Day 17, Year 5: Continuing Stove Saga
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2009
Weather: Hot, Sunny Day with Late Evening Rains
Location: Rebak Marina, Pulau Rebak, Langkawi, Malaysia

After our whirlwind trip to Kuah yesterday, today was slated as another work day. I had laundry and cleaning to do and Mark’s big job of the day was to install the piece of toerail that got ripped off on our passage from Bali to Borneo. We had to have the piece made in Thailand but we just didn’t have the chance to put it back in place before leaving there. It was a beautiful sunny day, but you could have fried eggs on the deck it was so hot. That made Mark’s job even more difficult. But he persevered and now I only wish that the rest of the toe rail looked as good as the newly installed piece. While waiting for the laundry to soak itself clean, I worked in the galley doing some much needed deep cleaning. My cleaning took me behind the stove and there I saw something I wasn’t prepared for. Where the copper tubing that delivers propane gas to the stove comes through protective sheet metal behind the stove, it looks very much like the tubing is split. Without removing the stove, we can’t tell for sure, but because a propane leak is so very serious, we have shut off the propane at the tank are going to replace the copper tubing as soon as we can find the appropriate parts. Whether or not we really find a split when we can see the tubing up close, the tubing looks corroded and should be replaced in any case.. We were thinking that we have faulty sensors and that is why every time we try to turn on the propane the sensors start going crazy. Then we got a great email from Bob, one of you wonderful people out there who reads our logs and sends us much needed information, and Bob suggested that it might be a faulty solenoid. And now we have a third possible explanation for our problem. When we were in Kuah yesterday, we found a solenoid and LPG control valve, but no sensor. That would have to be ordered. So we decided to further investigate the problem and return to town on Monday to buy new LPG hose and attachments and to place the order for the sensor and buy the new solenoid if needed. We may have to replace all these parts, but we will start with the installation of the new LPG hose and attachments and see where that takes us. Shopping here on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday is tricky as the Muslim stores are closed on Friday and some on Saturday and the Chinese stores are closed on Sunday and some on Saturday. So we’ll play it safe and wait until Monday. And speaking of safe, after discovering the split tubing, we had to try and find a way to get any possible propane gas out of the bilge. We read what we could find on the web, which wasn’t much except for serious warnings about making sure you don’t let any propane get into the bilge. So we decided to put the shop vac up on the deck and use the hose and extension pieces to get down into the bottom of the bilge. We turned on the vacuum on the deck and let it run for more than half an hour. Our thinking is that by leaving the vacuum on for a long period of time, sucking air out of the bilge, that we have removed any propane gas. Propane sinks and can explode when you start your engine if not dealt with, so we will continue to search for any other safety measures we can take. When we were talking with Bud and Nita of Passage in town yesterday about our problem, Bud asked if we had inspected the copper tubing for possible leaks. We had not and for once I am thankful that I spend so much time cleaning.

091112 Day 17 Malaysia–Toe Rail Installation