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Old 10-27-2007, 02:59 PM   #1
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? best - Atwood or Suburban Furnace?

I will be putting a new furnace in my 61 Safari. I'm looking for opinions on whether I should buy an Atwood or a Suburban. Your thoughts and/or experiences are welcome!
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Old 10-27-2007, 04:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prhamilt
I will be putting a new furnace in my 61 Safari. I'm looking for opinions on whether I should buy an Atwood or a Suburban. Your thoughts and/or experiences are welcome!
I work on both on a regular basis. Either works well but from what I've experienced, the Suburbans are easier to remove and service than the Atwoods.

And considering that they should be serviced annually (even though no one ever does) it's something to consider............
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:30 AM   #3
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Imay not be a strong help here...
But on the vintage I have an old sub. and on the new I have of course a new Atwood.
The Atwood is just really disappointing to me. Way too hard on propane.
If I run it at night to keep 70 F, running the water heater when needed, my 30 lbs tank last less than 10 days. It's 40 F outside at night so not really darn cold compare to freezing temp I had to live in the vintage.
So the Atwood work but doesn't seem really efficient.
And again I make a comparison between an old Sub. and a New Atwood...
But I am so confuse, I am really not sure that new tech. is even better than old ones...

Any thought about that lewster?
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Old 10-31-2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dufferin
Imay not be a strong help here...
But on the vintage I have an old sub. and on the new I have of course a new Atwood.
The Atwood is just really disappointing to me. Way too hard on propane.
If I run it at night to keep 70 F, running the water heater when needed, my 30 lbs tank last less than 10 days. It's 40 F outside at night so not really darn cold compare to freezing temp I had to live in the vintage.
So the Atwood work but doesn't seem really efficient.
And again I make a comparison between an old Sub. and a New Atwood...
But I am so confuse, I am really not sure that new tech. is even better than old ones...

Any thought about that lewster?

The 'new and 'old' style furnaces are really quite similar as the basic RV furnace technology hasn't changed that much. The biggest differences lie in the ignition systems and the gas valves.

Newer units use an electronic igniter board to open the gas valve, provide the spark, control the gas valve and purge the unit after that.

Older units did basically the same process by use of a time-delay relay that would heat up and basically do the same thing.

FWIW, I prefer the new units for reliability IF they have a quality igniter board in them....which they DO NOT. Soooooooooo......after the OEM board fails (and they usually do right after the warranty period is up) install a Dinosaur UIB-S igniter board and only do routine cleaning and maintenance on the furnace after that................and be a happy camper!
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:57 PM   #5
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so why the new atwwod would need way more propane than the old sub.? I may be wrong but when I see how much propane it burns this Atwood is a strong "global warming" device...

Does the dinosaur board change something on the time-delay... cause the blower bring so much cold air for 15-20sec before ignition...
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Old 11-01-2007, 09:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dufferin
so why the new atwwod would need way more propane than the old sub.? I may be wrong but when I see how much propane it burns this Atwood is a strong "global warming" device...

Does the dinosaur board change something on the time-delay... cause the blower bring so much cold air for 15-20sec before ignition...
No,

All furnaces require an initial 'purge' cycle that assures any residual gasses are cleared from the combustion chamber before ignition. Plus, the sail switch needs to close, telling the igniter board that there is sufficient air flow in the heating plenum for ignition and proper flow so the unit will not overheat.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:07 PM   #7
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I want to put a new furnace in my 67 Caravel. Is Suburban the way to go? What model, etc?
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:29 PM   #8
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What about a catalytic heater. Are those recommended, safe?
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Old 05-09-2015, 10:17 AM   #9
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TAG,
Since you pmed me on about another subject I will add my comments here about this. I know for my '65 Caravel the direct replacement was the Atwood 6 gallon hot water heater. It took minimal trimming of the skin, maybe 1/4 inch. Bowen was the original brand, and Atwood bought them out. So, this standard gas only HW heater is the closest direct replacement. I have the gas only model, but you can get gas/ electric. I was able to use the original Bowen cover instead of the newer Atwood cover. That keeps everything looking original.

