Turning gas off underslung tank

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Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by artheytrate on Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:00 pm

Does anyone with under slung tank turn the gas supply off when travelling or going on the ferry, as you have to lie down on your back to do this.

John.
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Jaytee on Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:10 pm

I just turned of at the regulator, albeit underneath is easier than taking the cover off the tank to get at the master valve. I think some just turn off at the individual taps inside the van. Always best to check with the ferry or tunnel operator.
I have removed the cover from the tank, cleaned and lubed the threads etc so 'if' I ever have to turn it off there it will be relatively easy.

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Gromit on Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:05 pm

Having been through the tunnel several times, the person who checks the gas has always been quite happy to see it turned off at a clearly labelled isolating valve.

Ours is an after market installation (by Autogas2000 in Thirsk) but I expect the A/S installed systems are very similar.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Gromit on Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:23 am

P.S. Should have said "externally accessed" isolation valve - in what used to be the gas locker.

I don't think they would be happy if only the internal isolating valves were turned off. The surveillance cameras would not be able to see if the gas was turned on again after inspection.

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Peter Brown on Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:55 am

AS design procedure is to turn off all internal isolation taps and of the hundreds who have crossed on ferry/tunnel with fixed tank I have not heard of any problems.

A friend with a Broadway FB has fitted a hand size circular white plastic screw access cover in the skirt through which he can reach the main tank valve without getting under the van.

Peter

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Bad Penny on Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:58 am

I turn mine off at the isolation valves inside the mh when travelling, but the ferry and channel tunnel operators want them off at the underslung tank.

Leighton.
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Gromit on Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:16 am

Peter Brown wrote:AS design procedure is to turn off all internal isolation taps and of the hundreds who have crossed on ferry/tunnel with fixed tank I have not heard of any problems.

A friend with a Broadway FB has fitted a hand size circular white plastic screw access cover in the skirt through which he can reach the main tank valve without getting under the van.

Peter

Thanks for that Peter.

Very interesting to me personally, since we have a new Nuevo on order and I know no details about the gas installation.

The access cover seems like an excellent idea, as is Jaytree's suggestion of turning off at the regulator.

I confess I'm surprised the Tunnel operators trust the van occupants not to switch back on the internal gas valves for a brew - possibly even while in transit in the tunnel. I was told they want to check an external isolating valve so the surveillance cameras can see if anyone gets out afterwards to switch the gas back on?


No doubt all will become clear when we get the new van.

Dave
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Peter Brown on Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:34 am

On our Duetto the gas locker with the bottles in was accessed from inside the van.

Peter

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Cymro on Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:37 am

As Artheytrate (who started this thread) said, you have to lie on the ground under the motorhome to reach up to the external cylinder (at least that's what's necessary on a 2015 Nuevo). But even then I understand it's necessary to remove a cover to gain access to the isolating tap. And to make it all yet more awkward, the cover doesn't conveniently point downwards but faces up to the side skirt. So you have to reach up between the skirt and the side of the cylinder to find the knob to undo the cover to reach the isolating tap.

And mine has just been coated with black waxoyl... 

Add to that the not-unusal conditions of rain and dark, and this simple job becomes a nightmare. No way!
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Jaytee on Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:42 am

The access panel in the skirt is a good idea. It wouldn't be too difficult to make a hinged lift up section. And as I mentioned the regulator has a valve on it and right next to tank. Yes, still underneath but quick to do.
All good fun eh? And designed by fit youngsters. Whistle1

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Cymro on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:14 am

Yes, an access point sounds promising - although I lack the skilss necessary to make a tidy job of it and so I'd need a professional to do so.  But even then I'm not sure how it would work. As you can see from the extract below from the handbook, there's the cover to be unscrewed first, to reveal the control valve. If you reach inside the access point and unscrew the cover, it will be necessary to hold the releasing knob for the cover, and the cover itself, and somehow manouvre them out through the access hole, before reaching in to turn off the brass isolating valve.  The access will have to be large enough for that.

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Gromit on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:27 am

Jaytee wrote:The access panel in the skirt is a good idea. It wouldn't be too difficult to make a hinged lift up section. And as I mentioned the regulator has a valve on it and right next to tank. Yes, still underneath but quick to do.
All good fun eh? And designed by fit youngsters. Whistle1
Fit youngsters doing all their "thinking" on a computer I guess!! shrugg

Thanks Jaytee, Cymro et. al. for the information. Our new van is on order, and fairly imminent so this matters to us - specially as almost our first trip will be to France. It only needs the Tunnel chappie to insist that an external gas valve is closed and things begin to get awkward.

