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Old 05-17-2023, 05:43 PM   #1
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Water Heater Help

Hey there! We recently got a 92 Dutchmen TL but we canít figure out how to get the water heater going and are tired of taking cold showers. The water heater is an Atwood model G6A-6E and Iíve attached images of the part accessible from the outside as well as what I believe the inside switch is. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 05-18-2023, 03:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jmitch View Post
Hey there! We recently got a 92 Dutchmen TL but we can’t figure out how to get the water heater going and are tired of taking cold showers. The water heater is an Atwood model G6A-6E and I’ve attached images of the part accessible from the outside as well as what I believe the inside switch is. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Hi, welcome to this place... Does the heater TRY to light? It should spark fire multiple times until it lights and the gas comes on, if it doesn't light or stay lit, time to troubleshoot. But first, we need to know if it is trying to light.

By the way, I've been to Port Angeles a couple of times, very interesting to have a rain forest that far North. We took the ferry to Vancouver and Victoria.
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Old 05-19-2023, 01:05 PM   #3
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Yes, please report if water heater is trying to light or not as Frank describes.

Picture one looks like there is no drain plug in the water heater, which would mean no water in the tank. Do not start tank heater if the tank is empty. I see the plug at the bottom left of photo. Things look kind of crusty, may want to clean up threads before trying to reuse. Replacement plugs are available online or at your RV store or maybe even RV section in a department store like Walmart. My Atwood plug is the 1/2" NPT nylon plug, I don't know if an older model would be the same or if you would need an anode-style plug instead.

Hard to say if that switch is the water heater, too bad there is no label. Can you confirm that it is not the water pump on/off switch?

If the tank is indeed unplugged and empty, you'll want to flush it first before plugging and filling. You'll need to access the the heater from inside the RV to confirm if winterizing bypass valves are in the correct configuration for use. When in the correct configuration, water will begin filling the tank once you open a hot water tap and turn on your water pump or provide pressurized water from city hookup. I like leave drain plug out upon first filling and water simply gushes out of that opening, hopefully flushing out anything in the bottom of the tank. Then I'll plug, fill, shut off water, then unplug and drain again. Then plug and fill and it is ready for heating. In theory the nylon plugs shouldn't need any plumber tape to seal, but I have found it needs tape. The plug doesn't need to be torqued down hard, I do finger tight plug another 1/4 turn or so with a wrench. Additional tiny turns until no dripping once water is heated.
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Old 05-19-2023, 06:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
Hi, welcome to this place... Does the heater TRY to light? It should spark fire multiple times until it lights and the gas comes on, if it doesn't light or stay lit, time to troubleshoot. But first, we need to know if it is trying to light.

By the way, I've been to Port Angeles a couple of times, very interesting to have a rain forest that far North. We took the ferry to Vancouver and Victoria.
As far as I can tell it’s not lighting but it’s possible I’m missing a step. When I flip that switch the red light does initially turn off and then back on again.

Port Angeles is definitely nice and a great entry point to Canada. Also thank you so much for helping and being so welcoming!
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Old 05-19-2023, 06:17 PM   #5
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Yes, please report if water heater is trying to light or not as Frank describes.

Picture one looks like there is no drain plug in the water heater, which would mean no water in the tank. Do not start tank heater if the tank is empty. I see the plug at the bottom left of photo. Things look kind of crusty, may want to clean up threads before trying to reuse. Replacement plugs are available online or at your RV store or maybe even RV section in a department store like Walmart. My Atwood plug is the 1/2" NPT nylon plug, I don't know if an older model would be the same or if you would need an anode-style plug instead.

Hard to say if that switch is the water heater, too bad there is no label. Can you confirm that it is not the water pump on/off switch?

If the tank is indeed unplugged and empty, you'll want to flush it first before plugging and filling. You'll need to access the the heater from inside the RV to confirm if winterizing bypass valves are in the correct configuration for use. When in the correct configuration, water will begin filling the tank once you open a hot water tap and turn on your water pump or provide pressurized water from city hookup. I like leave drain plug out upon first filling and water simply gushes out of that opening, hopefully flushing out anything in the bottom of the tank. Then I'll plug, fill, shut off water, then unplug and drain again. Then plug and fill and it is ready for heating. In theory the nylon plugs shouldn't need any plumber tape to seal, but I have found it needs tape. The plug doesn't need to be torqued down hard, I do finger tight plug another 1/4 turn or so with a wrench. Additional tiny turns until no dripping once water is heated.
Hey, thanks! So the switch does say Atwood on it which makes me believe it is connected to the water heater, though it’s hard to see that in the picture.

I can confirm that it’s not the water pump though because there’s a system above the stove for that. So I basically need to flush and fill the tank and then the heater in turn hears that? I’m sorry as I’m sure this is a very basic question but I’m very green when it comes to these things haha.

Thank you so much for taking time to help me though, it’s very much appreciated
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Old 05-19-2023, 08:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jmitch View Post
Hey, thanks! So the switch does say Atwood on it which makes me believe it is connected to the water heater, though it’s hard to see that in the picture.

