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Old 09-22-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
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How to test gas pressure and bleed gas lines?

hi all! newbie here with a 66 trade winds. Having issues lighting my water heater. Nuthin! the heater has probably not been started I over a year, but is fairly new. It is a suburban SW6pE. do not think I am getting fuel at the water heater. The stove does work though, although the flame is "tepid" for lack of a better word. I do have propane in one tank. I switched the tank over last week, so it should be basically full.

I have tried holding down the pilot with a flame applied for as long as a minute with no success. I have pressed the reset.

I have read the manual over and over until I want to scream. I feel like it was written in Greek!

other threads have suggested testing gas pressure, and also have suggested bleeding the lines. I have no idea how to do either of these things! any tips?

Also, I have read a lot about thermocouplers but I don't know what one actually is, what is does or where it might be located! Lol....

It's getting too cold for cold showers! any help is most appreciated!
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:35 PM   #2
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The flow of propane through the pilot light is small and it can take several minutes to evacuate the line of air. I usually light the cook-top first if the gas has been off for a month or two to get the propane to that point then light the water heater.
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #3
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The thermocouple is the small cylindrical object above the pilot light that let's the water heater know that the pilot flame is present before the propane gas is turned on.
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:34 PM   #4
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Never replaced one on a trailer but old house furnaces had one on them it consisted of a small copper tube that ran to the pilot.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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Thermocouples put out milivolts of power when exposed to sufficient heat and than keeps the main gas valve open. If there is a little corrosion, or the connections are a little loose, the voltage does not get through and the valve shuts (no gas, no flame, no heat). Thermocouples sometimes also just get old and weak. I keep a spare in my tool box when I work on the rental house water heaters and furnaces.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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In your photo the pilot is on the right under the cover. That small cooper tube is the thermocouple. Follow it to the right and at the end it gets thicker. There will be a scoop shaped piece of metal the would be your pilot. I am betting you held the flame in the wrong spot.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
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Maggie,
Does the gas line going to your refrigerator have a pressure gage on it? You should be able to see it from the maintenance access door on the exterior of the trailer. If you do have this gage, it should be showing a pressure of 11 to 14 inches of water column (WC).

Steve
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bryant View Post
Maggie,
Does the gas line going to your refrigerator have a pressure gage on it? You should be able to see it from the maintenance access door on the exterior of the trailer. If you do have this gage, it should be showing a pressure of 11 to 14 inches of water column (WC).

Steve

Hi Steve - Thanks for your note, No I don't think it does have one. So this is something I need to install?

Does it need to be permanently installed on my gas lines or are there any portable ways of checking the pressure?
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:14 PM   #9
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigventure View Post
In your photo the pilot is on the right under the cover. That small cooper tube is the thermocouple. Follow it to the right and at the end it gets thicker. There will be a scoop shaped piece of metal the would be your pilot. I am betting you held the flame in the wrong spot.
Wow - Am I ever blushing right now!!!

I was trying to light it to the lower left in that little square hole!

I will take another look!
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:17 PM   #10
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Maggieevans;
There may be a "test" port on the gas valve. It is where a manometer is connected to check the gas pressure. Any competent RV tech should know this.
I feel a kinship with you since my wife is Canadian. She lived in BC for 22 years.
Just so you know. There is no pilot on the refer. It is just a burner that is modulated by the thermostat. When you light it, you won't see a significant change in the burner like you would with a water heater. It does have a thermocouple.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:48 PM   #11
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Yippee! Thank you Everyone! Your tips and advice were a tremendous help! I successfully located the thermo-coupler, bled the lines AND found the pilot light!

I now have lovely hot water flowing!

Cheers!
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:02 AM   #13
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Hi Steve - Thanks for your note, No I don't think it does have one. So this is something I need to install?

Does it need to be permanently installed on my gas lines or are there any portable ways of checking the pressure?
Maggie,
No, you don't need to necessarily install a gas pressure gage. They are nice for situations like yours and to make sure that the gas pressure regulator is set properly. If I didn't have one and my gas appliances (furnace, stove, hot water heater, etc.) worked properly, I wouldn't spend the money to get one installed.

Also, I'm thrilled that you have hot water! Enjoy!!!

All my best,

Steve
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