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Old 07-24-2010, 10:04 PM   #1
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Water heater seems bigger than the door!

I am replacing my Bowen 10 gal? with an Atwood 6 gal. I just knew that old thing was going to be a bugger to get out; it is. All is disconnected. It pulls out a few inches, but it seems like I've got to remove some rivets connecting some metal sheeting to the interior skin. That maybe makes the exterior hole big enough for this thing to go out?? Problem is...I've drilled the rivets I can get to, but there are a few that are way out of reach from the rear of the trailer, can't get to them from the outside, oh no. I want to get out my tin snips. Do I really have to pull this sucker out from the inside?

A little help please! I've been looking around at past water heater project posts, and most everyone says their old heater just pulled right out; yeah right.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:22 PM   #2
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I had the same problem you are having. The round top of the Bowen would not even come close to clearing the top of the opening in the interior and exterior skins. I also had some aluminum trim pieces riveted in tight to the water heater on the interior on each side and the top. I was able to get to all the rivets to drill them out, only to find that the top of the opening was still much too tight. I had to use a cutting wheel in my dremel and then some snips to get the thing out. I just cut a little at a time, tried it, and then cut a little more, until I was just able to work the heater out. I am sure the water heater was set prior to the interior skins being installed.

And don't forget, there is a small pin with a flat head on the bottom of the heater that fits into a slotted receiver anchored to the floor that keeps the heater either from moving front to back or bouncing or perhaps both. This will catch on the aluminum flap that is wrapped into the opening on the floor when you get the heater about halfway out. I used a scrap piece of aluminum to make a "ramp" to get the pin over the aluminum flap.

Good luck!
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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Here's my thread from 3 years ago. Maybe it will help.....and yes there is a pin and slot 'anchor' under the water heater. It is shown in this thread.
Neil

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...-in-36653.html
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:38 AM   #4
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Your 2nd, 3rd and 4th pictures show the top of the opening at the top of the tank housing. Mine, and I am assuming CodyWentling's, was just barely at the top of the rectangular controls housing. The tank was not coming out the opening without cutting aluminum, both inside and out. I saw your thread prior to replacing mine, and I realized that my interior and exterior skins had to have been installed after the water heater was in place.

It wasn't difficult to enlarge the opening, just different and a bit more time for replacement than all the fortunate folks whose original opening was large enough.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:19 AM   #5
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Interior rivet removal

I just finished removing our old Bowen water heater to install a tankless.

The hole in the exterior skin of the trailer was just barely big enough for the Bowen to slide through. I had to remove the aluminum strips that were riveted to the interior skin.

A 90 degree drill adapter with a long (six inches or so) drill bit proved able to reach the rivets at the lower end of those strips. Sorry I can't attach a picture of the drill adapter, but it's out at the trailer and I'm about 60 miles away. Pretty common aircraft tool--check Aircraft Spruce.

Retronotold is correct about using a scrap of aluminum as a ramp to prevent the hold-down fixture on the bottom of the water heater from catching as you pull it out.

It's a wrestling match, but it can be done. Good luck!
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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Thumbs up The Bowen is out!!

Thank you all for your quick guidance on the removal of the old Bowen. I got brave and made a few relief cuts in the corners of the interior skin (after finally getting to the few rivets I couldn't reach last night.) I also had to literally cut off the cold and hot water attachment points, as well as the TPS valve, basically turning the unit into a perfect circle. What a chore though!!

Thank you again. I have been using this resource quite a bit lately, and it has been valuable. My wife and I drove down to Destin FL this last Dec. and came home with this 66 Safari...it had been butchered of nearly all the water sytem, fresh water tank, pump, etc. May have originally been a "park" model, but I have found where the old freshwater holding tank did use to sit as well as the hole where the filler valve used to be (gone now) Anyone have an old filler neck for the exterior?? Yeah right, huh. Vintage Trailer told me that they are working on casting a re-creation of this neck, and it may be available by the end of the summer. Until now, I am filling my tank from the interior. Oh well.

Back to the 'Stream! Work must go on....Cody
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CodyWentling View Post
Anyone have an old filler neck for the exterior?? Yeah right, huh. Vintage Trailer told me that they are working on casting a re-creation of this neck, and it may be available by the end of the summer. Until now, I am filling my tank from the interior. Oh well.

Back to the 'Stream! Work must go on....Cody
Try RV and trailer salvage yards. There are a number of them online. I was lucky...really lucky and found one on a EBay trailer salvage site. The guy wrote me that he almost didn't list it. "Who would be looking for that old thing?"

Neil.
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