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Old 10-30-2009, 03:10 PM   #1
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Smile Alpine Aqua Hot System Problems

Hi,

We recently purchased a new 2008 40' Alpine MDTS and are just now attempting to heat with our Aqua Hot 450 unit. The deisel burner runs, but we have no heat and no air movement from the registers after 30-45 minutes. I took it into a local dealer who has a tech that is authorised to service Aqua Hot and he states that the entire system is installed incorrectly with the wrong size of tubing etc and needs to be completely torn out and reinstalled with a guestimate of at least 80 hours at $125.00 per hour. Has anyone else experienced anything like this or do I possibly have a bad tech? We are at least 10-12 hours from an authorized dealer and further from a service center. We are hoping some of the Alpine memebers might have some ideas. This is a new 08 coach that we bought from Bank of America after a dealer they had the flooring on went bankrupt so we have little or no paperwork with the coach. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Also, are the bays heated from the Aqua Hot and is there a thermostat hidden somewhere for the bays? Thanks in advance for any input. We have just solved our Vansco problems after three months we think, so we are gaining on it hopefully. Marvin C.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:18 PM   #2
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Geez... I hope you come out ok with this... Get a few opinions, contact the manufacture of both the MH and Aqua Hot systems.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:33 PM   #3
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The manufacturer is gone and Aqua Hot will help on their unit, not the install.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:37 PM   #4
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My first reaction is that it sounds like you need to find someone with more knowledge about the system. It doesn't sound like the tech did any basic troubleshooting and is trying to set you up for a big bill. You didn't mention if the basic items were checked by the tech....for instance, did he press the low voltage reset? is the float switch causing the low tank cut off to disable the unit? Is the low temp cut off light off?

Aquahot has a fantastic website from which you can download every manual for your system including the shop manual which will take you through all of the operation and troubleshooting steps. Since the rig didn't come with manuals, try downloading the installation, operation and shop manuals and see if you can go through the operation sequence and trouble shooting yourself first before spending any bucks on the unit. Hopefully they'll be something simple to fix it. At least by reviewing the installation manual you can find out if the guy telling you it is installed wrong is pulling your leg.

Aquahot manual download page
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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Yep!! I wouldn't trust the first person before getting others to look at it. Something smells fishy...

80 hrs @ $125.00/hr = $10,000 and he's saying that's just starters

If this turns out to be true... I wonder what an alternate heating system would cost.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:18 PM   #6
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Marvin,

Do a search on hydro hot or aqua hot problems, I have numerous posts. PM me and I will send you my phone number so that we can talk.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:36 PM   #7
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My question is do you have the furnace turned on and if so are the register fans running. The diesel burner control is completely separate from the furnace controls so the furnace has to be turned on and then FURNACE has to be selected using the MODE button, fan speed set and then the temperature set in the front and back to a point high enough to have the fans come on. There is one register in the fresh water bay to keep that tank warm.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:31 PM   #8
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Check to see if the zones are crossed. WRV did this on numerous coaches. Put both zones on furnace and set the thermostat to about 80. If you get heat in about 2 minutes the zones are wired back wards at the Aqua Hot control board, a very easy fix. Mine was that way and it took about 10 minutes to fix. The system does and should work quite well. I have never heard of WRV using too small of tubing.

