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Old 10-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
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Trying to keep the old Bowen 10 gal. Goin'!

I have the original Bowen 10 gallon water heater in my Sovereign, but it may be on it's last leg. It has a slow drip, always has, and I know this isn't good but it's never gotten worse in the last couple of years. Just for the record, I have completely redone my plumbing and I have no leaks anywhere, only a small wet spot under the hw heater when parked and using it.
Here's the bigger problem, the pilot won't stay lit. I can trick it into coming on with a stick lighter and it used to function properly after it had run a complete heating cycle, meaning the pilot would stay lit until it needed to light again, but now it shuts off every time.
So, 2 questions, can I find parts for this thing? If so, anyone know what might be bad? Thermocouple? Can I clean it? oops, that was about 4 questions.
2nd question, can I add one of those electric elements if I'm camping with a hookup mostly? If those are cheap, I might be tempted to try that for awhile vs. replacing the whole unit.


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Old 10-08-2010, 09:14 PM   #2
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I took mine out to look at it and . . . well . . . just left it out.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:19 PM   #3
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Those leaks have a way of getting worse quickly at the most inopportune times.

Just saying.
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:11 AM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
Maryville , Tennessee
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So does anyone know if I can still find parts for this Bowen? 1973 model

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Old 10-10-2010, 09:26 AM   #5
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Corona , California
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
So does anyone know if I can still find parts for this Bowen? 1973 model

Sure you can find parts for a 37 year old water heater.

But, do you want to???

If you attempt to remove the thermostat, you will find that it has seized to the aluminum tank, which you will damag the tank in the process.

Now you will have a part/parts that you will have no use for since you will have to replace the water heater.

Some of the old parts are special order only, and then typically are not returnable.

RV water heaters that last beyond about 30 years, are really living on borrowed time and are usually on some kind of life support.

But, the choice is your as to when you want to bite the bullet. You can do it now, or wait until the water heater floods the trailer when your on a trip.

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Old 10-13-2010, 10:25 AM   #6
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1965 22' Safari
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Orinda , California
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Well... mine is 45 years old and holding 150 psi.
However I wonder Andy if you would know the internal piping in those things?
My issue is that I added the electric element to mine. I had drain valve attached with short 1/2" nipple. The valve come off, but steel nipple would not let go and I didn't want to take a chances of damaging the perfectly good heater so I put the electric element with bell reducer on the end of the nipple.
Now I flushed lot of sediments from the tank, dumping about 50 gallons of water from flushing on the flowers.
Yet I run the electric heat for 1/2 hr and seems that there is minimal heat exchange. The end of the element is getting pretty hot, while the water did not get warmer that I could definitely tell.
So I wonder if I do have more sediments that need to be flushed, or is the nipple extending far into the tank?

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