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Old 09-19-2002, 08:08 PM   #1
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Water heater replacement

OK. Here goes with my latest. Like I said before, as soon as I get something fixed something else turns up. I'm seriously starting to loose excitement...

I need to replace the original water heater on my 78 Excella 500. It's leaking BAD. The service manual makes the removal sound easy.

Here's my question, what's the easiest replacement to install with the least modifications necessary? Is a replacement available that fits the same as the old one, and I can keep my access door?

Any other advice on replacement before I begin would be most appreciated! This is a big project for me...

Thanks!

Craig
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Old 09-19-2002, 08:41 PM   #2
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Question Cold water Blues

I will have the same problem, but I have not taken possession of the 74-Excella yet (have not even seen it except photos).
What have you been quoted for the HWHeater? I wonder why no one has figured out a way to rebuild the things. I imagine that burned out tanks or calcificated tanks are the culprits 97% of the time. Any opinions on that?

The service manual makes everything~~SOUND~~easy doesn't it!!?

Is the water leaking onto the plywood floor? or does the HWHeater protrude below the floor?

All the posts I have read seem to say that the door is a problem.
Apparently the new heaters come with a larger (or smaller) ~~white~~ door. Looks like a band-aid on the silver skin!
I find it odd that there is not a HWHeater available that will fit the hole.
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Old 09-20-2002, 04:05 AM   #3
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The water heaters are made by Atwood and are available from RV parts dealer and RV online store. Just replace the door that is on the new one with your old one. They just unclip from the housing.

You will need access to both sides of the heater to remove it. A drill to remove the rivets. New rivets to reinstall. You will need a tube of ParBond or Vulkem to seal the flange to the shell.

Use soapy water to test for gas connection leaks.

http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...fm?skunum=3692

Towner7 installed a new one and painted the interior to match the shell.

-BobbyWright
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Old 09-20-2002, 04:59 AM   #4
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Replacing the w/h is not that bad a problem providing you can access both the inside and the outside. I did one on a 78 model and it was fairly easy. Be sure of the brand and size that you are replacing and replace with the same size. Atwood and Suburban are the most common brands and they are different. 6 and 10 gallons are the most common sizes and they require different size openings. The original silver door can be reused on the new w/h providing you replace with the same size and brand. Also replacement tanks are available, but for the do-it-yourselfer, the best bet is to replace the whole heater. That way you get new gas valves, etc. and replacing the tank requires complete disassembly and salvage of old parts, insulation,etc.
good luck!
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Old 09-20-2002, 05:11 AM   #5
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James / Bobby,
I've already gained access to the WH both inside and outside. I'm not concerned about removing the old one, just installing the new one.

Are the new Atwoods the same size and connect the same way as the old WH's?

Thanks,
Craig
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Old 09-20-2002, 07:28 AM   #6
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Craig,
In my case the rew heater was an exact replacement for the old one. Everything fit just fine. Hope this is the case for you.
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Old 09-20-2002, 07:43 AM   #7
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James/Bobby/Craig/ or anyone

I'm told my HWHeater was a Bowen.
Is the Atwood an exact replacement fit?There is really not too much detail at the CamperWorld netsite, but I will order their catalog today.
I am also looking for a Atwood and Surburban site.I wonder if Bowen is defunct?

Do most of the heaters leak over the burner inside the tank pass-thru?
Also I know the heater is enclosed in a metal box which I think is part of the replacement package. So do the leaks (and the drain and the overflow) just run in it and exit out the door? Or is there a weep hole/pipe to the underside thru the bellypan?

The current owner of my probable 74-Excella-RBath removed the HWHeater and temporarily spliced the inlet & outlet together so as to keep the "water-circuit" working. I noticed in the pix he sent me that the door opening was just left open (unbelievably dumb I thought). I called and asked that they cover it asap.
I am 1100 miles away from the trailer or I would not have to ask you guys so many "oughta-be-obvious"questions.
I am wondering what is exposed when the HWHeater
with Door is removed? I have the 74 Service Manual, but it is not that specific. Looks like rain and rats/mice/squirrels etc would have access. But to where? Does water that gets into the bellypan have any easy way out?
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Old 09-20-2002, 08:03 AM   #8
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Hex,
Bowen is Atwood. And yes, with the water heater removed, rodents can gain access.

James / Bobby,
My only question before proceeding is whether to just replace with an LP heater, or LP/electric. What is the difficulty like to add the electric. Has anyone done this and can provide some detailed advice/guidance?

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2002, 09:08 AM   #9
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Craig,
Camping World is running a sale now. The LP Atwood#3687 Presidents Club Member price is $238.50, the LP/DSI #3690 is $359.10 and the LP/EI #3688 is $296.10. I don't have my CW master catalog in front of me right now so I don't know if they are 6 gal. or 10 gal. models. Also, the Hott Rod electric heater conversion for 6 gal is $80.97 member price and 10 gal. is $89.97. While CW makes them for Suburban as well as Atwood, I don't know which one these fit. You will have to check the CW site. The conversion has a 110 v. 3 prong plug that just plugs into a receptacle and the heating element takes the place of the zinc anode rod.
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Old 09-20-2002, 10:24 AM   #10
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Craig,

Doesn't the Hott Rod convert an LP water heater to LP/Electric? Would you use one with a LP/electric water heater, and if so, why?

What about wiring a new LP/Electric heater - where do you get the AC juice from?

Craig
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Old 09-20-2002, 04:22 PM   #11
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It's on the web

You can see installation photos at

http://www.hottrod.net/
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Old 09-20-2002, 05:54 PM   #12
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I'm confused by talk of the Hott Rod.
If I'm going to replace the water heater, why not just convert to LP/electric?
Is there something beneficial to staying with LP alone and using the Hott Rod?
Does LP/electric work the same as LP and Hott Rod? If you have an LP/electric heater, can you operate the water heater off of electric alone, or do you need LP too.
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Old 09-20-2002, 08:03 PM   #13
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FYI, I am only the messenger. Attwood will void your warranty if you install a Hott Rod.

I would only electrify if I was on shore a lot of the time or parked in a RV park living in the trailer full time.

-BobbyWright
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Old 09-20-2002, 08:36 PM   #14
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Craig,

My replacement Atwood fit was ALMOST perfect. The water lines behind the tank lined up ALMOST perfectly. I made the mistake of securing hte water heater first, and then tried to get the lines started on the back of the water heater. I had to undo the mounting screws on the outside to gain some movement so I could start the threaded flare nuts on the tank. Of course then I had to redo the sealing material and start over on the outside.
My water heater cost 239.00 from a RV parts place in Oregon. PM me if you want the address. I have to dig it up on my other computer. They have very good deals on other stuff, too.
The door came in white - my old door sort of did fit, but the vent did not line up just right. I purchased Rustoleum Aluminum paint and painted the new door, and now it looks perfect. Can't tell at all that it's a new one. The new water heater works much better than the old one did.
After removing the old unit, and turning it upside down so it would drain, I could not believe the junk that came out of it. Absolutely Gross stuff. I would have replaced the old unit just for that, if I had known it was in there.
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