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Old 02-03-2014, 10:01 AM   #1
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1973 25' Tradewind
prospect , Connecticut
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G6-A2 Bowen water heater making it new again

Took out water heater months ago on my 73 Tradewind. The LP thermostat is available for $80.00. No luck on burner assembly, but I did find pilot light and thermocoupler on vintage trailer supply for $25.00. Burner tube has surface rust, but is solid. I will sandblast those parts and bake on black grill paint to protect. I was wondering what to do about cleaning tank. Can I run water and hydrochloric acid solution through it to clean inside scale like I do on my home waterheater? Than just pressure test it and reassemble with new insulation. What is proper way to benchtest this unit? Fill with water and cap ends, or fill with water and leave top fitting open for expansion of hot water. I suppose if I cap it ,that would be another way to pressure test it.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:06 AM   #2
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
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Why not save your time and just spend a few extra dollars for a new water heater? You can get a new one with a simple pilot light start or for a bit more get one with electric start. The new 6 gallon Atwood heater is a straight swap for the old ones.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:13 AM   #3
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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A 40 year old water heater is just not worth trying to repair. Like the game whack a mole, fix one issue, another will pop up. Save yourself time and ultimately money by replacing it now with a new one. The new one will fit into the same space with the only change being the location of the propane entrance. If you get an electronic ignition one (very big improvement) you will need to do some 12 volt wiring for power and a switch.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:17 AM   #4
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1973 25' Tradewind
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I have plenty of time, just short on the cash. I was always one to rebuild instead of replacing. And lets face it $350.00 is a lot of money. I'm pretty sure for around $100.00 I can make this one work as good as a new unit. There are no moving parts except the LP thermostat, and quite frankly that would be what I would be most concerned about.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:29 PM   #5
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1974 Argosy 20
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Kooskia , Idaho
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I was thinking more of the aluminum tank. Depending on the water quality they eventually get thin and leak. I have had two do that to me, and one other develop a crack where the inlet boss was welded to the tank.

To pressure test, I would simply plug the outlet side and then put full house pressure water from a hose connection to the inlet. Let it fill, and look for any leaks. My leaks were both at the very bottom of the tank where the corrosion was most severe from the inside. The outside of the tank looked fine. You may need to remove the insulation to see the tank.

I would not flush the tank with anything but water to remove any sediment at the bottom, due to the aluminum tank material.
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Old 02-03-2014, 01:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alistheman View Post
I have plenty of time, just short on the cash. I was always one to rebuild instead of replacing. And lets face it $350.00 is a lot of money. I'm pretty sure for around $100.00 I can make this one work as good as a new unit. There are no moving parts except the LP thermostat, and quite frankly that would be what I would be most concerned about.
I did what you are wanting to do. A month later the tank ruptured while on a trip to Big Bend. You can read all about it here.

I would save up my money and buy a new water heater. You may even find a good deal on a nearly new WH from an RV salvage yard like Collaw's.

idroba gives great advice. Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:33 PM   #7
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1968 26' Overlander
Duluth , Minnesota
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What did you end up doing? I am in a similar situation with an old Bowen G10TF4R 10 gal. water heater (1968) that I would prefer to make work. It has sat dry for ? years. Parts are all available, gas valve $85, Pilot Assembly $25, burner tube $25. I pulled off the inlet and outlet, OP/T valve $15 and drain valve both $<5 and flushed out a LOT of calcium deposits. Then I used my pressure washer to spray in through all of the openings. I plan to rinse with vinegar as the weak acid will remove any remaining deposits without harming the aluminum tank. Tank looks great on the outside... Plan to pressure test it with water and compressed air before I buy too many parts. Don't really want to end up like idroba...
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