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Old 04-15-2018, 10:57 PM   #1
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Perplexing Aqua Hot Issue

Well here I am again. I have been prepping the mh for a two week trip starting tomorrow. Everything was all good until I fired up the aqua hot for a test. It performed as usual although I hadn't ran any water through the domestic loop yet so it was still full of rv anti-freeze.

I soon noticed what looked to be white wispy smoke coming from under the mh. I looked under and I could see smoke coming from the around the exhaust elbow of where it leaves the bottom of the combustion chamber to exit out the side of the mh.

Fearing I would have a fire I shut off the aqua hot and then it soon stopped smoking. I took off the cover of the aqua hot but nothing looked out of the ordinary. I slight film of diesel below the burner area but I noticed that last year when I did the annual service but I found nothing leaking diesel fuel.

I turned the aqua hot back on and as soon as the exhaust pipe heated up that wispy smoke came for the elbow area again. It is kind of a burning smell. It's not exhaust and it's not under pressure. I had a fire extinguisher handy and let the aqua hot cycle a few times and the smoke would come back as soon as the exhaust pipe got hot.

Any ideas?

Irishguy
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:06 AM   #2
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Could it be steam? Could water be leaking down on the exhaust pipe? Any drain valves left open?
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:54 AM   #3
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Well, if any coolant got on the pipe for whatever reason it will steam like crazy till it burns off.
I can't say for sure not seeing yours but I know from experience mine has done that. If it persists, you may have a coolant leak somewhere that is getting on the burner area somehow.

What you want is for it to steam off and stop. If it keeps steaming and steaming, I vote leak.
On mine it was the little plastic drain they installed under the cover, next to the burner, forward bottom. It cracked and over time the steam got worse and worse till I found it.
Not a hard repair, sort of.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Aquahot leak.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	238.5 KB
ID:	199229

If the white smoke is coming out the exhaust pipe (the way I read your post it is not) that is likely moisture in the diesel system, lines, filter or whatever.

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Old 04-16-2018, 07:18 AM   #4
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Smell? What does it smell like? You said burning, but like fuel, slightly sweet (coolant)?
Too much fuel will make a white cloud , but from inside the pipe. I had a fitting split on the back, dripping coolant onside the housing and coming out around the exhaust, slight steam with that, but the levels dropped fast,
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:24 AM   #5
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My vote is a coolant leak, too.

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Old 04-16-2018, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windecker View Post
Well, if any coolant got on the pipe for whatever reason it will steam like crazy till it burns off.
I can't say for sure not seeing yours but I know from experience mine has done that. If it persists, you may have a coolant leak somewhere that is getting on the burner area somehow.

What you want is for it to steam off and stop. If it keeps steaming and steaming, I vote leak.
On mine it was the little plastic drain they installed under the cover, next to the burner, forward bottom. It cracked and over time the steam got worse and worse till I found it.
Not a hard repair, sort of.
Attachment 199229

If the white smoke is coming out the exhaust pipe (the way I read your post it is not) that is likely moisture in the diesel system, lines, filter or whatever.

Windecker
Is your finger pointing at the AH drain?... and if so is that factory or a replacement deal?

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:31 PM   #7
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Hello to all the replies so far.

It seems more like smoke than steam. It's a whitish gray color. There is no sound of anything bubbling or boiling off.

I checked the drain valve but all looks good. There is no evidence of any leaking aqua hot anti-freeze or rv anti-freeze, that I could see anyway. The expansion tank showed full when hot.

What ever it is it is on the outside of the exhaust pipe right at the 90 degree elbow below the aqua-hot combustion chamber.

There is a slight residue of diesel on the inside bottom pan of the aqua-hot but I can't see any source for that. That residue was there when I did the annual on it last summer.

The smoke (maybe steam) smells like a burning hydrocarbon not an automotive anti-freeze smell. I don't know what pink rv anti-freeze would smell like if it touched a hot exhaust pipe though.

I decided to take it to an aquahot tech this morning. The closest one is 2.5 hour drive to another City. So now I'm waiting.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:35 PM   #8
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Factory unfortunately. You can google around on this site and see others have had the same issue. Mine was cracked at the base, very very difficult to even see the leak because of where it is and the insulation all around it.

Was cracked flush with the heat exchanger and zero chance of getting it out without an extraction tool. Not sure who thought a plastic drain was a good idea on an heat exchanger
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Quote:
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Is your finger pointing at the AH drain?... and if so is that factory or a replacement deal?

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:39 PM   #9
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Update. The rv tech has confirmed that it is coolant that is leaking from somewhere. It is steam not smoke.

The residue on the pan below the burner that I noticed last year is coolant not diesel like I thought. The tech says it looks to have been have been leaking for awhile but it never steamed on the exhaust before though so it must be worse now.

The expansion tank is at normal levels when hot and cold. I have never needed to add a drop to it.

The tech tested the domestic hot water loop and says it is fine.

So any ideas where the leak could be?

Could it be the engine preheat loop? If so can that just be bypassed?

The tech is suggesting that the unit be taken out and sent to aquahot for a complete refurbishing. The final cost would be about $15,000! Ouch!

I'm not happy to say the least.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by irishguy View Post
Update. The rv tech has confirmed that it is glycol that is leaking from somewhere. It is steam not smoke.

The residue on the pan below the burner that I noticed last year is glycol not diesel like I thought. The tech says it looks to have been have been leaking for awhile but it never steamed on the exhaust before though so it must be worse now.

The expansion tank is at normal levels when hot and cold. I have never needed to add a drop to it.

The tech tested the domestic hot water loop and says it is fine.

So any ideas where the leak could be?

Could it be the engine preheat loop? If so can that just be bypassed?

The tech is suggesting that the unit be taken out and sent to aquahot for a complete refurbishing. The final cost would be about $15,000! Ouch!

I'm not happy to say the least.
There are a couple of extension fittings on the back side. Thet are brass. They are thin and crack easily. It took me almost an entire day to locate it. About 15 minutes to fix it.
I would look at those
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:48 PM   #11
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I would also check the cap and over flow tube closely. Both are known to leak.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Captjake1 View Post
There are a couple of extension fittings on the back side. Thet are brass. They are thin and crack easily. It took me almost an entire day to locate it. About 15 minutes to fix it.
I would look at those

If those have been leaking for a long time would I not notice a drop in my coolant level in the expansion tank? It has never been down a drop.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:56 PM   #13
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I would also check the cap and over flow tube closely. Both are known to leak.
The tech said they are fine. I wish it could have been those.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:01 PM   #14
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Perplexing Aqua Hot Issue

Cap and surge tank hose are most likely .. if it’s leaking at one of the lower welded points on the tank you need a new tank. Aquahot WILL rebuild yours for 8000 plus 400 shipping both ways not including labor to remove and replace .. I was quoted 10-15 hours bet the shop “forgot “ to mention that
Also
there is a service shop in California ( Howard’s ) that will remove replace and put in a custom built tank for about 8000 Also John Carrillo in Colorado does a rebuild ( heatmyrv)
Hopefully you can see the leak on the outer fittings .. if not the tank has rusted . Not a cheap fix . Look at Aqua hot site for info on the rebuild most shops won’t touch them or will just sell you a new one... 14 grand
Not a pleasant experience to be sure .... I can attest
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