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Old 12-13-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
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1985 29' Sovereign
austin , Texas
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pilot issues (newbie)

Hey everybody. I'm having some issues keeping my pilot light lit. It refuses to stay on after I turn the dial to "on". It will stay on after the water heater flame is on, but goes off when the flame goes off. I replaced the thermocouple and still have the problem.
I am new to the rv life and need help fixing this as I am living in the airstream with my wife and 2 dogs full time. Any ideas or helpfull resources?

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Old 12-13-2011, 05:36 PM   #2
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Is the probe end of the thermocouple in the flame and clean?

Is the pilot flame as large as it should be? I would look at the orifice of the pilot burner and clean it with a small wire. It may be that it is not burning enough to heat the thermocouple enough to keep the gas valve open.

Good Luck,

Jeff & Cindy
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'91 350 LE MH
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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pilot issues (newbie)

Greetings diggersanddo!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstream ownership!

Something to check if you haven't already is the air intake/mixing tube -- it is the tube with the fixture that has a fitting with mutiple slits and a set screw. This tube is a favorite home to spiders, and a place where you can often find spider nests (and once in a geat while a mud dauber nest) after a period of storage and inactivity. A flexible bottle brush can be employed to remove these nests once the tube is removed from the heater - - it shouldn't require the removal of more than two or three set screws to release the tube. It is also possible that the fitting with multiple slits may need to be adjusted to improve the air/fuel mixture -- the goal is a mostly blue flame.

Good luck with your investigation!


P.S.: Some of these water heaters can be overly sensitive to draft/wind blowing the pilot light out. My Overlander has experienced this problem on several trips . . . . while I haven't found a total solution, placing a lawn chair at an agle to deflect the prevailing wind did help once or twice.
Kevin D. Allen
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:41 PM   #4
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Low propane pressure from the regulator at the tanks can also result in pilots going out easily. You should have 11 to 12 inches of water at the heater.
John W. Irwin
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
Low propane pressure from the regulator at the tanks can also result in pilots going out easily. You should have 11 to 12 inches of water at the heater.
Naw, he didn't say to put 11 inches of water in the propane line. Nope, doubt it. I bet he ment something about gas pressure.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:11 AM   #6
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Smile Pilot Issue ( not so newbie )

Could be the new regulations wanted by the NTSB to prevent...

Oh, and yes! It is winter in Houston... High time to check out our many heating fixtures!

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Old 12-14-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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1985 29' Sovereign
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Wow, thanks everybody for your advice. Not knowing anything about a system, PLUS not knowing where to find information on this system is frustriating. I appreciate the help and will be posting my findings. Until then...
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:07 AM   #8
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I am pleased to report, after due consideration of my options, that a new water heater was in order. The shiney new beauty is now installed and working much better than the old one. I did have to replace some of the original fittings as the plastic peices had become a little brittal.
However, the instilation was a bit more difficult than the instructions made it sound. Also, trying to fit the new heater into position has been a challenge. I may have to insert a shim under the tank so that the tank sits a little better.

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