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Old 06-22-2006, 11:48 PM   #1
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Atwood vs Suburban

Whch is better water heater, Atwood or Suburban? Looking for opinions and experience to help me decide which to replace with in my 1969 GT. Particular interest in 10 gallon direct spark models. What do you think?
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickwhite1
Whch is better water heater, Atwood or Suburban? Looking for opinions and experience to help me decide which to replace with in my 1969 GT. Particular interest in 10 gallon direct spark models. What do you think?
I chose the Suburban model for my 63 Overlander because of the flush door feature. I installed a new Atwod 6-gal in my previous trailer, a 71 TradeWind as a direct replacement.
The Atwood performed flawlessly, unless we got to Altitude, then it would blow out easily.
The Suburban works well, but I have no long term experience with it. Both the heaters I had were pilot models. One thing I wish and wished for both times was that i had bought the direct ignition model. I do not remember what made me decide on teh pilot model this last time....simplicity?
There are more choices out there, not just Atwood and Suburban. You might PM forum member lewster for his opinion, he is an RV master tech with good experience on all different products, not just Airstream related.
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Old 06-23-2006, 07:27 AM   #3
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Have a new Atwood, Gas/Electric installed in my 78 Argosy. I have the trailer parked down at the lake and use it almost every week-end. I wanted my Argosy to be as free of gas usage as I could get it since I have easy access to electric on my own property and feel better not having to use the gas bottles and gas appliances. I can use the LP when I take the Argosy on the road. I will say that this water heater has performed wonderfully and fit into the old space perfectly. No problems at all.
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Old 06-23-2006, 07:27 AM   #4
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Water Heaters

The Suburban is a steel tank and glass lined, doesn't heat as fast as the Atwood with its coated aluminum tank, but the Suburban has a sacrfical anode that is replacable. The Atwood BECOMES the anode if any part of the interior coating is compromised. Sorry, even though Airstream uses Atwood I believe the Suburban is the better water heater.

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Old 06-23-2006, 07:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickwhite1
Whch is better water heater, Atwood or Suburban? Looking for opinions and experience to help me decide which to replace with in my 1969 GT. Particular interest in 10 gallon direct spark models. What do you think?
Hi Dick,

In additon to what Zoom said,IMHO, Suburbans are easier to work on if you have a problem. Te sacrificial anode IS a nice feature! They both are good units though. I would look at a DSI model, or even one with the electric option as this will save LP if you plan to be in a campground often. My personal favorite, and the one that I have in my CCD is the RV-500 from Precision Temp. It is a tankless DSI heater and gived you endless hot water and only uses LP when it is in use.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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Quite honestly both are good units. From a tank integrity standpoint flushing out the tank at season end or more frequently if you are full timing or a heavy user can be the best thing you can do to keep things performing well. My Hi-Lo water heater (Suburban) was 14 years old, when I sold the trailer. Not a leak or a problem.

Here is the thread on the Tank Saver product that does a great job on keeping the tank free of deposits and scale.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:49 AM   #7
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the main difference is about 7/8"

I just re-introduced the HW heater in my '63 Avion, the old 10Gal Bowen was removed by the PO. It probably had something to do with the scorched cabinetry.

Anyhoo, I origionaly picked up a 10 Gallon Suburban because it was a good deal. Problem is that the suburban requires something like a 16 3/8" vertical hole, and the Bowen Hole in the trailer is 15 1/2" tall and 20" wide.
So to get it to fit, I would have to cut into the framing in the top of the hole.
I traded the suburban in for a used Atwood 10Gal DSI which btw, is 15 1/2" tall. Adding a 6" aluminum panel along the side was fairly easy, and almost looks like it was done on purpose.

That extra 7/8" (or so) is something to consider between the two brands.
Also, its a lot easier to find an atwood/bowen door thats already the proper color. The one I got was out of an Airstream and came with the door.

So far I like the DSI, Im in Colorado so at a high altitude and have some ripper winds. On the down side its the only appliance thats dependant on the battery. The furnace is gravity fed, and the water system is presurized. So if I need to I can spend a day with the bicycle pump and represurize the system.
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Old 06-25-2006, 06:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by volvophile

On the down side its the only appliance thats dependant on the battery. The furnace is gravity fed, and the water system is presurized. So if I need to I can spend a day with the bicycle pump and represurize the system.
Your refrigerator and furnace (still needs the blower to run) also need 12VDC as control voltage.
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Old 06-28-2006, 10:56 PM   #9
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Sorry Lewster, I kindof set you up there.
Its a 63 Avion with a Coleman gravity Fed furnace with a millivolt gas valve, admitedly it does works better with the fan turned on, but its oversized for the 20 foot trialer.
And a Dometic RM60 LP/120V. Not the origional for the trailer, but it was the right vintage, right price (craigslist) and still makes ice .
And the origional, Humphreys LP light. I cant believe that the nozzle and mantle for the new ones fit on the old ones.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:23 PM   #10
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I installed a suburban ten gallon in my 60 trdwnd in place of the bowen .
It was passed it's useful life .I used furnace ducting pieces found at osh ,
for furnaces .I directed the exhaust out the same as the bowen and was
able to reinstall the original bowen shroud assembly ,without cutting it .
There are furnace ducting metal parts that work great to make the exhaust
as needed to work properly and safetly .I wouldn't say the suburban is
better than the atwood ,but at barber RV in Ventura the price was right
as was the sealand travler lite commode they had .

Scott of scottanlily
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