Friday, November 11, 2011

Once again the van tries to kill me

Yes, another attempt....once again by chemical means. I think I should rename the van to "Christine"

I ran out of propane Wednesday night, once again exactly 15 days after filling it last. Per the usual routine, I left work and drove straight to the U-Haul place to get it refilled. The same guy has been filing it up and is getting quite good at it, plus he sells it to me as vehicle fuel instead of regular propane fuel which save me 60 cents per tank fill-up.

The process is straightforward: stick the hose attachment to the tank, close the line to the fridge/stove, open the bleeder valve and turn on the propane flow. The liquid propane fills the tank till it bleeds out the valve and then the auto-stop mechanism shuts off after the pressure stabilizes. I waited for the tank to equalize, paid for the fuel and then left.

This is where the van's plot begins, the autostop valve decided that the best time to break and leak out all of my propane was while I was driving in traffic and running errands. The O-rings must have given up holding back the pressure of 3 gallons of liquid propane.  I was traveling around in a fog of propane gas entirely unnoticeable from inside the van. I am quite surprised that it didn't combust off of the hot exhaust or ignite after the cooling fans and other electrical devices were operated. Lets not forget the smokers with open windows in traffic.

I am beginning to feel like a mobster, every time I start the van there is an uneasy feeling that it will result in a massive explosion. How many attempts can I survive till it succeeds?

Eventually the fuel drained out and I have ordered a new valve this morning but till it arrives and I get the time to install it I have no cooking or refrigeration abilities.


  1. Just found your blog from a comment you left over at ERE. Looking forward to following your journey. Good luck to you! I hope to one day hit the road but live in a small RV.

    Northern Ca

  2. Good luck on both your ERE and RV travels. The journey can be rough at times but worth the effort in the long run.