I can confirm that it’s not the water pump though because there’s a system above the stove for that. So I basically need to flush and fill the tank and then the heater in turn hears that? I’m sorry as I’m sure this is a very basic question but I’m very green when it comes to these things haha.

Thank you so much for taking time to help me though, it’s very much appreciated
No problem, ask away! The water heater controls don't know whether the tank is full or not, so I was just pointing out good practice of not turning the heater on if there is no water in it. It is more of an issue for electric elements to not run when dry or they will fry, but I can't image it is good to do on propane either.

Unfortunately I don't know how to troubleshoot this, I just know what it is supposed to do when it works! And it should work like Frank described. My protocol would be:
  • Do you have propane on and have sufficient supply in your tank? I always make sure the stove burners all light with strong flame to confirm that gas lines have been purged of air and are full of gas. Then I feel confident that gas should be present at the water heater when the burner calls for it.
  • Do you hear it make a rapid "click-click-click" shortly after you flip the switch on? You can hear the ignitor trying to light the burner and that is the click click click sound. Mine will typically light after the first few clicks if the gas lines are fully purged. But let the heater cycle through a couple attempts. Mine will stop trying after a few cycles of trying to light and it shuts the gas off and lights the fault LED inside the camper by the heater on/off switch. I have to cycle the switch on/off before trying again.
  • Does it actually light but fail to stay lit? That would suggest an issue with the thermocouple/flame detection.

That's all I got.
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Old 05-21-2023, 01:19 PM   #7
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As far as I can tell itís not lighting but itís possible Iím missing a step. When I flip that switch the red light does initially turn off and then back on again.

Port Angeles is definitely nice and a great entry point to Canada. Also thank you so much for helping and being so welcoming!
Water supply

Yes, you are missing a step. The water heater has no water in it as pointed out above.

Many water heater systems have water bypass valves on the back of the water tank. There are 1, 2, and 3 valve systems. Mine has a 1 valve system. Set the valve so the tank fills when pump is "ON" or when connected to "city" water.

A 2 valve system requires the input valve at the bottom be turned to flow into the heater and the output valve at the top be turned to flow out of heater.

You will quickly see where you need to replace the nylon plug on the outside when you get the water valves set properly.

Gas Burner

The propane gas burner has a preprogrammed set of behaviors.

First, it opens gas valve and starts sparking to light the gas. You can hear a "snap" sound when it sparks. You can hear a click when the gas valve opens.

Second, the thermocouple waits for heat. If it does not get hot, the gas valve closes and the igniter shuts "off".

The system will try to light three times, then stop trying. Reset it by turning switch "off" and back "on" again.
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Old 05-21-2023, 03:43 PM   #8
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Water supply

Yes, you are missing a step. The water heater has no water in it as pointed out above.

Many water heater systems have water bypass valves on the back of the water tank. There are 1, 2, and 3 valve systems. Mine has a 1 valve system. Set the valve so the tank fills when pump is "ON" or when connected to "city" water.

A 2 valve system requires the input valve at the bottom be turned to flow into the heater and the output valve at the top be turned to flow out of heater.

You will quickly see where you need to replace the nylon plug on the outside when you get the water valves set properly.

Gas Burner

The propane gas burner has a preprogrammed set of behaviors.

First, it opens gas valve and starts sparking to light the gas. You can hear a "snap" sound when it sparks. You can hear a click when the gas valve opens.

Second, the thermocouple waits for heat. If it does not get hot, the gas valve closes and the igniter shuts "off".

The system will try to light three times, then stop trying. Reset it by turning switch "off" and back "on" again.
Thank you! Any idea where the actual water tank might be? Is it something that’s typically accessible from underneath the outside or is it more typically accessed from within?

There IS a switch to turn the water pump on. It says that hold tank one is full, hold tank two is half full, and that fresh water is empty
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Old 05-21-2023, 04:55 PM   #9
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Thank you! Any idea where the actual water tank might be? Is it something that’s typically accessible from underneath the outside or is it more typically accessed from within?

There IS a switch to turn the water pump on. It says that hold tank one is full, hold tank two is half full, and that fresh water is empty
The picture you posted is of the water heater tank. The burner is mounted on the tank. The hole the burner is directed into is the water tank.

The status panel you referred to is the Fresh Tank, Gray Tank, and Black Tank. The Fresh tank holds clean potable water. The 12 volt water pump, pumps water out of the Fresh tank and into the water heater.

The "City" water connection also supplies water to the hot water tank.
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Old 05-22-2023, 02:01 AM   #10
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The picture you posted is of the water heater tank. The burner is mounted on the tank. The hole the burner is directed into is the water tank.

The status panel you referred to is the Fresh Tank, Gray Tank, and Black Tank. The Fresh tank holds clean potable water. The 12 volt water pump, pumps water out of the Fresh tank and into the water heater.

The "City" water connection also supplies water to the hot water tank.
Does this look like the valves youíre talking about?
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Old 05-22-2023, 12:32 PM   #11
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Yes, the TT has a three valve bypass system. Turn the white handle and the gray handle 90 degrees to align with the pipes. Turn the black handle 90 degree to across the pipe. Water will flow into the tank.
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