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Old 08-19-2005, 01:27 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1995 36' Classic 36
Ottawa , Ontario
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 44
Water heater, Engine antifreeze?

Just got back a few days ago from our first major trip with the AS 345 I bought earlier this year. Happy to say that our touring around the Canadian Maritimes was uneventful and the coach performed with no major failures, I guess the extensive preventative maintenance paid off.

That said, we noticed an odd odor and taste to the water, despite having flushed the system before we left. I initially blamed it on winterizing antifreeze that was not properly flushed, dumped and flushed the freshwater and the hotwater heater and refilled. Two days later the odor was back. We didn't use the onboard water for drinking or cooking as I am aware of how poisonous engine antifreeze is, although I am still not certain this was the problem (but am suspicious)

Anyone else experienced any kind of failure between the engine coolant heat exchanger and the hot water tank? I'm getting set to bypass the (brand new) heater hoses I wrestled to install before the trip to see if the smell goes away but wondered if anyone else had experienced this with a 20 year old water heater.....

Given the fact that minimal coolant loss was in evidence, and the contamination was obviously at a low level, I assume it can only be a pinhole of a leak.


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Old 08-19-2005, 02:06 PM   #2
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LOST , Hawaii
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Mine is nothing more than a tube welded to the outside of the tank, 2 layers of metal to prevent the water and engine coolant from mixing.


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Old 08-19-2005, 02:39 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Time to Pressure Test

Shouldn't take too long to test -

Do a conventional radiator pressure test utiliziling a pressure gauge/radiator cap - leave your potable water unconnected and a hot water tap "on " so any internal leakage in the water heater will have a place to go. Leave it on test for at least a couple of hours.

Please let the Forum know the results.

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Old 08-28-2005, 09:30 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
1995 36' Classic 36
Ottawa , Ontario
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 44
It leaks....

Thanks for the excellent suggestions.

I, pressure tested today and the results were not good. In the process I discovered a small external leak of engine coolant at the hot water heater. Still not sure whether it was also leaking into the tank itself but I remain suspicious due to the water taste previously.

In the meantime, I've bypassed the engine coolant heat exchanger and plugged the heat exchanger lines on the hot water heater. Anyone got a model number for the water heater in a late 1985 34 motorhome? The label on my heater is so faded I cannot read it. I'd like to check the price of a replacement tank (only) for the hot water heater as the DSI electronics, and burner were replaced not long ago.

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