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Old 08-06-2012, 02:28 PM   #15
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1971 31' Excella 500
Sacramento , California
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purman View Post
You should here some hissing, whether it's air or propane. It took a good 3 mins of holding down the pilot bottom on mine when I hooked it up. But I could barely hear air coming out, but I could hear it. If you don't hear anything you need to check your line. And a cracked fitting is a very bad thing.
Put soap and water in a spray bottle and spray the fittings. If it bubbles then you have a leak.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
You definitely need water in the tank and can open any hot water faucet until you don't get air out of it to make sure the tank is full. Heating an empty tank can damage it.

Clean any electrical connections to remove any corrosion on them—you probably won't see it, but it may be there.

If the thermocouple doesn't open the main gas valve it is probably bad. There could be air in the line and that's why the pilot goes out, but if you've tried this for many minutes and the flame dies after you release the button, the thermocouple is next to look at. To move propane through the system and get the air bubbles out, turn the stove burners on and that should help purge the line. Do the furnace and fridge work? Thermocouples are cheap and replacing it now can't hurt especially if it is old. Take it out and try to match it at a hardware store. While you are there, take the cracked fitting and get a replacement.

Unless you can't smell anything at all, the odorant in propane is pretty hard to miss. Very, very small leaks aren't as easy to detect and you can use soapy water to check them. On an old system, it is a good idea to check every propane fitting on the trailer. I had some leaks on the a new one and the chance of leaks never go away.

Gene
ok I did the soapy water test and no bubbles (I cracked open the fitting and the bubbles appeared so I think I have eliminated a leak). I checked the rest of the line under the trailer as well.

Attached are some pictures showing the flame that is lit when I am holding down the pilot light and the whole unit. Notice the last picture shows what I think is the thermocouple. Is the crack on the top a problem? I noticed this line is hot after I have held the pilot light for awhile (that's a good thing right).

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:32 PM   #16
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1971 31' Excella 500
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
The pressure relief valve has something that looks like a lever on the top of the valve. On ours it is on the top right. Any home water heater has the same valve, usually right on the top of the water heater. You lift up the lever and water comes out of the drain spigot. If the pressure has built up enough, that water is scalding. The relief valve opens automatically at high temps—around 210˚.

It should be tested periodically to make sure it is not clogged and water comes out—best to do when the water is cold in the heater and the system is pressurized.

I have seen recommendations that the valve should be replaced as a safety measure after a period of time, but I can't remember how long that is. If the water heater hasn't been used for a while, the valve seal may not have seated properly and leak a bit, but that should stop once it is wet for a while.

Gene
Ok I just tried that. It worked. Water came out that was cold and plenty of it!
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:40 PM   #17
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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Africa',

The crack in the last picture is not good, but if it is the thermocouple at least gas will not leak out. There should be a wire(s) in there.

It looks to me that the lower tubing with the flame is the pilot light and the upper one is for the thermocouple. The thermocouple is always above the pilot as the pilot has to heat the thermocouple. When it does, an electric current is created and sends a signal back to the main gas valve (the big tube to the left of the others) to tell it to open. On any screw fittings use yellow teflon tape—it is for gas lines—and not the white tape (it's for water lines).

There's a lot of rust on the pipes and it may be time to clean it up or get new parts.

Gene
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:34 PM   #18
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1971 31' Excella 500
Sacramento , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Africa',

The crack in the last picture is not good, but if it is the thermocouple at least gas will not leak out. There should be a wire(s) in there.

It looks to me that the lower tubing with the flame is the pilot light and the upper one is for the thermocouple. The thermocouple is always above the pilot as the pilot has to heat the thermocouple. When it does, an electric current is created and sends a signal back to the main gas valve (the big tube to the left of the others) to tell it to open. On any screw fittings use yellow teflon tape—it is for gas lines—and not the white tape (it's for water lines).

There's a lot of rust on the pipes and it may be time to clean it up or get new parts.

Gene
Yes, there is a wire inside the thermocouple.

Should I clean off the rust and if so with what? I bought it (used) from a very reputable RV place here in town. They will exchange it if I want.
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:14 PM   #19
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If they will exchange at little or no cost, why not go that route with a newer water heater. The newer ones have electric igniters and you can light it inside the trailer if the switch can be mounted somewhere convenient. Then you wouldn't have to go out in the rain to light it, but I doubt they meant a entirely new one. If by "exchange" you mean the rusted and cracked parts, still a good deal.

To clean rust, a wire brush may work, a small file or sandpaper.

Gene
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