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Old 01-09-2005, 03:49 PM   #1
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Unhappy Auxillary heater?

Hi all,
I have a 1984 310 Limited MH. I am having some interior work done, mainly a remodel of the bedroom and bathroom, but also new flooring throughout. Carpet in the bedroom and 'Cockpit', pergo like Wilsonart floating flooring in the bedroom, kitchen, dining room, den, and parlor :<).

The fellow doing the work called me last night to tell me that the floor was soaked under the couch and that the sub floor was rotted. Bummer. He said he thought the aux heater under the couch might be leaking. He then said that this heater had hoses going to the water heater?!

Can anyone explain how this thing is supposed to work?

I had assumed that it worked off of engine coolant and that since I didn't lose coolant, it wasn't leaking?
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:29 PM   #2
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The coolant hoses run form the engine to the aux heater, then to the water heater and back to the engine. The floor could be soaked form a slow leak that has been happening for a while. If you replace the hoses have the heat exchanger for the aux heater tested before you reinstall it they tend to leak after 10 years if the coach did not have regular cooling system maintenance.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response. What is the purpose of connecting to the water heater?
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:57 PM   #4
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The connection to the water heater is so that you have hot water if you need it on the road, without lighting the heater. It is also always there.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:58 PM   #5
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Reason for Water Heater/Engine Tie-in - Safety Feature

Hot water is available while you are on the road without having to run the burner in the water heater (see other threads on the pro's and con's of running a burner while actually on the road).

The engine water will actually heat the water in the heater ABOVE the shut off point of the burner - what this means is that sometimes you have to wait a bit before the igniter will light the main burner (if you have an electronic ignition on the water heater).
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Old 01-09-2005, 09:16 PM   #6
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Can he still run the engine? If so run it until it is warmed up while running the auxillary heater, you should be able to smell antifreeze if that is where the leak is coming from.

Just my 2. The motoraid water heater and auxillary heater are pretty common for high end Class A motor homes. I am surprised anyone who would take on a job this large had not seen this; keep close contact with your motor home as the work progresses.

John
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:25 PM   #7
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This guy is in Junction City Oregon, close to Monaco, Marathon, etc. He does lots of work on big diesel pushers. He seems to know what he is doing in general but has no Airstream specific knowledge. I asked the local (Eugene) Airstream dealer about doing this work, but he didn't bother to give me a proposal. So I took the plunge. We'll see how it all turns out. Remember the original idea was to do an internal remodel. The problem has been concealed floor damage and roof AC without seals. By the way, this summer I took the MH to the factory in Jackson Center and one of the items I asked them to check was weather seal relative to the AC's. So if I can't trust the factory service center to notice that my AC's didn't have proper seals I guess I just have to take my chances. I asked the Service Center about this remodel but they seemed totally uninterested. I also e-mailed Andy of Inland RV twice to ask whether this was the kind of job his shop does, he didn't reply to either message.
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:31 PM   #8
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While we're on the subject

of the auxillary heater, can you tell me what the high/low switch on the dash do? Do they control water flow or merely a fan?
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:38 PM   #9
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Fan only. There is a pull knob for temprature control.
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:52 AM   #10
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Where is this pull know located/what does it look like. I've put over 10,000 mile on my MH and didn't think there was a pull knob I haven't noticed
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:23 AM   #11
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Pull Out Knob

Pull Out Knob is adjacent to the (aux) heater, usually mounted just forward of the heater. If you are close by the coach, lift the sofa (if that is where the aux heater is - I have also seen them under one of the Dinette seats), and the actual control valve is mounted in the hose just to the rear of the heater.

You can access the control knob (adjust the amount of coolant going through the aux heater) by opening the sofa or dinette "storage bin" closest to the heater. If the valve has not been operated in a few years anticipate a stuck valve - the valve is identical to those found in the hood area of most autos controlling the amount of flow to the automobile heater.

Take the old one to a parts store and you should be able to match it.

The "Control Knob" is attached to a simple push/pull solid wire within a coiled wire (a la' a lawn mower throttle control) - also easily duplicated with standard hardware.
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