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Author Topic: Tips for water heater woes  (Read 2152 times)
sunbum1
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« on: August 17, 2009, 10:08:41 pm »

My 2004 PC 2350 has the 6 gallon Atwood gas/electric water heater.  It always works great when connected to a 30 amp electric hookup.  It sometimes has acted up erratically when I need to use it in gas mode.  Here are a couple of good, easy tips I have found to get it working again.  I always follow Atwood's warnings listed in the manual before working on the water heater.  

The Atwood manual says one tip is to clean and reseat the connectors on the circuit board in the water heater.  This has worked sometimes.  The low-voltage circuit board connections get a little oxidized.  Cleaning and reseating the connectors disturbs the oxidation and helps the connectors to make contact again.  This is temporary due to the oxidizing nature of the connections, but easy.  Be careful about how often you perform this fix, as it will eventually wear away the tin-lead plating on the circuit board, if performed too much.  

My tip is to inspect the ground connections inside the water heater.  They are all green wires attaching from the circuit board to the water heater vent housing in one place and from the two gas solenoids to the gas valve in one place.  The gas mode of my water heater acted up a lot until I removed the screws attaching the grounds and cleaned the grounding lugs.  The lugs showed a lot of oxidation buildup underneath the heads of the screws and on their attachment points, which would prevent a good ground over time.  Once I cleaned the connections, and lightly tightened the screws, the gas mode has worked flawlessly since.  

Also, I visually inspect the water heater often before taking the RV out, even if I am not performing any maintenance.  I look at all of the electrical connections stated above, and inspect for any loose screws that may allow something to move.  This can prevent some headaches later on.  
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 10:11:34 pm by sunbum1 » Logged
lghjr
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2009, 10:47:11 pm »

 That may be a fix I need. I tested mine today prior to leaving later this week and it took about 4 tries for the water heater to stay lit.  I would light off and run for about two seconds and shut down.  Gas supply was good.  Great tips, I sure suspect that as a cause in my case.

L. G.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 12:52:05 am »

You might want to try cleaning the contacts then using a little Vasoline on them.  It will prevent reoccuring oxidation.  I use clear silicone brake caliper grease because I have it handy, but Vasoline will last a while.

I never did that on the hot water heater, but I better do it soon.  That is good information.

Thanks!
Ron
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Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
Our Rig Is Available For Viewing Any Time Of Year In Dundee, IL
Stored At Home In Our Heated Garage (Well-Lit & Warm Comfort In Winter)
ron.dittmer
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 04:13:41 pm »

During our 3 week trip this month, I learned the 110V electric heating option was dead, but the propane setting worked fine.  I did as you suggest, but still not working.  Given we had 110V available only 2 of the 22 nights, it didn't impact our trip at all.  We used propane the whole trip.  I would like to get it working again on 110v though.

I wonder if I burned out the 110V heating element inside the tank.  I may have had it set to 110V without water in the tank at home, before we started our trip.  I had plugged in the RV to get the fridge working the night prior.  That was before I filled up with water the next morning.

A little research is needed on this one.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 04:17:12 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
Our Rig Is Available For Viewing Any Time Of Year In Dundee, IL
Stored At Home In Our Heated Garage (Well-Lit & Warm Comfort In Winter)
ron.dittmer
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2009, 09:32:27 am »

I called the manufacture of the hot water heater, Atwood's technical support.  Per their instruction, I measured the resistance across the heating element terminals.  It was supposed to measure 10.3 ohms, but mine read nothing at all, like I didn't have the two probes across it.  I ordered a new heating element from Mark's RV Parts Here ----> http://www.marksrv.com/atwood_wh_parts.htm <----  $26.50 with free shipping and no sales tax, shipped Priority Mail.  I should have it real soon.

The part is stamped 1400w/110v.  You can easily find 1500w/110v shorter elements at any home improvement store for just under $10, but the technical support fellow didn't recommend using them because the extra 100 watts might cause an overload condition.  I figure it's worth the peace of mind and the extra $16.00.

I think this applies of all models of the Phoenix Cruiser.  Access to the heating element is under the kitchen sink.  Remove the screws to the finished wooden access panel.  The element is behind a black plastic electrical box that you need to remove two screws to get off and out of the way.  The space is a little confining, but managable.

CAUTION:  When doing this, be sure your RV power is cut off dead.

AVOIDING THE SURPRISE:  Even though you have drained the hot water heater with the outside plug.....When removing the old heating element, 1/2 gallon of water will come rushing out the element's hole.  Be sure to place a massive amount of rags to absorb the water.  There is no room in there to place a pan or other container.  Hold the old element over the hole to let the water out slow enough so the rags can collect the water.  It is a lot of water.  It keeps coming and coming, seeming to have no end to it.

I will start a new thread, specifically to address 110v hot water heater failure.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 10:30:09 am by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
Our Rig Is Available For Viewing Any Time Of Year In Dundee, IL
Stored At Home In Our Heated Garage (Well-Lit & Warm Comfort In Winter)
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