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Old 05-12-2014, 12:39 PM   #1
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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Talking Need help with waterheater!!!

Hello my fellow Airstreamfriends!

We are now proudly Airstreamowners as well! We bought via Airstreamclassifieds a 345 classic from Bill and Jane in Iowa (What a nice family!!!)
They did all they could to make our baby in a tip top condition, we spent some money in upgrades: china-toilet, Bankspowersystem, new shocks all arround).

Bill payed for a complete coach and chassis check! (Thank you again!!!!)

We started to our trip cross USA from Iowa to Baltimore to ship the rig to Germany. On this trip we visited Airstream in Jackson Center/Ohio, we after a consult from an Airstream mechanic to realize, the servicecenter did really not work well:
The window sliders in cabin are replaced and the new grey trim is mounted, but they did not cut the drainage holes, and the windows are not lockable, they open "self" while driving!!! Noisy and inconvenient.

Who knows how to pull out the sliding windows in this area to cut and fix the latches???? Airstream could not help, we had no Appointment made...!

Also, we have a problem with the water heater. We can start it, it "burns" immediately, switches off, if temperature is "good", but does nor re-start.

The RV-center did not check it properly, we started it again from inside then, a massive "burn-out" gave me a new "Hairstyling"...!

We bought at Airstream in Jackson Center a new Heater to solve this problem, but we had to realize, they sold as a unit without heat exchanger (engine-support)!!!! It's the OEM Atwood 6 gallon heater.
Who knows about a repair idea for this? We have no Atwood service in Germany at all, these units are not with CEE aproval...!

Last but not least, we had to realize, water is leaking while we are hooked up to water on a campground. It's dripping out of the reel itself. We did not use a pressure regulator...! We did not know about this...!
Any idea, where we get parts to replace the sealants and / or conections????

Our "Baby" will arrive in Amsterdam/Netherlands by 26th of may, we keep the fingers crossed she traveled safe.

Have a great day, yours Marcus!
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roquefort View Post
We bought at Airstream in Jackson Center a new Heater to solve this problem, but we had to realize, they sold as a unit without heatchanger (engine-support)!!!! It's the OEM Atwood 6 gallon heater.
Who knows about a repair idea for this? We have no Atwood service in Germany at all, these units are not with CEE aproval...!
I hope you enjoy your new to you Airstream. They are a complex unit, and now close to 30 years old, so there will always be issues to work on.

The water heater originally had a heating function from the engine. I am not sure that Atwood even makes those anymore. The factory service center may not have had any old ones available and so put in a new one without the engine heat support. Since the engine heat support is a coil of tubing wrapped around the tank and welded on, I don't think there is anything you can do to put it in afterwards, it had to come from Atwood that way. It is a function which is not all that useful anyway. Propane will heat your water up fast. Even the 120 volt electric heating element will have to be changed out if you want to use in on your 240 volt European power system. You are also going to need to change the converter/charger to a European voltage one, as well as the heater element in the refrigerator. So, you have more to do when you get it delivered to your home.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:54 AM   #3
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Hello Idroba!
, i have seen in the meantime, these Atwood heaters with heat changer are still available! But before i change the heater with all the hazzle of new sealing the replacement etc. I wanted to try to repair the existing one. The rig has only 38000mls on the odometer, everything was allways well maintained. What could be the problem ???
Regarding the transformation to european 240 volt standard, we will do different:
Instead of expensive change of all electrical elements, we ordered a transformator which makes "our" 240 volt into 110 "american" volt. It is a 4kw unit, so it will work even with Airco's. We bought in Amerika everything we might need while travelling, like vacuumcleaner, coffemaker, toaster, hairdryer and what ever Anja bought else.
So we can hook up on Campgrounds easily by changing onlynthe american 50amp plug in into an european plug-in. We have here only 32 amp's at maximum...!
No problems att all, if we use the generator,mthen we will be an "american island" in Germany :-) !
So, if anyone can give adwise for my Atwood-challenge and the water-reel problem as well, be welcome to contact me!!!!
Have a great day!
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:52 PM   #4
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Guten Tag

I'm sorry that I can't provide you with any technical help regarding your Atwood hot water heater. I'm just posting to say hello and welcome.
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Old 05-17-2014, 01:31 PM   #5
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I am still confused about your water heater problem. Did you get a new one but it has not been installed? And is it the one without the engine heat feature? Are you trying to fix the original one? I am sure that there is no way to convert one which did not have the engine heat feature to one which does. That is a factory design and build issue.

Your transformer solution is one which will work, but not in all conditions. We use 60 Hz power here in the States, you use 50 Hz power in Europe. The transformer will change the voltage down from 240 to 120 but will not change the frequency. That probably will mean that things like the Air Conditioner will not work properly, and possibly the original Univolt converter/charger which is a design which may be frequency dependent. You can get a good European converter/charger I am sure, and since the original Univolt is not a very good unit to begin with, I would recommend you doing that.

