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Old 07-02-2022, 11:38 PM   #1
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Default Roadtrek 2000 Remote Propane On-Off Switch

I have a 2000 Dodge Roadtrek with a "Remote Propane On-Off Switch." The switch is only on Roadtrek Dodge models, 1998 thru about 2000.

The valve isn't working -- it doesn't turn off the flow of propane. (I can turn off propane at the difficult-to-access valve on the tank that's located under the van.)

The "Remote Propane On-Off Switch" is an extra on/off valve located behind the gasoline and propane fueling door (see image). When I turn the valve to off, I can hear a slight hiss, indicating it's connected to the propane system. When I reach behind the metal, I can feel a pipe that heads down to the propane tank. I'll leery of dismantling anything (yet) because the propane filler would also need to be removed.

The valve does not connect to the propane detector inside the coach in any way.

I'm intrigued by this entry in the manual and hoping someone with an older Dodge (or heck, any kind of RV) can figure out why this switch needs power -- and how to make it operational? (Note what I think might be a grounding wire to the left of the switch.)

"On Dodge models, the remote switch behind the fuel filler door exerts a small draw on the auxiliary [house] battery when in the ON position. To minimize the draw on the auxiliary battery, the switch should be left in the ON position only when LP gas is required to operate an appliance."

I can find anything on a Google search, except for a thread on this forum from 2006 -- an eternity ago. But it doesn't shed much light on the subject.

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File Type: jpg RT Propane Valve.jpg (71.6 KB, 6 views)
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Old 07-03-2022, 12:43 AM   #2
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It would likely be a solenoid which is inserting or withdrawing a pintle ( shaft) into an orfice. the solenoid would be energised to hold the pintle in position.


if you do make a circle with forefinger and thumb and then you take the other forefinger...you get the drift.


a pintle type valve is common and was used for fuel injection systems.


I don't have one of those arrangements and I can pretty easily get to my valve- i guess R/T was restricted as to where they could mount the tank and figured a remote switch for the valve would be cool.


another thing to break I guess, but solenoids tend to be pretty reliable


I'd do a little electrical trouble shooting to ensure power is getting to the valve when in the "on" position


( this is all conjecture on my part)



Mike
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Old 07-03-2022, 12:46 AM   #3
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Those solenoids do indeed take a lot of current when turned on. Most of them are around 1 amp. When I did my last van, I spent a lot of time looking for a bi-stable propane valve. It can be done, but it is not off-the-shelf, and there are safety issues (since a bi-stable valve will not shut off when power is lost). I gave up.

However, there are ways to mitigate the problem. They depend on the fact that it takes much less current to KEEP a solenoid open than it does to open it in the first place. Those designs mostly involve a pulse of 12V followed by steady-state 5V or so. Kind of complex, but it can be done.
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Old 07-03-2022, 03:11 AM   #4
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I have the same in my RT (though the switch looks different). As the others have said, that switch is wired to a solenoid in the gas line that is supposed to be closed unless it receives power (the power draw keeps the solenoid open). That switch powers it on and opens the solenoid. If you say that the gas in your RT does not shut off at all, even when the battery disconnect is on, then your solenoid is probably bad. And you should probably fix it because having the propane shut off when power is disrupted is a safety feature.
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Old 07-03-2022, 09:52 PM   #5
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Thanks to the three of you for the quick replies. This is very helpful.

Now I understand that it's a switch, not a valve, and it controls a solenoid that needs an amp of power when in the on position. And on a functioning system, when the switch is in the off position, it shouldn't draw power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RT-NY View Post
If you say that the gas in your RT does not shut off at all, even when the battery disconnect is on, then your solenoid is probably bad.
Correct. With a stove burner lite, it doesn't matter if the battery switch is on or off (disconnected), the flame is still on when the propane switch is in the off position. I turned the propane switch on and off a few times with no effect. I even tried percussive maintenance by tapping soundly on the what I think it's the solenoid.

I loosened the white plate behind the yellow refill port and switch, but the propane hoses behind the plate prevented me from actually seeing the solenoid. Roadtrek's convoluted design means I have to disconnect all the lines at the tank in order the get to the solenoid. That's beyond my skill set; fiddling with propane at the tank level is way too risky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RT-NY View Post
And you should probably fix it because having the propane shut off when power is disrupted is a safety feature.
It's a safe bet that once an RV propane mechanic looks at the 22-year-old tank and regulator, dollar signs will appear before his eyes and I predict that the solenoid will be incidental and everything will need to be replaced.

I don't think the issue is new and suspect the propane switch hasn't been working for a while. For the time being, I have an up-to-date propane detector in the coach. When we stop for gasoline, I'll do what we always do... turn off the fridge so the flame is extinguished.

If I'm really off-base, lemme know.

--Steve
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Old 07-03-2022, 10:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebass View Post
I loosened the white plate behind the yellow refill port and switch, but the propane hoses behind the plate prevented me from actually seeing the solenoid.
I think that you might be looking in the wrong place. The solenoid should be located between the rubber vapor hose from the propane tank and the regulator (because its function is to shut the gas off from the tank to the coach). It should be clearly visible before the regulator if your crawl under the rig. It looks something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/SOLENOID-PROP.../dp/B0785HZYFL
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:27 AM   #7
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Wow, yes, you get the grand prize. It's just where you described.

