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Old 08-11-2004, 12:46 AM   #1
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Ugly Hot Water Heater Panel

Is it just me or has anyone changed their Hot Water Access Door to an Aluminum one? I'm talking about that ugly white access panel on the exterior.
Just wondering if it is better to paint it a metalic sliver or to change it to an aluminum panel.
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:28 AM   #2
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That's an interesting thought, JohnG. The Atwood doors come in various colors. Mine is metallic grey and does not match the skin very well.
Fabricating an aluminum door would not be easy. I imagine stripping, priming and painting it aluminum would suffice but it will be interesting to learn what others have done.
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:20 AM   #3
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I wasn't aware that they came in different colors. Mine is white and it really is an eye-sore I want to polish the AS up and I know that I need to do something to that door.
Metalic Gray is just a little less bright from metalic silver and if mine were that color I probably would just leave it.
Striping it and painting it would probably be the easiest, but just wondered if others had replaced it with a nice shiney finished aluminum door.
I also thought about just riviting a piece of aluminum over it, but that may look tacky, just don't know yet.
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:22 AM   #4
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i painted mine untill i found an aluminum replacement. i had to strip polish and coat before it was installed. the white one i painted aluminum wasnt bad . but just didnt match.
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:23 AM   #5
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Where did you find the aluminum replacement??
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:31 AM   #6
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Official color

John,
You could personalize it in your official state color. That's DeRusto Red Primer, right?
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:10 AM   #7
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I painted a white water heater cover once to match the A/S aluminum better. You will need to prep it so the paint adheres well by roughing up the base coat with fine grit sand paper. Then use high-temp silver paint. Should not be a problem at all.
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:16 AM   #8
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When I had my Atwood replaced about a year ago, I insisted that the dealer remove and swap out the white door for the original aluminum door on the old leaking water heater. He fussed about it, but he did do it. So, I have a new water heater and the original door that was a simple swap out. At first the installer said, he couldn't do it because "the old door won't fit". They were exactly alike except for material and color. <MAJOR EYEROLL>
Maybe you could go by dealers and find one on an old unit that the customer didn't get swapped out? It won't last long before they trash it..so maybe you would have to get someone to watch for one for you?
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:25 AM   #9
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I have yet to see an aluminum one but there are many stainless steel ones out there. Mine is stainless steel and after 33 years it still looks great and matches the exterior nicely.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:50 PM   #10
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John;
I had the same problem. I first sanded and painted the white door with silver paint and it matched the oxidised aluminum on my trailer, but after I polished the trailer, the painted door did not match the shinny new look on the trailer! New solution- Have the water heater door chrome plated. It's less expensive than having one made of aluminum or stinless steel. I even wrote ATWOOD and had them send me a new decal for the inside of the door (which got destroyed in the process of acid dipping before chrome plating).
Good luck in your choices,
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51' Ford F-1 tow vehicle
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Old 08-11-2004, 11:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aztlanco
John;
I had the same problem. I first sanded and painted the white door with silver paint and it matched the oxidised aluminum on my trailer, but after I polished the trailer, the painted door did not match the shinny new look on the trailer! New solution- Have the water heater door chrome plated. It's less expensive than having one made of aluminum or stinless steel. I even wrote ATWOOD and had them send me a new decal for the inside of the door (which got destroyed in the process of acid dipping before chrome plating).
Good luck in your choices,
Ernie 58' Traveler 18ft.
51' Ford F-1 tow vehicle
I do plan on doing a polish job on mine. In fact I just bought the Cyclo today.
I thought about using stainless too, then I started thinking about placing a sheet of aluminum over the door attached by rivets. I didn't think that would look bad since the AS has riverts everywhere, and then I could polish that up to match the rest of the trailer. Now the idea of having it chromed dosen't sound bad at all.
What kind of money does it average to have something like that chromed?
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:18 PM   #12
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I paid $22.00 for the chroming at a local shop here in El Paso, Texas but I guess every chrome shop will have a diferent price.
The decal for the inside of the door was free from ATWOOD. I'm very happy with the finish and for me, it was the least expensive way to fix this problem.
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Old 08-12-2004, 06:16 PM   #13
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Great solution Ernie. I was thinking of the same solution for my Suburban water heater cover since it came in White or Colonial White as the only color options. I painted it Super Silver from Michael's craft store which is a good choice for silver but now the trailer's polished I want something better looking. I've a line on a vintage cover and should know more about that later this week or next. Any chance of posting a picture of the chromed result?

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Old 08-12-2004, 10:22 PM   #14
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It certainly is worth $22 bucks. In fact that sounds like a real deal. The last time I had anything chromed it was the bumpers from a 58 chevy and they ran almost 200 each. But then again it may have been because of what they were and they knew they could get that kind of price off of it.
Did you go directly to a plating company or did you go through a regular place like an auto customizing shop?
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