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Old 08-05-2006, 11:03 PM   #1
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That Was A Good Dream - Hot Water Tank

Thought I'd get away without any "major" system repairs on a 71 we just purchased -NOT....

Took the bypass off the hot water tank and water started seeping out from under the jacket (in the towel closet) once the system came up to pressure. No leaks in any of the pipes.

Has anyone replaced a 10 gallon Bowen lately. Atwood or Suburban? Can't justify the price of a tankless. Will either of these fit without modifying the outer skin? How difficult to install - I have a factory service manual - didn't look to bad in writing...???

Thanks......
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:46 PM   #2
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For expediency you can replace the 10gal with a standard garden variety 6 gallon water heater. You will need a patch because of the size difference but that isn't usually much trouble.

Replacement is usually fairly simple: gas, hot and cold lines. Maybe an electric and switch wires if going DSI. Gas comes in from the outside underneath. Water lines from the rear. 3/8 gas line and half inch IPT for water. If you still have copper, you can use Quest fittings to adapt the tubing to half inch IPT.

Be sure to use the right caulk to seal up the outside to the skin (no silicone!).

Not too big a job, usually.

But those RV-500 tankless sure are tempting. ...
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Old 08-06-2006, 01:16 AM   #3
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The first thing I did when I got my 19CCD was to add the RV-500. It is well worth the $$$ as you never have to change a tank, anode or anything else. It provides endless hot water if you're connected to shore water and I do love those long, hot showers!!!! Plus, you only burn propane when it is producing hot water......no tank to keep hot!
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Old 08-06-2006, 02:01 AM   #4
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Where is the anode in my '66 TW? It has the orginal Bower 6 gal tank. It looks good but I can't find the anode. Did it have one?
Neil
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Old 08-06-2006, 04:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anholman
Where is the anode in my '66 TW? It has the orginal Bower 6 gal tank. It looks good but I can't find the anode. Did it have one?
Neil
My 6 gal. Bowen HW heater in my 65 doesn't have an anode either. I was told that because the tanks are aluminum that they don't need one. It didn't look too bad when I had it apart. The components will most likely rot out before the tank goes. I did have to find (and did locate) an new burner tube for mine.
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Old 08-06-2006, 06:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Took the bypass off the hot water tank and water started seeping out from under the jacket (in the towel closet) once the system came up to pressure. No leaks in any of the pipes.

.....
I wonder why you took the by-pass off? Was there a problem with the WH to begin with? Water leaks are very sneaky and a small leak from a fitting can appear to be a waterfall from the jacket. If there was no prior problem it may be worth your while to go back and check that by-pass. Then check all the fittings. An easy way to tell if they are leaking is to pull back the jacket wrap the fitting with tissue, if the tissue gets wet they are leaking.
Good luck to you.
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Old 08-06-2006, 06:42 AM   #7
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Hi, I'm a newby to this forum but long time owner of an '83 Excella 34' that needs a new hot water tank. What is the RV 500 that has been mentioned? Is it an 'on demand' type unit? Thanks, Jon WBCCI#14490
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
I wonder why you took the by-pass off? Was there a problem with the WH to begin with?
It was the original by-pass - not one you'd see today with valves. Just a section of pipe - add it to loop the water off the water heater for winterizing - take it off and rehook pipes to tank for hot water. Since the water is seeping out from under the insulation jacket - when looking at the back of the tank from the closet -and there are no pipes in that area - presume it has to be the tank. P/O said there was a "small leak" - thought is was the toilet feed valve which was dripping the first time I hooked up water - that's been repaired....

Tankless is tempting - I love my "new" A/S - but too much $$$. Need to figure out Atwood or Suburban option.....
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damtender
Hi, I'm a newby to this forum but long time owner of an '83 Excella 34' that needs a new hot water tank. What is the RV 500 that has been mentioned? Is it an 'on demand' type unit? Thanks, Jon WBCCI#14490
Hi Jon and welcome!

The RV-500 is a tankless, on demand, propane powered hot water system approved for RV use. It can be found at www.precision-temp.com . They are made as a direct replacement for a Suburban 10 gallon unit and can easily replace an Atwood 10 with the mounting kit.

You need to enlarge the opening in your trailer if you have a 6 gallon Atwood. I have never installed one to replace a Bowen but it all depends on the opening size that you have to work with.

I am an authorized dealer for Precision Temp. PM me know if you need more info or would like to buy one!
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:08 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forum!

As there is variation in layout in both size of trailer and year of trailer, it would be good to see pictures. We have a '72 31' trailer and I replaced the water heater last year. Took out a 10 gal, put in a 10 gal. This allowed me to avoid doing the skin patch that was mentioned by Leipper. I'm guessing that either way will be similar amounts of work and will depend on what type of work you are more comfortable with.

In our bathroom, the toilet is on the street side (the side of the trailer on the street when parked along a curb) and there is a cabinet right next to the toilet that encloses the water heater. If you choose to replace yours with the 10 gal and you have this layout, it is in your best interest to remove this cabinet. I recommend pulling out the copper that runs to the toilet and replacing it with a re-enforced hose or PEX while you have everything apart.
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:31 PM   #11
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Mark & Kimber - do you recall what brand/model you installed that let you avoid any patches. This unit is very original - I really want to keep it that way. Has a couple small creases in the wrap and a small dent in the rear roof round. We all have things we key on - putting a skin patch on this girl is one of mine. Really appreciate all the help - will try to add some pictures tomorrow.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Mark & Kimber - do you recall what brand/model you installed that let you avoid any patches. This unit is very original - I really want to keep it that way. Has a couple small creases in the wrap and a small dent in the rear roof round. We all have things we key on - putting a skin patch on this girl is one of mine. Really appreciate all the help - will try to add some pictures tomorrow.
I put in the Atwood 10gal gas/elec.
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:17 PM   #13
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Here are a couple of photos of the set up around the tank and the back side of the insulation jacket. The valve on the left feeds the toilet and the U section of pipe is what is used to bypass the tank. With the bypass back in place there are no leaks in these lines - you can still see some water is seeping out from under the tank - left over from draining it I hope.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:10 PM   #14
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That looks like the one I pulled out. Your cabinet, however, is different than mine. I don't think you want to try to pull this water heater out without finding the method for removing all or part of the inside cabinet. It will make the plumbing parts of the job much easier. At minimum, you will want to remove the shelf above the waterheater, the exhaust fan, and hose. You may need to get under the trailer to disconnect the hose from the belly pan. We will need someone with an overlander to tell us the best way to get better access to the plumbing on this waterheater.

The waterheater will need to be disconnected from the plumbing and then on the outside of the trailer there are screws around the face of the waterheater. These will be removed. You will need to disconnect the gas pipe (make sure the gas is shut off at the bottles). You will want to tape a piece of plastic over the end of the gas pipe to avoid dirt from getting into the gas line during the job. The gas line will need to be carefully pulled down through the base of the water heater so that it is out of the way. The waterheater is removed by gently pulling the heater out of the trailer from the outside.

I still recommend replacing the plumbing to the toilet with a reinforced water hose. Behind the toilet is not a good spot for a frozen pipe, and the screw on hoses will make it possible to resolve a future problem easily. Having the water heater out, makes this a good time to make a simple fix that can avoid a major pain. Take it from one who had the problem.

The new water heater comes with a white door. Of course there are options. You can install the White door. I just couldn't. You can keep your current door and modify either the door or the water heater to fit. I made some simple cuts in the exhaust fins on the water heater to allow the original door to close.
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