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Old 03-07-2011, 09:50 PM   #1
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Question HW Removal - Confused and Distressed... help?

I want to replace my original Bowen HW heater. I had a hard freeze and just about everthing burst, and all my connections were forced apart. As you can see, my AS is really great shape. Even the HW tank looks like it's in great shape. I'd like to remove it with as little damage as possible, both to the tank, as well as the AS. Someone may be crazy enough to want parts off of it (the exterior parts will be reused, but someone may want the burner, regulator?)

Anyway, my problem is 2 fold. Does it come out from the inside, or the outside? I think the answer is both. I think there is a shroud part that is pulled from the outside, and the tank itself is pulled from the inside.

Is there any trick in removing the cabinets? I don't know if you can tell, but other than the floor, my cabinets are perfect, and so is the toilet bench. I don't want to injure any of it. It looks like I have to cut the vent stack to remove the screws that are holding the main 1x6, and there are some screws at an angle inside the closet that are tying the wardrobe to the right to this closet.

Any insight would be appreciated, and if you want parts, just let me know (except for the outside - I have to decide how much I need to make the new one look like it's original.)
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:03 PM   #2
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Rob,
The whole thing comes out from the outside, but why are you taking it out? Have you pressure tested it yet? Mine is 52 years old & it still works, so yours may be fine despite all the carnage with your interior plumbing. A new one will probably not last 10 years & will set you back $400+.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:38 PM   #3
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take a deep breath...exhale...

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Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
Rob,
The whole thing comes out from the outside, but why are you taking it out? Have you pressure tested it yet? Mine is 52 years old & it still works, so yours may be fine despite all the carnage with your interior plumbing. A new one will probably not last 10 years & will set you back $400+.
Colin
Yea.... what Colin said....except that I could not remove my ex Bowen from the outside. I had to remove the woodwork and water tank first then ease out the exhaust vent through the side opening. It was big AND heavy. It was full of rust and burner was very corroded. Maybe it could have been revived?

It was replaced with a direct spark gas/electric Suburban model. About twenty pounds lighter weight and has worked great for the last eight years....only two years to live? Gulp.

I revented the original exterior vent to work with the new heater. Same with the furnace.....now that was really a goner!
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:56 PM   #4
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had to take it out from inside

Hi,

In my 64 Tradewind I found that I had to remove the water heater from the inside. It is much to big to be taken out through the opening. I put in an Atwood 6 gallon with electronic ignition, reworked the outside shroud to properly vent and have been very happy with the switch.

To get the bath cabinet out without removing the bed is a challenge. I found that I had to make a clean cut up the front front of the bottom of the cabinet and then repair it later. You can do this and you will be pleased with the results later.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:10 PM   #5
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If you remove the outer trim and mounting parts highlighted in red in the photo, the hole is much larger. The water heater will then come out this hole. That's how I got mine out of my Trade Wind.

There will be some screws that you have to remove from inside the cabinets and you may have to move some things out of the way. You definitely will have to unhook the plumbing first before you can move it out the hole.

Looks like you've already remove the screws on the trim. I think you're on the right track. Colin is right, though, be sure and see if it is OK before you go to any more trouble.

Good luck!
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:50 AM   #6
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It will come out through the outside--ours did. This thread contains some great pictures that we found to be a big help.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...-in-36653.html
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:11 AM   #7
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Rob,
You should also keep in mind that if your burner is DOA, these are replaceable too.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:04 AM   #8
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C'mon, you guys are driving me crazy....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
Rob,
You should also keep in mind that if your burner is DOA, these are replaceable too.
Colin
Colin:

I love the help, but you have to realize, not all of us are sailor/racecarmechanic/fullmonterestorer/whoknowswhatelse guys like Colin Hyde. I don't really relish the idea of getting up on a frosty morning and finding I have no hot water and spending the morning out at the side of my vehicle trying to get the hot water tank working before my wife and kids get up.

The life of my current heater is what? Nobody knows. The usable life on a Bowen is what? It could last 20 years, and it could last 6 months. The life on a new unit is 10 years? I'm at a point now where I'm looking at redoing everything. I have to replace all the water lines. I probably have to replace all the copper LP lines since the PO unhooked the tanks over 5 years ago and left the lines just hanging.

I noticed you have a new water pump with expansion tank in your pics. Those don't last for 50 years?

