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Old 11-28-2007, 02:48 PM   #1
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Water heater Removal question

I have read many articles and forums about removing the old bowen water heater (73 overlander). Some people dismantled the cabinet to remove it. Other people went through the outside door. I don't have a problem removing the water heater but I have never drilled rivets or used a rivet gun so I am not to excited about taking the bathroom cabinet apart. I have read where people have removed the outside door and pulled it out through that hole. I have read about snipping and cuttings and it all seems like that can be done also. My airstream is all together and the interior is in great shape. I would like to see a step by step video, or step by step pictures of the removal process. I have seen the pics of the door off and the heater out in several internet mediums.

My question is when I take off the outside door and dismantel the plumbing and gas will it come out through the hole with out cutting aluminum?

My other options is paying for a technician to do the procedure for about $500 dollars. I am pretty handy but I do not want to cut aluminum. I find the hot water heater removal perplexing.

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Old 11-28-2007, 03:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIU Bound
I have read many articles and forums about removing the old bowen water heater (73 overlander).....My question is when I take off the outside door and dismantel the plumbing and gas will it come out through the hole with out cutting aluminum?
I would think you would HAVE to take it out from the outside.

Do a search here within the Forums on "Water Heater Removal"

See this thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f219...ign-14737.html
Posts #42 and #43.

The Atwood's have 4 screws on each side, plus the screws holding the door hinges on the bottom. The new water heater already had holes in the outer flanges that exactly matched the 30 year old water heater it replaced. You may have to partially disassemble the interior to get to the two water lines. One gas line from the exterior - access varies. I have to beleive that the Bowen procedure is very similar.

No cutting required on the Atwood/Atwood replacement.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:18 PM   #3
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SIU,
Mine slipped out of the 72 without cutting. After removing screws, rivets, vulkem, putty tape, corner brackets, etc. However, I didn't have a Bowen and I removed the interior cabinet prior to H20 heater coming out. I gutted mine. It has been quite a while since I did the job but from what I remember it is pretty much a straight forward job. Be patient and take your time. Plenty of other members have also performed this minor surgery. If you want a professional job with out the dirty fingernails and four letter (never mind), I guess you have to shell out the five bills. I don't know if I helped you any but it can be done. Good luck.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:23 PM   #4
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Just unhook the water lines from the tank inside the cabinet. Turn the gas off and unhook the line from the heater within the outside tank housing. You should be able to push the gas line into the floor enough for the tank to clear - if not - under the trailer the line will be anchored to the belly with a rubber lined clamp. Loosen the clamp and pull the line down.

From there just take the screws out of the outside frame and slide that puppy out. You may need to use a wide putty knife to loosen the sealer between the trailer and tank frame. When you reinstall - you may want to consider putting a tank bypass on the inside lines (if it's not already there) to make winterizing easier. Have fun..!
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Old 11-28-2007, 06:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I have never drilled rivets or used a rivet gun
Not to worry, just use a centerpunch to dimple the center, drill reasonably straight the approximate depth of the rivet head, knock off the weakened head with a cold chisel (usually 1 tap) drive the rivet stem through into the body with a punch and hammer. I ordered a "rivet removal tool" to speed up the job and found it more trouble than it was worth. A good quality blind rivet tool should handle the install. It's not rocket science.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIU Bound
My other options is paying for a technician to do the procedure for about $500 dollars. SIU Bound
If you are paying a tech $500 find another tech. It should cost about $200
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Old 11-29-2007, 07:04 AM   #6
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I am ready to start

I am going to take off a a piece of aluminum by drilling the rivets and pull it. I am going to do this. Thanks for your help

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Old 11-29-2007, 07:32 AM   #7
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Curious

What rivets are you removing to take the tank out? you should be able to just unhook the lines and take the screws out of the outer frame that hold it to the trailer skin? Photo of the rear access of a newly replaced tank in a 71 Overlander. Good luck with your project.
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:40 AM   #8
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Hot water heater removal reply

I have a airstream dent guard (aluminum wraps around trailer looks decorative with airstream). It comes with the trailer. It covers the bottom part of the water heater door frame. It just looks like it is not going to slide out without taking it off. I will try . I am attaching a picture of the door so you can see the trim that covers the bottom part of the door frame.

This is my first time trying to attach a picture so hopefully it will come out
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:40 AM   #9
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Measure carefully as the new Atwoods are deeper than the old Bowen. I don't know where yours is located but mine was under the sink and the hard furnace ducts interfered with the new heater.
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:55 AM   #10
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Forgot about those. Great thing is they are pop rivets and will be hidden by the blue trim. Just pull the blue vinyl loose for about 3 or 4 feet and drill the rivets with a 1/8th bit. If they don't start spinning on you just hit them in the center then take a punch and pry the heads off. I actually took mine loose to the rear of the wheel well and about a foot to the right of the tank housing lip - taped it with painters tape to the body so it's out of the way.

When you put the rub rail back - seal the top edge with Parr Bond or Alcoa gutter seal so water doesn't run down behind it into the belly. You can do this....!!
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:56 AM   #11
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Heater placement

My heater is located on the left rear side. It sits under the bathroom cabinet. I spoke with a airstream renovator and he said he only uses atwoods. I will make sure I take measurements.
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Old 12-23-2007, 07:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIU Bound
I have a airstream dent guard (aluminum wraps around trailer looks decorative with airstream). It comes with the trailer. It covers the bottom part of the water heater door frame. It just looks like it is not going to slide out without taking it off. I will try . I am attaching a picture of the door so you can see the trim that covers the bottom part of the door frame.

This is my first time trying to attach a picture so hopefully it will come out
I'm having the same issue on my 76 Sov. Did you have to remove trim???
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ganglin
From there just take the screws out of the outside frame and slide that puppy out. You may need to use a wide putty knife to loosen the sealer between the trailer and tank frame. When you reinstall - you may want to consider putting a tank bypass on the inside lines (if it's not already there) to make winterizing easier. Have fun..!
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No sliding this puppy out. Heater had to be removed from inside. There was nothing easy about this project. Jackson Center puts the outer skin on after installing the water heater...at least in my 76 Sov. There is 1 1/2" drop from exterior trim to plywood floor where water heater sits. It would not slide out. Did not have to remove exterior trim, however, I do not have new water heater yet..so I don't know how easy install will be.

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Here's what I'm left with.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:45 PM   #14
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Never seen that set up before. If the outer skin was over the tank flange I really doubt the Mothership did it. The units are designed to be easy to install and remove (well relatively easy). Your new one will have a flange for fastening it to the OUTER skin. The drop between the rub rail and the floor bottom is about the same as ours was - so you should expect you'll have to pop the rail loose. That had to be a bear to get out. Better luck with the install.
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