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Old 06-12-2012, 04:50 PM   #1
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1998 30' Excella 1000
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Aylett , Virginia
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Gas/Electric water heater question

I currently have a gas water heater with direct spark ignition in my '98 Excella. It works great, but I would really like to have the option of using campground electricity instead of my propane at times. I have a friend who has offered me the gas/electric unit in his '99 SOB. Both are Attwood 6 gallon units and are so identical that I can't tell what the difference is. Ideally, I'd like to just swap the electric parts without pulling the entire unit, but I'm unsure what to pull. If I have to, I will swap the entire water heater and run new wiring to the breaker box. Mine has a switch in the bathroom for the spark, which his has also, but he has a dedicated circuit in the panel, which mine obviously does not have.

If anyone could shed some light on what I need to do, I'd appreciate it.

Here are the pics. The first one is the Airstream.



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Old 06-12-2012, 06:08 PM   #2
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Switch the whole thing. It's easy to do.

Unhook your trailer from power and water. You unhook the plumbing from your old one, unhook the gasline, unhook the electrics (for the spark ignition), then pull the screws out of the outside and pull her out.

Now on your power panel, replace one of the "fat" normal breakers with a pair of "skinny" slimline breakers. I forget the amp rating you'll need, but you can look it up on Atwood's site. Probably a pair of 20amp slimlines. Run a 12 gauge wire from your new slimline breaker (call this breaker B, because breaker A will simply replace the fat one that you took out) over to your new water heater. Hook the gas line up to it. Oila....you've done it.

You'll want to get a roll of butyl rubber tape to seal the new one to your exterior skin. Reuse the silver Airstream cover door off your old one.

Now you're gold. Save your LP for hotdogs and use campground current for your heater. Or, if you like long showers, turn 'em both on (gas and LP) and take a longer shower before you run out.

I replaced the electric only Atwood in my '87 34 footer with a new Atwood dual fuel. Never looked back!

Best of luck!
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:35 PM   #3
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1998 30' Excella 1000
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Aylett , Virginia
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Thanks Jim. I think I will take that advice and switch it all out. I noticed after posting this that there is an electrical hookup on the back of the heater (duh) with what I assume is a rod going into the tank, so I doubt a parts swap would have worked anyhow. Where did you find the small breakers? I would assume they are RV or marine stock?
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:37 PM   #4
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The breakers are available for most trailers (maybe not all) at regular hardware stores including Lows and Home Depot.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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Well I'm halfway there. I pulled the water heater out of the SOB today in about 30 minutes. No sweat. Easy access. The Airstream, on the other hand, was a bear. I'm still struggling with it. The water heater is in the bathroom under the sink, and access is less than optimal. I've disconnected every wire, hose, and line. I've pulled all screws and taken a putty knife and separated the heater from the side of the trailer, but I still can't get this thing out. I'm guessing there is a hidden screw somewhere underneath, but for the life of me, I can't see it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:14 PM   #6
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Here's a pic.

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Old 06-22-2012, 02:35 PM   #7
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I finally got the heater installed and ran a temp elec cord to the outside, rather than attempting to fish the wire through to the breaker. It works great on gas and electric.
Can anyone tell me what the heck this loop and valve is for? It is directly under the water heater. I first thought it was for an outside drain line, but there isn't one. WTH??


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Old 06-22-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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Looks like someone undid the water heater bypass (for winterizing) and put sum of the parts back in so they were not used.
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:05 PM   #9
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No, the bypass is still there. It's to the right, just out of the picture. The lines go in at a right angle. I'm wondering now if this might be some sort of pressure regulator?
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