What WAS This? (Propane Lubricant)

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  #1  
Old 08-30-14, 01:14 AM
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What WAS This? (Propane Lubricant)

Earlier today I disconnected my generator from its propane tank so I could move it. There was still fuel in the line, and when I disconnected it I could see white propane vapor, but my hand was there and some oily propane-smelling goo got all over my hand. It's been puzzling me all evening and night.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 05:18 AM
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Contaminants in the line or from the tank? Maybe propane poo?
 
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Old 08-30-14, 05:19 AM
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That oily goo is the "skunk stink" and its carrier, The stink is added to propane so you can smell a leak. Without the added stink propane is almost odorless.
Not anything to worry about, just normal happenings when working with propane.

RR
 
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Old 08-30-14, 06:16 AM
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Ethyl Mercaptan

http://www.skot9000.com/bof/how/PropaneMSDS.pdf


Is the tank old? Maybe you need a new tank..
 
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Old 08-30-14, 09:19 AM
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That oily goo is the "skunk stink" and its carrier, The stink is added to propane so you can smell a leak. Without the added stink propane is almost odorless.
Not anything to worry about, just normal happenings when working with propane.

Thanks, guys! I knew you would know what it is.



Is the tank old? Maybe you need a new tank..

The tank was purchased new in June of 2013 and refilled 10 times at the most. It's a 40# tank and is designated for the generator, with only getting occasional use on the grill or a heater.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 11:40 AM
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More likely it is compressor oil from the compressor that was used in originally pressurizing the propane, converting it to a liquid phase. When I had a propane-powered vehicle I had to clean out the congealed oil from the vapor line between the regulator/heat exchanger to the carburetor about every 30,000 miles. It is a problem rarely seen with a vapor withdrawal (from the tank) system but not uncommon with liquid withdrawal systems.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 06:27 AM
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Propane lube most likely. In an excess amount. Oil used to lube any moving parts the fuel vapor passes through on it's way to it's final destination.

Natural gas also contains a very small amount of lubricant. The higher pressure lines have DRIP TEE's installed to capture any excess. The tee's have a regular service requirement. Must be drained out and or replaced periodically. (Just like diesel fuel water removal and air compressors.?)

Freon, as it is circulated in a closed system, also picks up a small amount of lubricant. Remember the SIGHT GLASS bottle in the lines once used in Air Conditioned auto's? Bubbles seen in the sight glass indicated the FISH OIL, as it was commonly referred to, was being picked up and being distributed around to lube the moving parts.

BTW:
Does propane, in it's liquid form, stored in a propane tank, ever age???...

 
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Old 09-01-14, 08:19 PM
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Propane lube most likely. In an excess amount. Oil used to lube any moving parts the fuel vapor passes through on it's way to it's final destination.

I am assuming this lube is a good thing, as I can imagine it would help the regulators from getting jammed up, and when it makes its way into the engine it'll just burn off.

Does propane, in it's liquid form, stored in a propane tank, ever age???...

I don't think so. There's no oxygen in the tank, either.

More likely it is compressor oil from the compressor that was used in originally pressurizing the propane, converting it to a liquid phase. When I had a propane-powered vehicle I had to clean out the congealed oil from the vapor line between the regulator/heat exchanger to the carburetor about every 30,000 miles. It is a problem rarely seen with a vapor withdrawal (from the tank) system but not uncommon with liquid withdrawal systems.
Wouldn't the pressurized propane push the oil out of the lines and into the engine?
 
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Old 09-01-14, 09:24 PM
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The oil is soluble in the liquid propane and vaporizes with the liquid. If you have enough flow you will condense minute amounts of this vaporized oil in the vapor lines. I have never seen it on fully vapor systems, only on a liquid-withdrawal system. The propane that enters the engine carburetor is at sub-atmospheric pressure.

When I had the little truck it would condense in the vapor line between the regulator/heat exchanger and solidify in that vapor line. The first time it happened I noticed it by not getting the normal power response, the carburetor was actually being starved for fuel as the line was about half-plugged with the congealed oil.
 
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