Un-Winterizing and Water Heater trouble shooting - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 03-07-2018, 01:28 PM   #1
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Un-Winterizing and Water Heater trouble shooting

So just last week weekend I pulled home a 1994 Classic 300. You can see pics here in this thread New to me 1994 Classic 300

The previous owner had winterized the camper by disconnecting the pump intake line and using the pump to run RV anti-freeze through the lines and all the fixtures. To un-winterize it he said I could do the same thing with fresh water, or simply put water in the fresh water tank and pump it through from there.

He also said that the water heater did not work. The symptom that he said was that it would ignite and fire off, but then shut off.

4 questions:
1. Is pumping water out if the tank a fine way to un-winterize?
2. Where should I look for the low point valves of the system? (sorry I am a trailer newbie).
3. I should un-winterize prior to ant HW heater testing so I don't run it while dry, correct?
4. As far as the HW heater. It is an electronic ignition model. From my previous HVAC work experience I would think that the symptoms he described would point to a damaged/dirty flame sensor, or a blocked flue that was causing the HW heater to go out on limit. Does this sound like a reasonable assessment?

5. The switch above the sink appears to turn the HW heater on. What is the switch on the top of the junction box on the back of the HW heater on the inside pic? Is it also an on and off switch?


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Old 03-07-2018, 02:10 PM   #2
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I found a dirt dobber nest in the throat of the burner which restricted the flow somewhat and caused the propane to shut off a second or two after it started. After that, I put a screen over the intakes.
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayro88 View Post
So just last week weekend I pulled home a 1994 Classic 300. You can see pics here in this thread New to me 1994 Classic 300

The previous owner had winterized the camper by disconnecting the pump intake line and using the pump to run RV anti-freeze through the lines and all the fixtures. To un-winterize it he said I could do the same thing with fresh water, or simply put water in the fresh water tank and pump it through from there.

He also said that the water heater did not work. The symptom that he said was that it would ignite and fire off, but then shut off.

4 questions:
1. Is pumping water out if the tank a fine way to un-winterize?
2. Where should I look for the low point valves of the system? (sorry I am a trailer newbie).
3. I should un-winterize prior to ant HW heater testing so I don't run it while dry, correct?
4. As far as the HW heater. It is an electronic ignition model. From my previous HVAC work experience I would think that the symptoms he described would point to a damaged/dirty flame sensor, or a blocked flue that was causing the HW heater to go out on limit. Does this sound like a reasonable assessment?

5. The switch above the sink appears to turn the HW heater on. What is the switch on the top of the junction box on the back of the HW heater on the inside pic? Is it also an on and off switch?



Fill the tank or connect to city water, open the faucets and clear the lines. By using the pump you will be testing the pump for normal operation. By filling the tank you'll be checking for leaks at the tank and its connections.
Low point drains usually extend below the frame of under belly. Usually a red and white with caps. It's difficult to say exactly due to the age of the RV so it's a SWAG on color and location.
Go ahead and flush the system and fill the water heater before troubleshooting it. Regarding failure to ignite, could be flame sensor is soot covered or not positioned correctly. Also, the black box under the the TPR valve contain snap switches (same as furnace fan snap switches). These can be temporarily jumped for diagnosis purposes, same as you would do with any snap switch. A blocked flue would not necessarily be the problem unless a critter has built a nest in the flue.
The manual switch on the junction box may be for the 110 AC circuit, if it's a combo heater. Here again, the age and it's a SWAG if it's a combo.
Check the orifice in the burner tube too, there might be enough gas to fire the heater but not enough to sufficiently heat the sensor to keep the valve gas valve open.
Then there is the W.C. to check also. Regulators don't last forever.
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:28 PM   #4
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Answer to question 1 - yes, no issue and best bet to fill the tank and flush the system that way, you can also add some bleach to the first flush cycle to disinfect the tanks and lines, then on your second rinse you some sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to deodorize the 2nd tank full. There is a few threads on here regarding amounts to use for each.

