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Old 07-05-2006, 09:41 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1969 27' Overlander
Colorado Springs , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 26
Heater replacement or repair.

My 69 27' Land Yacht used the standard forced air heater (suburban I think) with a wall mounted Catalytic unit near the door.

After pulling out the heater the combustion chamber is rusted out in several areas. Are there any places that repair the stamped metal chambers or should I just get a repalcement?

I have read some of the threads on the wall mounted catalytics. Not sure why these are not a Carbon Monoxide danger (ie I see no ventalation) does the process not creat gases that need to be vented? There must be byproduct if propaane is used? Do older (1969) units pose any risks?

Any suggestions for furnace replacement and will these fit in the steel cabnet the original suburban was in? This is how the air gets circulated into the ducting so I do not want to recreate that as well do I? How about old thermostat wiring will that work with a modern repalcement?

Any thoughts from those that have gone before are appreciated in advance.

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Old 07-05-2006, 09:55 PM   #2
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 6,074
Furnace - safety FIRST

When in doubt, replace. There aren't so many spare Airstreamers that we can afford to lose any.

Carbon monoxide poisoning, even if it doesn't kill you (and it's very likely to) can cause problems that persist for many months, as well as permanent brain and circulatory system damage. I'd replace the old suburban or whatever with a new unit... side benefit is the electric ignition. No standing outside in the cold trying to light the furnace. As for the catalytic heater I just don't know enough to give advice on that, but if you've got a 110 volt hookup, why not use an oil filled radiator, space heater, etc.?

Just my 2.5 cents.


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Old 07-05-2006, 10:14 PM   #3
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2005 22' Safari
Santa Ana , California
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 167
I'm with Paula. Especially when it comes to the heater. If you shop around you will find a replacement for a pretty reasonable price. By the time you spend your time hunting for parts, finding someone to repair it correctly you almost certainly will have spent more than a new one.
Maybe it will be more efficient also saving propane.

good luck
2005 22ft Safari
2003 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 5.3l
"Life is like a box of chocolates..." Forrest Gump
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Old 07-06-2006, 05:57 AM   #4
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2016 20' Flying Cloud
Centennial , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,321
I just had a new furnace installed in my '66 Safari and am thrilled with the results. I feel safer and it is much quieter than the old one was. Boy does it blow the air out too!!!!
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:00 AM   #5
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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Posts: 4,541
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you probably won't find any parts for the old suburban furnace; replacement is likely your only option, there.

as for the catalytic, it doesn't give off CO; (thats what the "catalyst" does. its not really "burning" the way an open flame does). it gives off CO2, and consumes O2, so you should probably leave a window or a vent cracked. Even so, the Airstream isn't that air-tight that it should be a problem.

as for "why not use an electric heater instead?"...that's the whole point of the doesn't need any electricity, so you can use it when there isn't any available.

The furnace is handy, but it does consume an enormous amount of electricity...while it will run off the 12v system, it can drain your batteries overnight.

I wouldn't run either without a functioning CO detector in the trailer.
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:43 PM   #6
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1969 27' Overlander
Colorado Springs , Colorado
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Posts: 26

I will replace the heater and maybe keep the wall mounted catalytic. And getting a generator and electric radiator isn't a bad option either! Thanks, the old suburban is going in the dumpster.

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