Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Class A Motorhome Discussions
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-14-2015, 04:41 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Aubrey, TX
Posts: 37
Water heater help

My wife and I are brand new RVers. Just bought a pre-owned 2002 Southwind 37U with plans to try out full timing for a few months. Just got it setup at a park this week and ran into trouble with the water heater. It is an Atwood GC10a-E3. Initially we were just running electric. That worked for 2 days. I took a shower Thursday night and had hot water. When my wife got up the next morning (Friday the 13th no less,) she had NO hot water. That night we still had no hot water so I turned on the LP to try that. The water heater lights, runs for anywhere from 5 seconds to a couple of minutes and shuts off. Sometimes it restarts on its own, but even if I cycle the switch, it just repeats the cycle of running for a short period then shutting off. Any ideas would be appreciated. I've seen some references to a reset switch between the teminals of the ECO but I don't see anything in that location on mine. (pic attached for reference)
__________________

__________________
mikaho is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 11-14-2015, 04:53 PM   #2
Registered User
 
mel s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 8,777
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikaho View Post
My wife and I are brand new RVers. Just bought a pre-owned 2002 Southwind 37U with plans to try out full timing for a few months. Just got it setup at a park this week and ran into trouble with the water heater. It is an Atwood GC10a-E3. Initially we were just running electric. That worked for 2 days. I took a shower Thursday night and had hot water. When my wife got up the next morning (Friday the 13th no less,) she had NO hot water. That night we still had no hot water so I turned on the LP to try that. . The water heater lights, runs for anywhere from 5 seconds to a couple of minutes and shuts off Sometimes it restarts on its own, but even if I cycle the switch, it just repeats the cycle of running for a short period then shutting off. Any ideas would be appreciated. I've seen some references to a reset switch between the teminals of the ECO but I don't see anything in that location on mine. (pic attached for reference)
mikaho
That is often caused by either a bad "flame sensor" or bad "electronic control board".
Google "rv water heater troubleshooting".
Mel
'96 Safari
__________________

__________________
mel s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 05:24 PM   #3
Senior Member
Commercial Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 603
Here is the Service Manual, your model starts on page 15.
http://manuals.adventurerv.net/Atwoo...er-Service.pdf

Only Suburban water heater have a reset on the ECO.

Pay attention to the alignment of the ignition/sensor Rod, the cleanliness of the burner area, and the thermostat operation when it cuts off. Your electric problem may be totally separate. It may just be a bad element or tripped circuit breaker.


Sent from my iPad using iRV2 - RV Forum
TravellingRVDoctor, LLC
__________________
shiggs68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 06:16 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,065
2002 Atwood GC10A-3E....combo gas/electric (GC) 10 gallon with screw in element (10A) 3E (version 3 with electronic ignition)

The element is on backside of water heater tank (inside rv) under a cover with a OEM ON/OFF switch plus electric element set of t-stats (normal and ECO)
Element is a direct wired 120V AC from circuit breaker.
Pg.s 13 & 14 of above referenced service manual has troubleshooting of the 2 types of elements used by Atwood.
Check if circuit breaker for water heater has tripped.......element could be shorted or burnt out.

As for the propane........firing off but not staying lite.
Flame sensor....spark electrode needs to be engulfed in flame for power to stay on gas valve. Clean it, make sure it has good ground and it does not have cracked ceramic (watch for tracking at night when dark)
Also pull connector on board...clean contact surface with pencil eraser and check that 'pins' make good contact when connector is pushed back on.

The propane also has it's own set of t-stats on front (outside compartment)

2003 and prior year models....separate t-stats for gas/electric (front and back)
2004 and newer models....one set for gas/electric on front
__________________
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 06:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 170
One simple thing that can cause the problem you're experiencing is that the water heater bypass valve has been inadvertently turned to the bypass position. On my coach, the bypass is in the bedroom closet and sure enough someone accidentally turned it to bypass on an outing. Oh it was fun troubleshooting that!
__________________
navigator336 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 10:14 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Aubrey, TX
Posts: 37
Thanks for the thoughts.

Electrical:
I should have noted in the original that I already checked the breaker.

I saw some pictures online of coaches where the back of the water heater was accessible via a panel from the interior of the coach but in this Southwind, it is mounted behind the side door right in front of the rear wheel well and sits under the coach floor with the kitchen counters and sink on top of it. To top it off, I crawled underneath to see if I could get to it but it is encased in a solid metal box and I do not see any panels or such for access. it looks like you have to pull the unit out to get to anything other than the front panel. I have no idea how heavy the tank is but I imagine it shouldn't be too heavy with the water drained.

