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Old 10-28-2016, 10:30 AM   #1
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Water Pump Left on now Propane won't work

2007 MB Sportsmobile Sprinter - San Francisco CA

I inadvertently left the water pump on after showering. 30 minutes later I noticed water was streaming out of the large square vent on the driver's side. Since then, I have not been able to get the propane to work. I initially thought that I was out of propane but when I went to fill it, it took only 0.40 lbs.

Could it be the ignition light is out? I see there are 2 reset buttons but nothing changed after pushing them in. I flipped the switch to turn on the propane but still nothing. If it is the ignition light, how do I go about lighting it? I have a picture but don't know how to attach it to this post.

I'd appreciate any guidance with what I may need to do to fix this. I have no service manual to reference this problem. Or if anyone has a recommendation where I can get this serviced at. Ideally, I'd like to get this fixed before I head for Josuha Tree in 2 weeks.

Thanks,

E
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:49 AM   #2
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E, is there a propane stove on board and have you tried it, yet? If there is and you can get it to light, it may help draw the propane into the tubes better. I have to do that to get my fridge to light. A long shot, maybe, but somewhere to start.
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Old 10-28-2016, 11:22 AM   #3
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E, is there a propane stove on board and have you tried it, yet? If there is and you can get it to light, it may help draw the propane into the tubes better. I have to do that to get my fridge to light. A long shot, maybe, but somewhere to start.
I turned on the propane switch and can hear nothing turning on. Tested the stove but nothing.

Here's a picture of the vent where we saw water flowing out which is in the propane ignition area.

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Old 10-28-2016, 12:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaimie View Post
I inadvertently left the water pump on after showering. 30 minutes later I noticed water was streaming out of the large square vent on the driver's side. Since then, I have not been able to get the propane to work. I initially thought that I was out of propane but when I went to fill it, it took only 0.40 lbs
Question:

Apart from just now, when you tried to refill the propane and found it would only take 0.40 pounds --- when was the last time you refilled the propane? And how many times have you done so? (As in ---- how long have you had this particular SMB?)

I ask this because:

I found a couple times (when taking my SMB to have the propane filled at gas stations, when I *knew* it was low) that the inexperienced attendant attempted to fill the propane tank and told me "It's already full."

The problem was that the propane tank was highly *pressurized*, but not with propane. Periodically (between fillings, when the tank is low), the tank needs to have its pressure relieved (vented) carefully. A tank can apparently "read" full but be actually only full of mostly pressurized air, with very little actual propane in the tank.

This has been my experience, anyway. It took a sharper-minded propane attendant that knew the proper venting procedure that needs to be done when refilling some propane tanks (to allow propane to actually enter the tank.)

Just sharing what I've learned, not sure if this is at all relevant to your situation. (Or if what I shared is already common knowledge.)
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
Question:

Apart from just now, when you tried to refill the propane and found it would only take 0.40 pounds --- when was the last time you refilled the propane? And how many times have you done so? (As in ---- how long have you had this particular SMB?)

I filled it previously about a month ago. Same propane station.
I ask this because:

I found a couple times (when taking my SMB to have the propane filled at gas stations, when I *knew* it was low) that the inexperienced attendant attempted to fill the propane tank and told me "It's already full."

The problem was that the propane tank was highly *pressurized*, but not with propane. Periodically (between fillings, when the tank is low), the tank needs to have its pressure relieved (vented) carefully. A tank can apparently "read" full but be actually only full of mostly pressurized air, with very little actual propane in the tank.

I saw him use a tool much like a screw driver where he vented the tank.

This has been my experience, anyway. It took a sharper-minded propane attendant that knew the proper venting procedure that needs to be done when refilling some propane tanks (to allow propane to actually enter the tank.)

Just sharing what I've learned, not sure if this is at all relevant to your situation. (Or if what I shared is already common knowledge.)
I've had the sprinter for 4 months so still learning. I video'd the presentation of all the appliances and stuff but lost all of the videos recently due to a theft.

Thanks for the feedback.

E
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Old 10-28-2016, 04:14 PM   #6
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I'm really intrigued with the issue you're seeming to have. And am having a hard time understanding how the propane system would be affected in any way by the water pump being left to run. (Unless the water flooded somehow into the area where your pilot light for the heater is located, and that extinguished the flame and triggered a failsafe valve to shut off.)

But that seems like it wouldn't kill the propane for the other systems in the van. Your stove should (I would think) still function just fine. Unless there's some kind of "total system shutoff safety valve" that cuts of propane to your entire set of RV systems for some reason. Perhaps the newer SMB's have such a total-system failsafe shutoff valve?

Is your propane system pretty simple? As in, do you (when setting up somewhere to camp) simply turn the valve on the propane tank to get things going? On my '95 SMB, for instance, I simply flip open the access door to the propane tank, and then turn the knob to open up flow from the tank to the van's stove / fridge / heater, and I'm in business. There's literally nothing else in the system. Theres a propane-filled tank, a valve that opens/closes, and then a network of pipes that run off to all the appliances. No more complicated than a barbecue grille with a propane tank on a hose attached to it.

Once the propane valve is turned on, there's immediately pressure unleashed from the propane tank and making its way through the lines. As already mentioned, the lines *do* need to have a small amount of air bled out of them before the propane begins to make its way out, but that only takes a few seconds. (If I turn on one of the stove's burners, I immediately hear gas hissing out (and better light it quickly, mine uses a manual, hand-held "clicker" to light the flame, just like any ordinary camp stove would.))

