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Old 05-25-2015, 11:04 AM   #1
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2008 20' Safari SE
Tracy , California
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How do we fix a smoking water heater?

We've repaired our water heater twice. it works but we have to keep the access door slightly cracked and it keeps emitting soot all up the side of the trailer.

I think we need to adjust the air intake does anyone know how to do this or have recommendations?

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Old 05-25-2015, 11:12 AM   #2
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Where I have seen this it has always an indicator of an improper gas/air mixture. You most likely have some spider webs in the tube that leads to the burner. If it is an adjustment issue, you have a rotating sleeve on the end of the tube closest to the outside door. It can be adjusted to allow more air to get into the tube. If it's not the spider web, adjust this sleeve to allow more air to get into the tube. Flame should burn blue. Yours probably is burning with a lot of yellow.


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Old 05-25-2015, 11:51 AM   #3
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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As Jack said, first clean the actual burner tube from the gas jet forward to the end with the flame spreader on it. Second clean the main large burner inlet which is built into the tank. It is the large U shaped tube that the burner fires into.

If those two steps don't fix the problem, adjust the burner gas/air ratio by loosening the very small screw and sliding the tube back and forth until you get a nice soft blue flame with virtually no yellow. Neither a hard roaring blue flame or a soft yellow flame are what you want. Quite, and soft blue.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:53 AM   #4
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Lots of excellent info here,
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Formerly 1964 Bambi II

"I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell"
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:08 PM   #5
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1998 30' Excella 1000
Livingston , Texas
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Also, make sure the tube, that is downstream of the brass orifice, is perfectly aligned with it. Just a little misalignment can cause incomplete combustion and soot up the side of the rig.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:39 PM   #6
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Hot Springs , Arkansas
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All the above plus I have found mud wasp nests in my coach access panels in the past.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:21 PM   #7
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Some propane also burns dirty and you get soot build up in the chimney - just like a wood burning furnace in your home.

It can be cleaned out with a dryer lint brush or something stiff and long (whoa!) like that. Last blast air from the narrow part of the exhaust outward.

Have the Airstream far far away from anything you'd hate to see covered in black greasy soot when you do the air blast part. You'll get a cup or two of grungy soot.

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Old 05-26-2015, 11:16 AM   #8
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Elberta , Alabama
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Mud daubers are one of the worst cuprits....there is a wire brush made that is the diameter of the heat exchanger that the burner fires into...remove the burner, run the brush through it, then rinse it with water....after that reinstall the burner, check your air/fuel mixture until you get a flame with a blue tip. You should be fine.
After that, get the stainless steel screens that are made to fit the airvent/cover of the water heater.
You might also get the stainless steel screen that fits over your furnace vents. It'll save you problems..
For whatever it's worth,
Old age is coming at a really bad time!

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Old 05-26-2015, 05:44 PM   #9
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Tracy , California
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Thank you all very much for your recommendations! I'm going to give them a try this weekend when we take it out to the coast! Very grateful for you all taking the time to reply!

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