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Old 08-24-2011, 10:16 PM   #1
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Bethany533's Avatar
1983 30' Airstream 300
Covington , Louisiana
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 45
Water Heater Replacement

I'm wanting to replace the water heater. I have Gas with DSI and Heat exchange. Would like to replace with the same. I see both Atwood and Suburban both have similar models. Any thoughts as to which one is better? Is one easier to install? Someone mentioned that the entrance hole for the gas line was different on each brand.

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Old 08-25-2011, 05:38 AM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,570
Atwood is what you have now, why would you want to change brands? The plumbing will line up to what you have now.

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:07 AM   #3
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Silverton , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,101
We are considering Olympias...flex gas line, less space and waste of heat, and a piano hinge will allow direction...currently use a duraflame portable, but I'd rather get away from refilling the small tanks...I'll pay a professional to install the lines I want...propane is not something I want to play with in my home with wheels...m
Michael & Tracy
1989 345 Motorhome
We live for the moment, 'cause when you get there, it's gone...
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:49 AM   #4
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2007 30' Classic
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Posts: 1,750
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Tankless Olympias May Not Be What You Want

I have a friend who got the tankless Olympia in his new 2010 or 2011, SOB.
He just paid big bucks to have it removed and replaced with a conventional H2O heater. In a nutshell, he and his wife wasted too much water (and dumped too much in the gray water tank) trying to adjust water temperature for a quickie Navy, shower. (Navy shower=turn on water, get wet, turn off water, lather up, turn on water, rinse off, turn off water)

I can't imagine a better more efficient water heater than the Atwoods that have come in all my Airstreams. They are the only appliance that has been trouble free and dependable (except fot the ovens that we always use for a bread box).
I'd like to hear if others have enjoyed their tankless H2o heaters before I would retrofit one into an AIrstream. Heating water is something that Airstream seems to have gotten right.
Ken L
2007 Classic Limited 30 (Sold)
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #8654, Affiliate NM Unit
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:17 PM   #5
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Redwood City , California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,734
I recently replaced the original Atwood 6 gal with the same. It was fairly easy. Had to bend the gas line somewhat and kinked it out for that. Basically used same plumbing fittings and installed new bypass as well. I like the new double switch for the elec and gas that I have yet to install in the bath area. Never have and never will hookup engine heat exchange. And most important, I would never want to be without the DSI...who wants to go outside with matches to light water heater in the snow, rain or 105 degree weather?

So far the only issue is I hear the water boiling in the tank once in a while. I have to see if I can turn down the temp.

I'm very happy with the Atwood replacement.

"We are free to go where we wish and to be what we are"
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagall
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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I kinda wanted one that would fit that big hole in the outside of the trailer. I measured the old hole and went with an Atwood. Fit like a saddle on a sow.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:01 PM   #7
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Torrance , California
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Speaking of replacement water heaters.. I'm looking at the possibility of buying a '78 Argosy that has a bad water heater (the CO claims it's got a crack in it due to it having water in it when an early freeze hit. Is a full replacement in order or can they be repaired? I'm guessing a replacement but thought I'd ask.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:13 PM   #8
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1975 31' Sovereign
Pelzer , South Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 225
Images: 5
I swapped a tank once in one of those, big job. The following year
the control went, then the burner..
Shop around and get a new one..
Jim in Pima Az, enjoying our 1975 31 ft Airstream Sovereign
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:22 PM   #9
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1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
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Anyone with a Atwood would be suggested to read the operator's manual: that pressure-relief valve should be opened every few years to keep the upper air gap intact.
"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:25 PM   #10
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Torrance , California
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Thanks for the tips -- is it safe to assume that IF someone had been living in the AS and keeping the interior temps at a comfortable range, that the cracking would not have occurred or is the water heater in an unheated/insulated space? Just curious..

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