I get a lot of mixed reviews. Considering I have a empty rental house right now, money is tighter than it was before. I guess I'd be willing to consider keeping the old tank, but I'm not sure what to look for. Is there a good way to perform a pressure test? Should I replace all of my propane lines before I hook up the propane and test it out? I have to buy new tanks, but not sure if I should get a new regulator.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
If you remove the outer trim and mounting parts highlighted in red in the photo, the hole is much larger. The water heater will then come out this hole. That's how I got mine out of my Trade Wind.

There will be some screws that you have to remove from inside the cabinets and you may have to move some things out of the way. You definitely will have to unhook the plumbing first before you can move it out the hole.

Looks like you've already remove the screws on the trim. I think you're on the right track. Colin is right, though, be sure and see if it is OK before you go to any more trouble.

Good luck!
I've been really gentle with it, but I definitely disturbed the butyl tape behind the trim. Let's say I find out it works great. Can I slide it out a little to put in the new tape, and then slide it back?
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:47 AM   #10
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I've been really gentle with it, but I definitely disturbed the butyl tape behind the trim. Let's say I find out it works great. Can I slide it out a little to put in the new tape, and then slide it back?
Sounds like a plan to me. Vulkum might also work instead of the butyl tape. Comments anyone?
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Rob,
You should also keep in mind that if your burner is DOA, these are replaceable too.
Colin
That's interesting....they still make replacement parts for 49 year old water heaters? How about the interior tank and signs of rust? I think my trailer sat unused for about a ten year period and that took a toll.

But....maybe it could have been saved?? I have to say the new Suburban works great and the DSI feature adds a small dose of otherwise missing "high tech" features found in my trailer. first thing I do after waking up is reach over and click the switch on and wait for that hiss, click and pop of the burner sound. I sometimes look out the window at this moment to watch others flicking the bic on hands and knees to light the morning fire. Then doze off awhile longer.

Looking at my photos again I still do not think my heater would have fit through the exterior opening....and the photo shows the outer trim removed. Maybe it was a larger model? It was REALLY heavy.

I also replaced the steel fresh water tank with a plastic one and the mid section double bed frame was out anyway. This made the interior removal easier.

I did make one mistake and opted for the ten gallon model. I now think a six gallon would be a better choice as the water heats very fast and has size and weight benefits.

I have also never used the electric element feature.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:23 AM   #12
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Here is the pictorial - tutorial thread of my Bowen removal.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...-in-36653.html
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari62 View Post
That's interesting....they still make replacement parts for 49 year old water heaters? How about the interior tank and signs of rust? I think my trailer sat unused for about a ten year period and that took a toll.

But....maybe it could have been saved?? I have to say the new Suburban works great and the DSI feature adds a small dose of otherwise missing "high tech" features found in my trailer. first thing I do after waking up is reach over and click the switch on and wait for that hiss, click and pop of the burner sound. I sometimes look out the window at this moment to watch others flicking the bic on hands and knees to light the morning fire. Then doze off awhile longer.

Looking at my photos again I still do not think my heater would have fit through the exterior opening....and the photo shows the outer trim removed. Maybe it was a larger model? It was REALLY heavy.

I also replaced the steel fresh water tank with a plastic one and the mid section double bed frame was out anyway. This made the interior removal easier.

I did make one mistake and opted for the ten gallon model. I now think a six gallon would be a better choice as the water heats very fast and has size and weight benefits.

I have also never used the electric element feature.
Hmmmm, my burner was toast and I searched everywhere that I could for a replacement. Now granted this was 3 years ago and the 'word' then that it was a dinasoar. My search became unnecessary when upon removal of the WH I discovered the begining of a leak on it's bottom.
Neil
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:13 PM   #14
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I did make one mistake and opted for the ten gallon model. I now think a six gallon would be a better choice as the water heats very fast and has size and weight benefits.

I have also never used the electric element feature.
On the 6 gallon - do you ever have 2 people take showers back to back? (I know that's physically impossible in a rear bath unless you are very small). We are a family of 4. I personally like the idea of hot water running out of my son who takes forever, but not when my wife is taking a shower.

Would really be neat to wire in an electric switch - kind of like a coffee maker, but I usually make my coffee before I get in the shower, so I guess it's not needed.

Since you have a 10 gallon, you may not have realized that the 6 would run out too quickly.
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