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Old 05-11-2013, 10:18 PM   #1
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Spokane , Washington
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What is the zen of trouble on the road?

We are two days and 400 miles into our annual two-week vacation. The water heater has died, some sort of electrical problem. The water heater fuse blew and so did the main fuse. Oh, and the smell. Ok, so no electric water heater. We are trying to decide. Don't use water heater at all? Use propane? Have if fixed on the road? Go home? Of course, all the nights are planned and reserved. We have a golden retriever. So it's not like we can hide him in some hotel while we get things fixed. Not to mention, out west, Airstream dealers are few and far between. And closed on Sundays. The trailer is 10 months old.

Last year, our dog got horribly sick on the road, and we basically missed the high point of the trip, having to drive hundreds of miles to get him to a vet and back.

Well, that all sounds very negative. We are actually in good spirits, but good thing we've been married 20+ years!
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:24 PM   #2
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Use the water heater on propane if you can. Most of us don't even have the electric option. You can make a LOT of hot water on a tank of propane.

More better, the three of you enjoy the journey...

Mike
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:32 PM   #3
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We are wondering if it is safe to use the propane, as long as the breaker to the electric is off.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:35 PM   #4
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If u gonna be somewhere for a while get it fixed. A mobile tech may be cheaper than renting hotel and boarding pup.

I would find AS Rep to do work. Or maybe camp out at AS dealer! Surely they would embrace the press that offered ....
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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My AS uses electric to control the wh. On propane or or elect ...needed power.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:47 PM   #6
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If u gonna be somewhere for a while get it fixed. A mobile tech may be cheaper than renting hotel and boarding pup.

I would find AS Rep to do work. Or maybe camp out at AS dealer! Surely they would embrace the press that offered ....
Yes!!! We completely forgot. We have a roadside repair plan! Two actually. Gah!
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:10 PM   #7
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I would like to welcome you to the AF. Most RVr's arrive here with a problem and a story to tell.
You did not specify what brand your water heater is but it should be repairable by any RV tech as it is probably a common item across many other RV brands.
You did have water in the tank?????
If you determine the brand of heater, you will be able to lookup the trouble shooting guide online.

Hope you have a great vacation. Maybe you can write a song about it.

Dave




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Old 05-12-2013, 12:34 AM   #8
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Too bad you are 400 miles from home, AS of Spokane are pretty good folks to deal with, but then again, you aren't in Spokane right now. Let us know how the roadside insurance/assistance plan worked out for you.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:49 AM   #9
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As a prior poster noted the KEY question is do you have water in the tank? Water heaters have "bypass valves" which are designed to allow you to drain the tank, and fill the pipes with anti-freeze when you winterize. This will save you 5 to 8 gallons of anti-freeze... but if you flushed the pipes and didn't reset the valves, you might have tried to heat on a dry tank... which could account for the smell. Did the breakers actually burned up rather than just flipping? (HINT on circuit breakers - once one flips, many people think its burned up because it can't be flipped back on... Try this: Flip the breaker to the OFF position - when it pops it goes into a neutral position - once it's hard OFF, then reset it.) If any of the blade fuses blew, take it to any old auto parts store... they're totally generic, not Airstream specific.

And get out your big book and check the bypass valves before you try heating it again with either gas or electric. If the tank was in fact dry, you've probably cooked the electric heating element, but it could still work on propane once you get the breaker reset.

You do NOT need an Airstream tech for this... Airstream uses a tank that is common to many RV's. Any good tech should be able to diagnose and repair the problem... so if you've got the mobile repair plan, make your call tomorrow or Monday.

Paula
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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Call Atwood customer service Monday morning they can answer all your questions quickly, go the the right source. The heater is under their warranty.

Phone (USA):
800-546-8759
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:15 AM   #11
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FWIW, your 10 month old Airstream is still under factory warranty. Between that and Coach Net, you should be able to get some help. Just so you know, the warranty doesn't over operator error, so if they find you forgot to un-isolate the water heater you may have to pay the bill.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:18 AM   #12
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Adventure

is sort of what being "out there" is all about. And you're having some. Maybe a little too much ... but the alternative is to sit in your living room at home and watch tv?

Used to be, back when my SO and I would backpack, I'd tell her each time we pulled out of the driveway outbound, "Well, here we are, off and another adventure!" And yup, there was always some excitement, detour, storm, animal encounter, etc. to spice things up. So you're getting some of that courtesy of your Airstream. I think it's one of the advantages built in to every RV, no matter what the brand!

But seriously, do call Atwood service. They are very helpful and do make sure that you had the bypass valves set correctly so that the water heater was indeed filled with water instead of air. If you fire it up "dry" - I think there are safeties that are supposed to shut it down, but I'm pretty sure it would get pretty hot before they took over, so that might account for the "hot smell." Might be just a case of resetting the safeties or resetting a circuit breaker .. or maybe a fusible link. And as noted above, since Atwood water heaters are in most RVs., if it really needs "pro" attention, it probably doesn't need to be an Airstream dealer to figure it all out.

Good luck, and keep on doin' the adventure thing!
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:23 AM   #13
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Here is the info on the 24/7 roadside assistance plan that comes with all new Airstreams from 2012 models on.

Airstream, Inc :: Coach-Net

But I think the problem may have been suggested earlier, the water heater is in the bypass position and empty, so the electric element overheated. It may be burned out, but will still work on propane (if you fill the water heater with water).

Check the water heater bypass valve and less us know if that's it, and if it will still heat then after filling the tank.

doug k
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
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We have a golden retriever. So it's not like we can hide him in some hotel while we get things fixed.
If you've got a pet, it may be worthwhile to bookmark this page: Dog, Cat & Other Pet Friendly Hotels at Petswelcome.com

I don't have pets anymore, but when I did, and before I got my Airstream, I relied upon sites like this to locate pet-friendly hotels when I had to evacuate for a hurricane.
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