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Old 05-10-2012, 10:13 AM   #1
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Water Heater Thermocouple

The water heater on my 1988 Corsair TT just quit. The pilot light won't stay lit. I replaced the thermocouple with one from Ace Hardware and the pilot still won't stay lit. Is there anything different about an RV thermocouple that one from Ace wouldn't work? If it's the gas valve, I'll replace the whole heater. After 24 years and 50,000 miles, I guess it doesn't owe me anything.


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Old 05-10-2012, 11:45 PM   #2
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The thermocouple is generic, with the only difference being length required. Usually corrosion of the contacts prevents a thermocouple from working. They generate about 20 milliamps DC to keep the gas valve happy and open. That link explains everything.BTW, even a new thermocouple can be faulty. You may test yours with an ohmmeter.

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Old 05-11-2012, 05:42 AM   #3
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If the heater became too hot from running it empty, or corrosion the internal safety on the control may have failed.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:11 AM   #4
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I'm not all that familiar with RV water heaters, but from reading these posts, it sounds much like a house system. Check to see if the gas valve has a replacable pilotstat. That's the electro-magnetic gadget that the thermocouple screws in to. If the thermocouple is generating the proper MA level and the pilotstat is not holding the current, then the pilotstat is bad. Long before pilotless ignition, many standing pilot gas valves had these servicable parts and you may have one of them.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:36 AM   #5
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Thanks, Folks,

While I probably could replace the gas valve assembly, I elected to replace the whole heater since it is 24 years old. At this point, I've replaced just about everything replaceable on the trailer and it should be good for another 50,000 or so.

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heater, water

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