I think Catalytic heaters are safe if used per instructions. You must crack a window during use. I think it is much safer than using the old original heater that I didn't trust. I took out the old Hydroflame and the flew that went out the back. I replaced the external exhaust with a round patch and installed a working AC outdoor outlet in that location. In the exact location of the Hydroflame I installed a Wave 6 catalytic heater. It is almost the same size as the Hydroflame. It took trimming top and bottom wood cabinet about 1/4" and a 2" wood strip to fill the void on the left or right side. I installed it with the flush mount kit. It looks like it was meant to be there and is a good replacement. It warms very well. I am very happy with the look and function.

I hope this helps!
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jewel65 View Post
I think Catalytic heaters are safe if used per instructions. You must crack a window during use. I think it is much safer than using the old original heater that I didn't trust. I took out the old Hydroflame and the flew that went out the back. I replaced the external exhaust with a round patch and installed a working AC outdoor outlet in that location. In the exact location of the Hydroflame I installed a Wave 6 catalytic heater. It is almost the same size as the Hydroflame. It took trimming top and bottom wood cabinet about 1/4" and a 2" wood strip to fill the void on the left or right side. I installed it with the flush mount kit. It looks like it was meant to be there and is a good replacement. It warms very well. I am very happy with the look and function.

I hope this helps!
Thank you for the information about Wave catalytic heaters. Our 1987 Avion had a catalytic heater at one time, mounted to the back of the dinette seat just inside the door. Gas line is still there, capped off.
I will be installing a Wave8 sometime in the near future.
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:42 AM   #11
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As happens many times on this forum there is a lot of information in a few short posts. On my '76 Overlander with a Suburban furnace, the previous owner never used it once in the 12 years they had it. We cleaned it out, including the flues and ductwork, made sure all connections were tight, and - of course - just had to try turning the wall thermostat on and found it came on, went through the purge cycle, etc. and produced heat and worked just fine. The only issue is occasionally it will come on at night and never get out of the purge cycle, thus only blowing air and not igniting.

Now, not wanting to divert the OP's original question, but our AS service tech says this may be a "sail switch issue" but that it is a lot of time - i.e., money - merely to access and replace it, put it back together without really knowing if it is the problem.

What I'm wondering is if I have them check the sail switch issue, since it has to come out, should we just go ahead and - assuming the rest of the unit is working fine - also have them replace the "time-delay relay" with the newer, electronic "dinasaur" brand ignitor system? Thus, having a "new" old furnace? (Because I know the service guy thinks that if we're going to take out a 40 year old furnace we ought to put a new one in...) Any thoughts on that?
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Old 05-09-2015, 07:20 PM   #12
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We "wore out" two Suburban NT-30s in our 86 Limited. I installed new ones as a direct replacement. After 5 years, they are working fine. (Our 34 has two furnaces for some reason.) I also installed an new Suburban furnace in my old Trade Wind. It worked fine right out of the box. I elected to bottom duct this furnace to save storage space under the twin beds.

I've had good luck with the Suburban furnaces.

David
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OilnH2o View Post
As happens many times on this forum there is a lot of information in a few short posts. On my '76 Overlander with a Suburban furnace, the previous owner never used it once in the 12 years they had it. We cleaned it out, including the flues and ductwork, made sure all connections were tight, and - of course - just had to try turning the wall thermostat on and found it came on, went through the purge cycle, etc. and produced heat and worked just fine. The only issue is occasionally it will come on at night and never get out of the purge cycle, thus only blowing air and not igniting.

Now, not wanting to divert the OP's original question, but our AS service tech says this may be a "sail switch issue" but that it is a lot of time - i.e., money - merely to access and replace it, put it back together without really knowing if it is the problem.

What I'm wondering is if I have them check the sail switch issue, since it has to come out, should we just go ahead and - assuming the rest of the unit is working fine - also have them replace the "time-delay relay" with the newer, electronic "dinasaur" brand ignitor system? Thus, having a "new" old furnace? (Because I know the service guy thinks that if we're going to take out a 40 year old furnace we ought to put a new one in...) Any thoughts on that?
O&E-
Call me; we went through the same diagnostic process last year ... it is not difficult to get at the parts ... the tech talked me though it on the phone.
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