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Portable Propane Tank Valve Problem

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  • Portable Propane Tank Valve Problem

    I have a Coleman stove that I bought a small refillable 1-gallon propane tank for. I have friends with the same setup with no problem- but I have been plagued with an issue where the first time I hook it up for the day it usually (but not always) works fine, but if you turn the propane valve off while in camp and then try to turn it on later, it doesn't allow the gas to flow (so yeah I try not to do that but sometimes the next day after travelling somewhere else it doesn't work either), or it will allow a little bit for a moment but then no more. Messing with it a million times usually fixes it for a single hook-up, but then it will happen again.

    I had the valve replaced on the tank and I think it worked for a while but now it's happening again! Have I really gotten two bad valves in a row or what? I have replaced the rest of the connection between the tank and the stove and it's none of those parts.

    When I open the valve all the way, toward the end of doing so it seems to "go loose" like it's not turning anything- but then it seems to re-engage as I close it again- but it makes me think that has something to do with it.


    Is this something I can fix myself (how?) or should I get yet another valve for this thing? Thanks all-
    Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

  • #2
    Although I am clueless as to the mechanical parts you are asking about, I do a lot of fabricating, rebuilding, and troubleshooting of my own mechanical objects... (I also own a norton commando too!,.. that's an inside joke that some will understand...)

    Sometimes.... when you have a few interacting mechanical parts and you can't tell which part is the issue by inspection, then the substitution method can be the next step. In the automotive world that method is referred to as, "throwing parts at the problem", which means you just start substituting parts since you can't detect which part is the bad part.... It's the expensive way to fix a car/bike since you end up replacing more than just the bad parts. (unless you get lucky replacing the most likely part and it's fixed on the first try...)

    In your case, If your stove would also work with a disposable propane tank as well as the refillable one you have, maybe you can thread the disposable tank on your stove the next time your system doesn't operate properly. If the stove works with the disposable tank, then you know it's the refillable tank that's screwed up. If the stove doesn't work with either tank,... it's something within the stove (that you're not detecting)

    I know it's not an answer to your issue, but maybe it's a way to isolate where the problem is... HTH...
    Last edited by tele.skier; 25 July 2014, 03:10 PM.
    the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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    • #3
      thanks TS- it is definitely the tank, the hose & stove works with other people's tanks just fine! I'm hoping someone will say something like "just insert a screwdriver into the widget receptacle" or something . . .
      Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tele 'til You're Smelly View Post
        I have a Coleman stove that I bought a small refillable 1-gallon propane tank for. I have friends with the same setup with no problem- but I have been plagued with an issue where the first time I hook it up for the day it usually (but not always) works fine, but if you turn the propane valve off while in camp and then try to turn it on later, it doesn't allow the gas to flow (so yeah I try not to do that but sometimes the next day after travelling somewhere else it doesn't work either), or it will allow a little bit for a moment but then no more. <<<snip>>>

        Is this something I can fix myself (how?) or should I get yet another valve for this thing? Thanks all-
        In my outdoorsey group, we have the same problem since we do a lot of camp type cooking over propane stoves during car camps. Here's the fix we use: If you have a regulator on the stove, and most of them do, there is usually a small vent hole on the regulator body. Turn off the gas valve to the tank, but leave it hooked up, stick your mouth over the hole in the regulator and suck until you hear the diaphragm inside the regulator click, pop or snap. (I'm not kidding.) Turn the gas back on, and see if it flows better. I think the newer diaphragms are more finicky than the old ones, and every once in a while they need for the pressure to be released to make them work. We have also used a block of wood or a screwdriver to rap on the side of the regulator, with mixed results. The vacuum trick, as rude as it sounds, has worked every time. No regulator? Can't help you there.

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        • #5
          Thanks I just I tried it- no help. Couldn't get it to make any noise. Anyway, I do think it's the tank valve. At one point I thought it WAS the regulator and replaced it, but then it started happening again.
          Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tele 'til You're Smelly View Post
            Thanks I just I tried it- no help. Couldn't get it to make any noise. Anyway, I do think it's the tank valve. At one point I thought it WAS the regulator and replaced it, but then it started happening again.
            You may be right, it could be the valve. OTOH, our regulators stick pretty often, and we have replaced them too. Even the latest replacement regulator sticks. Like many things, they don't make 'em like they used to...

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            • #7
              thanks for the tip soulman; the regulators they sell these days are indeed pieces of crap!

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              • #8
                Get a new tank?
                "Nobody ever got my name right." - Me

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                • #9
                  could it be altitude? where do you try to use it? coleman is at 800'. j

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