The Camping Shower.
We are going to the cabin for a few days over the 4th of July.
I am taking the ‘on demand camping water heater’ for the shower to the cabin.
Last summer I noticed a gas smell when the the shower was turned on so I made sure to turn the gas off after every use.
Cheep and Easy Leak Detector.
A couple of days ago I decided to see if I could find the gas leak.
I got one of those cheep plastic water bottles, put a few drops of dish soap and some water in it, then poked a small hole in the cap.
I’ll use this for a leak detector.
Just squirt the soapy water on the connections and look for bubbles.
The Leak Showed up Right Away.
I hooked the gas line to the gas input fitting. Then connected the tank and turned on the gas. The first connection I checked of course was the input.
Bingo!! The fitting is leaking where the brass fitting connects to the pot-metal part.
This picture was taken after I tried using Royal Blue Silicone to seal it.
The fact that the brass fitting is bottomed out on the pot-metal part was a clue to what was really wrong.
It looked like this would be an easy fix. All that needs to be done is (Probably) just tighten the fitting.
I tightened the fitting.
It was tight already.
Turned on the gas.
Okay, no problem, I’ll just take the fitting off, clean things up and put some Rector Seal on the threads.
That should stop the leak. Right?
Okay now its time for serious measures.
I use blue silicone to seal almost everything on engines and other automotive stuff. It generally works real good so I figured it would seal this fitting.
I took the fitting apart, cleaned it up good and put the blue goop on the threads.
Screwed it on and tightened it up good. Then I took a break for about half an hour.
After the break, I turned on the gas, squirted soapy water on the connection and saw “Bubbles!!!”.
What could be going on here?
I looked at the pot-metal part and saw that since it was a casting, the threads were also cast into the part. That left a seam going across the threads. Could that be causing the leak?
I cleaned up the threads as much as I could, not wanting to damage them. I tried one more time using the rector seal.
Eventually the Light Comes On.
Finally, I realized that the fitting shouldn’t be bottoming out on the front of the pot-metal part. Therefore the brass fitting must be stretched out so I need another fitting.
I looked through my junk but didn’t find anything that would work so I hopped in the van and drove to the closest hardware store.
There, I bought the correct fitting, took it home and installed it. The fitting didn’t screw all the way down to the bottom. It tightened up on the threads the way it is supposed to.
I turned on the gas and squirted the soapy water on the fitting and there were No Bubbles.
Here is the fitting installed correctly, notice the gap between the brass and the pot-metal.
Okay that gas problem is fixed.
Time to Check Out the Stove.
I am starting to put stuff in the van for the Continental Divide trip.
One of the things is the cook stove and its cabinet. It fits behind the passenger seat between the engine box and the wall.
I try to cook outside as often as possible but if I do have to cook inside; the seat folds forward out of the way and the wall on the right side of the stove is a thin sheet of stainless steel.
Before I put the stove in, I wanted to clean it up and make sure it worked. The stove has been sitting in the back yard under the awning since I started working on the van and was covered in spider webs and leaves from the grape vine that covers the awning.
I brushed the leaves and spider webs off and took the stove into my shop. I set the stove on the welding table and using a rag, some WD-40, a shop-vac and compressed air I cleaned it up.
I connected the hose to the propane bottle and, turned the burner on and tried to light it.
I bent down and listened to the burner, couldn’t hear anything. I sniffed; nope, no smell.
I tried the other burner with the same result.
What the heck?
Maybe the jets are plugged.
I started to take the burners off but had second thoughts.
Why would both the jets plug at the same time?
Check the regulator.
I disconnected the hose between the regulator and the stove.
Then I took the tank with the regulator connected to it out side where I opened the valve on the tank. Gas just barley leaked out of the regulator. I tapped the regulator to see if that would jar it into working but no help.
I tried turning the adjustment screw in the regulator but that didn’t help either.
I finally decided that the regulator was trashed and started looking in my junk to see if I might have one around some where.
As it turned out the only one I had on hand was on my forge. As I don’t plan to do any blacksmithing anytime soon, I could use that regulator for the stove.
An advantage to this particular regulator is that it is adjustable. That might be an advantage on our trip as we will be changing altitude from near sea level to around 12000 feet at some places in the Rocky’s.
I doubt that we will be cooking at 12000 ft but being able to adjust the gas pressure might be useful at upper altitudes.
I connected the regulator to the stove hose, tested it and it worked great.
Okay I got that fixed and the stove is in the van.
Next: The Refrigerator.
The refrigerator was also sitting out back so I went back there and brought it into the shop. On the way, the gas regulator which is on the end of the hose fell to the cement. Of course this bunged up the end of the brass fitting.
While I was inspecting the end I noticed that the “O” ring was dry and cracked. I figured that between the gouges in the end of the fitting and the bad state of the “O” ring, this was probably going to leak. I need another fitting.
Again I dug through my brass fittings and came up with the one I took off the old regulator for the stove before I tossed it.
It was fortunate that the end of the hose had dropped and buggered the end of the fitting. If that hadn’t occurred I never would have seen the spider web and pieces of debris inside the regulator for the fridge.
I was able to dig the stuff out of the regulator with a bent pick and by using a turkey baster, taped on the end of the shop-vac hose, I was able to suck the rest out.
Once I got the regulator cleaned out I hooked it to the propane tank and checked it out. It appears to be working just fine.
Here is the fridge in the van. It’s more like a cooler than a fridge but it’s propane or electric powered. If you put it on max and keep it closed it will freeze everything in it.
Okay, well, that is what I have been playing with the last couple of days. As well as slowly getting things gathered up to go to the cabin for the fourth of July weekend.