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Old 04-22-2008, 12:49 PM   #1
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Vapor lock in propane gas grill?

Has anyone ever experienced this? And how do you fix it.

I got a refilled propane tank and the grill would not light. Exchanged the tank in case it was faulty. Fiddling around with the valve and hose, I once got a very, very weak flame. The manual mentions that vapor lock is possible, but it's not very clear other than to try again later.

Any ideas? (And no gloating from you briquets fans.)
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:14 PM   #2
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Was it particularly cold when you tried to light the flame? Cold temps reduce the vapor pressure of the propane.

Alternatively, it could be a clogged orifice (ouch) in the control valve itself.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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It wasn't all that cold. Maybe in the 50s or 60s.

I think that the first tank might have been defective because I did not smell propane at all while detaching and re-attaching the valve. It's possible that it gummed up the valve.

How would I go about getting the valve unclogged?
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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Can't do it with a full tank, unfortunately. Must be removed from the tank if it's the tank valve. Probably better to just buy a new valve. But it's looking like you're going to have to write-off a tankfull of propane.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:25 PM   #5
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Or, here's an idea; switch tanks with one on your brother-in-law's RV without telling him.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:29 PM   #6
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I like the RV idea -- in theory.

For the record, I don't own my own propane tank. I just return the empties and get another one. So I wouldn't be out any money on the tank.

Now, are you talking about the valve on the tank, or on the grill? I suspect the problem might be with the valve on the grill.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
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if you switched tanks already, dont think that is the issue. check the nozzle that is attached to the grill. if there is any corrosion then you may need to swap it out.

also, check the ***** on the grill. on Jenn's you can turn it on, but sometimes it doesnt catch. so turn it off and back on, then it works.

also, you could have moisture in the hose: to correct this you have to almost take the whole thing apart, but most grills have a compresion connection, which means you will need some cable clamps if you do take it apart.

or open up everything but do not connect the tank. if it is warm enough, the moisture can evaporate, and you should be ok.

and tell you the same thing i tell everyone else: i could fix it if i was there, but hate trying to explain it.
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:45 PM   #8
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http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/i...fbarbeque.html

take a look at this.

actually about to use this site to fix an ignitor
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:56 PM   #9
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I have to replace an ignitor myself, on an only 5 year old supposedly top of the line Vermont Castings unit. Nothing lasts like it used to (my other smaller grill is a 20+ year old Webber and nary a problem)

As other folks have cited, if you've already swapped tanks, then most likely it's the valve on the grill (unless the OPD's on both tanks are tripped).
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Old 04-22-2008, 01:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostle View Post
if you switched tanks already, dont think that is the issue. check the nozzle that is attached to the grill. if there is any corrosion then you may need to swap it out.

also, check the ***** on the grill. on Jenn's you can turn it on, but sometimes it doesnt catch. so turn it off and back on, then it works.

also, you could have moisture in the hose: to correct this you have to almost take the whole thing apart, but most grills have a compresion connection, which means you will need some cable clamps if you do take it apart.

or open up everything but do not connect the tank. if it is warm enough, the moisture can evaporate, and you should be ok.

and tell you the same thing i tell everyone else: i could fix it if i was there, but hate trying to explain it.
Thanks. I have the hose disconnected now. I will try opening the ***** to see if it evaporates. I'm also checking out the site you linked.

The regulator I have looks like this one, and I didn't see any corrosion or dirt on it.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:04 PM   #11
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yup, thats normal. the round thing that looks like a flying saucer: believe that is like a back pressure valve. could be bad.

there are not alot of parts on a grill, but finding which one is bad is really a pain. could be that little pin in the coupler ring as well.