It isn't rocket science to divert a bit of pipework and fit an isolating valve just under the skirt, where it can be easily reached. An inspection panel may be needed so the checkers at the Tunnel can visually confirm that it is in the off position, but that shouldn't be too difficult either. That's what will happen to ours, one way or another.
(I'm pleased to see Leighton confirms my understanding of the Tunnel requirements! I wasn't entirely sure!) biggrin

An external cut off makes a lot of sense from the Tunnel point of view so no argument there. It only needs one idiot to switch the gas back on from his internal valves and have a brew while on the train, and everyone on there could wake up dead!!

(I'm not overly paranoid about most "Elf and Safety" matters, but you don't usually get a second chance with gas.)

Dave


Last edited by Gromit on Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarification)
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by JDS on Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:28 pm

Has any forum member actually been asked to turn off the valve underneath the van whilst going through the tunnel or even on a ferry?

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Bad Penny on Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:31 pm

This reluctance to turn off the gas supply before crossing the channel by ferry or by tunnel just amazes me.
Last October returning on the ferry from Greece to Italy, I could not believe how stupid people could be. 
The ferry company provide some electric hook up points on board ship, but I saw people who failed to get them, decide to leave their fridges on gas for the duration of the journey.

We all saw the pictures of the ferry on fire on it's way from Greece with the resultant loss of life. I don't know what caused the fire as I have not seen any report, but lets be honest here, which is best, safety or possible disaster.

If you are crossing the channel for a holiday, you surely want to enjoy it in safety, that starts before you leave. I keep a waterproof padded sheet to lie under the van, which helps no end.

Sorry, I don't mean to preach here, but that ferry fire puts things in perspective.

Be safe and enjoy your holiday wherever it may be.

Regards Leighton.
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Peter Brown on Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:33 pm

http://www.asoc.uk.com/tech_group/ideas_sheets.htm

For ASOC members you will be able to get a copy of ideas sheet 234 (see link above) which is probably written by the chap whose van I have seen.

I'm also interested in the answer to the question JDS has just asked.

Peter

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Quilter on Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:24 pm

JDS wrote:Has any forum member actually been asked to turn off the valve underneath the van whilst going through the tunnel or even on a ferry?
We have always been asked on the tunnel and we have always had it checked as well. Last time- first time with new underslung tank- we were surprised when the young man i/c knew exactly where to go to get to the off switch. What he had not been provided with was something to lie on while he did it.  We had turned it off before leaving home but he still wanted to check.

We have never been asked to switch it off before boarding a ferry and it has never been checked. It is in the small print of the Terms and Conditions but I bet no-one reads those.

We have seen people cooking on gas on the Ancona- Patras camping on board ferry despite large notices round the deck to say that it is not permitted.

We are also aware that, on our last trip back from Spain ( Amorique, standing in for Etretrat) there were people who left their fridges running on gas.  

I know that a lot of people are well aware that they should  turn off the gas but believe that saving their own bacon from defrosting is more important that the possibility of fire or explosion.

That said, if there is a significant danger caused by people not switching off bottles at source, then why don't the ferry companies check or at least draw it firmly to the attention of their customers at check -in ?

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Jaytee on Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:27 pm

Yes, we were asked if we had turned our gas off at the bottles when crossing from Portsmouth with the caravan last May. They didn't check physically but did ask.

I also totally agree with Leighton and Q. The possibility of terrifying consequences for the sake of a bit of effort. No contest.

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Cymro on Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:05 pm

I'm sure that no-one would disagree that fitted refillable gas tanks should be isolated for ferry / Tunnel crossings.

So why on earth don't AutoSleeper make it easy so to do? It's quite crazy that one has to lie on the floor; grope upwards; remove a dirty cover; turn a valve; and replace the cover.

An externally-accessible tap is required.

Given that AS currently fit such tanks to several models, this is going to become a hot topic. It might therefore be helpful for a Member who has successfully modified the set-up (whether by the method referred to in the AutoSleepers Owb's factsheet - which I cannot access because I'm not a member - or otherwise) to share details on our Forum. It would be of considerable benefit, I think.
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Quilter on Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:34 pm

Cymro wrote:I'm sure that no-one would disagree that fitted refillable gas tanks should be isolated for ferry / Tunnel crossings.



