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Old 10-13-2013, 04:49 PM   #1
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Aqua Hot Heat Exchanger Repairs

I located the problem with my heat exchangers blowing a 20 amp fuse. The fan motor in the exchanger under the shower was cooked and locked up. I will post some pics and observations in hopes it might help others who may have issues and need to do repairs on these things.

My Allure has four exchangers in the living area. One at the dash, one at the galley, one under the shower and one under the bed. The one behind the dash would be the worst to access so thank goodness that one seems to be fine. The exchanger under the bed is easy to access by simply raising the bed. Those under the shower and in the galley are a bit harder to get to but not really bad. They are secured by four short screws that can be removed with a shorty phillips screwdriver. Then you can slide the exchanger out since the hoses are long enough. You may have to reach inside the opening to release the 12V connector. My exchangers are made by Heater Craft and, according to them, are no longer made.

Remove the screws around the top and bottom at the rear and you can then see the fan assembly:


The squirrel cage is plastic and the motor is 24 volts and was designed to be a three speed fan. According to the folks at Heater Craft, due to complaints about fan noise, CC ordered the exchangers with only a +/- 12V connection to make it run slower. In fact, the other wires that would allow for multiple speeds are merely cut off at the motor. Heater Craft does have the 24V motors so I did order one but may not use it after all.

The seized up motor got so hot it melted the silicone rubber pads used to cushion the motor in the fan housing:


Assembled fan housing:



The exchangers are noisy (except the one at the dash which is pretty quiet). The motors seem to change speed often and you can hear them surge. I think the two in the rear of the coach will keep me awake at night. So, I have ordered one of the Aqua Hot Cozy III exchangers which I am told are very quiet. I also ordered two of the axial fans used in the AH exchangers and plan to try and retrofit one of my Heater Craft exchangers with those. I think it will work. If so, I will report back when that is done. Those fans are only about $21 each and Heater Craft wants $74 for one of their noisy 24V motors.
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:33 AM   #2
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Excellent insight into an aspect of the coach that's always been murky for me! I can't help but wonder if the existing fans could have a switch retro installed to return the 3-speed control at the fan location...maybe with an external switch?
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSJC View Post
Excellent insight into an aspect of the coach that's always been murky for me! I can't help but wonder if the existing fans could have a switch retro installed to return the 3-speed control at the fan location...maybe with an external switch?
Mine have no speed control and run at one speed. As much noise as they make running slowly, I would think they would get nearly unbearable at a higher speed.

My super quiet axial fans from Aqua Hot are on the way. When I get them installed and try them out, I will report the results.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:27 PM   #5
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Update: new fans installed.

The fans and the Aqua Hot Cozy III exchanger I ordered from Roger Berke arrived. It was fairly easy to devise a way to install the two small axial fans in the Heater Craft exchanger.


I basically attached the fan assembly to a piece of poplar then mounted it to the top cover of the exchanger. Once the cover is installed, the fans are suspended just behind the small radiator and about 1/2" off the bottom of the exchanger.

The Heater Craft exchanger box had some small holes in one end as an input for the noisy squirrel cage fan. I drilled two additional 2" holes in the back of the box to provide more air to the new fans. Once it was all buttoned up, exchangers were put back in their places. It was not necessary to disconnect the coolant hoses during this process.



The difference in the noise level with these new axial fans is remarkable. They are so much more quiet than the Heater Craft fans so I achieved the desired result.

For anyone who might want to do this upgrade, I think any 12V 3 5/8" square axial fans (in pairs) would work fine. I saw a couple in the Grainger catalog that would likely work just fine.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:48 AM   #6
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Question

Clever attachment to the lid, good idea.

Will larger fans fit? (Do you remember how much space there is between the cover and the bottom?)

I am thinking about a similar fix....

D Vogel
06 CC Allure
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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Clever attachment to the lid, good idea.

Will larger fans fit? (Do you remember how much space there is between the cover and the bottom?)

I am thinking about a similar fix....

D Vogel
06 CC Allure

Considering I put a 3/4" thick piece of wood at the top and still had about 3/8" clearance at the bottom, you could probably squeeze a 4" square fan/s in there. However, the 3 5/8" fans fit well and are fairly common.
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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One more question.....

Thanks for your quick response....just so I understand...

The "case/cover" for the two fans (and the fans themselves) came off one of the Cozy III heat exchangers?

Nice fix....in retrospect, would you recommend the variable speed switch?

Denis
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:16 PM   #9
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Do you recall the CFM and DB values of the new fans? (Think it is CFM, but flow capacity is what I was wondering about.)

I added some 4" fans to the back of our Norcold, that had high CFM and low DB, just wondering if they are enough CFM to circulate enough air.

I'll check in with Roger, to see if he knows (Stupid comment, as he seems to have a slight above average grasp on Aqua/Hydro hot related items!) if the 2004 era exchangers are similar to your era.

Our front exchanger fan will come on sometimes, with a good bit of noise as it starts up. The kitchen and bathroom exchanger fans are working well, but are of non quiet DB design!

Fun future project...

TIA, and best to all,
Smitty
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vogelrv View Post
Thanks for your quick response....just so I understand...

The "case/cover" for the two fans (and the fans themselves) came off one of the Cozy III heat exchangers?

Nice fix....in retrospect, would you recommend the variable speed switch?

Denis
Denis,

Actually, I ordered four fans from Roger. Two were separate and I mounted them together in one of the exchangers. The other pair of fans were actually already mounted in a bracket since they were used and had been removed from another exchanger. So while I had to fashion a bracket of sorts to mount the two separate fans, all of them were easy to mount in the cover.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty77 View Post
Do you recall the CFM and DB values of the new fans? (Think it is CFM, but flow capacity is what I was wondering about.)

I added some 4" fans to the back of our Norcold, that had high CFM and low DB, just wondering if they are enough CFM to circulate enough air.

I'll check in with Roger, to see if he knows (Stupid comment, as he seems to have a slight above average grasp on Aqua/Hydro hot related items!) if the 2004 era exchangers are similar to your era.

Our front exchanger fan will come on sometimes, with a good bit of noise as it starts up. The kitchen and bathroom exchanger fans are working well, but are of non quiet DB design!

Fun future project...

TIA, and best to all,
Smitty
Smitty, Roger sent me the specs on the Cozy III exchanger with the double fan set up. I believe the total CFM was 36. So I guess they were 18 cfm fans. I saw a few on Grainger that were close but I think most of Grainger's (the 3 5/8" square fans) were a bit more than 18 cfm. Not sure of the DB rating for the Cozy fans, but they are certainly much more quiet than the Heater Craft blowers.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:38 PM   #12
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Thats odd.
Usually a squirrel cage fan is the quieter of the two types.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #13
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Thats odd.
Usually a squirrel cage fan is the quieter of the two types.
Perhaps. I believe the reason the Heater Craft fans were so noisy was due to the motor. Even with the squirrel cage removed, the motor was noisy....sort of rumbled a bit. All three of my Heater Craft exchangers were like that. There was a lot of play in the motor shafts.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:45 PM   #14
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Hi smlranger.....you stated earlier that you can hear the motors surge, and I would agree. What do you think is the cause of the surge? Seems to me that they should run smooth unless the power being fed to them is changing.

John
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