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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Horizontally Vertical?

The first stage regulator diaphram on my motorhome failed and was leaking LP gas out the vent hole. I had my service center replace it but I think they may have installed the wrong regulator. The work order listed the regulator as a 2-stage regulator VERT. I asked what the VERT meant and the tech said not to worry, that the regulator was installed correctly. Since he didn't install a regulator cover I have some reason to suspect his competence. However, when I look up the regulator on the Marshall Brass Web site (the manufacturer) they show pictures of two regulator styles that are identical except for the vent discharge on the second stage regulator. I didn’t find enough information to allow me to decide which regulator model should have been installed. The motorhome has a horizontal tank and the regulator is also horizontal but on this new regulator the vent from the second stage regulator section is facing forward. I'm guessing that it should be pointed down. I'm trying to get information from other sources, but I’m feeling it may be difficult to get to anyone who knows about this issue.
Mike, (Vallejo, CA)

Mike, you are very astute and it’s a good thing. The RV Standards state that the vent portion of the LP regulator must be oriented in a downward position, within 45-degrees of vertical. And indeed it should be covered. Marshall Brass and others specifically manufacture LP regulators in various configurations to accommodate both horizontal mounting and vertical mounting. Your technician obviously installed a vertical regulator, (see photo), in a horizontal position thereby negating the “within 45-degrees of vertical” position of the vent. The reason for the standard is so that mud, snow, road debris, etc., will not have the ability to clog that secondary vent opening. It’s a safety issue. Now if that same regulator is mounted in a plastic cover, chances are good the vent would never become clogged with mud or freezing particles of ice and snow, and the regulator would still probably function correctly. But it simply is not the correct part for your installation.

I sensed a bit of disingenuous misinformation in your technician’s response, especially when you specifically asked what VERT meant. I’d look around for a more competent technician. At the very least, the Service Manager of that shop needs to be informed of your situation

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