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Old 06-22-2007, 09:27 AM   #1
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We have been staying in our new RV for a month on a seasonal site and the hot water heater heats the water just fine on either propane or electric but there have been a few times the heater does not ignite on propane as we heard a slight boom and then it lit. We opened the cover outside and there is like "ash" that was created from this. Does anyone know what is going on??? This has us very concerned. We are now using the HWH on electric but would prefer to use propane as we were just using the HWH on propane 1-2 x a day for about 30 minutes to shower and do dishes and shut it off as we have to pay our electric here and we are running the AC a lot as it has been very hot. We want to try to keep the electric bill down a bit.

TIA.
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:27 AM   #2
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We have been staying in our new RV for a month on a seasonal site and the hot water heater heats the water just fine on either propane or electric but there have been a few times the heater does not ignite on propane as we heard a slight boom and then it lit. We opened the cover outside and there is like "ash" that was created from this. Does anyone know what is going on??? This has us very concerned. We are now using the HWH on electric but would prefer to use propane as we were just using the HWH on propane 1-2 x a day for about 30 minutes to shower and do dishes and shut it off as we have to pay our electric here and we are running the AC a lot as it has been very hot. We want to try to keep the electric bill down a bit.

TIA.
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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Check to see if you have rust in burner tube of HWH and clean out and make sure the spark is good for lighting the gas first time could have carbon build up on ignitor probe for sensing ignition of burner.
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Old 06-22-2007, 08:40 PM   #4
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Sometime you will get a gas solenoid valve sticking and not turn on the flow. Stand by the water heater with the door open. Make sure all of the electrical connections are made first. have some one inside turn on the switch. When the ignitor starts to pop or spark, tap the body of the gas valve with a small hammer or wrench. If the valve is sticking, this will temporarly free it. If this is the problem, you will have to replace the valve.

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Old 06-23-2007, 05:01 AM   #5
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Is it typical that either of these things could/would happen in a brand new unit though?? (I know probably "typical" is not a word to use with an RV when "anything" can happen with them-lol.)

I cleaned out the HWH area yesterday and found besides ash there were metal shavings, kind curly-q, so was wondering if maybe this was clogging up the line from when perhaps they had done some drilling (or maybe they were already there, and we just missed them on inspected, from when the HWH had been installed but they were small enough they could have fit in a line). We are going to try the HWH on propane again today and see what kind of results we get and watch closely and see if it is still doing the same thing at least.

The first time this happened, it about rocked the whole RV. The other couple times was just a a smaller boom and I probably wouldn't have realized anything had I not been outside at the time when it was trying to re-light after it had already been on for awhile. Otherwise, it lit every time right away on propane so it just did it a few times.

Thanks so much for you very helpful advice. It is sincerely appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2007, 05:08 AM   #6
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I thought I changed my profile to show we now have a 2007 Keystone Cougar 5th wheel but it isn't showing up in my signature. Guess I better go check that out. Hmmm....
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:40 AM   #7
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Look for mud daubers and/or spiders in the gas orifice or burner tube.

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Sometimes it takes a little while for the system to accept a profile change, apparently your change is OK now.
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:29 AM   #8
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I had a similiar problem. I would check the on board hot water heater module. It should be on the upper right side of hot water heater compartment
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:28 AM   #9
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We have the screen on the HWH access panel so I don't think we have mud daubers or spiders but nothing is impossible.

When referring to a "module", do you mean the module went bad and needed to be replaced?