On the Gas side:
The previous owner indicated the control panel had been rebuilt. I'll have to look through the paperwork to see if that was indeed the case.

I did open the access panel and watch the process. it sure looks like the spark electrode is engulfed in the flame. The tips are glowing red while the flame is on. In fact while I was watching it, it stayed on for nearly 10 minutes but then started the start stop thing again. I tried to attach a pic earlier but it did not show up in the post. I took some video of the process and will try to post that.
Attached Files
__________________
mikaho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 10:58 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,065
I really hate when RV mfg. install appliances so that they have to be removed in order to work on them

Unfortunately if there is no access from inside (no false floor/panel in kitchen cabinet??) then YES the whole water heater has to be pulled to gain access to electric element and associated set of t-stats. PITA

Propane side........
Is the spark good strong CLICK?
When main flame lights off an electrical charge is generated thru 'flame ionization'. This milivolt signal goes back to control board proving main flame which holds DC voltage on gas valve solenoids. If no signal or signal gets dropped the DC Voltage on gas valve drops out.

Dirty (carboned/sooted) electrode, poor ground connections, electrode not in main flame OR bad connections on control board will cause 'intermittent' firing issues

Other things that can affect main flame is the burner tube ......needs to be aligned so that gas flows down center of tube and flame spreader on end of tube should be parallel to tube.
Check that main orifice is clear ....remove from gas valve housing, soak i alcohol and then blow air thru it.

Good luck!
__________________
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 11:16 PM   #8
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 608
Per the video you have no flame sense it continues to spark after it lites and then goes out and retries. Common issues are ground and burner alignment. Green wire from board goes to ground the tank above the T and P valve check for bad connection there or run a jumper wire from it to the screw holding the burner in place. Next put a small piece of tape on the air adjustment holes just cover one or 2 holes and see if it works better it also looks like your gas valve is not aligned correctly with the burner tube.
__________________
1mainiac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2015, 11:49 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,065
Had a problem with getting video to run but the little bit I did see shows some 'blow back' going on (main flame coming back out of combustion chamber when lighting off). That indicates some obstruction in 'U' tube )spider webs etc.)
Should clean whole burner assembly. Run a wire thru combustion chamber and out exhaust.tie rag to it and pull back thru (chimney sweep).

Also just noticed wiring going to/from your set of t-stats.........they are backwards.
BROWN wire from ON/OFF Switch with the 'thermal fuse' on it (item with clear tube) should go to 'Normal T-stat' terminal (one on right). Then BROWN wire from other terminal on 'normal t-stat' goes back to control board.
RED wire from control board should go to terminal on ECO and then RED wires from ECO to gas valve.

But Normal T-stat and ECO have different size terminals so they must have been installed in wrong positions on tank.
Doesn't matter which is where as far as temp sensing and functionality BUT the safety device ----thermal fuse-----will NOT do what it is designed for. Tripping DC power/shutting down water heater in the event of a blow back.
Which is good cause you have a little bit of that going on and IF thermal fuse had tripped it would need replaced (one time device----blows at 190*F)'

Maybe why the t-stats were installed reversed....cause thermal fuse kept blowing ????
__________________
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2015, 11:41 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Aubrey, TX
Posts: 37
thanks all.

We decided to take it to a service facility. We were already contemplating changing out to a tankless system anyway and I think we are just going to go ahead with that (my wife is very in favor of unlimited hot water.) I'll browse the forums for thoughts on that conversion and which systems are desirable. But if anyone has thoughts on that, I would welcome additional comments or a PM.
__________________
mikaho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2015, 12:07 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,065
Research them long and hard.

Water flow seems to be the biggest issue........not high enough and heating is not activated so look at the minimum flow ratings.

Good luck!
__________________

__________________
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
heat, heater, water, water heater



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Problem with water heater in 2003 Friendship G7 smittythebea Gulf Stream Owner's Forum 3 06-21-2015 02:44 PM
newbie water heater ? kitakat11 Class A Motorhome Discussions 3 05-27-2015 10:58 PM
Atwood Water Heater Problems Dfreiberger RV Systems & Appliances 11 10-26-2014 08:17 AM
Suburban water heater; electric light stays on driedl Newmar Owner's Forum 10 10-19-2014 08:34 PM
Atwood Water Heater Problems denochs RV Systems & Appliances 5 04-02-2014 06:50 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.