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Old 02-12-2016, 07:37 PM   #29
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I could see how an internal broken cold water feed in a residential heater would send cold water into the top of the heater, where the hot water feed is. But as you saw in the cut open Atwood tank pic, its plumbing would send the cold water into the bottom of the tank (unless strategically broken at the bend).

I hope it's the valve.... because I'm plum out of ideas. Good luck.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:55 PM   #30
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Atwood gas/electric low capacity

I think you have found the problem -- the thermostat. You wrote that you bypassed it and it ran longer until you cut it off... I am not suggesting you let it run until the ECO kicks in but how about bypassing it again and let it run until the water out the tap hits 140 (check it every 5 minutes or so). Then start the shower or open the lavatory and kitchen sink taps and see how long until lukewarm.

When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.

Mike
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:01 PM   #31
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When you are checking the bypass valve, check all three valves to see if the internal rubber washers are still in place or possibly damaged. The valves in my Safari have a really cheap design that allowed the washers to come lose. I had this happen and it did some really weird things to the water flow. Sometimes everything was normal. At times it would stop the hot water flow through the shut off valve at the water heater, even though the hot water shutoff valve was in the open position, making the water flowing through the faucets or shower cold. I finally figured out that I need to replace the rubber washers which took care of the problem for me.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:16 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
I think you have found the problem -- the thermostat. You wrote that you bypassed it and it ran longer until you cut it off... I am not suggesting you let it run until the ECO kicks in but how about bypassing it again and let it run until the water out the tap hits 140 (check it every 5 minutes or so). Then start the shower or open the lavatory and kitchen sink taps and see how long until lukewarm.

When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.

Mike
Thanks Mike, but I ordered and installed a new thermostat and cutoff and the problem is still there.

Alan, at this point I think it can only be the valves or a broken drop tube. The shutoff valves are barely accessible to operate. I'll check the bypass valve, and see what I can do about the shutoffs. If I have to change them, I'll have to pull the heater. If I'm going to do that, I might have to consider changing the heater; it is 15 years old.

I think my earlier temperatures measured on the wall of the tank inside the trailer may have been in error. Today I decided to pull the burner tube and check it and the flue tube for blockage. They were clear, but while I had the burner out I used my IR thermometer to check down the flue tube to deep inside the heater. It read around 140 degrees while the inside measurements varied from 120 or so at the top and bottom of the tank to 90 in the center.

I'll investigate further tomorrow and either find the problem or order a new heater. I just don't want to order one and discover it doens't solve the problem.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

Al


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Old 02-13-2016, 03:29 PM   #33
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Al, whenever a contact thermostat is exchanged you should use a thermal conductive paste between the mounting surfaces to ensure accurate reading. This is the product:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/30g-Syringe-...-/391205942743
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Old 02-14-2016, 11:04 AM   #34
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Well, this is potentially embarassing.....

Early on someone mentioned about the newer heaters having a mixing valve. My heater was original so I didn't think anything about it after looking on Atwood's site and seeing it as a part of the heater. Today I was prepping to remove the electrical heating element to see if I could see the "dip tube".

The first picture is what I have been seeing, i.e. the bypass valve in the proper closed position. When I got down lower and looked under the heater I saw what is in the second picture. I don't know what this is, and it's not on my plumbing diagram, but it is plumbed in parallel with the bypass valve. If that were opening somehow that would explain my symptoms. It is pretty clearly factory-installed, as it is plumbed with the same tubing (Pex?) as the rest of the trailer and clamped with the compression rings.

UPDATE:

Well, it is a check valve and allows one-way flow between the cold and hot circuits.

http://hydronamicengineering.com/product/1212b-mxf-2/

If the pressure on the cold side is greater than the pressure on the hot side by 1 +/- 0.5 psi, it opens. What the ???

I'm going to go buy some 3/8 MPT plugs and this thing is outa here.

BTW, Airstream, ever hear of service loops?

Thanks,

Al
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:24 PM   #35
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Al, I think this is more than potentially embarrassing...

On my rig, that valve is on the line that goes to the exterior water valve in the exterior water compartment.

My water heater isolate/bypass valves (set of three) are on the right side of the heater tank. Try shining your flashlight in there.
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:40 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siegmann View Post
Al, I think this is more than potentially embarrassing...

On my rig, that valve is on the line that goes to the exterior water valve in the exterior water compartment.

My water heater isolate/bypass valves (set of three) are on the right side of the heater tank. Try shining your flashlight in there.
And you would be RIGHT!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

I had to contort my body in ways I didn't know I could to even see the bypass valve, right where you said it would be. And it was OPEN. I have now closed it and suspect I have wasted three days and a lot of other people's time on this wild goose chase. I was already in a test to see if removing the check valve solved the water heater problem so in a little while I'll know.

So what would be the purpose of putting that check valve in parallel with the shutoff valve for the outside? Normal usage would seem to be to close the shutoff valve and open the outside valve to drain any water in the line. With the check valve in there, when you open the faucet the check valve will open.

Al
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:59 PM   #37
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Success!

Thanks to Siegmann's tenacity and continued help in spite of my efforts to the contrary I now have hot water everywhere. I owe Seigmann several beers when we meet somewhere down the road.

Al
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:17 PM   #38
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This forum has been a big help to me several times in the past. Glad to be able to "pay it forward". Now we both feel good!
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