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Old 08-23-2007, 09:36 PM   #1
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Old Door - New Water Heater

OK I read all the posts I could find on this topic and can't find anything specific. Trying to keep the stainless door and use it on the new Atwood 10 gallon. Previous posts have said things like " I had to adapt it a little but it worked".

Adapt it a little? It's a little too short, the latches don't line up and the vent doesn't line up. I can deal with the last two items - maybe - but can't do anything about the size.

So, if you've done this - exactly how did you do it? Thanks....
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:05 PM   #2
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I did it.

It was not really that hard it took some patience though. The latches do not line up becuase most of the new heaters have the single center latch. I drilled out the rivets from the old latches and placed them where they should go to line up with the holes in the old door. I then riveted them on, but it is a tight squeeze to get a rivet in once the unit is installed, you would be well served to do this before installation, special note on this the latch brackets may have to be on a bit of an angle to line up with the door holes. I also reused the vent screen (expanded metal), but the heat vent on the tank would not allow door closure. So first of all I bent the side tabs of the door vent screen over the tabs that are on the inside of the door in the vent opening, I then drilled and riveted the screen to the door on both sides. I then got out the dremel with the cut-off wheel and cut out about 1/4 inch strips of the heat deflector on the new tank just so the door would close fully. Now for the trickey part the old door fit the old tank just slightly higher up than on the new tanks, that means that the piano hinge will hit the top edge of the belt line, so out came the dremel again and I trimmed off the top horizontal lip of the belt line at the opening only. This had to be done on mine or the belt line will stick out and look very ugly when you reattach it to the trailor. By removing that top lip I could get the belt line to wrap around flush like it was before. Also do yourself a big favor and plumb the water lines before you attach the outside heater flanges to the trailor becuase it may take liitle manipulating (in and out) to ge the water lines in and tightened up. You will also want to install your bypass plumbing (time permitting) at this time because the inlet and outlet locations on the tank are slighly different than they were on the old tank. I would be more than happy to send you pictures of what I decribed above if you pM me your e-mail address.
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Old 08-24-2007, 03:18 AM   #3
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This past Spring I replaced my old Bowen with an Atwood 6 gal. I wanted to use the old door but with camping season fast approaching I prepped for the eventual use of the old door but for the time being installed the new door. For the old door to work I needed to raise the new WH 1 1/2". I installed the old openning frame/trim with additional pieces of aluminum on the sides of the opening as the new door is narrower. The new WH chimney is on the left not the right as the Bowen. The old chimney can be adapted by un-tabbing it from the door, and re-tabbing it on the reverse side. The back of the door will be the front and the chimney will be on the left. I will have to reverse the latches also. The pictures will show the 3 - 3/4" plys to raise the Atwood; The old door frame/trim with the additions to make the opening narrower; And the 'temporary' completion. The advise given to install all the necessary plumbing first is good advise. I used Pex and the final connections were with Sharkbite couplings.
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:03 AM   #4
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Thanks

Appreciate the replies. The plumbing should be no problem - I rebuilt the copper and flared the new ends so they are ready. A new 3 way shut off is in that will shut down the water to the tank and toilet - the bypass is installed. The feed lines will be stainless reinforced flex. I'm going with 3/8ths flex gas line so that will be an easy hook up.

I salvaged the closure angles off the old tank and they can be installed on the new one - just have to get them to line up. Drag'nwagon - if I understand you correctly you cut back the metal on the new tanks heat vent so the door would close? I did not keep the old vent cover so I'll have to use the new one. What did you do about the vent lining up a little off center - just not worry about it? The problem that I can't wrap my head around is the old door seems to be about 3/4ths of an inch to short. Suppose I could lip the bottom of the tank flange with sheet aluminum to fasten the hinge to...

One way or another - this has to work - I'm not putting a white door on an Airstream. Emailed Atwood for advice - will see what they have to say. If worse comes to worse I suppose a machine shop could stamp me a door using the new one as a pattern....
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin

- I'm not putting a white door on an Airstream. Emailed Atwood for advice - will see what they have to say. If worse comes to worse I suppose a machine shop could stamp me a door using the new one as a pattern....
Paint it with silver paint.
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Paint it with silver paint.
That might be a good temporary solution - could use high heat paint.

