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Old 05-05-2014, 06:46 AM   #1
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1964 17' Bambi II
Shreveport , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 13
50 year old water heater? ???

Good morning I am a new member.
We just. Bought a 1964 Bambi II
I pulled out the water heater yesterday. IT IS THE ORIGINAL WATER HEATER MADE BY
BOWEN. Should I put in a new Atwood 6 gal. The biggest problem I see is trying to make
the outside cover look good. Because the hole cut in the trailer is so much bigger than the
hole needed for the new unit.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:50 AM   #2
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Why replace it if it still works or can be repaired? Jim
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:06 AM   #3
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1964 17' Bambi II
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I have been thinking about taking it apart and looking at the burners and the tank
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:19 AM   #4
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Hello scwhite54:

I still have the original water heater in my '66 airstream. It works perfectly. Occasionally I clean any corrosion off the thermocouple contact areas with 700 wet or dry paper and blow out the propane orifices with compressed air (spiders love to spin webs which totally block the flow of propane).

I would really like to have a water heater that I could light from inside the trailer with the push of a button. It would save me from going outside in the wind and rain to light the darn thing. I guess I'm just too cheap & old to get rid of something that still works fine. My ex-wife did that! -- Enjoy the life.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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1959 28' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scwhite54 View Post
Good morning I am a new member.
We just. Bought a 1964 Bambi II
I pulled out the water heater yesterday. IT IS THE ORIGINAL WATER HEATER MADE BY
BOWEN. Should I put in a new Atwood 6 gal. The biggest problem I see is trying to make
the outside cover look good. Because the hole cut in the trailer is so much bigger than the
hole needed for the new unit.
I'm still using the original water heater in my 59 Ambassador. Go for it.
Colin
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:36 PM   #7
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1964 17' Bambi II
Shreveport , Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
I'm still using the original water heater in my 59 Ambassador. Go for it.
Colin
Ok I have been taring down my old 50 year old water heater since I last posted
this morning.
I have found the problem and fixed it. It was the Hot Water pipe thread on the tank.
It was rotted through the threads.
My pipe die would not go for enough back to rethread it without cutting my rachet
off of the die. So I cut it. Then chased all of the 1/2 pipe threads.
The on that was leaking I had to cut it back 5 threads to get in to some good pipe.
And the other one I cut it back 4 threads.
That fixed it . I now have put a pressure gage on it and filled it with air 65 psi.
should I run that pressure up to 100 psi. ???
Now I think I will go get me a new gas control with electric egnighter and take the old one out. Then I can light it like you was talking about.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:42 PM   #8
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1964 17' Bambi II
Shreveport , Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helmsman View Post
Hello scwhite54:

I still have the original water heater in my '66 airstream. It works perfectly. Occasionally I clean any corrosion off the thermocouple contact areas with 700 wet or dry paper and blow out the propane orifices with compressed air (spiders love to spin webs which totally block the flow of propane).

I would really like to have a water heater that I could light from inside the trailer with the push of a button. It would save me from going outside in the wind and rain to light the darn thing. I guess I'm just too cheap & old to get rid of something that still works fine. My ex-wife did that! -- Enjoy the life.
I think I will set this old one up like that. Put all net controls on it. Then I can light it from inside. I will let you know how it works . Or if I can get all of the gas hard ware and the
12v elec. Switches
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scwhite54 View Post
Ok I have been taring down my old 50 year old water heater since I last posted
this morning.
I have found the problem and fixed it. It was the Hot Water pipe thread on the tank.
It was rotted through the threads.
My pipe die would not go for enough back to rethread it without cutting my rachet
off of the die. So I cut it. Then chased all of the 1/2 pipe threads.
The on that was leaking I had to cut it back 5 threads to get in to some good pipe.
And the other one I cut it back 4 threads.
That fixed it . I now have put a pressure gage on it and filled it with air 65 psi.
should I run that pressure up to 100 psi. ???
Now I think I will go get me a new gas control with electric egnighter and take the old one out. Then I can light it like you was talking about.
No reason to run it any higher than the relief valve rating.

I haven't heard of anyone retrofitting electronic controls. Not saying it can't be done. Photos and description would be great since me and many others might attempt it. I have a 1973 mobil-temp water heater and am trying to decide what to do with it.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:09 PM   #10
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1964 17' Bambi II
Laramie , Wyoming
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I replaced the original water heater with the 6 gal. Atwood in my Bambi II. The cover you see is is stainless steel, similar to stock. We built up the door frame so it looks right. I equipped it with a battery operated electronic ignition by Atwood as a retrofit. Sure is nice on a cold, wet, windy night.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:46 PM   #11
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I think if you measure again, you will find that the New heater fits right in.


You have to enlarge the hole just a little.


I did this on my 65 Caravel.


I though I could save the heater as well. Put in a bunch of hours fixing it. Then I noticed a slow leak. The tank had all kinds of really small holes. The aluminum was just gone.


A new heater works and heats water faster!
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:25 PM   #12
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I have the original water heater in my '63. Like yours, it had some issues with the inlet and outlet threads, I also pressure tested, checked the gas side and it works great.

If you DO decide to replace it, I've seen where folks remove the sheet metal from the Bowen, including the flat part with all of the mounting holes and install an Atwood/surburban in that metal. Do some searching here on the forum, I'm sure you will find some neat ideas!

Congrats on the new 'Stream...
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:44 PM   #13
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1964 17' Bambi II
Shreveport , Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
I'm still using the original water heater in my 59 Ambassador. Go for it.
Colin
I have got to for into repairing this old water heater now to back up and go bye a new
one.
I still have that option if for some resion ti's don't work out.
And a new Atwood would cost me $550. Plus tax.
Right now I have a total cost of zero dollars spent on this water.
I think I will get a can of that spray in foam and fill the void under the tank as I put it all back together. I will put a new 150 PSI relief valve to while I have it out.
The cost of foam & the relief valve under $20.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:48 PM   #14
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1964 17' Bambi II
Shreveport , Louisiana
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Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antique Pedaler View Post
I replaced the original water heater with the 6 gal. Atwood in my Bambi II. The cover you see is is stainless steel, similar to stock. We built up the door frame so it looks right. I equipped it with a battery operated electronic ignition by Atwood as a retrofit. Sure is nice on a cold, wet, windy night.
I like the picture you have there of your Bambi II
I LIKE THE WAY YOU DID YOUR COVER.
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