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Old 10-15-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Need help with bad furnace fumes!!

We purchased a 1972 Sovereign International, this spring. It's all original and so for everything was working great. This weekend I fired up the heater. Piloted right up. Thermostat cycled perfectly. But within 15 minutes, my eyes were burning. So I turned it off, aired it out and now I'm here wondering what do I need to do?? Are there a set of simple steps I can go through to see what's wrong and if it's fixable. One more note. The front cover does not seal at the bottom. There is a big gap across the bottom that blows large amounts of air into the cabinet. It didn't seem right to me, but I didn't know if this was right, or if there is an extra part of the door I am missing.
Any help would really be appreciated.
Thanks,
Marc
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:50 AM   #2
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NOT for "handyman"

Furnaces are almost assuredly the number one potential killer on Airstreams. Carbon Monoxide detectors probably weren't required in the 70's, and even if you have an old one, it probably doesn't work. CO detectors need to be replaced periodically.

This is a repair that should only be done by a certified repair technician. This is not a do-it-yourselfer!

My two cents are REPLACE the heater and furnace if the unit is much over 10 years old. Metal fatigue and/or rust can create leaks in your propane appliances, even if they're stored indoors. You don't want either a fire or carbon monoxide leak in your unit! A 70's furnace is 40 years old.

Paula
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:55 AM   #3
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Exclamation Warning

Many Suburban furnaces from this period were recalled. They had a potentially lethal problem with carbon monoxide. There is a repair available however. Do a search for suburban furnace recall to find details and turn off the heater until you get it fixed.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:01 AM   #4
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Rrecall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
Many Suburban furnaces from this period were recalled. They had a potentially lethal problem with carbon monoxide. There is a repair available however. Do a search for suburban furnace recall to find details and turn off the heater until you get it fixed.
The recall was due to the crossover tube between the blower and combustion chamber deteriorated. People have replaced this with auto radiator hose or gas tank hose. It is likely you will not find anyone willing to work on this vintage furnace. I agree out of all the appliances the furnace is the #1 candidate for risk getting croaked and replacement.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:24 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. Based on your advice (and my reasonable paranoia) I decided to have a pro look at it. I will let them know about the recall and the suggested hose fix. (great info to have) I'll let you know what happens.
Marc
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:27 PM   #6
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Replace the entire unit. A furnace that age is too dicey.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:53 PM   #7
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Follow the General's Orders...

Marc,

This is another one from the "been there, done that" file.

Don't waste your time or money even having a technician look at it (unless he's planning to replace it).

I've replaced two of them (72 Overlander, 73 Sovereign) and it isn't that big of a deal. You can get an NT 30 from Palomino for under $350 (probably) and have it installed in a couple of hours with just a few modifications. It will automatically light the pilot itself and the peace of mind is well worth it.

I've taken lots of pictures (as have others) and have posted them.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:07 PM   #8
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Absolutely Ron! It's cheap insurance -- don't want to wake up dead. And always retrofit vintage units with a smoke detector & CO detector (mounted high) and an LP detector mounted low.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:28 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone. I wish I'd gotten Ron's advice before the tech came out to look. :-). And you all were right. It was rusted through and has to be replaced. So now I'll start searching the threads for installing a new furnance.
Ron, would love to have the link to your posted pictures if you get a sec. I'll probably get a new one in the next few weeks and give the install a shot.
As always, this forum is really incredilble and everyone is helpful and gracious.
Thanks.
Marc
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:13 PM   #10
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Got Here Too Late

Sorry Marc, I wished I'd seen it sooner.

I sometimes worry about how my input will be received because there are a few things that I feel very strongly about, and this is one of them. (Outside of furnaces, axles, and rear end floor jobs, I feel somewhat like a novice around here.)

Here's a link to a thread where I posted a couple of pics, as did SmokinCamel.

I PM'd you as well..I have lots more pics where those came from.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:05 PM   #11
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Keep it up

Quote:
Originally Posted by PizzaChop
Sorry Marc, I wished I'd seen it sooner.

I sometimes worry about how my input will be received because there are a few things that I feel very strongly about, and this is one of them. (Outside of furnaces, axles, and rear end floor jobs, I feel somewhat like a novice around here.)

Here's a link to a thread where I posted a couple of pics, as did SmokinCamel.

I PM'd you as well..I have lots more pics where those came from.
Keep pushing it on furnace safety. Too many old heat exchangers are out there. I would rather say something, or read where someone else said something than hear about another CO affixiation.

We just had 4 die from CO at the draft horse show here in Madison last weekend. Granted it was a space heater not a furnace but CO kills.
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