The van life has its ups and downs, but as everything else in life, if you take it all with a grain of salt, it becomes a lot more palatable!
When we got BigBlu, she had a few issues.
One of the issues we DIDN’T know she had was that her propane tank valve malfunctioned.
We got her so we could save money on eating out, which requires a functional stove top, most days.
In fact, we found out she was leaky mid-meal-making, at which point we proceeded to panic, as is the normal reaction when one is responsible for releasing toxic gasses into the atmosphere which are completely transparent, heavier than air, and could make you explode at the slightest spark. (did we mention this was in the parking lot of a public library, yeah)
Thankfully it was after hours and it was really windy, and we were parked on a hill, so we let BigBlu roll out to where it no longer smelled like propane and we started her up and drove off, without a clue as to what to do next. Technically you should burn the gas to safely dispose of it, but if it’s leaking from right next to the tank, well, that just sounds like a CRAZY idea!
We pass a fire station. Oh! oh! The firemen will know! Nope, turns out the Coupeville Fire Department is unmanned after hours. Do we call 911? Is this an emergency?
After much back and forth and a suspiciously long time in front of the firehouse we decide to park and spend the night in the ocean-front parking lot where we’re to catch the ferry across the bay the next day, open up the valve as far as it would leak and hope it would all be gone by morning.
In our defense it was extremely windy that night.
The tank was empty by morning. Hoorah!
Now we had to get this bad boy back in working condition, and that’s where things got real fun.
Getting the parts
Firstly, the tank is as old as BigBlu, that’s 35 years, older than me, and I’m getting old! The tank is attached under the van, directly under the cabinetry. If the bolts that hold it in start spinning loose from inside the van, we have to take all the cabinetry out to get to them! Getting the professionals to handle this could get real pricey, real quick.
We take matters into our own hands.
Vdub doesn’t even make these valves anymore, I had to spend hours online to find the one and only person that seems to have any left.
But now we have everything we need (3 states later, in California) and when we go to get the tank off, miracle, the bolts stay right where they are supposed to. whew!
Now to take the damn thing off….
How To Replace a Vanagon Propane Tank Valve
So there you have it!
If you find yourself with a leaky gas valve,
just get a new tank you’ll need these items:
…as well as some pretty heavy duty tools, lots of patience, and a fondness for the kind of adrenaline rush you get from not knowing if you’re going to explode when you turn on your engine.
When you’re finished fiddling with the whole thing you’ll want to get the tank pressure tested by professionals to make sure you put everything back in place nice and tight and you’re not going to leak or explode.
We hope this was either helpful, entertaining, or both!
Feel free to use the box below to ask any questions you might have!