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Author Topic: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years  (Read 2770 times)

Traveling Family

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Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« on: June 04, 2013, 10:12:42 PM »
Please, we could use some advice.  We are looking at a camper that hasn't had a propane vent on it for at least 5 years in Oregon weather, and it rains all the time here.  We figure that water had to go somewhere!  We didn't lift the panel to look at what corrosion might be going on but will be headed back out this weekend to take a closer look.  What exactly should we look for?  Isn't it totally possible that the water leaked down to the box and it's rotting it out?  The camper is still on the truck so it's hard to see that area of the camper.  Plus, we figure the water is going exactly where you probably don't want water the most, straight to the electrical and gas components!  Any suggestions/help/advice?  Thanks!

Lou Schneider

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Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 11:10:32 PM »
Welcome to The RV Forum!  What do you mean by "propane vent"?  Do you mean the compartment door that covers the propane tank?  If so, it's just like any other compartment that's been open to the weather.

Or something up on the roof, like the vent over the refrigerator?

You can try looking from inside the camper, see if there's any signs of wet wood on the camper interior around the vent location.

If you can't see much with the camper on the truck, you have to lift it off.  If the camper has jacks on it, you can try using those.  Or if it's at a dealer he should have a lift that fits along the sides of the camper above the truck bed.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 11:19:13 PM by Lou Schneider »

COMer

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  • John & Darla
Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 08:45:04 AM »
If there is moisture, and rot, in the wood inside the unit, you should be able to smell it when you go inside.
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

Traveling Family

  • Posts: 3
Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 10:15:19 PM »
It's the vent for the fridge that opens up on the roof and there is a screen there that the current owner put on to keep the critters out.  I guess we're going to ask him to take it off the truck so we can inspect the box and we might just pour some water down in the hole to see what happens.  There is no smell inside the camper, we were surprised and we are very sensitive to mold smells.  Thanks for your responses, we're just going to go and take a more thorough look. 

Lou Schneider

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Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 12:22:58 AM »
The refrigerator vent is open to the space behind the refrigerator, which is supposed to be sealed off from the interior so propane fumes from the refrigerator flame don't get sucked inside.

There's also an outside wall vent that you can remove to get to the flame box and other components on the rear of the refrigerator.  Open it up and take a look.

There is also be a solid shelf underneath the refrigerator,  Once again, the space behind the front panel of the refrigerator is a sealed box except for the sidewall and top vents.  Inspect the shelf for water damage.  If the refrigerator sits on top of a cabinet or drawer, open it up and look inside to see the bottom side of the shelf.

Sounds like the floor of the camper (the box) is the last thing you have to worry about.  Water can do a lot of damage on it's way down there.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 12:26:44 AM by Lou Schneider »

COMer

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  • John & Darla
Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 07:56:51 AM »
TF,
I was going to tell you that on my camper, removing the cover plate of the back of the fridge, that you access from outside, would answer all these questions.  But, if you are going to buy it, you will certainly want to see the bottom of the camper and will want to have him take it off his truck so you can inspect.  Then, you will be sure of other possible problems and that the water going down the vent did not stop somewhere and rot things out. 
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

ndaugbjerg

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Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 07:58:31 PM »
While you are checking this out, keep in mind that propane is heavier than air and a propane vent goes down, not up. If propane can collect in an area where it can't drain, it's just a bomb looking for an ignition source.
Niels 
NDaugbjerg

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Truck camper with no propane vent for 5 years
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 09:47:02 AM »
OK, that's not a "propane' vent - it is a simple air vent designed to allow heated air to rise and escape. The absorption fridge depends on a continuous air flow over the rear fins to keep the chemical process running. Exhaust fumes from the propane burner, if on, escape along with it, of course, but that's incidental to its operation. The vent is still required in electric operation mode.

You may have some wood rot at the bottom, where the fridge sits on a wood shelf. If there is a hole anywhere in that shelf, water could have gotten inside the RV as well.

The fridge electronic board is probably covered and there really isn't much of anything very sensitive in that area. However, the cooling unit tubes and burner are subject to rust and could eventually develop a pinhole leak that would kill the fridge quickly. Or could even result in a fire, since the escaping gas is flammable. It might be wise to clean up and touch up any visible rust spots with a heat-resistant paint.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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