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Old 03-29-2010, 03:15 PM   #1
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1960 26' Overlander
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Question Bowen Replacement-Cutout Dimensions

I'm confused. Need to replace the original Bowen water heater in a 60 Overlander. Really poor quality appliance...it only lasted 50 years!!! I've read lots of threads saying the Atwood is a perfect (exact?) replacement size, and several that have installed a Precision Temp RV-500 which claims to be a direct replacement for the Atwood size-wise.

The tank on my old Bowen is 20 1/4" in diameter, which requires removal of the entire door and trim to get it out, leaving an opening in the trailer skin of approx. 20 1/2 wide by 15 1/2 tall. How could either the Atwood 10 gal (or 6 gal) or the tankless RV-500 be a "perfect fit" as many have described in other threads?. The Atwood is 16 1/2 inches and the RV-500 is 14 1/2 with a flange width of 17 1/2 inches.

I am going to replace with the RV-500. (please don't suggest alternatives. right or wrong I've already ordered it.) Would really appreciate suggestions as to what I have to do to trim out the opening after installation. Please use small words and be gentle...I'm pretty handy, but a novice working with the exterior of the trailer. Thanks so much!
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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Check my thread "heat vent on skin"Goransons (post#4) has a pic of the modification using the old vent with a piano hinge.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:32 PM   #3
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PS
The vent pictured is I think a 65 but it's the same idea of measuring the covering patch,then cutout the patch for the Atwood heater with tin snips or air shears. Round the corners off for a clean look.Rivet to the shell .
You then have a patch with a cutout the correct size for the Atwood.
You then attach a long stainless hinge to the old vent and make a latch of your choosing for the other side.
It is important to make sure the chimney lines up or modify so it will.
This way you can stay 60's vintage and not have to use the cheap white vent that comes with the Atwood
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glang58@comc View Post
several that have installed a Precision Temp RV-500 which claims to be a direct replacement for the Atwood size-wise.

I am going to replace with the RV-500. (please don't suggest alternatives. right or wrong I've already ordered it.) Would really appreciate suggestions as to what I have to do to trim out the opening after installation. Please use small words and be gentle...I'm pretty handy, but a novice working with the exterior of the trailer. Thanks so much!
You should be happy with the RV 500, I replaced the old Bowen in my 1976 Sovereign about 4 years ago. It has worked great and when I have needed help or service Precision Temp has been very helpful. Here is a pdf picture package of the removal and install process. When the file opens it will ask if you want to open in full screen side show mode. Just click no and then you can move through the 26 pictures. Hope this helps.

Don
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream RV-500.pdf (2.78 MB, 120 views)
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Old 03-31-2010, 12:16 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. That helps a bunch, especially the pics from both threads. I did retain the old door and like the idea of keeping the original look so your examples really help. Sorry for the noob question, but can either of you help with the type of aluminum I need for the "patch", and a source? Thanks again...I really appreciate it.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:52 AM   #6
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Post some pictures of your Bowen. I would have thought that the 1960 version would be the same size as the old Bowen in my 1976. What is the measurement our your opening from side to side and top to bottom. On the RV 500 the 'box" is 13 1/2 x 13 1/2. The overhang side to side is 17 1/2 and 16 1/2 top to bottom as indicated in the pictures. You can see on picture 24 that when the RV 50 is placed in the same opening as the old Bowen that it fits the exact pattern left by removing the old Bowen. All I had to do was cover the corners with some aluminum sheeting cut to size and then attach with caulking and screws as shown in picture 25. There was no cutting required on the Airstream at all. The brushed aluminum door that comes with the RV 500 completely covers the installation and looks great you would not want to use your old Bowen door on the RV 500 because of its venting requirements
when operating.

Don
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:45 PM   #7
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My 1960 Bowen heater looks quite different than yours. It has a circular tank, 20 1/4" in diameter with the burner and controls mounted on the front. The cutout dimensions in my trailer are in my original post...20 1/2 wide by 15 1/2 tall with the old door and trim removed. This is larger, especially in width, and more rectangular than it appears yours is by looking at the photos. I'll try to get some pictures up by this weekend, but I'm thinking I'm in for some significant work trimming out the opening. Anybody have suggestions on what I need to be looking for in aluminum for such a trim project?
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:41 PM   #8
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Here are some photos of the cutout in my Overlander with the old Bowen heater removed.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:31 PM   #9
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That is a different size. I think I have seen a few post where someone had to retrofit a new heater in to a larger cut out but I can't find any. Maybe someone will remember.

Don
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:23 AM   #10
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Check Uwe's blog

Quote:
Originally Posted by glang58 View Post
Here are some photos of the cutout in my Overlander with the old Bowen heater removed.
Check www.area63productions.com go to the blog on the site and the 65 Safari has pics of the fit for a smaller HW heater
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:31 AM   #11
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Some other threads to look at. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...ter-40473.html and http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...tml#post823897.
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:50 AM   #12
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The aluminum you need is aircraft grade, and your local aircraft mechanic might have scraps that are big enough to trim out your water heater door. Many aircraft shops will sell small pieces and will cut to fit. Expect the prices to be a little steep. Aircraft parts have a lot of product liability insurance for the manufacturer buried in their cost. That's not your local guy's fault.

The skin of the Airstream is 2024-T3 Alclad, .032" thick. Ask for that when you call the local folks.

Internet sources for the aluminum are Aircraft Spruce and Airparts.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:38 PM   #13
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Thanks again. You guys are great! Ordered stock today from Aircraft Spruce. $ not too bad for the small amount I'm going to need (even though I ordered double to allow for potential "learning curve" issues).

Will I be able to cut the aluminum stock to shape using tin snips or do I need special tools? Looks like I'll be shaping a panel to cover the entire opening, then doing a cutout for the heater dimensions inside the outer panel. Planning on Olympic rivets to the skin on the outer perimeter and stainless screws to attach the heater flange to the cutout.
The screws would be covered by the heater door. Is this correct or is there a better way to put everything together?
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:41 PM   #14
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Mini Nibbler

I bought a Mini Nibbler from Eastwood Company Eastwood Company: Search Results for mini nibbler
a few years ago. It was not expensive. You can see a picture of it in the pdf file in my earlier post. What is great about this cutter is that it cuts a clean straight line without distortion and can even cut curves. But I don't see this listed on Eastwood.com any more. They have the replacement blades for the Mini Nibbler but not the tool itself. They do have a more expensive model for around $49 that they to as a mini nibbler, but its not the same one.

Don
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