ya know what, bring the whole thing down, ill fix it for ya.
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:19 PM   #12
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Thanks. What brand of beer do you prefer?
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:02 PM   #13
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Sam Adams, winter ale
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:02 PM   #14
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Sorry, ducked out for a minute, but I see Hank Hill took care of you. So, when do we eat?
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:09 PM   #15
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ah yup
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:12 PM   #16
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yeah its probably the regulator. i used to sell, install and fix/troubleshoot grills for a living before my son was born. most likely its literally frozen and will be fine after sitting with the valves open. this can happen when the grills valves are already open and you connect the tank. the sudden rush of propane freezes the moisture (as apostle says) in the regulator. so make sure the burner valves and the tank are closed when you reconnect.

also might want to check the burners for cobwebs in the venturi(s). if you see webs there you could also have webs blocking the orifices in the burner valves. spiders love to get in there. this blockage can not only cause no flow into the burners but can also lead to the regulator freezing.
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:16 PM   #17
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yeah err the venturis, thats it......
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huey52 View Post
I have to replace an ignitor myself, on an only 5 year old supposedly top of the line Vermont Castings unit. Nothing lasts like it used to (my other smaller grill is a 20+ year old Webber and nary a problem)

As other folks have cited, if you've already swapped tanks, then most likely it's the valve on the grill (unless the OPD's on both tanks are tripped).
doesnt matter how good the grill is the ignition module and igniter can only be made so well. the Vermont Castings grills of 5 years ago are fantastic grill. you probably have a 10 or more year warranty on the grill itself. but the modules are only warranted for 1 year.

did you have to change the actually ignitor- prong sticking out of a ceramic piece with a bit of wire attached- or the push button battery compartment/module? that module is a pain. the older style clicking push button or rotary ignitor were more robust because they didnt have the problems with water/dirt infiltration.

The main Issue with VC is that about the time period you purchased your grill they went big box store. The parent company took over and started making them cheaper and selling them at Home Depot. The really made a nice grill and then the quality went down hill with the price.
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:40 PM   #19
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to be fair i havent looked at the recent VC grills to see if they have fixed their quality issues in the last couple years.

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yeah err the venturis, thats it......
the venturi is sort of the carburetor of the burner. basically just the end of the burner where the orifice tip of the valve enters. the side of that has an opening that allows air to enter and mix with the fuel, propane in this case. that opening on most burners is adjustable for the best air/fuel ratio and in case you switch fuels. spiders like to build nests in that end of the burner and the end of the valve. they like the smell of the propane for some reason.
the venturi opening can be seen in this image

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:46 PM   #20
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excuse to get a new grill!!!
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:41 AM   #21
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Thanks for the insight Zoom! It's a piezo (clicking) type ignitor.

edit: kinda embarrassing but I forgot there was a AA battery inside the push button sleeve to amplify the piezo current. Replaced it and all aok, although I still need a $5 button part for cosmetic purposes.

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doesnt matter how good the grill is the ignition module and igniter can only be made so well. the Vermont Castings grills of 5 years ago are fantastic grill. you probably have a 10 or more year warranty on the grill itself. but the modules are only warranted for 1 year.

did you have to change the actually ignitor- prong sticking out of a ceramic piece with a bit of wire attached- or the push button battery compartment/module? that module is a pain. the older style clicking push button or rotary ignitor were more robust because they didnt have the problems with water/dirt infiltration.

The main Issue with VC is that about the time period you purchased your grill they went big box store. The parent company took over and started making them cheaper and selling them at Home Depot. The really made a nice grill and then the quality went down hill with the price.

Last edited by Huey52; 04-24-2008 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:45 PM   #22
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The grill is working!

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I left the regulator disconnected and the burners in the on position for a couple of days. Whatever the problem was, it went away. Now for a weekend of grilling goodness.
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:37 PM   #23
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Great to hear!!


wheres my beer?
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:06 PM   #24
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So what you going to put on to grill?
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:40 PM   #25
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Great to hear!!


wheres my beer?
Down at the store I suppose. (but seriously, thanks for the advice.)


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So what you going to put on to grill?
I start out simple with burgers and bratwurst. Next I'll get more elaborate with steaks, kebab, grilled veggies, etc.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:40 PM
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