I don’t think the problem is the refrigerator, as it has been on continuously all week and the smell, and warning beeps have been infrequent.

So, it could be the either the Suburban SW6DE Gas Water Heater or Dometic DF Series Furnace both of which were being used intermittently while camping.

My sense it it’s probably the furnace. But that’s just a guess.

I’m wondering if running any of the propane appliances at 7,000’ to 9,000’ for a week might have “soot’d up” a burner or something, creating incomplete combustion. Or perhaps even relevant… Might just running appliances with burners obviously made to run at far closer to sea level cause excessive fumes?

Perhaps having the furnace & hot water heater exhaust & air intake facing such strong winds, might have caused the issue.

Or… ?

What’d think? Where might I look for the “problem”.

Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts.
On a previous trailer we found that the water heater emitted a lot of fumes when running, we would have to close all the windows when running it to avoid the fumes getting sucked into the trailer. Do you have any windows open? Could be exhaust fumes from the water heater or furnace could be getting blown inside by an unusually strong wind.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:45 PM   #3
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We had the same problem with our hot water heater. Our detector would go off and we had that funky burnt propane smell in the trailer.
Took the supply tube between the orifice and regulator out and tapped it on a piece of white paper and got some little black flecks out, cleaned the orifice and the problem was solved.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:50 PM   #4
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Greg,
We have had the EXACT same issues. I will respond in more detail soon.

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Old 06-22-2019, 07:19 PM   #5
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I don't know which side the water heater is on, but with both my 17 & more often with my 21, I have had the CO detector go off when there is a strong wind blowing into the water heater. I checked for openings, and found a small one around the electric wire & gas line. Plugged them with Duct Seal Compound, useful stuff that I carry a 1 pound block. It resulted in alarms less often, however in a strong wind it still sometimes happens.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:30 PM   #6
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Greg,
We have had very similar issues on our current trip. The burnt smell, at altitude, CO detector going off, high winds hitting that side of the trailer-pretty much exactly as you describe. I spoke to Reace at the Escape Rally (and also with Dave in service prior to the rally) and their consensus was either an altitude issue or perhaps a regulator issue. I do plan on replacing the regulator when I get back home. Others here on the forum have been at altitude with no issues.

When having my propane tanks refilled the other day the tech there felt that it was the pigtail hoses that connect the tanks to the regulator-cheap OEM hoses vs hand built ones. This seems to have settled the water heater as it appears to be working just fine. And of course I am no longer at altitude and we are now in hot weather so I can’t speak about the furnace. When I did have the furnace checked by a tech it worked fine but we were below 5,000 ft. So are my issues resolved? Can’t really say but I will keep a watchful eye on things.

And unfortunately the only help from Escape now is referring me to Suburban or Dometic service, no help in trouble shooting. Oh and our trailer is one month newer than yours.

Probably not much help here but at least you aren’t alone.

Steve
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:40 PM   #7
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Many here have swapped out stock regulator with Marshall Excelsior MEGR-253 and new hoses to address various issues with propane service.
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:02 AM   #8
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Many here have swapped out stock regulator with Marshall Excelsior MEGR-253 and new hoses to address various issues with propane service.
should I spend the money on the ME pigtails too, or are generic cheaper ones usually ok? and, is it worth the extra $$ for he stainless shielded ones?

like, https://www.amazon.com/Marshall-Exce.../dp/B019QGOU3G

vs https://www.amazon.com/Marshall-Exce...dp/B00HJ6ORDE/

vs noname stainless, https://www.amazon.com/SHINESTAR-Pig.../dp/B07F2D2XQH

vs https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C4R3HJW


yeah, too many choices. I'm assuming 15" is the right length for the two pigtails ? guess I should measure mine but its dark out


edit: my factory regulator doesn't seem to fail over automatically.... the fridge was clickclickclick not starting when tank1 got empty, and flippign the lever didn't seem to help, but when I switched the full for the empty tank, it was fine again. huh.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:47 AM   #9
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If and when I start replacing, I'd go with the stainless models, for a few bucks more, they will last longer.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:57 AM   #10
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should I spend the money on the ME pigtails too, or are generic cheaper ones usually ok? and, is it worth the extra $$ for he stainless shielded ones?
Have had good luck with higher quality Mr. Heater pigtails. Different lengths available but I believe 12” is enough.

