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Old 11-10-2014, 08:06 PM   #1
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Atwood water heater pilot light will not stay on! Help.

I am having trouble getting the pilot light on our Atwood manual water heater staying lit up long enough to turn the ignition knob to ON position. We just got the trailer on Labor Day when it was hot and now that its getting cooler we want to use the water heater. Never have turned it on after the walk through at camping world where it lit like a champ. I have tried to hold the switch to the PILOT position for a solid minute for several attempts and the pilot light will not stay on! propane tanks have gas, the stove burners in camper work very well, and our fridge works great in LP mode so what gives?
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Old 11-10-2014, 09:24 PM   #2
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Well this might not end well but here goes follow the line from the thermocouple back to the valve there will be a fitting where it connects to the valve body loosen it up fully next tighten it up by hand til it stops then with a wrench give it 1/4 turn tighter. and try it. Do not over tighten it. If this fixes it enjoy if not you can try and install a new thermocouple but odds are your ECO has blown and the only fix is a valve replacement. A quick question what was the temp set at on the valve if like too many it was set very high or even wide open odds are increased your ECO has blown. It is a very common failure in manual water heaters as when the temp is set high on a warm day the pilot continues to heat the tank and when it gets to 160deg the ECO pops and the valve is no longer useable.
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Old 11-10-2014, 09:45 PM   #3
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When the flame is burning, is it mostly blue with tinges of yellow? Does the flame aim at the thermocouple? (The thermocouple is a brass cylinder with a thin tube going into the valve body) If the flame is heating the thermocouple, the thermocouple sends a very weak electric signal to turn the gas on and keep the pilot lit. A bad thermocouple is not uncommon, they are easy to replace, can be found at almost any hardware or home supply warehouse.
If the flame is too little or not looking as described above, a bit of crud might have gotten into the orifice. DON'T TRY TO POKE ANYTHING INTO IT. Remove it and blow back through it. Poking into it can change it's shape and cause more damage. Take the old one to a hardware store and see if they can match up a new one.

If you don't have a manual and troubleshooting guide, Google "Atwood furnace ### manual" and include your model number in the search.

Parts list here:
RV Furnaces - Atwood Mobile
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Old 11-14-2014, 02:30 PM   #4
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The thing that I would add is that you may not be holding the button depressed for a long enough period. I would suggest that you use a watch to be sure and hold it for at least a full 60 seconds and possibly twice that long. Remember that it is cold and the valve will not stay open until the thermal device reaches the proper temperature.
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:03 PM   #5
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Try a new thermocouple in fact buy two one for now and carry the other for a spare. They are one of those things that either last for years or may fail in a week always good to have one in the tool box.
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Old 11-15-2014, 02:09 AM   #6
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We have not had to use our water heater since we got it in late august. Now that its getting cold here Florida is when we discovered not able to get it going.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:14 AM   #7
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I have had luck with just cleaning the thermocouple. A Scott Brite pad work good, or a piece of paper, sand paper maybe too ruff. Some will say it will just fail again, but I tried it on the SB furnace and it's going strong for 3 years now.
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Old 11-15-2014, 08:07 AM   #8
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We have one with a direct spark ignition that wouldn't fire up again after the temp got to the preset level, then started to cool off. Turned out it was the circuit board being faulty. Unit was new, so it was under warranty. I replaced it myself after the dealer sent it to me so I wouldn't have to drive back there, and it works fine now. If yours is new, it should be covered under warranty also.
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:24 AM   #9
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Clean the thermocouple with emery cloth or fine sandpaper. The orifice can be blown out, and this may sound silly but it works, then rub the surface on your pant leg. As long as your working on it clean all burner/propane tubes of possible spider webs and other critter nests. When it fires up it should not sound like a jet taking off. If it does the air/fuel mixture needs to be tweaked.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:15 PM   #10
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does anyone have a link to a suggested video we can watch on removing the thermocouple? i have seen a couple on youtube but no one is actually demoing that removal or cleaning of it just mentioning to do it.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:25 PM   #11
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If you go here:

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...le+replacement

There are lots of videos on how to replace them in furnaces and water heaters. While I didn't see one on replacing one in an RV water heater, they are all the same. Perhaps look at a couple and you'll get the concept.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manguiano View Post
does anyone have a link to a suggested video we can watch on removing the thermocouple? i have seen a couple on youtube but no one is actually demoing that removal or cleaning of it just mentioning to do it.
Usually you just pull them out of the holder, clean them and slide back in.
Here you go. This is a home style waterheater,should be the same for the MH.Hot Water Heaters : How to Install a Thermocouple on a Water Heater - YouTube
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