I am of the opinion some disgruntled workers did this and it seemed to be random and hard to diagnosis.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:11 PM   #9
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I advise avoiding the original diagnostician like the clap.
So called professionals that are that effusively didactic are frequently so full of themselves they leave little room for competence.
I'm pretty sure the real problems are both simple and close to 5 figures cheaper to fix. The advise to download the AHot docs is the best place to start.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:53 PM   #10
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Marvin, I am sure you made a great deal on your coach and will get many years of great service from it. Do as Dale suggested and take the time to search this forum and you will find answers to most any problem you have with the coach. You will be amazed at the talent and help available here. Do your self a favor and install the steering bracket update while your rig is still a Virgin. Better yet go to DRR in January and get the bracket fixed there. Louie is trying organize a deal on the install. You surely could get any questions you have answered there and probably more help than you want.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:33 PM   #11
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Hi all, I really appreciate all who have responded. Since my post I have taken the coach from the tech who is in my opinion dreaming. I could not believe that with all the Alpines out there with Aqua Hots that they built ours completely different. We are going to So. California in November and have an appointment with McBrides Service in Chino CA who is a Aqua Hot Service Center. I explained what I was told to them and his comment was I would have to see it, but I seriously doubt that is the problem. He stated he has seen some miswired do what ours is doing. We have gone through all the settings for furnace, fans, fan speeds etc and the current tech stated that the fan in the thermostat has nothing to do with the Aqua Hot - only the air conditioners. I feel much better just corresponding with all who replied on the forum. We spent 4 months chasing the Vansco problems to finally find a loose wire from the parking brake circuit that would take the Vansco units down and not let us reboot them. I had the steering bracket replaced in Oregon after attending our first rally with NWAOCA in July at Port Twonsend. The group was great and filled in a lot of blanks we had early on. This form is a real asset and we feel fortunate to have access to so many people knowledgeable in Alpines. Thank you all for replying and I believe we are on the road to solving this problem.
Thanks,
Marvin C in Idaho
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:51 AM   #12
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I agree with all the above posts, first read all the manuals, even if you don't feel you are qualified to even touch the thing, you will at least learn the language of what the techs are talking about. I feel, like Dale & Engineer Mike, you are not doing something correct when trying to get the system to work. If you cannot reach Dale or EM. Send me a phone number to call you and I will walk you through what the sequence is to get the system to start up.

Some basic troubleshooting ideas are:

Is the fuel tank above 1/2 full - AQH & HH both have fuel shutoffs at 3/8's tank (remaining) full.

Is the combustion chamber purge fan starting, and after about 15-30 seconds is the burner lighting and putting out warm/hot exhaust from the (assumed) back of the coach exhaust pipe? This is not to be confused with the main engine exhaust pipe.

Is the thermostat "mode" set for "gas" heat in both zones?

Is the temperature setting high enough so that the registers would come on, if the system is working correctly? Set that up to 90 and see what happens.

Alpine did some things poorly, but I have never heard of incorrect piping, or improper installation, well having the zones wired backwards is just a mistake, but the zones in question worked just incorrectly.

I have personally talked to AH company technicians, and have been assured WRV and there installation design team, worked very closely together to make sure these systems were installed properly, just the way AH wanted them installed. So I don't believe for a minute, that the incorrect sized pipe was used. It's something simple that would take only a few minutes to diagnose.

Being proactive here is only going to save you money, if you need to have the system fixed. I can vouch for Cummins Coach Care, in Coburg, OR and based on your signature and the fact you might be in ID, it's closer than California. Call them and make an appointment, to diagnose and fix the unit. My gut feeling it's a wiring issue, because WRV had no or very poor quality control on wiring issues, so they just wired up something together wrong and no one caught it.

Regardless – my suggestion is to take the Coach to some place other alpine owners have used to have their HH worked on. Not just someplace the AQ/HH folks said to take it. You will get plenty of recommendations from the owners of coaches on this forum.

And if you can wait, there are going to be a very knowledgeable group of owners at the Desert Rat Rally IX in Quartzite, AZ in January and one of them would know what is wrong. They may not have any parts to fix it. In my case, I had a bad system board, and a stir pump which was not starting, but even then I was getting heat out of the system.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:59 AM   #13
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Marvin, The problem with the thermostat being wired back wards thermostat 1 to zone 2 and thermostat 2 being wired to zone 1. The circulation pump to zone 2 comes on when the fans in zone 1 come on. The result is no hot water (antifreeze) is being circulated to zone 1 so you get cold air from the fans in the zones radiators. Same affect in zone 2. You can run both zones and get heat but it is hard to control the temp because the sensors are in the opposite end of the coach where you may want heat or not.

Check out the Yahoo group on Hydronic Heating Roger Berke the moderator is very knowledgeable HydronicRVHeating : Hydronic-RV-Heating .
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:46 PM   #14
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RE: Alpine Aqua-Hot System Problems

Marvin

In the basement close to your Aqua-Hot you will find an electronic control board. What lights are illuminated? Pay special attention to the Low Temp Cutoff Status. This light will need to be illuminated, or no heat for the interior of the coach.

- Roger Berke -
Moderator - Yahoo Hydronic RV Heating Group
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In Sacramento, CA until around Christmas.
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