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Old 05-20-2007, 09:05 AM   #1
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Opinions on Bowen Water Heater rebuild

Hey guys....

Question on a little project I may just undertake.... ("may" being the key word here)

Being the originality freak, and tinkering kind of guy i am, I have searched the forum for answers, and am at a quandery as to what to do with my non functioning water heater in my Airstream.

I have a 69 23 Safari with a Bowen G-10 Water Heater. I believe I have a cracked water tank in this unit, as it flooded the whole rear floor area when I charged it with water last fall. Obviously, someone did not winterize properly a few yrs ago, or it has the pin hole thing going on.

My buddy here in the Detroit area is restoring the identical sister trailer to mine, and removed his factory original Bowen W/H, and gave it to me. He says it fired right up, and functioned as it should, except for the fact that the gas valves were all very tight. He replaced it with a new Atwood.

As financial constraints are holding me back from just biting the bullet and ordering the replacement W/H from Atwood... (at least this season)
I have a crazy idea that may or may not work.

My plan might be to make one good water heater out of two. My LP gas valves, and everything appears to be functioning properly. I have already partially disassembled my buddy's W/H and air tested the tank. Everything appears to be sealed and tight. The only issue is when I look inside the two water nipples, (inlet and outlet ports) ....there appears to be some corrosion, and a couple small pin holes in the tubes inside-- towards the tank, even though the tank seems to hold air pressure.

Is this tank shot because of these small corrosion holes internally?? Will water flood the areas of the tank inside where it should not be?? I wish I could see an exploded view of this tank to see how it is put together.

Am I wasting my "precious" time in even messing with this unit??

Gimme some advice here before I break out the power screwdriver and drill and start removing the unit on my Safari.

(in other words....help save me from myself!!!!) haha!!

Thanks in advance!!!

Scott
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When it is my time, I want to go peacefully,
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Not screaming, kicking and in a state of panic,
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:44 AM   #2
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That's a tough one. The tank is not currently leaking and may not for another couple years or ?? - or it may start leaking the week after you install it.
I guess it comes down to how much do you like to tinker, and how much do you like to gamble.
I know for me, every time I get into any type of plumbing project, it always takes longer than I think and costs more than I planned on. With that in mind, I try to do it once which means buy a new one.
One mans opinion...
Dave
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:13 AM   #3
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I have the bowen water heater from my 68 safari if you will need parts.

PM me.

Steve
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:55 PM   #4
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Commander,

I just replaced my water heater because my orginal Bowen had a tank leak, every thing else about it worked fine. My opinion is that you are nuts for re-building a 37 year old unit. There is virtually no difference in appearance from new to old from the outside. I did however spend the extra time and made the stainless door fit the new unit, it was not a hudge deal but it took some time and manipulation. The new units are considerably lighter than the old units and are better insulated. The oulet center at Camping World in Bowling Green, KY has new with warranty scratch and dents for 1/3 the cost of others. The scratch and dent portion is almost always the outside access door, which in our case in not a big deal if you have the satinless door.

There are many things that I would consider re-building to keep orginal but not that particluar thing.


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Old 05-25-2007, 08:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiermedic
I have the bowen water heater from my 68 safari if you will need parts.

PM me.

Steve
Steve, here are the photos that I PM you about. Believe it or not the burner worked fine so since it wasn't broke I hought I should remove it to clean. Well, needless to sat this burner ain't going back in. If yours looks better let me know how much you need to get it to me.
Thanks, Neil.
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:19 PM   #6
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Neil,

I will have to dig in my parts to find the heater and then begin taking it apart (Which I have no idea how to do, but it can't be that hard).

WIll let you know what I see.

Steve
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiermedic
Neil,

I will have to dig in my parts to find the heater and then begin taking it apart (Which I have no idea how to do, but it can't be that hard).

WIll let you know what I see.

Steve
Nope, ain't hard. Just disconnect the gas tubes from the control and the 1 screw that holds the burner to the water heater heat chamber. Much thanks. Hopefully yours is useable.

Neil.
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Old 05-26-2007, 01:17 AM   #8
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Speaking of rebuilding heaters....

When I got my sovereign checked out, I gave the tech only a day to do a lot (long story). He said that the water heater tank was fine (held pressure), but that it wasn't working. I can't recall (it's been close to a year) whether he said it was a problem w/ the burner or a problem with the control block, but I have a suspicion it's the latter.

He sold me a heater that worked but that had a split tank, and told me it wouldn't be too hard to swap the parts to make a working heater out of both.

I tried to separate the control block from the unit with the split tank, but (last I tried) it felt quite well attached, and I didn't really feel comfortable whacking it. Any advice as to how to go about it?
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:11 AM   #9
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This is what I did with my heater in 02.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/8093-post3.html
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