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Old 10-08-2007, 12:51 AM   #1
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'66 TW. Bowen OUT, Atwood IN.

Spring of '07 I replaced our old Bowen with a new Atwood 6 gal gas and electric water heater. I took a number of pics to share.

The Bowen door is in good condition and so to keep the 'vintage' look on the '66 Trade Wind I want to adapt it to the Atwood. But with the summer camping season rapidly approaching I decided to make this installation with the door that comes with the new Atwood. However, I will make 'adjusments' during the installation to eventually replace the new door later. With no shop manual available removing the Bowen was a small challenge. I thought after disconnecting the plumbing it should pull straight out. It did slide out a few inches before hanging up on 'something'. It was wedged against the grey drain from the galley because when Airstream originally installed it they made room for that drain by denting the side and back of the WH jacket. (The jacket is an aluminum housing that contains the insulation). The 'denting' was crudely made with a hammer for I saw the hammer impressions in the aluminum. I finally found that I needed to twist the WH back and forth so I had to remove the front fascia and as much of the chimney as I could. When the WH was finally free I discovered that is was anchored on it's bottom to the coach floor with a headed pin that slipped into a slotted plate mounted to the floor.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:47 AM   #2
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Bowen Out Atwood IN; Part 2

The new Atwood is a little smaller than the Bowen. However, I needed to raise the base that the Atwood would rest on by about two and a quarter inches so that the eventual old door would be at it's original height to the coach side. As it turned out the Atwood door looks better at the elevated height. Before reinstalling the original door FRAME I needed to trim and add side fillers (Atwood is narrower). One view shows the prepped plumbing. I staid with the copper plumbing for now (camping season is rapidly approaching remember) but I use Shark Bite connectors and Pex to the new WH. The Shark Bite connectors were VERY helpfull in connecting this plumbing it VERY limited work space. I had to make the connections with one hand. The additional plumbing on the back of the Atwood is for the winterizing bypass. The wires you see is the electric heater portion. The switch for this is located there but I did not wish o have to reach down through the floor of the bathroom closet to activate it so I moved that operation to the wall in he bathroom. I glued a lighted (lit when on) rocker switch into a switch plate that matches the nearby plug plate. The Atwood door is white, however, even though it is temporary I repainted it silver. Actually it does not look all that bad. It may be awhile before I re-adapt the old door. What do you think?

Oh, yes I cauked the flashing and water heater with rope caulk the vulkem for good measure.
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Neil and Lynn Holman
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:05 AM   #3
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Fantastic! Was it difficult to do the wiring? I'm not knowledgeable bout electricity and would probably have to bring in an electrician for that part of it. Also, was the LP gas connection soldered, or is there some other form of connection used these days?

Thanks so much for posting these. Very helpfull!
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:21 AM   #4
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Great post! I have a water heater that has been sitting forever because I havent worked up the gumption to deal with it. This helps. By the way, did I see somewhere a comment about not using PEX within a foot of a water heater?
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120
Fantastic! Was it difficult to do the wiring? I'm not knowledgeable bout electricity and would probably have to bring in an electrician for that part of it. Also, was the LP gas connection soldered, or is there some other form of connection used these days?

Thanks so much for posting these. Very helpfull!
I used the same LP connection that served the old Bowen. Only thing necessary to do was re-route the copper line back a few inches.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Great post! I have a water heater that has been sitting forever because I havent worked up the gumption to deal with it. This helps. By the way, did I see somewhere a comment about not using PEX within a foot of a water heater?
Hmmmm...have not heard that one. I suppose the suggested danger may be excessive heat to the PEX. One of the PEX tubes supplies HOT water so that can't be a problem. The gas burner and exhaust is toward the front of the WH so that can't be it. The WH is insulated and I have not noticed any appreciable heat build up in the closet above. Obviously I want to be alerted to any such dangers so I will monitor it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshAir
Hmmmm...have not heard that one. I suppose the suggested danger may be excessive heat to the PEX. One of the PEX tubes supplies HOT water so that can't be a problem. The gas burner and exhaust is toward the front of the WH so that can't be it. The WH is insulated and I have not noticed any appreciable heat build up in the closet above. Obviously I want to be alerted to any such dangers so I will monitor it.
I want to say the idea was that the pipe might be hotter than the water and transfer that to the PEX, not sure and it might be bogus anyway. Let me know what you find, I would prefer to got straight to PEX.
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:22 AM   #8
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Similar Bowen-> Atwood using PEX

We just finished the same type of restoration- replacing an old bowen with a new atwood and also used PEX. I decided to keep the external cover from the Bowen, so we did a bit more on the surround and shroud cover.
I have posted most of the work on my blog

www.atfore.com

I looked into the issues around using hot water and PEX. I was assured by the manufacturer, a master plumber I know and the california codes that PEX is fine for hot water right out of a heater. We also used Sharkbite quick release fittings and I love them. Most definitely recommend.

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Old 11-18-2007, 10:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by lesliedow
We just finished the same type of restoration- replacing an old bowen with a new atwood and also used PEX. I decided to keep the external cover from the Bowen, so we did a bit more on the surround and shroud cover.
I have posted most of the work on my blog

www.atfore.com

Leslie Dow
Looks like a good job. As I wrote in the begining of this thread I want to adapt the old Bowen cover the way you indicated. My problem is I have too many projects going..Trade Wind and home maintainence. I have been retired more than a year and I am wondering how I ever had time for a job! Thanks for posting your progress.
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:41 PM   #10
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8 months later...

I'm in the middle of replacing my Bowen as well (on a '62 GlobeTrotter) and am stuck in the process of pulling out the old one. I detached the one hex nut I could find on a brass pipe leading into the on/off dial, but have seemingly run out of things to disconnect.

The photos above are great, but it's this process of disconnecting everything where I must be missing something... here's where I'm at:
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:56 PM   #11
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Would like the covers

Bredlo,

If you do not plan to use the covers around the old Bowen waterheater, I'd like to have them. Any chance of getting them?
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:02 PM   #12
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Do appreciate the interest Paul, but no - gonna try and retrofit the old cover. Mine is a little banged up anyhow.

If you can't find one out there and are feeling pretty ambitious, check out these instructions for building your own brad new replacement Bowen heater cover:

Restoration Topics - HW Heater Covers
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:46 PM   #13
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30 minutes later...

Well, I've dug around outside the closet, under the bed and everywhere else there was a pipe or tube leading to this water heater. *Everything's* disconnected. It just simply won't budge, even when I'm really giving it a good kick.

2 possible reasons?

1. The outside topmost piece of trim is still being held on by two flathead screws, which I can't remove because the "chimney" is in the way.

2. That cleat at the bottom of post no. 1 in this thread... I don't see how that could be, though as I can't lift or pull the main tub back - the faceplate is completely flush with the outer skin, as it always appeared.

What do you think?
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:06 PM   #14
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Brad-

When I removed my Bowen I had to drill a few larger holes in the "chimney" to access the screws. I was having the same problem you were having- couldn't get to the last few screws!
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