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Old 10-07-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
EnglishGirl
 
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2000 31' Excella
Milton , Ontario
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New water heater

We have had problems with the water heater in our airstream. Both electric and propane. Yes their is water in the heater ( we learned that one early after buying the trailer). We have had it repaired more than once and the issues continue. I think it's an original Hester the unit is a 2000 31 ft Excella. We have decided to give up on it and replace with a new unit. What can I expect it will cost to have it replaced ball park? We won't be attempting this ourselves...


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Old 10-07-2014, 08:16 PM   #2
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What is the unit doing that makes you think that it needs replacement? Not heating on gas or electric? Give us some more information and maybe some of us can help solve the problem. Chris
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:04 AM   #3
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Well at the moment nothing at all neither electric nor gas is working and this is the third time this has happened. We took it in the first time to be fixed, the thermostat and thermo coupler has burnt out due to the classic rookie mistake turning it on before it was full.

The second time a number of the wiring was replaced and again the thermostat was replaced ( this time it had never been started without making sure the tank was full. When we did a two week trip this summer it worked fine on electric for a week and a half then packed in. But the propane was working. We spoke to the tech when we got home and he advised we check the reset on the electric viola!

As I mentioned in the original post the heater is full of water. We run the hot water tap in both the bathroom and kitchen until a good flow and then turn on the heater. This time the reset button does not need resetting, the fuse box does not need resetting. As for the propane, the pilot lights but will not stay lit. We checked the thermo coupler it's not burnt out, we blow out the pilot with canned air incase a spider had gotten in, checked all the connections on both electric and propane nothing loose. We seem to ha had issues from. Day one some of which we caused but we wonder if there is an issue with the temp as the water gets extremely hot. We are at the point where we don't want to spend anymore money on it and think perhaps putting in a new unit may be the answer. Anyway any insight or help will be most appreciated. We are new to rv's only having had this one our first for a year now.

Thanks


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Old 10-08-2014, 08:36 AM   #4
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Amazon shows an Atwood electric/LP 6 gallon water heater (standard on modern AS') for about $500 (not sure a dealer or installer will sell it at that price.)

http://www.amazon.com/Atwood-GC6AA-1...+water+heaters

You'd have to add two to three hours of labor for the removal and installation of a new unit (figure $90/hour for this.)

So a ballpark figure for a new installed unit should be about $800 to perhaps $900 if you can't get the "Amazon price" from the installer.

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Old 10-08-2014, 12:51 PM   #5
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Ok great I wS t sure how much labour would be required so three hours should do it!? Thanks that helps.




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Old 10-08-2014, 01:17 PM   #6
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With what you have said so far there is no reason to replace the heater.
You are dealing with a control problem and so far you have not found a mechanic that has any idea of what day it is.

There are fuses on the control board. First make sure they are good. If so put the frig on electric and with a voltmeter test the output of the control board feeding the electric heater unit. If you have power there and no heat unplug the frig from 110, disconnect the heater element and test it for continuity. No continuity replace the element.

If the heater will light the pilot light and then goes out before lighting the main flame or just as it attempts to light the main flame I would look at the relationship between the pilot flame and the main flame to see if it is blowing out the pilot. Another thing to check is the gas pressure at the frig. There should be a gauge there and it should read 11in. water column.
Make sure that pressure holds as the flame lights. If not you have a restriction in the gas line.

I paid about $300.00 for mine 3 months ago and that was with electronic ignition. The install is hell so don't go that route till something like a leak justifies it. Took me a couple of days and removal of the inside of the vanity. The heater is placed before the skin of the trailer so I had to do major cutting to get it out. No room to work when connecting back in so I had to pre plumb the back of the heater before sliding it and the make the connection along side
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:06 PM   #7
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I assume that you've had a competent mechanic go through some version of the steps described above to verify that the unit is indeed not repairable?

If the install on your particular trailer is as involved as suggested above, then my 2 to 3 hour estimate is not valid. Best to check with your local (or nearest) Airstream dealer. A competent repair facility should be able to give you a solid estimate in advance.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:47 PM   #8
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We have a local guy who seems to be competent and busy, it's not an airstream dealer but I thought the water heaters are a standard item in all rv trailers. We will be having him take another look and will go through the steps suggested. Will report back what we find.



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Old 10-08-2014, 11:25 PM   #9
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It sounds like the main flame in the water heater is blowing out the pilot. Check to make sure the main orfice is clear, and adjust the air to the main flame. You should have a nice blue flame on the pilot, if not, clean that orfice as well. You can turn down the thermostat on the tank, so the water will not be as hot. Dometic website will explain how to do that. A competent RV tech should be able to do all that. There is no reason to replace the tank. If he can't fix it, find a dealer that works on RV's, not just replaces things!!!
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:58 AM   #10
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Englishgirl, I am not familiar with the particular brand of water heater you mentioned is in your unit (Atwoods are more common these days,) but you are correct that the water heater is not an Airstream specific item, any competent RV mechanic with training and experience with water heaters should be able to diagnose the problem. Good luck!
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:00 AM   #11
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Englishgirl, I just noticed your hometown of Milton, ON. You might want to go to CanAm in London, ON. They are an Airstream dealer and have a good reputation for customer service (though they can be a bit slow sometimes while you are waiting for service.) I have used them for some hitch work in the recent past and have no hesitation in recommending them.
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