Propane leak at the tank connection
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:58 AM   #11
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The propane tech will faint if that ever happens
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:43 PM   #12
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2 separate issues- water heater CO alarm and leaking pigtails

From the beginning, we have had an issue with the CO monitor going off and the bad smell when the water heater is on. It's intermittent, sometimes there's a strong wind, but sometimes there's not. We definitely have to close the windows above the water heater when it is on to stop the smell from coming in, but sometimes the monitor goes off even with the windows closed. We just live with it and don't leave the water heater on all the time, only when we need a new supply of hot water for showers, etc. Sometimes we have to open the outside water heater cover to use it to keep the monitor from going off, even though there's a warning label not to run the water heater with that open.

Our new problem is cracked propane pigtails. We were surprised to see that since our trailer is only two years old, but I guess from reading all your posts, it's normal. We had a nasty surprise while spending a week in Yosemite Valley and finding our previously full tanks totally empty. No refrigerator! Eat that ice cream quickly everyone! We hope new pigtails will prevent that from happening again. Are there other propane hoses that may wear out quickly that we need to know about??!! Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:23 AM   #13
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🤔If it was me, first thing I would do is try and deflect that wind hitting side of trailer, maybe turn it in other direction or perhaps park your tow next to it. Eliminate the easy stuff first before going to a major overhaul. 😎
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:03 AM   #14
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Interesting that the water heater is under the large rear awning window in the rear in both these models, wondering if the window operation while the w/h is in operation is impacted? Perhaps closing that window when using the water heater may eliminate these odor issues?
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:27 AM   #15
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Interesting that the water heater is under the large rear awning window in the rear in both these models, wondering if the window operation while the w/h is in operation is impacted? Perhaps closing that window when using the water heater may eliminate these odor issues?
With the wind hitting the trailer and that window open it would push fumes in. We have gotten a propane smell even with no wind, but never enough to set off alarm.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:21 AM   #16
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Our new problem is cracked propane pigtails. We were surprised to see that since our trailer is only two years old, but I guess from reading all your posts, it's normal. We had a nasty surprise while spending a week in Yosemite Valley and finding our previously full tanks totally empty. No refrigerator! Eat that ice cream quickly everyone! We hope new pigtails will prevent that from happening again. Are there other propane hoses that may wear out quickly that we need to know about??!! Thanks everyone.
The pigtails eventually will show their age and leak but 2 years seems ridiculous. If you are looking to upgrade we have been happy with these:
https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-Pro.../dp/B000LNJQ0Q

The only rubber hoses are at the front of the trailer. It consists of the pigtails and then a larger hose leaving the regulator and tying into a hard pipe down along the tongue. Just make sure this larger hose is not rubbing on the propane tray edge as it passes down through the hole. Some owners have had trouble with this. I took another piece of reinforced hose and cut a slit wrapped it around the line and zip tied it to act as a protective layer.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:43 PM   #17
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I just checked mine and yikes, the picture tells it all. Have ordered replacements.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg propanehose.jpg (82.0 KB, 31 views)
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:09 PM   #18
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Mine too, Myron. This will be the second set on ours. Wonder if the stainless braided would be any better. These aren’t subject to UV either as they’re under the tank cover.
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:11 PM   #19
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Hey Myron.
You had some many variables with your refer, it will be hard to figure out which one cured its proper operation......
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:14 PM   #20
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Do any of those with the cracking hoses store the trailer under cover? I noticed most that posted about it, if not all, are from the SW.

I just replaced the originals on my brothers outdoor stored 2007 Jayco, the hoses themselves were still fine, the brass joints were leaking.
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