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Old 07-14-2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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Bowen Water Heater Rebuild, thoughts?

I've be toying around with the idea of rebuilding the original Bowen G10B water heater. The cheapest new WH I can find comes in at around $425 plus taxes and shipping. New parts to rebuild for about $200 (From MarksRV online). Sounds like a no-brainer.

So what am I missing here? The WH was holding a full tank of water when we got the camper. The intention here is to take the thing apart, test the tank for water tightness and other obvious damage/wear. Case needs some light sanding & painting. Appreciate any advice.

Jim
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:42 PM   #2
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I've be toying around with the idea of rebuilding the original Bowen G10B water heater. The cheapest new WH I can find comes in at around $425 plus taxes and shipping. New parts to rebuild for about $200 (From MarksRV online). Sounds like a no-brainer.

So what am I missing here? The WH was holding a full tank of water when we got the camper. The intention here is to take the thing apart, test the tank for water tightness and other obvious damage/wear. Case needs some light sanding & painting. Appreciate any advice.

Jim
The main concern for me would be the condition of the tank. I would not suspect significant cross sectional (wall) loss resulting from wear or use, but I would be very concerned about localized pitting and anodic corrosion.

We perform thickness survey work on hundreds of tanks every year, and it is reasonable to state that a 36 year old tank is likely near the end of it's service life. That being said, if you put $200 into it and end up losing the tank in the next year, would you feel that it was money well spent?

I'm all for saving the $$$$ but if I were in your shoes, I'd bite the bullet and spend the extra cash for my own peace of mind.

Just my very humble opinion.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:52 PM   #3
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Thanks Kevin. That's the kind of info I was hoping somebody would have. I'm in the process of taking the WH apart right now. Lots of green buildup on the inlet, outlet and drain. I'm beginning to suspect hard water deposits had a part in that. The fresh water tank definitely had hard water deposits inside the tank. Took quite a bit of work to get it all out of there.

Do you work for an RV dealership or plumbing company? Sounds like you are in the business.

Jim

On edit: I also meant to ask if there is a way for a rookie like me to determine if the tank has any of the problems you describe.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:03 PM   #4
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Thanks Kevin. That's the kind of info I was hoping somebody would have. I'm in the process of taking the WH apart right now. Lots of green buildup on the inlet, outlet and drain. I'm beginning to suspect hard water deposits had a part in that. The fresh water tank definitely had hard water deposits inside the tank. Took quite a bit of work to get it all out of there.

Do you work for an RV dealership or plumbing company? Sounds like you are in the business.

Jim
I'm in the engineering consulting business. We work primarily on pressure vessels, towers, and bridges. I'm heavily involved in the nondestructive testing portion of the business which includes industrial x-ray, ultrasonics, magnetic particle, etc...

We evaluate several hundred pressure vessels annually. I've seen 40 year old vessels that look brand spanking new, then the next week we look at another that is less than 10 years old and it needs to be replaced already.


I've read the first 30 pages of your full monte thread...and I still plan to pursue the same efforts on our 76 beginning in September. So I'll be looking for some sympathy support soon.


Take Care,

Kevin
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
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Jim,

Here's a G10 - 2C at $366 with free shipping. I ordered mine from them two years ago. They shipped quickly - no problems.

Low Priced RV Water Heaters and Accessories from Big Discount RV
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:12 PM   #6
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...... I've read the first 30 pages of your full monte thread...and I still plan to pursue the same efforts on our 76 beginning in September. So I'll be looking for some sympathy support soon.


Take Care,

Kevin
Ha, good luck with that! You have a couple of advantages on me--an engineering degree and probably a lot more money (which would be pretty easy, actually).

Is there any way that I could have the tank evaluated without spending a lot of money? Or, could I look at it myself--what would do I look for? I've got it torn down far enough to see that there are definitely hard water deposits around the various openings. Tank appears to made of aluminum or aluminum composite. What would a tank like this be lined with on the inside? Or is it simply a large aluminum tank?

Thanks for help on this.

Jim
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:12 PM   #7
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I would get a new one. Shop the RV parts sites there are sometimes good deals. A neighbor asked me recently where and I did a look-a-round and found an Atwood for less than $300. It was still too steep for him so I suggested an RV salvage yard (RV Dr. George) and he got a good used water heater for $150. Still the tank should be the question.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for that link Gary. No taxes or shipping on top of a good price. I think I have my answer.

On Edit: And thanks to you too, Neil. I'll have to call RV DR George tomorrow.

Jim
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:26 AM   #9
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On Edit: And thanks to you too, Neil. I'll have to call RV DR George tomorrow.

Jim
Here you are; RV Doctor George

Neil
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:20 PM   #10
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I've be toying around with the idea of rebuilding the original Bowen G10B water heater. The cheapest new WH I can find comes in at around $425 plus taxes and shipping. New parts to rebuild for about $200 (From MarksRV online). Sounds like a no-brainer.