Answer to question 3 - yes you want water in the tank while testing as you may keep the heat on awhile for a proper test. Make sure after flushing the tanks and you fill the tank to test etc you open the bypass valve on the hot water tank. There is most likely a valve that is shut off as you do not want antifreeze in the hot water tank. Also you don't want the bleach or baking soda in it either so open the bypass after the first 2 flushes
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Old 03-07-2018, 05:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I will check to see what I can find as far as a bypass for the water heater and the low point drains.

My 30A to 15A adapter should arrive today, so I can start testing things.

For testing the battery circuit I will have to wait a week. I ordered 2x6 volt battery boxes and the batteries should be here next week.
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Old 03-07-2018, 07:02 PM   #6
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So a forum search turned up an owners manual PDF for my hot water heater. The manual included quite a few models. I appear to have a combo Gas/Electric HW heater with electronic ignition. Does anyone know where Atwood puts the model number so I can make sure?

Also, I am going to have to take a closer look for a WH bypass. The piping going to the WH looks like I should be able to bypass it, but I didn't see any valves at first glance. I will have to take a little more time to inspect.....seems like I only get 30 minutes here and there between running the kids around.

Attn Moderator: Apparently I can't read and put this thread in the Electrical forum instead of the plumbing one. Feel free to move it as needed.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayro88 View Post
So a forum search turned up an owners manual PDF for my hot water heater. The manual included quite a few models. I appear to have a combo Gas/Electric HW heater with electronic ignition. Does anyone know where Atwood puts the model number so I can make sure?

Also, I am going to have to take a closer look for a WH bypass. The piping going to the WH looks like I should be able to bypass it, but I didn't see any valves at first glance. I will have to take a little more time to inspect.....seems like I only get 30 minutes here and there between running the kids around.

Attn Moderator: Apparently I can't read and put this thread in the Electrical forum instead of the plumbing one. Feel free to move it as needed.
In 1994 there probably was a sticker on the heater behind the exterior door. For that age it's probably a six gallon heater.
You know it's gas and I think you can be sure it's electric because of the 110 volt AC wire in the photo that you posted earlier. There should be a circuit breaker for it somewhere.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:19 PM   #8
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In 1994 there probably was a sticker on the heater behind the exterior door. For that age it's probably a six gallon heater.
You know it's gas and I think you can be sure it's electric because of the 110 volt AC wire in the photo that you posted earlier. There should be a circuit breaker for it somewhere.
Found the sticker. The water heater is a GC6AA-7E. It is not one that is specifically listed in the manual I found, but it matches up well some that are listed. It also provides a key fro decoding the model numbers. So mine is a 6 gallon gas and electric combo with electronic ignition.

Planning on filling the fresh water tank mostly full and flushing out the rv anti-freeze this weekend. Hopefully once I get water in the system I can trouble shoot the water heater.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:42 PM   #9
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I'll chime in on the water heater as I got a lot of help here with mine last year. Check the pipe carefully. The one running off to the right where the flame comes out. Mine would not light and I took a "peak" inside it and determined it was not blocked and order a new module. $90 later the module did not fix it. I ended up removing the pipes and found a spider web in there right in the bend. It was barely visible. I flushed water through that tube, reinstalled and it fired right up.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
i found a dirt dobber nest in the throat of the burner which restricted the flow somewhat and caused the propane to shut off a second or two after it started. After that, i put a screen over the intakes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcharrette View Post
i'll chime in on the water heater as i got a lot of help here with mine last year. Check the pipe carefully. The one running off to the right where the flame comes out. Mine would not light and i took a "peak" inside it and determined it was not blocked and order a new module. $90 later the module did not fix it. I ended up removing the pipes and found a spider web in there right in the bend. It was barely visible. I flushed water through that tube, reinstalled and it fired right up.
this!
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