The hose reel water leak is not an area I have any experience with. It should hold up to about 100 PSI (about 6 bar) without leaking. Someone here who has one may have had them apart and could tell you more.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #6
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Hello Idroba,
Sorry fr my late reply, was too busy all these days...!
Thank you very much fir sharing your concerns about the voltage problem!!!! I realy was NOT AWARE about different Hertz In USA and Europe...! I will discuss this with my electrician imediately, hopefuly we bought all these american household appliances not "for nuts"?! Anyhow, thank you also for the tip regarding the power inverter. We allrwady realized, it's a "noisy box" at night. What do we need to buy? Any idea???
Regarding the heater from Atwood: The OEM boiler is still installed, we bought , by mistake, a new one, without engine support at Airstream plant. Ut was their mistake to sell us one without engine support...!
Anyhow, they refunded us the price to say "excuse us", but we still have now NO HOT WATER!
We have bin told on the Forum, there is a thermo-fuse to change, we will do so, once we now, where it is located and where (in Germany!!!) we can buy these.
For the water rail: Do you know the manufacturer? Are they still on buisness? I had once some documentation about these rails, it was a workplace equipment, not normally for RV's. But i lost these papers :-( !
The water hose is not only leaking now, it does akso not "flip-in", ad it does begore we shipped the rig to Germany.
Have a great day!
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:03 PM   #7
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I will try to do some additional help and do hope that others with 310's will chime in with things they know. We have some language issues in what to call various parts, but your English is much better than my German would ever be. So here is some more thinking on my part.

I doubt that the thermal fuse is any problem in your current water heater (you call it a boiler, we use the term water heater here in the states) The reason I say that is if the thermal fuse is blown, the burner flame will never come on at all. I think you said yours comes on once when cold, and then will not re light when the temperature goes down. I would suspect poor electrical connections as one thing to check. Clean all of the connections to the circuit board, and tighten them well by whatever means you need to do it. Be sure to clean any ground connections (sometimes called earth connections in British English). At any rate the (-) connections which can get overlooked. Be sure the sparking electrode is positioned close to metal so the spark can jump to cause ignition. I am not sure of the exact distance, probably 2 mm would be about right. Of course the sealed circuit board can be a problem too and you would have to order a replacement from someone here in the US for that specific water heater model. This company makes excellent replacement boards, better than original in most users mind.'

Dinosaur Electronics Boards Dometic Norcold UIB Onan Eyebrow Testers Exercisers Extras P-711 P-24-2 P-24-3 P-246 P-26 P-1338 3850415.01 1-64874, SR-1 61647422D 618661Dino 61647622D 618666Dino D-15712 D-15650 61716822D 61716922D 61602722D 61602822D 62

On my 310 (now sold) I did find that leaving the water heater compartment door open often made it run more reliably, and no one knew why, but it did. You might try that sometime.

On your converter/charger: I am sure that there are good German made ones which would work very well and have the 240 volt input you use at 50 cycles. US ones are 60 cycles and may or may not work properly due to the frequency difference. You want one which is a "three stage charger" with about a 45 amp at 12 volt output.

I hope someone with hose reel experience will chime in here to help out. It is an area I know nothing about.

Keep the questions coming and we will try to get good answers for you.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:35 AM   #8
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Thank you very much, Idroba!! One more question about the heater:
If the spark elektrode is not correctly tighten, can the heater then start at all???
Remember please, i switch the cold heater on, it lights imediately. I looked at the conections of the waterheater, inside the rig they look ALL like new. Our 345 has onky 38k miles on the odometer, allways garaged. Outside it shows some firt and rust, so i woll ckean this in any case. What i do not understand at all : WHY CAN I LIGHT THE WATERHEATER BY SWITCHING IT TO "ON" SO EASY??? It start's with the very first spark?!?!
Regarding the Univoltcharger: I want to keep the entire system on 110 Volts, so, if i need to use a 220 volt unit from here (bloody expensive!!!)i will need to install a separate wiring circuit from the plug in (220volts), with "bypass" to the transformator i allready bought (also very expensive!!!). It's a 3,6 kw. couszom build transformator. 3,6 kw is the MAXIMUM we can get from a common german 220 volt plug, circuit breakers have here normaly 16 Amps!!! (in France on a campground we found once a 6 Amps breaker, was blown after the first use of a 1,8 kw hairdryer...!)
I have an Appointment tomorrow with a technician, he mentioned it will work, regardless the 60 Hz. issue?! We will see...
I keep you posted!
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:03 AM   #9
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If you are going to keep it all a 120 volt system powered through your transformer then getting a US converter/charger makes sense. I would recommend a Progressive Dynamics PD 9255 (55 amps at 12 volts). What I don't know is if they work properly on 50 hz power. There are many electronic designs out there, some are frequency sensitive and some are not. How the PD unit is designed I don't really know.

I would try adjustment of the spark electrode on your water heater to see if it makes any difference in how it lights after the first time. Another possibility is the high temperature thermostat or the normal thermostat needing replacement. They are two little round black things about 1 cm in diameter with wires attached. They are simple thermal switches and can go bad with time. And then the ignitor circuit board, as mentioned in my post above.

I hope your local repair person is a good one and can figure out the problem.
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:29 PM   #10
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I had a reel in one of my 70's trailers, can't remember which one. I looked for years for replacement parts for the electric reel, but could not find any. There was a manufacturer's tag, so I contacted them. The manufacturer, AERO-Motive, Inc is now out of business, bought by Woodhead, Inc. They told me they could custom manufacture some of the parts, but it would be cost prohibitive. I finally gave up and changed the electrical and water connection to what was available at that time.

If you only have problems with the water, you might get lucky and just have to replace o-ring washers. There is nothing special about them, so you should find them at a plumbing supply or hardware store.

When it comes time to winterize, make sure to open the petcock drain that is in the center of the reel wheel casting. It's hard to see and difficult to access. If you do not get it drained it will freeze and crack the casting. Ask me how I know ;-(

This web link has photos of the type of reel I had.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...air-58391.html

Hope this helps!
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