Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-07-2019, 10:31 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1976 31' Sovereign
Terre Haute , Indiana
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 37
How to bypass hot water heater in 1976 31' Sovereign

The last 2 or 3 years when I've winterized my Airstream (76 Sovereign 31' with rear bath), I have never been able to figure out how to bypass the water heater, so I end up filling the darn thing with 10 gallons of antifreeze to get water everywhere.

There is only 1 valve for the water heater (in the little closet next to the toilet) and I'm not sure what it does but it doesn't seem to bypass anything. The manual just calls it a water heater valve, not a bypass, and most bypasses I'm familiar with have 3 valves.

So am I missing something? Is there a way to bypass it?


ClayDC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2019, 10:37 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,011
It probably did not come with a bypass like the newer trailers. If it does it would be right next to the heater. This is assuming you can get to the back side of the heater. I am not as far north as you but blowing out the lines and putting some antifreeze in the P traps seems to get it done. There is a drain plug on the heater usually made of some plastic like Nylon. Remove that and drain the heater then replace it and blow out the lines with air. All faucets, shower, toilet valve should be purged. Do them one at a time and give the air compressor time to catch up. Set the pressure on the air compressor no higher than 60 psi. Get you one of these.


perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 11:47 AM   #3
2 Rivet Member
1976 31' Sovereign
Terre Haute , Indiana
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 37
Ok that's what I was thinking. Looks like I'll try to add a bypass in the spring. I went ahead and filled the system up again last night!

ClayDC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2019, 12:50 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
Beverly Hills , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 27
Check this out:

See if page 37 matches what you are seeing. For step 9, I'd go with the pink stuff instead of Glycol.

Or, take a look at page 43 in this one:

The previous one was for the Excella, although the winterization steps look the same.
JayTheCPA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2019, 10:50 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
Villa Park , Alabama
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 99
If it's ten gallons, isn't that a replacement hot water heater? I also have a 76 Sovereign with a dual-fuel water heater, but it's a very newly installed item. I also did not have a bypass. 10 gallons of the pink stuff just ain't cheap.
drmox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2019, 03:19 PM   #6
Rivet Master
r carl's Avatar
Vintage Kin Owner
Lin , Ne
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,374
You install a bypass kit similar to this.!68521!US!-1
The higher your expectations the fewer your options.
r carl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2019, 03:26 PM   #7
3 Rivet Member
Trnpk Crsr's Avatar
Currently Looking...
Baltimore , Maryland
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 113
Mid 70’s Airstreams came with 10 gallon gas hot water heaters. They did not have by pass valves.

Trnpk Crsr is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hot Water Heater Bypass Valve Access donreitz 2009-2015 Flying Cloud 2 03-17-2018 07:25 PM
Accessing the hot water heater bypass curmugeon Sprinter and B-van Forum 5 06-22-2016 12:44 PM
Hot Water Heater Works But No Hot Water Althea Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 6 04-16-2016 10:45 AM
'86 sovereign water heater bypass Ssmookler Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 1 11-17-2015 01:54 PM
Help, no hot water heater bypass in my 1975 31' Sovereign ShinyTwinkie Winterizing, Storage, Carports & Covers 5 11-30-2008 06:52 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.