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Old 07-20-2012, 10:17 PM   #1
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1971 31' Excella 500
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Water heater - pilot light wont light

I have a 71 Excella. I cannot get the original Bowen Water heater pilot light to light. I just purchase a new pilot light assembly and replaced it but that still didnt help. I've read some of the other forums but nothing seems to work. Here are some details:

- I removed the dometic propane fridge and capped off the propane line with a threaded cap.
- In my model, the water heater is in the rear
- Ironically, I got my Magic Chef oven to light before but I cant remember what I did to get it to light and test it (feel free to chime in on this one).

Any other suggestions??
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:23 PM   #2
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Its a Model G10B by the way
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:38 PM   #3
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It may take a long time to get propane to the rear water heater. Try cracking the fitting for a minute to get the air out of the line, then try the pilot again.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
It may take a long time to get propane to the rear water heater. Try cracking the fitting for a minute to get the air out of the line, then try the pilot again.
How long should I let it bleed out? I opened it all the way and didnt hear any hissing noise, or smell propane (but dont trust the latter - my smelling is not the greatest). Also, I noticed a crack in the fitting as well. Is that a problem?
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:27 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:26 AM   #6
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most options covered here ...... did your new assembly include a replacement thermocoupler line?? If it is bad you will not light. I had to replace the Bowen Control Unit in one Airstream.

Cheerz
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:09 AM   #7
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There is a gas shut off valve on most AS products for each appliance, usually right below the unit itself, where the gas goes up through the floor. Did you check that yours is on? And fix the cracked fitting. That is dangerous.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:34 AM   #8
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There is a gas shut off valve on most AS products for each appliance, usually right below the unit itself, where the gas goes up through the floor. Did you check that yours is on? And fix the cracked fitting. That is dangerous.
Well that was simple.. I looked under the trailer and the shutoff valve was in the off position. I know understand why computer tech support asks if you have the power plugged in!

I can now get it to light while in the pilot positon but when I left off of the red button the flame starts to die. Do I just need to hold it longer? What about changing the pilot light adjustment? My flame is covering the thermocouple and is orange in color at the top.

Thanks
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:36 AM   #9
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Oh and once I get this thing lit, do I need to have water in my tank to heat or does the city water I have hooked up run through the water heater tank first?
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:44 AM   #10
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You should have water in the tank before you lite the heater, the city water should go through the heater if it is not bypassed for winterizing. To check for water in the water heater you can open the overpressure valve to make sure water comes out.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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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.

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Old 07-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by africaroots

Well that was simple.. I looked under the trailer and the shutoff valve was in the off position. I know understand why computer tech support asks if you have the power plugged in!

I can now get it to light while in the pilot positon but when I left off of the red button the flame starts to die. Do I just need to hold it longer? What about changing the pilot light adjustment? My flame is covering the thermocouple and is orange in color at the top.

Thanks
Yep I took mine out when I just redid the trailer. Mostly because the line had a pinch in it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
You should have water in the tank before you lite the heater, the city water should go through the heater if it is not bypassed for winterizing. To check for water in the water heater you can open the overpressure valve to make sure water comes out.
which valve is the overpressure valve?
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:05 PM   #14
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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
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