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Old 12-28-2015, 08:01 AM   #1
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1987 29' Airstream 290
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Furnace blowing but no heat. Help please!!!

I have a 1987 290 motorhome that I'm shivering in right now We've only owned her since the 22nd and had this problem the only other night we were boondocking as well. Here is the problem:

At about 2am my girlfriend got up to use the restroom and the pump was taking a long time to get pressurized so it woke me up. I also noticed it was extremely cold but the heater fan was blowing with no hot air. I cycled the thermostat on and off a few times and adjusted the temperature with no success. I checked the battery level on the monitoring system and its showing low but things seem to never working ok. The only other night this happened was when we were not plugged in and it kicked back on either after I let the generator run a while to charge something up to get the furnace to ignite or I messed with the thermostat that somehow kicked the igniter back on.

The thermostat is probably more probable but it happening again while not plugged in is what makes me think low battery might have something to do with it? Generator hours are not until 8

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:18 AM   #2
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Low battery is most likely the cause.
If all works well when the generator is running it's most likely you don't have enough battery capacity, the battery is bad or not charging properly.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:47 AM   #3
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Thanks TG! I'm counting down the minutes until 8am to give it a shot! If the batteries have enough juice to run the lights, water pump, heater blower, etc. wouldn't that be enough to ignite the furnace? This one is really confusing me.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:48 AM   #4
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Check the voltage with a meter.

If it low the fan may not be spinning fast enough to switch the sail switch to the on position.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:53 AM   #5
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Almost certainly low battery voltage is causing your problem.
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Old 12-28-2015, 09:04 AM   #6
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Low Battery For Sure.
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:03 AM   #7
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Fire up the mh and see if that helps.
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:17 AM   #8
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Gentlemen we have fire! The generator kicked it on. Must be that sail switch thing? Kinda seems like a bad design. My final destination is Colorado so I'm thinking I'll get a 12 volt ceramic heater as a back up. Thoughts?

Oh one other thing I left the roof vent open so I bet the heater was running non stop! No wonder I ran the battery's down.
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:20 AM   #9
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If you have a bad battery, the only way to solve your problem is to replace it. Running a 12 volt heater will kill the battery pronto, quicker than running the furnace.
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:32 AM   #10
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Don't know what it's like on a 290, but on my Interstate, the propane supply is protected by a solenoid that is electrically held open. So when your batteries die, the solenoid closes and the propane is shut off.


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Old 12-28-2015, 12:06 PM   #11
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UKDUDE just said what I was fixin too............ Meter your batteries and if they're low when not being charged with any method, there's your culprit. Even if the sail switch closes, you're not getting LP flow due to low voltage, so no fire........... It seems like I also helped a neighbor determine his LP detector went bad (but didn't alarm) once and that shut off his LP flow too, so fan blew but no fire...........

I don't know that coach but I bet you have more than one "house" battery. May be two 12vs or 2 6vs or even 4 6vs......... Check your battery compartment to be sure, and if you replace them, take a picture of how they're wired together, because you won't remember when you go to put them back.

Hope this helps!
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:16 PM   #12
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If you plan to boon dock in cold weather definitely get back up heat sources because furnace fans use a lot of battery power and in my trailer we found that it depletes the battery in 3 - 4 hours at which point the temp inside will become = the temp outside over the following 5 - 6 hours. We bought a Camco catalytic heater and installed a quick LP connect off the furnace supply line. That is our back up heat source for when we are not connected to shore power. This heater does not require electricity to run and it is only limited to the amount of LP you have on board.
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:28 PM   #13
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If replacing a battery, I suggest the AGM, a little pricey, but worth the price. Also consider Solar if within your budget.
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coairstream View Post
Gentlemen we have fire! The generator kicked it on. Must be that sail switch thing? Kinda seems like a bad design. My final destination is Colorado so I'm thinking I'll get a 12 volt ceramic heater as a back up. Thoughts?
The sail switch is a safety feature as part of a good design. If the fan is not running, or is running too slow to remove the heat produced by the burner, it shuts the unit down.

If you mean you are going to get a small 120 volt (not 12 volt) heater, that is not a bad idea. But not a 12 volt heater, you need no more load on your battery system.
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