So what am I missing here? The WH was holding a full tank of water when we got the camper. The intention here is to take the thing apart, test the tank for water tightness and other obvious damage/wear. Case needs some light sanding & painting. Appreciate any advice.

Jim
Jim,
What did you end up doing? I just pulled my Bowen G10B out, claened out the sediment in the tank and upon testing the gas control valve discovered it leaks. I'm torn between rebuild or replace.....what do you think?
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:51 PM   #11
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I just pulled my Bowen G10B out, claened out the sediment in the tank and upon testing the gas control valve discovered it leaks. I'm torn between rebuild or replace.....what do you think?
Sorry I know you were directing your question to Jim, but I thought I would just suggest a link for you if you decide to buy a new HWH...Atwood 6 Gallon Water Heater Pilot Model RV Camper - $274.99..

The link above is for a brand new "scratched/dented" model, w/ manufacturers warranty, manual light, and probably closely matches what you currently have, and is priced at only $274.99. I just ordered a similar Atwood 6 gal HWH (w/ electronic start) from the same place a few weeks ago for my '75 Trade Wind and I paid $379 (minus shipping $37). It slid right in with minimal effort. Mine was not a scratched or dented model only because they didn't have electronic start models that were scratched or dented, or I would have. Mine also didn't come with a door, which I had no use for anyway since I wanted to reuse my original door. Ordered online Monday night, was delivered to my house on Thursday.

Just a recommendation since I had good luck and was very happy with the price and delivery time.

EDIT: Forgot to mention...if you choose to rebuild I still have my old HWH so I may be able to get the control valve off. I can't guarantee it works but I would guess it does. If you want it, it's yours for the cost of shipping. I didn't opt to fix mine because the tank had a hole and my local RV place wanted $200 for a new tank. If your interested just send a PM.

Edit #2: It just occurred to me that you have a 10 gal model, not 6 gal, sorry. I'm attaching two photos showing the control valve I have, so you can see if you think it would work for you or not, I don't know if those valves are different on the different models (6 gal vs 10 gal).

-Eric
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:05 PM   #12
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Jim,
What did you end up doing? ....... I'm torn between rebuild or replace.....what do you think?
I took Kevin's advice in posts 2 & 4 above. I'm going to buy a new one. Still haven't gotten it yet.

For one thing, I tried taking the old one apart thinking that maybe somebody would want some of the parts off of it. It was nearly impossible to take parts off the dang thing. Everything seemed to be frozen in place. I would surely have broken most everything. Primary concern was the fact that this is a gas appliance. I don't really want to "guess" that I rebuilt it correctly and there was the point Kevin made about the tank itself failing 6 months down the road after a rebuild.

Jim
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:45 PM   #13
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Wise move, Jim. Our Bowen gave up the ghost in 2006, when we were in Portland. We ended up at Fred's RV and camped there for the night, after the gate closed on us accidentally...we were locked in. Fortunately for us, the folks at Fred's were way cool. We had a new DSI Gas/110v Atwood within the day..gave us the time to go to the International in Salem and the Portland Zoo. If memory serves me correctly, that little hiatus cost us in the neighborhood of $1100...wasn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but compared to not having hot water, it was a good thing we had the money.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:57 AM   #14
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Sorry I know you were directing your question to Jim, but I thought I would just suggest a link for you if you decide to buy a new HWH...Atwood 6 Gallon Water Heater Pilot Model RV Camper - $274.99..

The link above is for a brand new "scratched/dented" model, w/ manufacturers warranty, manual light, and probably closely matches what you currently have, and is priced at only $274.99. I just ordered a similar Atwood 6 gal HWH (w/ electronic start) from the same place a few weeks ago for my '75 Trade Wind and I paid $379 (minus shipping $37). It slid right in with minimal effort. Mine was not a scratched or dented model only because they didn't have electronic start models that were scratched or dented, or I would have. Mine also didn't come with a door, which I had no use for anyway since I wanted to reuse my original door. Ordered online Monday night, was delivered to my house on Thursday.

Just a recommendation since I had good luck and was very happy with the price and delivery time.

EDIT: Forgot to mention...if you choose to rebuild I still have my old HWH so I may be able to get the control valve off. I can't guarantee it works but I would guess it does. If you want it, it's yours for the cost of shipping. I didn't opt to fix mine because the tank had a hole and my local RV place wanted $200 for a new tank. If your interested just send a PM.

Edit #2: It just occurred to me that you have a 10 gal model, not 6 gal, sorry. I'm attaching two photos showing the control valve I have, so you can see if you think it would work for you or not, I don't know if those valves are different on the different models (6 gal vs 10 gal).

-Eric
Thanks Eric, any advise or help is always welcome.

I tore the control valve down and made a new gasket for it and may have it functioning again except for the pilot. I may take you up on the offer later today...I'll let you know. I can give you my UPS number or pay you for the freight how ever you wish.

Ted
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