RV Tank won't take propane.

I recently went to fill up my horizontally mounted propane tank on our '86 Jamboree. Problem was. . . .it wouldn't take propane. Now, due to a baaaaad experience when we let friends use it for a week, I know the tanks were empty (it's a long story. . . .but their hearts were in the right place. ANYWAYS. . .the tank was most definately empty. I tried three different places to make sure it wasn't a problem with the service stations propane tank. Still NOTHING. The last place said something about possibly having to purge the tank since it was run empty. Does anybody out there have any input on this matter??? Has it happened to you. . . .and if so. . . .what, oh what did you do to fix it. Could it be a check valve problem??? Any ideas on this would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks. . .
Scotty B.
RV Tank won't take propane.

P.S. I need to get this fixed by the weekend (it's Tuesday night here in Washington) so that I can make an extra long weekend trip to Crescent Bar in Wenatchee on Friday. . . (GULP!!!). Me Matee's are countin' on me!!!
RV Tank won't take propane.

It may very well be that the tanks does need purging.. When a propane tank goes completely empty and the valves are left open, like the cook stove or water heater, air can back feed down the propane lines and into the propane tank.

This air can block propane from entering the tank. The way to purge a tank is to simply connect the propane fill hose to the tank and then open the "bleed-off" valve until propane starts spraying out the bleed off valve..

Now, simply close the bleed off valve and continue to fill the tank..

That will take care of the problem.. IF... it is simply air in the tank..

Another thing it could be is the "over-fill" valve is stuck and there is not enough pressure from the incoming propane to force it open, In this case, you likely will have to remove the tank from the rig and either try to jar it loose or replace the valve itself.. A new valve cost about $15.00

Best of luck,
RV Tank won't take propane.

Thanks a ton John. . . .I'll give the first of those a try today. Now . . . . if it's the over-fill valve. . . . is that just the stem at the top of the tank. . . or is it in the unit that the service station connects to when filling it???


Senior Member
RV Tank won't take propane.

While the tank might need to be purged, air inside of it would not prevent the entry of any propane, it causes moisture problems. New tanks are always purged before use to remove any air, and if you had the removable bottles of a trailer it could get air quite easily if someone were to disconnect it from the gas line and leave the valve on the bottle open. But since your bottle is an installed one, I find it difficult to believe that it has air in it. That would take months of sitting empty with the valve open since all air would have to leak beack through the appliances and from there down into the tank. Propane is heavier than air so the air just would not do that.

I am betting that John's second suggestion is the problem. If you are not sure about working on a propane system, take it to a major propane supplier that has a service department. They will be able to replace the over-fill valve and then the tank will have to be purged again. You could save some money by removing the tank from the RV yourself, but it really should not be that expensive to repair. The valves are pretty standard and the service shop should have them on hand.
RV Tank won't take propane.

Im betting you could not get vapor in your system because you did not have the check valve open and it was full. Vapor and liquid are not the same in propane.
Purging your tank should be done 3 times, with vapor of course. I leave the check valve open, fill it with vapor let it purge until the sound goes down and do this 3 times, then turn on the pump and fill with liquid 80%, especially on a new tank with air in it.
If you can not add air or vapor to your tank then its 1 of 2 things..
the valve is not open or stuck, or the back flow valve is not opening.
if this is the case i sugggest replacing the tank.


Senior Member
RV Tank won't take propane.

quote: i sugggest replacing the tank.

Before you spend the money to do that, take it to propane service, not an RV service shop.
RV Tank won't take propane.

PROBLEM SOLVED!!! I took it to the Cenex station and the guy said that since it is 15 year old tank. . . I will need to always open the bleeder valve ALL THE WAY in order for it to fill. He opened the bleeder valve all the way. . . .and filled it without issue. So. . . .that's that. Thanks for all of your assistance on this one. Happy Travels. . . .