OT - Propane regulator

I know this is off topic, but folks here are usually pretty well versed in a variety of areas so I'll give it a try.
I have a portable propane grill, which comes with a regulator. Its always been pretty poor at flowing propane, the size of the flames is very low and even on High you can't really sear anything. As my bulk adapter and 20lb tank gets beyond 1/2 empty, it seems that the regulator cannot even keep the burner lit the flow is so low. If I hold the regulator knob in all the way, flow is increased somewhat. I had a "rig" fix of a coat hanger bent so that I could clip it over the knob and it would hold it down, but even that hasn't been a good fix. I have had another similar grill that rusted out and that regulator was the same way, so I don't belive its the regulator.
Is there a way I can either modify the regulator to flow more ? (it is in a sealed metal case with a combo on/off high/med/low knob) Has anyone opened one up? Can I bypass the regulator all together and adjust the flow via a valve? The issue is getting fittings to work as propane of course uses unique fittings so that people like me don't try to mess with it!
Thanks
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How long are your hoses?
Is the grill built for propane or does it possibly have the innards for natural gas?
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com
V8013-R

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Mon, Apr 23, 2007, 11:51am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (scott) doth mumble: <snip> I have a portable propane grill, <snip>
Try using a better brand of charcoal.
I'd contact he grill manufacturer.
JOAT Expensive tennis shoes won't cure a sore toe. - Bazooka Joe
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Have you tried cleaning it? It wouldn't work so poorly unless somthing was wrong with it; so it is either broken or clogged.
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The problem is most likely in your burner assemblies.
Believe it or not things like spiders like to nest in the orifices etc. Use a welding torch cleaner to clear the gas orifices.
If its an older BBQ then you may want to buy a new regulator. The spring/diaphragms can degrade over time. Generally regulators are sealed from the factory and non-serviceable nor adjustable.

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Modern regulators have a device to restrict fuel flow if they are used improperly, or there is a leak in the system downstream of the regulator. This exhibits as you've described above.
You should first test your burners and valves for leaks and clean any insect traps preventing combustion air from reaching the burners. Also, ensure that the regulator vent is appropriately located (e.g. on Weber grills, it should be at 3, 6 or 9-o'clock positions, with 6 o'clock producing the best result).
Regulators are sealed assemblies that should not be disassembled.
The owners manual for your grill should discuss this topic.
scott
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Yes, I have opened one up. There is a flow control valve inside that is easily adjustable. Take the knob off and work in from there. You will see an adjustment screw. Adjust it and observe the flame height. Adjust until you are satisfied.
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Yes I have opened one up and there is an easily adjustable flow control valve. Take off the knob and work inwards from there. You can't miss it. Adjust it, then observe the resulting flames. Adjust until you are happy with the output.
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Sorry about the double post, I thought it didn't post my first response!
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Thanks folks- Yes, it is propane and not NG. The grill is a cheap ass Sunbeam and I don't expect to get anywhere with the mfg. I will try to adjust as recommended - that will be sweet if it works! Thanks! I had checked for insect obstructions and the like, I've had that one before. I was about to start using it as charcoal grill or toss the whole dang thing as it was driving me bonkers.
Scott
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REAL charcoal (not that shite made outta glue and dust) is far superior to gas.
Get a good charcoal grill and don't look back - your tastebuds will thank you!
D'ohBoy
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scott wrote:

First off, what you are calling a regulator sounds like the burner valve. If this grille is like the last one I had, there was a separate regulator at the tank that dropped pressure to a standard, then the hose from the tank fed the individual burner valves. If this grille works reasonably when the tank is full, but the flame gets lower as the tank is past half (heading for empty), either the regulator at the tank isn't putting out the pressure is should (which is really low, something like 3" of water column). Adjusting the secondary screw on the back of the valve (if yours has one) can help some, but first you need to get decent flow from the tank/regulator combo. If the regulator is indeed bad, you can get one at a propane supply store, but if this is a cheap grille, they'll probably want nearly as much as the grille cost. A secondary problem might be the tank. The ability for a propane tank to provide gas is a function of "wetted area" of the gas on the metal walls of the cylinder. When the tank is full, the liquid inside covers something like 80% of the surface area of the tank, and there is plenty of thermal exchange to vaporize the liquid to its gas state. This makes the walls of the tank cold (which is the way the tank guage strips work, you pour warm water on the side of the tank, the strip shows the cold part which is the level of the liquid, compared to the warm part where the gas contacts the wall of the tank). If you are in a cold environment, just pouring warm water on the tank will make a difference. So will putting the tank in a tub of water, which transfers more heat than open air. Let's say you had a high end grille and a 20 gallon tank that worked just fine in your normal temperature. Changing to a 5 gallon tank may provide much the symptom you describe, because the tank can't supply the same amount of gas as the larger one because it doesn't have enough surface area to provide the heat sink needed to evaporate the gas without making ice on the outside of the tank.
Foor dor thought??
Thanks -0-Rick
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