Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How To Replace An RV LP Gas Regulator

In a previous post, I replaced one of the gas lines that was leaking. The other one worked, but it looked dicey. The LP gas regulator also looked dicey. It seemed to work, though it was showing red with both tanks connected instead of showing green like it should've been. So, I decided to replace the regulator just to be on the safe side. To me, "looks shady" and "propane" don't mix.

I got the other "pigtail" gas hose and the regulator on Amazon, but it took a couple extra days for Prime processing (whatever that means) so it came three days behind the pigtail hose, and I waited to have everything at once. I still had my yellow teflon tape from the last job. This tape is beautiful to work with. For the regulator, my Fleetwood Prowler came with the Marshall regulator as OEM equipment, and from reading reviews on the other brands, I came to the conclusion that it was worth paying 51 bucks to have one that wasn't going to fail for a long time.

Above, the old regulator with the one new pigtail hose I had replaced last time


I used the same two adjustable wrenches from my last post, for all the fittings, as well as a Philips screwdriver to dismount and remount the regulator to the LP tank structure. I also used a pair of scissors to cut the teflon tape. I wanted to use the cordless screwdriver but it would reach, and I don't have an extension for it.


Working around gas, it should go without saying that you do not want to be near anything that is smoking, on fire or anything that can even make a spark.

Step 1 - Turn Off The Tanks

Make sure to turn off both tanks. This is very important. You do not want to win a Darwin award.

Step 2 - Take Off The Pigtail Hoses

First disconnect both hoses where they screw onto the propane tanks. You can do this with your hands. Next, disconnect the fittings on both pigtails. As you loosen it, the hose can turn because you disconnected from the tank first.

NOTE: A little bit of gas can come out when you disconnect the tank, even with the tank off.

Step 3 - Disconnect The Main Gas Line

If it's easier, you can swap steps 3 and 4. What you want to do is disconnect the main gas line that goes to the regulator so you can take the regulator off. Use the two adjustable wrenches.

Step 4 - Dismount The Regulator

With everything disconnected from it, take the mounting screws off with a Philips screwdriver. Mine only had two screws holding the regulator on. It came off without a fuss. If you are having issues getting the wrenches into the tight space to take the hose off, you can just dismount the regulator before disconnecting that last hose, which is what I did.

Step 6 - Take Fitting Out Of Old Regulator

My new regulator came with the side fittings but not the bottom one, so I had to take it off the old regulator.

Step 6 - Mount The New Regulator

Another reason I got the same brand is because the mounting was the exact same as the old one. Two screws and it was laughably easy.

Step 7 - Connect The Gas Line "Pigtail" Hoses

Connect the fittings first, so the entire pigtail can turn while you are tightening the fittings. Take the old teflon tape off the fittings before putting them back on. I'm not very good at explaining how to do the tape, other than picture how the tape will tighten when you tighten the fitting. If you wind the tape the wrong way, it may not make a good seal. I usually do at least 2 layers pulled fairly tight.

Next, connect the tank ends of the pigtail hoses, but leave the tanks off for now.

Step 8 - Connect The Main Gas Line To RV

Now, I'm not sure if the "pointy" end of the existing fitting gets taped or not, so I taped it. I left the other side un-taped. It look like it originally had loc-tite, which isn't really a sealant.

Step 10 - Turn Both Tanks On

Turn both tanks on all the way. You will hear some of the gas moving into the previously-empty pigtails and regulator for maybe a second or so, but you should hear no hissing sound, which is a different sound. If you hear hissing and small gas, turn both tanks off.

If you have a leak, look for the leak with one tank on at a time. If you don't hear any hissing but still smell gas, then you can use soapy water over all the fittings and look for bubbles.

Step 11 - Inspect Your Work

If both tanks are on and you don't hear any hissing or smell any gas, then you probably did it right. But check everything anyway. What I do is at least grab every fitting and stuff that's supposed to be wrench-tight and making sure it's not finger-tight.

Doing a last second check on this job, I noticed that the main line coming out the bottom of the regulator was finger-loose! I could swear I tightened it good enough! And if it's time wasted because you did everything perfect, you have the piece of mind knowing that every single fitting and hose was double checked.

Step 12 - Test Your Appliances

Before I put the big plastic cover back on my propane tanks, I run inside the RV and check the stove real quick to see that the flame on the stove top looks nice and uniform and is as flamey as it should be. Only then do I go back outside and put the cover back on, and put the tools back.

Other Thoughts

I hear that labor to work on RVs is ridiculous. Everyone says that RVs are a money pit. So far that's true, but it's gratifying to do my own work, and the "pit" hasn't been that big. The new regulator and gas hoses were about $75 from Amazon, and it was only 20 minutes worth of work for such a good piece of mind knowing it's all perfect.

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