We haven't had anymore big "booms" lately and there is very little ash in there after I cleaned it out so perhaps it is okay now but I am not convinced of that yet. We will be keeping a close eye on it.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:51 AM   #10
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When you open the outside door covering the hot water heater you should see a black epoxy looking box. It will have wires coming out of it and a few screws holding it on. I had exact same problem. Worked 100% on propane or electric but would never work when switched over or if gas or electric failed. One other possibility is the heater needs 12volts to ignite the heater if electric goes out. Check that battery is not dead. Make sure if you have a marine battery selector switch that it is turned on. Good Luck
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:08 AM   #11
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her is what I just found on my dads 2007 sunline , the gas valve has a secondary regulator built in to it. The regululator has a small brass plug facing upward right under the blow off valve well it seams that the small plug has a hole drilled in it to let the regulator see out side presure and the hole was plugged with some sort of water sediment. Cure was remove the plug and redrill the hole to face down and RTV over the hole that faces up . This is on a Atwood water heater and it was factory installed. Almost every time the waterheater was cold started it would fail to start with a few backfires and pops. Once it got going it was fine for days, but if shut down it would do the same thing every time. His local dealer said it was fine , just had to purge the air from the system...... Basicly they didnt care to help him. Bottom like is some time those "professionals" dont look hard enough for the problems and dealer set up is non-existand for the most part. If you continue to have problems have the gas pressure check on the inlet side , make sure its 11" of water there and then check the pressure on the test port after the valve and it should be 10" of water with the furnace and a burner on the stove running. I could be off on the exact setting of pressure for your exact unit please check the owners manual it has the exact specs needed !
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:10 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. We will be adding this issue to the top of our list of things to be checked for sure when we have a mobile RV service come to do some other things in the near future.

When we turn on the HWH on propane after it has been off for some time, it lights without a problem. It is when we leave it on and use some hot water and it tries to re-light it takes a couple times before it succeeds. That is when we get the problem. We are still getting a little "ash" (but not as much as before) and it makes the loud "pop" sound when it does this. We have just been turning it on to heat the water and then turn it off as it gives us all the hot water we need for our shower and dishes anyway but the fact remains it is not right for sure.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xc-mark View Post
her is what I just found on my dads 2007 sunline , the gas valve has a secondary regulator built in to it. The regululator has a small brass plug facing upward right under the blow off valve well it seams that the small plug has a hole drilled in it to let the regulator see out side presure and the hole was plugged with some sort of water sediment. Cure was remove the plug and redrill the hole to face down and RTV over the hole that faces up . This is on a Atwood water heater and it was factory installed. Almost every time the waterheater was cold started it would fail to start with a few backfires and pops. Once it got going it was fine for days, but if shut down it would do the same thing every time.
I know this is an old post but I have been searching on and off for days, actually a couple years it has been getting worse and worse, this year I have really been trying to find a solution to my problem.

It was exactly as you described. If is sat for a few days or longer, it would fail to start, pop and back fire. Once it finally got running it would run (cycling on and off) for weeks or months. But if you shut it off for a few days it would have trouble getting going.

I followed all the instructional videos on cleaning of the burner tube and the alignment of the igniter, flame deflector thing etc. No joy.

I finally read your post Last night. Your post is the first I have found anywhere that mentions that the gas valve has a regulator and there is a vent for the regulator diaphragm. I went out in the dark with a headlamp and removed the gas valve and sure enough there was a brass "Plug or Cap" covering the adjustment nut for the regulator diaphragm.

On mine, when the plug is threaded in, the side hole was already drilled at a downward angle so I didn't have to drill another, I un-threaded the plug or cap and there was a hole smaller then the gas nozzle hole. I had to wear opti-visors to see it, It was completely plugged. It took me 10 min to clear it out using rubbing alcohol, a single strand of very fine wire and compressed air. Put it back together and put it back in the heater.

I turned on the gas and lite the stove to bleed most of the air out of the system. With anticipation I turned on the water heater after clicking for about 3 seconds trying to lite (I am sure there was more air in the line to the water heater), it fired and stayed lit. Hallelujah! But I had it running a day or so before so, I am now in a 3 day wait to see if it will light first try after sitting. I am sure it will,..

A plugged diaphragm vent makes sense, explaining all the symptoms.

Thank you very much for posting.

You can assume its success if I don't post back in 3 days

Jon
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:36 AM   #14
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I agree that you need to get the WH straightened out so it works correctly. Sounds like some cleaning needed. The metal shaving could have come from anywhere and was probably there all along and just vibrated out of hiding when you towed to the park. I still get sawdust and stuff after 8 years.
What I wonder about is using the Propane instead of electric.
If you are only using the heater long enough to make shower water it can't hardly be costing very much AND you don't have to go out and find more when the propane tank goes empty.

Brad
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