Diagnosing a propane problem seems like it would be pretty straightforward (in that respect), in that "either there's propane gas coming out under pressure, or there isn't," and that means either:

1) the valve at the propane tank isn't truly opening up when I turn the handle to open it
or
2) the lines are plugged(I have no idea how that would happen.)

Looking forward to you solving this one!
Good luck/please keep us posted.
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Old 10-28-2016, 09:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
I'm really intrigued with the issue you're seeming to have. And am having a hard time understanding how the propane system would be affected in any way by the water pump being left to run. (Unless the water flooded somehow into the area where your pilot light for the heater is located, and that extinguished the flame and triggered a failsafe valve to shut off.)

MAJOR CORRECTION!! It was the water from the water heater that was spilling over into the area below where the propane ignition is located.

But that seems like it wouldn't kill the propane for the other systems in the van. Your stove should (I would think) still function just fine. Unless there's some kind of "total system shutoff safety valve" that cuts of propane to your entire set of RV systems for some reason. Perhaps the newer SMB's have such a total-system failsafe shutoff valve?

I'm not sure if there's a total-system shut off valve. I recall seeing a 2008 Sportsmobile manual posted somewhere online & will look it up to see if it can help me figure this out. The mobile RV repair guy wants $165 per hour just to look it over & that's with me driving 40 miles to him.

Is your propane system pretty simple? As in, do you (when setting up somewhere to camp) simply turn the valve on the propane tank to get things going? On my '95 SMB, for instance, I simply flip open the access door to the propane tank, and then turn the knob to open up flow from the tank to the van's stove / fridge / heater, and I'm in business. There's literally nothing else in the system. Theres a propane-filled tank, a valve that opens/closes, and then a network of pipes that run off to all the appliances. No more complicated than a barbecue grille with a propane tank on a hose attached to it.

Yes very similar only with an additional flip switch located inside below the bench seat on the driver's side.

Once the propane valve is turned on, there's immediately pressure unleashed from the propane tank and making its way through the lines. As already mentioned, the lines *do* need to have a small amount of air bled out of them before the propane begins to make its way out, but that only takes a few seconds. (If I turn on one of the stove's burners, I immediately hear gas hissing out (and better light it quickly, mine uses a manual, hand-held "clicker" to light the flame, just like any ordinary camp stove would.))

Once I flip the interior switch for propane, I can hear it firing up and running.

Diagnosing a propane problem seems like it would be pretty straightforward (in that respect), in that "either there's propane gas coming out under pressure, or there isn't," and that means either:

1) the valve at the propane tank isn't truly opening up when I turn the handle to open it
or
2) the lines are plugged(I have no idea how that would happen.)

Looking forward to you solving this one!
Good luck/please keep us posted.
Yes the valve was open as the propane was running fine before the hot water heater spilled over.

Thanks for the feedback ... time to search for that PDF manual.


E
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Old 10-29-2016, 06:53 AM   #8
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You can find two E350 Sportsmobile Manuals here: http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...nuals-116.html

More importantly there are a couple of Suburban Water Heater manuals there. One that is specifically for trouble shooting "Water Heater Troubleshooting & Repair(Suburban)". The later pdf is from Heartland owners group, but is a wealth of information on the water heater.

I expect that the pressure relief valve opened up spewing water. You may have to look at the Hi-Limit/ECO Switch and Thermostat Assembly, hopefully it only tripped and just needs to be reset.

Do you have any other propane appliances? I think the switch you talk of is to just turn on water heater, propane is on with the valve at the tank.


Hope this helps

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Old 10-29-2016, 09:27 AM   #9
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As Scalf77 notes, the interior switch should be the on/off switch for the water heater--that switch does NOT turn the LP on and off.

LP is turned on and off using a handwheel valve that is mounted directly on the LP tank. When technician filled the tank, he should have closed that valve. You probably drove off, not realizing that he had closed the shutoff valve, then later discovered that neither your water heater nor your stove were working.

If you look at the exterior of your LP tank, you should be able to locate the handwheel that is the LP shutoff valve. Open the valve. As with any handwheel, once it is fully open, back it off just a bit to keep it from jamming. Once this valve is open, go back inside your rig, and try to light your stove. It might take a couple of tries as air clears from the lines. Once your stove is working properly, flip the switch to turn on the water heater. If the water heater comes on, then you are good to go. If the stove works and the water heater does not fire up, then it is time to do some specific trouble shooting at the water heater.
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Old 11-02-2016, 10:52 AM   #10
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Hi all,

Sorry, I've been away due to an extended illness in the family.

The propane last worked Saturday morning 10/22 at camp. The hot water stopped spilling out over the ignition area as soon as we turned off the water pump. I was able to read up on the link to troubleshooting the water heater and tried to push the 2 reset buttons but didn't feel anything to push in. I inadvertently pushed my nail through and made a whole in one. I flipped the switch inside the coach and I couldn't hear anything fire up. I also turned on the 2 burners on the stove and couldn't hear or smell any propane come out.

At this time, I am at a complete lost as to what I can do to correct this. I may end up calling the mobile RV repair to fix this before I leave for my trip in 10 days. His price is high at $165 an hour so I hope it won't cost much more if parts need to be replace. If anyone can recommend an RV service center in the San Francisco Bay Area, that would be great. Camping World is about 60 miles south of me but I haven't read many good reviews on their service department.

I appreciate everyone's input and assistance in regards to this matter. Hopefully there won't be any other issues for this newbie before I roadtrip on Route 66 next year.

E
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