I wish I could agree with you on this. There are those who disagree and argue that is is fine to leave the gas on and do so.  There are many others who work on the " it doesn't apply to me " principle and leave the gas on. I really don't think it would be difficult for ferry companies to check before boarding and, IMHO anyway, to check at random on disembarkation. If they then find gas on then that person should be banned from future trips with the company.

It would indeed be a great help to all of us if there was an easy way to turn it off at the tank without all the crawling about underneath. We have looked at the suggestion made in the Hints and Tips sheets but it does involve cutting a hole in the van skirt; something we don't want to do.

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Gromit on Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:13 pm

While I am well aware (and fully agree in principle) that the gas should be turned off at the tank, in real life this isn't going to happen when, as several have noted, there are even idiots around who run fridges and cook on gas during crossings.

It is only my opinion of course, but I think a realistic compromise would be the best and most practical option. An externally accessible shut off valve that can be continuously monitored after checking, by the ubiquitous surveillance cameras in ports, on ships and in trains.

This would presumably be fitted after the regulator, but the length of fairly resilient copper tubing involved would be quite short. There's always the remote possibility of a leak before this shut-off valve of course, but this would be very low on the risk assessment tables. An accident of sufficient magnitude to physically fracture that particular length of pipework would be very rare indeed, and would (I guess) have to be considered an acceptable risk on the same scale as crossing the road or driving the car to work. (Or riding in a train under the sea!)

It seems to me that if most (it will never be "all") people are to be persuaded to comply with the spirit of the regulation, the process has to be quick and easy to perform, and equally easy for the authorities to monitor and enforce. As said earlier, our present van is fitted with such an externally accessible valve and it has never been queried during (I think) eight Tunnel crossings. By far the most important aspect (in my opinion) is to prevent the idiotic behaviour of a few which potentially jeopardises the rest of us.

I would think the fundamental aim of the regulation is to prevent the use of the onboard gas appliances during transit, and an external isolation valve would serve that purpose very well.

Just an opinion.

Dave
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by -mojo- on Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:55 am

My recollection of this subject is not that good, and I can't remember now where I read it, but I ~think~ that A-S have no choice about where they locate the shut-off valve. IIRC the current regulations governing ~installation~ require a shut-off valve located on the tank itself, underneath a protective cover - this to guard against the possibility of something on the road ripping off the takeoff pipe from the tank before the shut-off valve. If that recollection is correct then there's no point in blaming A-S for something that they have no option about!

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Bad Penny on Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:03 am

My further thoughts on this problem of having easier access to a shut off valve, would perhaps be to speak to the company who make these tanks.

I believe they are based in north Wales and are called Gasit. If they are made aware of the gripe about us oldies having to crawl under the vehicle to isolate the gas tank before crossing by ferry or tunnel, then maybe they could liaise with AS and find a solution.

Who knows, this could well work.

Leighton.
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by nimbus on Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:14 am

There is, or should be, an excess flow device inside the tank in case of a catastrophic failure of the pipework downstream of the tank. It a pipe becomes disconnected, for example, the device will shut off the gas supply at the tank. But this device will only operate if the flow exceeds a pre-determined limit and will not operate in the case of a relatively small escape.

I have looked into fitting a 12v solenoid operated valve that can be installed to replace the tank mounted valve but, whilst they are available, the 1amp electrical current requirement to keep it open when off hookup makes them unsuitable.


Last edited by nimbus on Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Jaytee on Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:34 am

I have put a small marker on the skirt in line with the regulator so I can reach under and turn the supply off at the regulator without having to actually get underneath. Works OK and as it is only a foot away from the tank should satisfy the requirements.

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Re: Turning gas off underslung tank

Post by Gromit on Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:34 pm

Jaytee wrote:I have put a small marker on the skirt in line with the regulator so I can reach under and turn the supply off at the regulator without having to actually get underneath. Works OK and as it is only a foot away from the tank should satisfy the requirements.

Thanks Jaytee

Do you know if the tank and regulator are fitted in the same place on both Nuevo and your van?

Can you switch off at the regulator without getting down on your knees?

That's my main concern really. I'm nearly 72 and I'm sure my knees are 20 years older!!!! I've had an operation on one of them, but getting down is still difficult, and getting back up even more so. uncertain

Thanks for your help

Dave
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