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Old 06-08-2006, 06:37 AM   #1
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
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Water heater support - any on bottom?

After a trip on a very rough road last fall the inlet fitting on my 6 gallon Attwod heater began to leak. I replaced the brass pipe to fare fitting after cleaning the tank threads and it still leaks. There was a fair amount of corrosion (iron & brass?) and on closer inspection I think the tank threads are damaged. The previous owner replaced the tank about 12 years ago.

It does not appear that there is any support on the underside of the heater- it "hangs" on the outside shell. Is this correct? A friend as a similar unit in his much newer trailer and there is a simple support from the floor under the heater. I am now thinking that the rough road caused the heater to move and the rigid copper piping caused the corroded threads to fail.

I think that I'll have to replace the heater. Any thoughts on what unit to use? I'm starting to think that a 3 gallon unit might make sense - if they are still available. We don't use that much water when out in the woods and saving 25 to 30 pounds is attractive - not to mention less inertia on the next rough road.

Any thoughts or experience would be appreciated, thanks

Whit Nash
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Old 06-08-2006, 09:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwnash
It does not appear that there is any support on the underside of the heater- it "hangs" on the outside shell. Is this correct? A friend as a similar unit in his much newer trailer and there is a simple support from the floor under the heater. I am now thinking that the rough road caused the heater to move and the rigid copper piping caused the corroded threads to fail.
I just recently noticed this on my trailer. when I had some other things apart, I got a new view of the tank that I hadn't seen before, and I noticed that there was some blocking underneath it. not much...just a couple of pieces of 1x4. hadn't seen it before because the base of the heater in the front, where one would access the plumbing and/or bypass valves, is concealed by a hot-air duct from the furnace.

I would say that you are probably correct in your damage assesment. there wouldn't be much to support this big heavy box otherwise, and there'd be quite a bit of stress on the plumbing.

Personally, I'd replace with a unit of the same dimensions. 6 gallons of hot water is small enough...3 would be hardly worth having. not to mention, the "bolt-in" nature of the repair. The modifications that would be required for a different sized heater could be extensive. I've only heard of 2 sizes, anyway...6 and 10 gallon. There is such a thing as a "tankless" water heater for rv's, but they require a "10 gallon" hole, and are very expensive, but they give unlimited hot water, with no tank.
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:28 AM   #3
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Chuck, thanks for the response. I agree that a bolt-in repair is easier, I'll rethink my idea of going smaller. In the past, I've seen 3 gallon units listed in catalogs which prompted my thinking. I'm not sure my wife and I really need 6 gallons - but then again I'm not sure we don't. When we are in the backwoods we are very careful about water use - and that carries over to when we are in more "civilized" conditions. And, we tend to be on the move and don't set it up and use it like a home.

I'll pull the old unit and see what I have to work with. From what I can see it looks like the "case" is cardboard covering some fiberglass insulation. I'm not sure how I could support the bottom on this unit. I'll get information on new units and go from there.

Finally, I'm probably a little too concerned about weight. I remember when cars had limited capacity and weight was important. My truck is more than adequate for this trailer ( 4100 lbs?). My wife and I looked at new Airstreams a few years ago. Granted, they look very nice but are much heavier and not as well set up for the camping that we do. So I guess we'll keep the old girl a while longer.

Thanks again - If I discover anything interesting I'll post again.

Whit Nash
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:08 PM   #4
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3 gallons of hot water will give you a chilly finish to even a short and possibly a Navy style Shower.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:27 AM   #5
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Michelle,

Thanks - I'll go with the six. You are probably right - cold water mixing with the hot would cool down the shower quickly. Three might be enough for dishwashing. A bolt-in repair is starting to sound better all the time.

With a little luck I'' get the old one out this week.

Thanks again,

Whit Nash
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