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Old 03-23-2016, 02:20 PM   #1
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1987 34' Limited
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Suburban NT30S - Repair or Replace?

Hey guys,

We have two Suburban furnaces in our 1987 34ft Airstream Limited and neither will get hot. Fans work, electronic pilot sparks but never lights. One worked briefly since we've had it, then never again. I know they will be costly to replace, but I don't want to pour money into trying to get them fixed chasing down the numerous things that could be wrong with them if they are going to end up as expensive door stoppers in the end. Does anyone have experience with this model? If so is it worth getting them checked out, or is it about time to replace them seeing as though they are 30 years old.

Thanks in advance for your help!

-Sara
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:03 PM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Suburban NT30S - Repair or Replace?

Step one is to look and see if there are cutoff valves in the propane line that runs under the trailer. I know it sounds basic but the symptoms are of "no gas"

They are pretty common and could be repaired. Pretty much any competent RV tech could at least tell you what you've got and whether they are worth saving.

Mike
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:09 PM   #3
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1987 32' Excella
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Are you sure it sparks? I had to change the igniter (probe), and then it worked fine. On examining the ignited, the gap had become too large and part of the igniter had actually burned off.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:02 PM   #4
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It is always difficult to know when to hold, or when to fold. If you can afford it, fold and get new ones. They are, as you mention, 30 years old.

If you want to experiment have someone at a decent RV dealer look at them and repair them. That may cost you a bit of $ up to half the cost of new units, but they will still be 30 years old.

As I recall, by the time your units were made, most of the recall issues of the 70's and early 80's were solved and the Suburbans were OK from the factory. But age, rust, and so on still take their toll so there still could be safety issues from rusted combustion chambers.

I like the reliability and safety of a new furnace. But it boils down to the $$ for them, vs the annoyance of something which may not work reliably or could be fine after some repairs. And then there is the intangible safety issue.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:17 AM   #5
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Remove both furnaces. Take them to a reputable RV shop. Have them bench tested.

But before doing that, make sure you've got adequate propane pressure (roughly 7 psi) AND adequate 12 volt power (amperage). Running one furnace is enough all by itself. But running two furnaces takes a helluva lot of both.

Tom
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:22 AM   #6
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The OP seems to have disappeared.
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:00 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone!

Thanks for all the advice guys, we decided to go new!
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:01 PM   #8
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What does OP stand for?
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:44 PM   #9
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Old 03-26-2016, 02:58 PM   #10
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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Furnace rapairs

Hello guys,
YOU are ALL i such a "lucky position"...!
You can get brandnew SUBURBAN furnaces Sooooo cheap!
We are here in Germany with NO service , NO parts, NO NOTHING for them.
I am "fumbling" arround since a while with my fu...! Suburban and DuoTherm units, but the shipping and import tac for the -cheap- new ones are more than the price of the furnace.
With my friend Peter's help, i am still trying to fix them, parts are small, he ships them to me with my UPS account as a "gift".
I would DEFINITEVLY buy a vrand new, if i could.
SAGETY first, throw the 30 year old units in the dumpster...!
Best, Marcus!
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:54 PM   #11
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Marcus,

Are there no propane 12 volt fan and control furnaces available on the RV market in Germany? I would think you could easily adapt an European one to the Airstream. There is nothing special about the propane or 12 volt side which would make an American RV furnace required in your RV's.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:50 PM   #12
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I threw mine out too darn dangerous due to age. I replaced mine with a wall catalytic gas fed heater. Simpler and a lot safer. Used the extra space for more storage. I built in some shelves and covered the vent. Warm as toast. I have a 20ft globetrotter.


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Old 03-27-2016, 06:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Gates View Post
I threw mine out too darn dangerous due to age. I replaced mine with a wall catalytic gas fed heater. Simpler and a lot safer. Used the extra space for more storage. I built in some shelves and covered the vent. Warm as toast. I have a 20ft globetrotter.
I am sorry, but feel obligated to remind everyone that there is a reason NO RV manufacturer puts catalytic heaters in new RV's. They are a violation of the RVIA codes and standards. Those standards say that no unvented appliance other than the stove/oven will be used in new RV's. The exception for the stove is because it is assumed that you are up and awake when using it, and will notice any malfunction.

No appliance such as a heater which takes inside air, combusts it by whatever process, and returns the spent products of combustion to the same inside space is better than one which takes outside air, combusts it, and expels the products of combustion to the outside. To state otherwise is not reasonable or logical.

I am sorry to be blunt, but to state that a catalytic heater is "a lot safer" is just wrong.

Yes, many catalytic and other non vented propane heaters are sold and installed by individuals and even RV dealers. That does not change the logic or intent of the RVIA code and standards which prohibit them. I happen to believe that they do so for a very good reason.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:17 PM   #14
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The Circuit Board could be the problem.
I have these in my '82 Newell and have been able to service and upgrade them. I rebuilt all of them one winter and they work fine...PS if you are not comfortable with repairing these older units then please by all means replace them! but if a repair of less than $100.00 will make them perform and maybe better than new.............???
Here is a link;
http://newellgurus.com/showthread.ph...uburban+heater

PS if you have a manual there is a troubleshooting guide that is very helpful
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