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LPG and " Heavy Ends"


bobalobs

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I found " Diamond Dave's" item in October PMH of interest as I have also suffered from regulator blockage which the gas engineer put down to dirty gas.

Our system is an underfloor gas tank and regulator and have always filled at Shell LPG pumps which I believe are maintained by Calor.

This year the fridge became increasingly ineffective on gas though fine on electric and it was found the regulator was limiting supply to 26 rather than 30mbar. Though it was not possible to take the regulator apart all evidence pointed towards the regulator had been blocked by " Heavy Ends". A new regulator and a remounting of the regulator at a higher point to the tank seems to have resolved the problem touch wood. Can Diamond Dave or any of you experts help on the following.

 

1. Are there filters that can be fitted between the tank and the regulator?

2.Is the gas supplied by Calor to Shell stations dirtier than that they fill their cylinders and if so why?

3. When using LPG for automotive use rather than for heating do the vehicle engines suffer from "Heavy Ends" and if not why?

4. If a filter is available and stops " heavy ends " getting in the regulator will I end up with a gas tank full of horrid gunge at the bottom of the tank possibly to cause problems in the future?

I hope Dave or one of you know sthe answer to at least some of the above. Thanks.

 

 

 

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Hi,

Is/was you regulator a Truma ? if so thats your problem, Truma regs are known to fail on any gas delivery system bottle/refill cyl/tank

 

Heavy ends are known in automotive lpg installations and have a suitable drain point within the "converter" - the bit that converts the liquid propane into vapour

 

Most LPG converted cars run for many years without any problems with heavy ends but checking and draining are part of the service

 

In the above we are talking maybe 2000 plus liters of lpg per year and the heavy ends contamination is thought to be caused by the heat in the converter

 

Also think of the 1000.s of domestic LPG users who use 1000.s of liters a year running central heating,cooking etc , how many of these suffer heavy ends contamination?

 

I am now on my 6th motorhome using autogas/lpg from fixed tanks and have only had two regulator failures, both on my latest van both were Truma regulators both within 18 months

I changed to a Clesse regulator four years ago and have had no problems

 

In my opinion more of a regulator problem than a gas issue

 

Ray

 

PS I run my E240 Merc on gas and have not had any issues with heavy ends nore has its converter been drained

 

R.

 

 

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Rip the lot out, put some on-bottle regs on instead, and say goodbye to such problems.

 

On bottle regs work, are cheap, easy to replace, and reliable.

 

The industry took something that wasn't broken and fixed it until it was.

 

The occasional doomsayer will wring their hands and warn of impending explosions, ignore them, they've been brainwashed.

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Thanks Ray. It is a Truma regulator as is the replacement.If I have more trouble will look into the Cleese alternative. Truma apparently say they have a 3% failure rate having sold 40000 regulators.

I too think the regulator on the bottle worked well though we had regulator failures on a couple of occasions so we always carried a spare.Wondering whether I should do this with the current setup.

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Guest JudgeMental

Me to..had a failure last year of our 12 month old Trauma regulator while on way to Italy..cost me 2 days trying to get it sorted....with a months worth of insulin on board *-)

 

Not sure what I am going to do with the van, so will hold fire with changing for now, but never again will I rely on Trauma! (spelling intentional)

 

Still don't understand What " heavy ends " means"?

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Having used my refillable for several years with a truma reg in line I recently ended up with a virtually empty cylinder. I decided to let it vent off and fixed a cloth over the outlet to see if anything *dirty" came out (took safety precautions). Nothing, cloth was completely clean and dry after about 2 minutes venting.

 

Incidentaly, this was a Stako bottle and with full flow a shut-off valve within the bottle operated after 1 or 2 seconds so I had to reset until I found the right spot for the valve. I wasn't aware of this feature in refillables before.

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Judge as far as I can fathom "Heavy Ends" is tech speak for oily deposits/crud in the gas which can block jets and regulators. Whether it is in the liquid gas or forms when the liquid turns to gas is not clear to me.

I searched Cleese regulators and came across a Caravan talk thread which said that Cleese regulators have only one "chamber" whilst Truma have two so though Cleese are less likely to block they are more likely to let crud through and lead to a blockage further along the system!!

Truma have recently marketed a filter for a princely £60 odd but I cannot find anyone who has used one.. It looks as though it is designed to be fitted onboard rather than under the floor next to the tank.So straightforward to fit if Gaslow or similar fitted but not so simple in our case with the regulator being fitted on the chassis under the van. Truma have altered their regulator warranty to exclude regulators failing through oily deposits!

Anyway experience with these filters please let me know but in the meantime carrying a spare regulator looks like the only way to avoid Judge's traumas in Italy.

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Guest JudgeMental
One thing I never thought of doing and not sure if it would have worked was using a stick to hold the green button in on valve as a temp solution....would have saved us a lot if grief. it was suggested to me by maybe Kirbys but I can't remember...
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Light ends and heavy ends are pretty well what it says on the tin, really. Think of a litre of crude oil - when distlilled some of the components boil off first - these are the light ends. The heavy ends are either what is left (residuals) or what boils off last.

 

LPG is usually propane or a blend of propane/butane - but there is probably some C2 ethane (maybe 0,05%) and some C5 pentane (about the same) these are the light and heavy ends in LPG, plus any dissolved matter in the latter.

 

Hope that helps - it is I suppose an industry term.

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bobalobs - 2013-09-05 7:46 PM

1. Are there filters that can be fitted between the tank and the regulator?

Yes. Can't remember if it is made by Truma or Gaslow, but I think Truma. It has a removable element.

2.Is the gas supplied by Calor to Shell stations dirtier than that they fill their cylinders and if so why?

Possibly, but only because of accumulating crud in the storage tanks, in much the same way petrol/diesel can sometimes become contaminated. I believe this problem first surfaced some years back with exchange cylinders, so it is not exclusive to refillable systems. It has always seemed to afflict the GOK/Truma supplied regulators. I don't particularly remember other regulators being affected.

3. When using LPG for automotive use rather than for heating do the vehicle engines suffer from "Heavy Ends" and if not why?

I doubt it, because the LPG is delivered more or less into the engine as a liquid, and not de-pressurised to be delivered as a gas as it is in leisure vehicles.

4. If a filter is available and stops " heavy ends " getting in the regulator will I end up with a gas tank full of horrid gunge at the bottom of the tank possibly to cause problems in the future?

I don't think that should be the result, as the crud is clearly being delivered to the regulator at present, so is presumably not accumulating greatly in the tank. All that should happen is that the filter will catch it before the regulator. I think the filter is fairly expensive, so it may be more economical to switch to a Clesse regulator. Have a look also at Gaslow, whose regulators, I think, are possibly by Clesse. I don't recall the problem arising with theirs, despite their systems being designed for, and extensively used with, LPG.

I hope Dave or one of you know sthe answer to at least some of the above. Thanks.

Having said the above, these observations are no more than I have gleaned over time. Others (including Dave) are far more knowledgeable on this subject then me.

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