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Old 11-28-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
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Water heater hell

I have an Atwood gas water heater 1994. The water heater will turn on and heat but then once it is cold I have to turn it off then on again to get more hot. I have replaced the thermostat, gas valve, and cleaned the pipes. Any suggestions where to look?
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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Nothing fixes the misery like replacing the ignitor board! Almost always the problem!

Atwood often will replace these since almost all fail. They just replaced mine which was 20 years old!

I had the same problem, and was cured with a new board.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
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Sorry I forgot to mention I replaced that board as well, still cold.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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Sorry I forgot to mention I replaced that board as well, still cold.
There is another little bit installed in line on one of the wires that you have access to. I think it may be a resistor or fuse of some type. An rv store has them in stock. The heater on my 97 Safari had the same problem that you described. I tried the same fixes but finally replaced the "bit" and it all worked as new again.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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There is another little bit installed in line on one of the wires that you have access to. I think it may be a resistor or fuse of some type. An rv store has them in stock. The heater on my 97 Safari had the same problem that you described. I tried the same fixes but finally replaced the "bit" and it all worked as new again.
Do you have a picture of what bit you're referring to? This is driving us crazy. It almost always kicks on and heats the water when we flip the switch manually but doesn't always do so automatically.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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Are you referring to the thermal protection breaker? It looks like a small aluminum cylinder in a clear plastic tube that attaches in-line from the spade lug coming from the switch to the spade lug of the 12-volt power in to the water heater? That thermal protection device is to shut off all power to the water heater in the event that the burner tube is blocked causing the ignition of propane outside the burner tube. This happens, for example, when spiders build enough webbing to block the burner. The propane coming out of the orifice goes out the air holes of the air shutter and is ignited; absent this safety device, there is the potential for fire damage to your trailer.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #7
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The thermal device either works or it doesn't. It is indeed designed to "burn" and interrupt electrical flow, until replaced.

I have a bulletin from Atwood, apparently many years ago the one supplied as OEM was hyper aggressive and causing some problems. These were heat shrinked in a black sleve, where the newer ones are in a clear sleve.

If you still cant get this right, I might suggest you have a bad ground, or perhaps your new (replacement) ignitor board is faulty.

I would also check the contacts where the harness connects to the board. Clean it with toothpaste (mild abrasive) and then a light shmear of vaseline. Since it is open to the elements, the contacts can oxidize and become non conductive.

Also, have you made certain the thermal switches are fully seated, and making contact with the boiler? There are only a few possible scenarios which will do this!

Start with the simple and obvious first.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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Does it leak water out of the pop off valve? Ours did that for a while and that corroded the wiring and the ground for the ingitor (the screw that holds the bracket on).
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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I have an Atwood gas water heater 1994. The water heater will turn on and heat but then once it is cold I have to turn it off then on again to get more hot. I have replaced the thermostat, gas valve, and cleaned the pipes. Any suggestions where to look?
Don't know if it's the same on older ones like yours, but I had a similar problem with my Atwood gas/electric water heater.

My problem was, the thermostat was malfunctioning allowing the water heater to overheat. A safety circuit caused the unit to shut itself off to prevent boiling the water. Some sort of temperature-sensitive circuit breaker or relay, I guess. After the unit cooled down, I could restart it, but the problem would come right back. In my case, replacing the thermostat solved the problem.

It's possible that even though you replaced the thermostat, the new one is bad as well. Or perhaps the thermostat itself is good, but one of the electrical connections to it is bad.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
Are you referring to the thermal protection breaker? It looks like a small aluminum cylinder in a clear plastic tube that attaches in-line from the spade lug coming from the switch to the spade lug of the 12-volt power in to the water heater? That thermal protection device is to shut off all power to the water heater in the event that the burner tube is blocked causing the ignition of propane outside the burner tube. This happens, for example, when spiders build enough webbing to block the burner. The propane coming out of the orifice goes out the air holes of the air shutter and is ignited; absent this safety device, there is the potential for fire damage to your trailer.
Yes. Thanks for being much more articulate.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:36 AM   #11
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Thank you all for the help. So I tried several of the suggestions and here is where I am at. If I unplug the igniter board and replug it in the water heater comes on. I also connected a separate ground but no real effect. Why would unplugging the board have any effect, the terminals are clean??
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:54 AM   #12
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I suggested earlier this week your ignitor board is bad.... it is still defective.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:04 AM   #13
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My experience was identical. I replaced the Thermal Protection Breaker and the problem was resolved. Also, the part came in a package of two. So now I have a spare circuit board and a spare fuse. Can't find either.
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