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Old 05-06-2006, 04:47 PM   #15
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
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From the service manual:

Unit goes into lock-out only once in a while...

Lock-out can occur if the gas pressure fluctuates at the time the thermostat calls for hear. Pressure fluctuation can be cause by a malfunctioning gas bottle regulator, an obstruction or kink in the gas line and moisture in the gas bottle regulator, or in the gas line.

Their suggestion is to temporarily set up bottle with a known good regulator directly to just the heater line to test, thereby isolating the heater from the rest of the system.

They also note that if a bottle is run completely dry, the drying agent (1/2 pint ethonal/100 lb capacity of tank) can be depleted, allowing moisture to collect in the lines. Then they say to blow the lines out, add the dryer, and install a new regulator.

I've also had the joyful experience of going to bed and waking up to a furnace that's blowing cold air. It's no fun.

I also found out soon after I got the Excella why Airstream stresses having the gas valve open all the way. The first night, in Toledo in March, the heater didn't want to light. I felt under the trailer, and the gas valve seemed to be on. I ended up using the cat heater and sleeping on the gaucho. It was 23 degrees outside when I woke up.

The next night I read about the gas valve and I actually looked under the trailer. The valve was STUCK partially open. I attacked it with pliers, exercised it some, and the following night in Cleveland, I was toasty. By the time I got it to Georgia, I was confidently sleeping on one of the rear twins.

The only thing I don't like about this installation in my Excella is that they put a cat heater under the galley foldup table just inside the door. They closed off the front heater outlet. This means that the output from the furnace doesn't do much for the front of the trailer.

Lamar
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Old 05-06-2006, 07:47 PM   #16
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True about the tank valves. They should either be fully closed or fully open. This allows them to seal properly in either state. You can also check your ECO, which is a button shaped device located on the outside of the plenum. It is a normally closed switch (check continuity) that opens and shuts off power to the gas valve and hence the flame when an over temperature situation ocurrs. It might test OK but may still be opening pre-maturely to sut down the heat.....leaving just the blower on.

You can also convert your existing igniter board to a Dinosaur 'Fan 50+' board that will detect the absence of the flame and shut down the blower in 3 minutes. A real battery saver!! Most newer furnaces now have this feature, but it is very easy to upgrade an older unit with this new function. Highly recommended!
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:01 AM   #17
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Another Clue?

Just took the rig for a long tow this weekend. Tried to fire up the furnace when I got to my destination as it was cold. First I lit my range burners to make sure I had propane through the lines. The valves were all turned on. The thermostat was calling for heat (blower on), the ignitor was sparking to the burner like heck, but no ignition. In the end, I had to remove the small inspection plate and stick a long lighter through there at ignition time to get the thing lit. After that, the furnace cycled flawlessly for 14 hours without a problem????
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:27 AM   #18
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I would say that the ignitor is not close enough to the gas feed, or that the valve that should open for gas to flow is intermittent. Have you checked it since you returned home?
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Old 05-15-2006, 09:18 AM   #19
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I actually left it up north so no I haven't checked it. Are these valves replaceable? Can they be tested? I'm starting to think that my lockout problem happens at ignition time due to lack of flame.
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
Just took the rig for a long tow this weekend. Tried to fire up the furnace when I got to my destination as it was cold. First I lit my range burners to make sure I had propane through the lines. The valves were all turned on. The thermostat was calling for heat (blower on), the ignitor was sparking to the burner like heck, but no ignition. In the end, I had to remove the small inspection plate and stick a long lighter through there at ignition time to get the thing lit. After that, the furnace cycled flawlessly for 14 hours without a problem????
If you could manually light the burner and the furnace ran OK after that, then your gas solenoid is OK (obviously getting gas) and the ECO and sail switch are operating also. Sounds like an igniter problem. When you tried it, was the spark from the igniter hitting the burner? Was there LP present at the burner? I would check the igniter for a crack in the insulation that could be grounding it out and preventing the spark from hitting the burner where it should. It might be clicking and sparking, just not in the right place.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:23 PM   #21
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What is puzzzling is that the ignitor is brand new and yes it is the exact correct replacement for this furnace. It matched the pattern and offsets of the old one exactly. The spark looked very healthy and was arcing down to where the burner is. Quite puzzling if you ask me.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:29 PM   #22
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wac

i'm beginning to think you are a glutton for punishment! (just kidding!)

do yourself a favor and just go get the dinosaur board and a new ignitor. not more than 150 bucks for both.

i just had to do this for my furnace, and it is only 1992 model! the stock suburban boards are failure prone period. follow lew's advice.

if you hate spending the money on a possibly good part don't worry, the dinosaur board is an aboulute upgrade! in addition to getting a mil spec circuit board that is double soldered. you also get diognostic l.e.d.s on the new one!

the new board i just installed has a green/red l.e.d. that shows green when power is present, then turns red when the gas valve is opened. there is also a neon light that shows the ignitor is firing. a helpfull feature when trouble shooting your furnace!

the best part is i can see the light from the l.e.d.s when the furnace is installed. if my furnace screws up again i can just look in the back of the cabinet and see what the boards status is by looking for red/green or neon.

oh, i almost forgot to mention the new board is a 3 try system with auto fan shutdown after 3 min.s a real battery saver!

john
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:31 PM   #23
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on edit,

wac i did not see you got a new board!??? or the electrode??? perhaps you got a bad one out of the box!

sorry

john
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:05 PM   #24
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I've already replaced the ignitor. Am thinking about the Dino board upgrade, but I wouldn't be able to see the leds on the board once it is installed.
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:28 PM   #25
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wac

i cannot see mine directly. however, they are bright enough to illuminate the side of the cabinet.

john
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Old 05-15-2006, 03:33 PM   #26
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Hello, I have the same problem with my furnace. it is the origanal 1975 NT32 model. After much research I suspect it is the limit swith. The furnace will go into lock out because the cabinet temperature gets too hot and the limit switch open up. This commonly occurs because the airflow can get restricted and cause the temp to rise. I found that if I remove the front panel and let the air come out the front the furnace work fine. I have not replaced my old switch yet but I suspect it is become a little weak and cuts off a a slighty lower temp than when it was new. I hope this helps - good luck.
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Old 05-15-2006, 03:57 PM   #27
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Is the limit switch a replaceable part seperate from the ignitor control board? This would make some sense since when my furnace does run, it ocassionally turns the fan back on two or three times for short blasts presumably because it is detecting too high of a residual temperature in the cabinet area.

If I take this sucker out again it's getting a new board and I might as well replace the limit switch at the same time if it's available.
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Old 05-15-2006, 04:04 PM   #28
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I believe so, it is a two prong switch that is attached to the cabinet with two screws, it lised on he schematic in series with the micro swich and the gas valve.
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