There's a single wire going from the solenoid to the tank and a single up to the switch.

I'll get a picture, grab the model number, and start Googling whether how do you replace RV propane solenoid is a DIY project (I'm guessing not).

Thanks again for your advice and guidance RT-NY!
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Old 07-04-2022, 05:06 AM   #8
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I'd check the electrical part first


then I'd wonder if the switch had been left on constantly so that the vale is stuck open


here is the tricky part...


leaving the assembly together as it is, with the power to off...


apply a "massager" and vibrate the body of the valve, maybe it can be unstuck and return to normal operation


I've used this trick to shake loose stuck mechanical assemblies and even and unclog my kitchen drain a few times


a substitute could be a sander or other powertool you already own


mike
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:23 PM   #9
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Coincidentally, a zombie thread on the topic of solenoid power consumption just came back to life over at Sprinter Source:

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/i...threads/68288/

It details the available solutions.
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
I'd check the electrical part first -- then I'd wonder if the switch had been left on constantly so that the valve is stuck open

leaving the assembly together as it is, with the power to off... apply a "massager" and vibrate the body of the valve, maybe it can be unstuck and return to normal operation

mike
This may be obvious to everyone here, but I'm not as bright as I look.

The solenoid is the electrical part which needs power. But the switch (the turnable handle) must also use power because there's a wire going from the solenoid to the switch. This all correct?

Mike -- where does the "body of the valve" fit it? Are you saying the switch is also a valve?
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:15 PM   #11
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check that when you operate the switch, that voltage is actually getting to the valve.
that'll tell you wiring, fuses, switch are all working


you might be able to feel it if you have your hand on the valve and work the switch


( the switch doesn't "use" power- it allows the power to flow from battery to your valve, much the same as your wall switch allows power to flow to your kitchen light)



It seems to me that you valve is stuck in the open position, could be grit or corrosion which is why I suggest trying to vibrate it loose.

this assembly is similar in function to your lawn sprinkler;
electricity is used by a solenoid to open/close the valve which controls the water flow


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Old 07-05-2022, 04:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebass View Post
Mike -- where does the "body of the valve" fit it? Are you saying the switch is also a valve?
I believe what Mike is saying is that the solenoid is also a valve. It is just a valve that is opened and closed electronically. There is a spring in there that is supposed to close when there is no power. But in your case it might be stuck open.
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Old 07-07-2022, 10:05 PM   #13
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My friend with a 1999 PopD just changed his regulator out. I just replaced the propane hose which runs from the tank to the back of the red, rocker ball valve remote shut off on my 2000 PopD. We have recently spent hours under the vans exploring the entire propane systems. I had to remove the bracket which holds the gas filler and the bracket holding the propane hoses next to propane filler. I’ve looked at the rear of the bracket and can verify, there are NO electric connections behind the red cutoff ball valve. It is 100% mechanical. My buddy can verify there is no solenoid anywhere on the main propane tank. Our systems may have been modified but it appears an electric solenoid never existed. Your mileage may vary.
This is first hand information, not speculation. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-08-2022, 12:24 AM   #14
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The OP did say that this remote switch with the solenoid valve is only in a few model years of the classic Dodge Roadtreks. My 1999 RT 170 certainly has one. It works fine, though it does (as noted above) draw 1 amp every hour, which adds up if you leave it on all the time. I installed a buck converter to cut that down to about 1/3 and that works fine as well. I also installed a switch so I can turn the propane off while in the van.
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Old 07-08-2022, 12:38 AM   #15
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Default Propane switch

Yes. I figured it must exist since so many others posted about it. Just not in ours. I wonder how they decided to put it in some and leave it out in others. Personally, Iím glad I donít have one!
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Old 07-08-2022, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebass View Post
I have a 2000 Dodge Roadtrek with a "Remote Propane On-Off Switch." The switch is only on Roadtrek Dodge models, 1998 thru about 2000.

The valve isn't working -- it doesn't turn off the flow of propane. (I can turn off propane at the difficult-to-access valve on the tank that's located under the van.)

The "Remote Propane On-Off Switch" is an extra on/off valve located behind the gasoline and propane fueling door (see image). When I turn the valve to off, I can hear a slight hiss, indicating it's connected to the propane system. When I reach behind the metal, I can feel a pipe that heads down to the propane tank. I'll leery of dismantling anything (yet) because the propane filler would also need to be removed.

The valve does not connect to the propane detector inside the coach in any way.

I'm intrigued by this entry in the manual and hoping someone with an older Dodge (or heck, any kind of RV) can figure out why this switch needs power -- and how to make it operational? (Note what I think might be a grounding wire to the left of the switch.)

"On Dodge models, the remote switch behind the fuel filler door exerts a small draw on the auxiliary [house] battery when in the ON position. To minimize the draw on the auxiliary battery, the switch should be left in the ON position only when LP gas is required to operate an appliance."

I can find anything on a Google search, except for a thread on this forum from 2006 -- an eternity ago. But it doesn't shed much light on the subject.

I have same coach as you do. Last year, I replaced all the hoses and I had the valve out as well. The stranded wire or strap is for grounding.
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Old 07-08-2022, 03:20 PM   #17
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Yes. The only wires in that area are grounds to chai’s. One for the propane mount and one for the gas filler mount.
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