Atwood has nothing other than white doors. Airstream said they may have an aluminum door that will fit - waiting for the dealer to get back to me with size and price. The way the new tank mounts the rub rail is going to have to be cut off at each side.

An added kicker - after working out all the leaks - I've lost water pressure at the bath faucet..? You should estimate the time of any project and then double it when dealing with an Airstream.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Appreciate the replies. The plumbing should be no problem - I rebuilt the copper and flared the new ends so they are ready. A new 3 way shut off is in that will shut down the water to the tank and toilet - the bypass is installed. The feed lines will be stainless reinforced flex. I'm going with 3/8ths flex gas line so that will be an easy hook up.

I salvaged the closure angles off the old tank and they can be installed on the new one - just have to get them to line up. Drag'nwagon - if I understand you correctly you cut back the metal on the new tanks heat vent so the door would close? I did not keep the old vent cover so I'll have to use the new one. What did you do about the vent lining up a little off center - just not worry about it? The problem that I can't wrap my head around is the old door seems to be about 3/4ths of an inch to short. Suppose I could lip the bottom of the tank flange with sheet aluminum to fasten the hinge to...

One way or another - this has to work - I'm not putting a white door on an Airstream. Emailed Atwood for advice - will see what they have to say. If worse comes to worse I suppose a machine shop could stamp me a door using the new one as a pattern....
Ganglin, I did not worry about the tank heat vent being slightly off center, I have been using it all summer and have no issues. The actual heat exhaust tube on the tank is in the center of the opening behind the screen. On mine the the new vent screen (expanded metal) also fit into the opening of the old door, I have also seen the screens at General for 3 - 4 bucks. Yes my door was about 3/4 inch too shart also but that is covered by the belt line and you will never see it, or at least that how it was on mine. I have also seen units were the belt line starts and stops at the water heater, and I suppose if yours is like that it may be a problem. I will get you some pictures today.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:16 AM   #8
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I'm replacing the original hot water heater(10 gal) with a 6 gal. Atwood. I went a local person that builds race cars and had him cut 2 pieces aluminum. The first piece replaced the panel on the side of the AS because the new door is smaller. The second piece wraps around the new hot water heater door on top of the new door. I'll post some pictures in a few days.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:20 AM   #9
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Rick,

Just curious, why did you buy a smaller water heater? I have seen a couple people do this and I am curious as to why?
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:39 AM   #10
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Dave, from what I have read on the forums, the 6 gal heats the water quickly and the other people who have installed them have said they have not had a problem with running out of hot water(shower). I guess time will tell with ours, because we have not used it camping yet.
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Old 08-25-2007, 05:12 PM   #11
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Just rolled in from the campground - it's in!! and we have hot water. Only fired it up on electric so far - but it was hot in about 30 minutes. The way the tank is situated I had to cut the rub rails but it came out looking pretty nice. The problem with low pressure at the bath sink was created by burping the tank - guess it shook a bunch of gunk loose and plugged the aerator. Installed the white door for now (yuck). Still waiting for Airstream to get back on whether they have an aluminum one. Thanks for the guidance folks and letting me rant - will advise what happens with the door - I did find a machine shop that said they could knock one out for me out of 16 gauge brushed stainless.
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:04 PM   #12
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Gary,

I apologize for not getting pictures to you yet, had to deal a bit of rain around here today. Not that it matters but the door is not brushed stainless it is straight sanded. I will get you some pitures asap, do not give up on that old door yet.
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
door is not brushed stainless it is straight sanded
Thanks Dave - hopefully the machine shop would have corrected me if I have to go that route. I got an email from Atwood - they said Airstream makes an Aluminum door for their units - hopefully the dealer will call back soon - I can only imagine what that puppy will cost - plus the waste of a perfectly good door.

Hope your rain issues weren't too bad - we did the tornado warning thing here this evening.
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Old 09-02-2007, 05:22 PM   #14
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Finished For the Moment

Well I got an aluminum door from Airstream and it won't fit - they sold me a 6 gallon tank door. So for the moment I took FreshAir's advice and painted it.
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