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Old 07-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #1
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new water heater won't stay lit.

Our original water heater went last November when we were touring the Florida Panhandle.

Luckily, Camping World had them on sale, so we picked one up on the way home, then stopped in at JC to have it installed. Since I could see that the gas lead came in at a different place than on the old tank, plus wanting to have a bypass put in, AND general malaise on my part at playing with something that was both plumbing and heating, I settled on letting the factory service put it in.

Well, it's in now and despite my disappointment that my original SS hatch would not fit (so I had to use the crappy-looking beige one it came with), I was pleased at the job they did putting it in.

But now that we've been using it regularly this summer, I have discovered that it doesn't want to stay lit!

Of course, it is more sensitive to wind coming at the trailer from the side it's on, but even on days where there ie little to no wind, it can go off.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:55 PM   #2
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I just posted this same question about my suburban hot water heater not staying lit. My hot water heater is past warranty so anything I do I have to pay for. The first time this happened was last fall. I would light it and it would run for 10 to 15 minutes then kick out. The local RV service center took a high pressure air hose and blew out all the soot and dirt. They told me this was a common problem and their solution was the correct procedure. They also adjusted the burner flame.

The Suburban worked great until this summer. We were gone for a good two weeks and it started kicking out again. I got a can of air and tried to blow out any dirt and it worked for a couple days and kicked out again. I took it to a RV shop in Chicago and they said I needed a new thermocupler and my gas regulator was not working correctly (one year old). They blew it out again and charged me for a complete check of the system. It worked for a couple of days and then started doing it again.

When I got home I took my air compressor and blew out all the recommended areas with air. We will find out the next time I go camping. My buddy who has a motorhome has a suburban hot water heater and he has the same problem.

Brian
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:17 PM   #3
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If the heater will stay lite for several minuets at a time the electrical controls are most likely OK. The next thing to look at is the Proof of Flame system. Most likely if it is an electronic igniter check the position of the igniter to the flame while the heater is lite. That igniter has to be in the flame to supply the gas valve with a signal to prove flame and hold the gas valve open. If wind can move the flame from the igniter so it cools the flame will go out.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:18 PM   #4
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My hot water heater is a manual light.

Brian
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:23 PM   #5
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There will still be a Proof of Flame probe extending into the flame. In this case look at it position and also you may have to loosen the bushing that holds the other end into the gas valve. Loosen it and re tighten it to clean the contact surface. That connection carries a very small electrical current to the valve as the Flame Proof
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:35 PM   #6
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Thank you Howie!!!!!!!

I will give it a try.

Brian
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:23 AM   #7
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The "proof of flame probe" howie speaks of is the thermocouple. He is correct that it must be positioned properly in the flame in order to excite the molecules in the metal and create microvoltage to send through the probe line to the gas valve. This microvoltage is what activates the magnets to hold open the gas valve and allow the gas to flow. Clean the end of the probe and position it to be touched by the centre of the flame as well as make sure the probe line makes good contact with the gas valve should cure your problem. You should also have a clean blue flame that does not " roar" when the heater is lit. You can adjust the air flow on the air inlet tube to make sure the flame is clean and not drawing too much air and sending the flame past the probe. Spiders love the smell of propane and will nest in this tube which may be blocking the proper flow of air. Blow this tube clear with compressed air and blow the combustion chamber tube clear as well to remove any carbon build up or spider webs that will affect the proper flow of air. Gas pressure is also essential, have your system checked to make sure there is at between 10.5 " WC to 13 " WC(water column) pressure at the heater. After several years the mercaptan which is the odourant in propane may build up in the lines and you may not have enough gas pressure to maintain good flame. This build up can also clog the orifice on the gas valve. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CLEAR THE ORIFICE WITH ANY TOOL. You can remove the orifice and soak it in a solvent to clean it. If you attempt to force anything through the orifice to clear it you will turn your water heater into a flame thrower.If your tanks are low and it is cold outside and you are using the furnace, stove, water heater and fridge on propane your pressure can drop. I test each appliance with near empty tanks and all other appliances running to ensure proper pressure at each appliance. There is an aftermarket shield available to stop wind from blowing out your flame if that is the problem. If the problem still persists the magnets in the gas valve may be weak and the valve may need to be replaced.
AAGE I painted my new heater door in an aluminum paint to improve its look. I replaced my water heater with a DSI (direct spark ignition) and electric heater several years ago. If you search I think there is a thread for converting the old door to use it on the new heater. I looked at it and decided that the opening for the exhaust will not line up properly and I would have to make a new flange for the hinge and the door is just not wide enough to cover the new heater properly. I have attached pictures of the painted door and the aftermarket wind shield. I know a little of what I speak I have owned my A?S for 12 years and am a certified R/V tech and a campground owner. Good luck too you both in solving your problems.
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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Loth, HowiE, Wasaga,

Thanks for the advice, I will look over the thermocouple and see if it is being bathed in flame. I do get a roar when the main flame comes on, which I didn't on the old Bowen. The new one is an Atwood, but of course a dead ringer for the old Bowen, since Atwood took them over years ago.

PS: it's a manual light, too.

Chris, where did you get that little wing for the vent? I think that could be worth a try, too.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
Loth, HowiE, Wasaga,

Thanks for the advice, I will look over the thermocouple and see if it is being bathed in flame. I do get a roar when the main flame comes on, which I didn't on the old Bowen. The new one is an Atwood, but of course a dead ringer for the old Bowen, since Atwood took them over years ago.

PS: it's a manual light, too.

Chris, where did you get that little wing for the vent? I think that could be worth a try, too.
The "roar" seems to occur when the flame is slightly lean; if you can reduce the amount of air, this may well help keep it lit. I notice mine roars when first lit, and as the unit warms up the "roar" becomes much softer - perhaps the air is getting warmed, and thus expanding and forming a richer
mixture.

- Bart
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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pilot will not stay lit!

I had the same problem with my NEW Atwood manual light water heater. Finally found that the end of the thermocouple that attaches to the thermostat housing was a bit loose.....tightened it some (but not too tight) and SHAZAM.....problem fixed. Bill
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:19 PM   #11
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Aage The little wing you refer to is called a wind guard. It should be available from any RV supplier. Ask them to look for in their Danzy Distributors book. Danzy # 05-2210. It is also available from Atlas Trailer Coach Products (P/N 565-0) It should also be available from Coast Distributing. All three companies are wholesale suppliers to RV stores. in I don't have a Coast book so I don't know if they carry it.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:40 PM   #12
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Thanks again, barts, lebo, and Chris. More stuff to try.

Chris, I called Danzy and they show it as discontinued, and they have no stock on hand. I also emailed Atlas through their website and will call Danzy London to see who might have it here in Ontario. Thanks for the tip.

bartsa,

remind me again how to change the mixture? Is it by sliding the tube, after loosening the screw?
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:35 PM   #13
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Well, it's in now and despite my disappointment that my original SS hatch would not fit (so I had to use the crappy-looking beige one it came with),
I re-install the stainless doors if they are in good shape. Here's 3 photos of one I put back on a '73 Tradewind with the new water heater: (try moving the thermocouple sensor more directly over the pilot flame to keep it from going out)
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:06 AM   #14
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I re-install the stainless doors if they are in good shape.
This is what I did w/ our '71 Tradewind....

Yes, the mixture adjusts w/ a sliding tube, just like a bunsen burner or range.

- Bart
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