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Old 08-19-2002, 04:08 PM   #1
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Question Hot water Heater

We have just bought a 1976 Airstream International and are restoring her. The Bowen Water heater was leaking and we have replaced it with a temporary heater that an RV dealer here had but it does not fit the compartment where the heater sits.

The heater still worked great but there was a hole in the tank and my husband would like to use the original parts to fix the heater.

Does anyone no where we can get just the tank. He can use the original controls and all if we can jsut find a tank to replace the old one.

Thanks
Deb
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Old 08-19-2002, 05:07 PM   #2
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What about repairing the hole/leak in the existing tank? Has this been explored?

Shari
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Old 08-19-2002, 05:45 PM   #3
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I had the opposite problem the tank was good the controls bad. I rebuilt the unit, didnít save any money but did retain the vintage appearance. New controls work fine on a old tank as a tank is a tank. The RV dealers and even Bowen were clueless about how to rebuild the unit. I ran a plumbing shop for ten years and rebuilt many a hot water heater. You will have problem repairing the tank. It is aluminum and can be welded though not recommended. The problem is getting it certified to handle the pressure after the repair. Better to find someone who has a tank which can be hydro tested and certified then rebuilt. You may want to try to use a new heater with the original outside cover. Be careful as explosion and carbon monoxide are a danger.
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Old 08-19-2002, 06:48 PM   #4
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Unhappy Hot water heater

Jim, read your post and need some info about my Bowen WH. Worked fine last used. How does one drain it?? There is a plug and a brass fitting in front, lower left. Can't get it out & don't know if I need to. It may drain with 2 valves near dump valve. { 71' Int} Can this tank be fitted with a by pass? There are flair fittings on the hot and cold fittings. Tried to turn them too but did't want to damage tank! Any suggestions??
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Old 08-19-2002, 07:44 PM   #5
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Hmmm...now I know...Thanks Jim!

Shari
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Old 08-19-2002, 10:30 PM   #6
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Re: Hot water heater

Quote:
Originally posted by niftypkg
Jim, read your post and need some info about my Bowen WH. Worked fine last used. How does one drain it?? There is a plug and a brass fitting in front, lower left. Can't get it out & don't know if I need to. It may drain with 2 valves near dump valve. { 71' Int} Can this tank be fitted with a by pass? There are flair fittings on the hot and cold fittings. Tried to turn them too but did't want to damage tank! Any suggestions??
Sounds as if someone has plugged the fitting where your drain valve goes. Normally a faucet is screwed into that fitting so a hose can be attached for draining. The flare fitting are best removed with a tubing wrench. A tubing wrench is like a box end with a section removed to slip over the tubing and still catch more sides of the fitting than a open end. The best way to remove a stubborn fitting is to use good penetrating oil and a hammer. Soak the fitting with the penetrating oil and let it stand overnight or longer. Take the hammer and tap the fitting as hard as possible without damaging it on all sides. On the brass plug tap the top of the plug. Take your time and keep soaking the fittings and tapping. The flare fitting will unscrew easily the brass in the Aluminum may be a little more of a problem. Take your time and nothing will brake. BTW peppermint oil makes a great penetrating oil.

You could bypass the heater if you know how to sweat or flare copper tubing. You would have to figure out how you wanted and where to place the additional valves. I just installed a shut off vale to the line which is used to fill my fresh water tank from city water. The pressure was leaking back through the pump and filling the tank. I could of installed a check valve but chose to install a gate vale in closet several feet from the tank which gave me easier access to operate when necessary. Took a half hour an $6.00. Hope all this helps.
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Old 08-20-2002, 08:25 PM   #7
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Unhappy Water heater

Thanks Jim I printed your reply. I am soaking the fittings now. The front plug is iron with the brass fitting. The h&c lines are connected to the tank with a brass 'el' at the tank then the flair fittings. I also remember that one of the lines are spliced with a hose and clamps. I'll take another look. ---I don't seem to have an internal freshwater fill valve to fill the tank but if I opened the tank drain and opened the cold water drain { they are connected with a common drain} the tank should fill. However the tank drain pipe would have to be pluged or a valve installed. Makes sense??
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Old 08-20-2002, 08:45 PM   #8
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An old plumber/pipefitter trick...When tapping a fitting, whether tubing or pipe, Use 2 ballpeen hammers. Hold one firmly against the opposite side of the point of impact and stike slowly but sharply, putting the backside hammer back after each strike. It adds kinetic energy to the impact and also keeps the pipe from jumping around. Works almost ever time. I have used this method on more old unions than I can remember.

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Old 08-20-2002, 09:28 PM   #9
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Atwood

I bought a 10 gallon Atwood, from a local dealer that fit the opening perfectly. But, I had to transfer the door, hinges and latches over from the old one. I also used the vent grill and had to move it over and up slightly. Looks like original installation now. New unit is combo electric, propane.
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Old 08-20-2002, 09:31 PM   #10
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Water tanks

Anything made by man may be repaired by another man. Time, money, and risk are the deciding factors. I have welded many aluminium RV heaters. The cost is very reasonable.
An old guy told me the easiest way to remove plugs and fitting on an RV water tank was to use a car wheel wrench. The type to use is the 4 way cross type with 4 choices. Lots of leverage and control and the socket won't break and give a surprise. If a plug is really stuck, heat is the only answer. The tank usually needs to be removed from the sheetmetal. After fixing/repairing tank, it is recommecded to pressure check for leaks and use lots of anti seeze paste on all fittings........
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Old 08-22-2002, 04:49 AM   #11
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Unhappy Hot water heater

Thanks for all the advise. I'm working on it, but most likely would have to remove the the unit, whenever I get the chance. Finishing up the 'must do's' now. I guess the magic wand is a pipe wrench!!
Tom
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Old 08-26-2002, 07:04 PM   #12
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Wink Hot Water Heater [Drain out!!]

Got the drain plug out . Now what do I put in the hole? Thinking of a street el and garden hose fitting to drain unit. Street el because drain hole is facing down at an angle. Unit is still in the trailer. Suggestions?? Now the other side. Got pipe to flair for Hot and cold supply.Original Bowmen Heater. Now if I take these out will a by-pass fit in place?? I will need pipe thread in tank then the by-pass then the flair and back to pipes. Havn't got by -pass yet. Master Plumbers anyone??
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:14 PM   #13
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Hot water too hot

I've heard the complaints but no solutions. Is there a thermostat on the Atwood hot water tank. It would be so simple just to turn the thermostat down but so far I haven't been able to find one. Does anyone know?
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:36 PM   #14
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Not adjustable

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