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Old 11-07-2014, 09:23 PM   #1
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Aqua-Hot Suddenly Stopped Working - Broken Clutch

I'm posting this in the hope that it may help someone else with a similar problem.

We have an older Aqua-Hot AHE-100-01S which suddenly stopped working. When I turned on the diesel burner switch the indicator light came on for 30 seconds, then went off. According to the troubleshooting flow chart in the downloadable service manual "The Indicator light will illuminate for only 30 seconds if fuse (F) is blown (open circuit)" However, this was not my problem, I checked the fuse and it was good, and I could hear the motor running, although it did not sound exactly like I was used to hearing it. It was a little quieter and there was some "chatter".

I pulled off the Webasco motor/blower/nozzle unit and as I shifted its position, I heard a rattle from inside. Removing the air intake from the side of the unit allowed me to get the loose part out, which was half of a grey plastic part that has some fingers on it. A phone call to Aqua-Hot identified this as part of the clutch.

According to the Aqua-hot tech with whom I spoke, the clutch is designed to be a sacrificial piece that will break rather than allow the motor to burn up if, the bearings or blower locked up. The clutch pieces are cheap, less than $3. Since my unit was a 2001, and evidence was it had received limited service before I bought the rig, I replaced the bearings too. They were not so cheap, about $130. I also replaced the nozzle, even though I had done it a year before, $15, why not?

Following the directions in the service manual, the replacement for the clutch and bearings went mostly smoothly. I did not have a set of feeler gauges, and the recommended clearance for the plastic blower and the housing is .003-.005. I did have a micrometer, and I found that 6 thicknesses of really cheapo aluminum foil was .004, so I used that. Tightening the nut to that gap seemed to work OK.

I had one moment of confusion/concern. After attaching the motor, I spun the motor with my hand and heard a chatter. At first I thought that the blower was rubbing, which would be bad, but after closer examination I found it was only the halves of the clutch clattering as the motor moved past its internal magnets.

After putting it all back together, the sound of the motor was much quieter than it had ever been.

Lessons learned:

1. If you have to go to the trouble to pull out the Webasco motor/blower, for example, to do the regular service for the nozzle, and your unit is 10 years old or more, go ahead and replace the bearings and clutches at the same time. You might save yourself a cold night like I had last night!

2. Check to make sure the electrode gap tool is attached to the side of your motor/blower unit. It just looks like a little sheet metal clip for some wires or something. You can find pictures in the service manual or online sites. If you don't have it, order it from Aqua-Hot or your dealer at the same time you order your other parts. Put it back on the side of the unit when you are finished. You will have to loosen the electrodes to get the unit apart to replace the bearings.

3. Do follow the directions precisely with regard to putting the bearings back together. There is a very specific order and direction for the washers.

4. The customer service from Aqua-Hot was 1st class. If you have any questions or uncertainty, just give them a ring.

5. This is a biggie, I could have saved a couple of hours. BEFORE you take apart the blower housing and the motor. put some marks on the housing with a permanent marker to show where to line up the parts when you put them back together. The motor mounting flange, a triangular part with 3 screws has a side that is curved, and that has to fit past the spark coil in the plastic outer shell. There is a small notch that wires must pass through to get from inside the shell to the outside. And you want the fuel lines and the air intake on the bottom when it all goes back together. If you mark the plastic outer shell, the two halves of the blower case (4 screws) and the triangular flange with line up marks before you take it apart, you will thank me later. If you don't you have an 11 in 12 chance of hating life when you try to get the assembled unit to go back inside the plastic case.

Cheers from Winslow, AZ. "Take it Easy"
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:08 PM   #2
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Bob,
Thanks for the information. Hopefully, I will not need this advice, but our units are the same so my bearing my be at risk too. Did you get any idea why your bearing went bad? And while checking on the parts, I see two bearing kits; DBW-2010 - WPX-378-313 (which includes a number of other parts) or just the WPX-378-313 dual bearing kit? Did you get the first kit?

I have had a controller give up the ship, but not anything mechanical. And it is good to know about using a marking pen to show alignment of the parts.

I ran into a similar situation when I removed the burner swirl plate from the burn tube when I was doing an annual maintenance. (There was some soot on the swirl plate that I wanted to get out of there.) The parts came apart easily enough, but when I went to put them back the burn tube refused to seat back on the plate. I finally got the idea of using a couple of pieces of 2x4 and a long threaded rod (with nuts) to make a press to keep the parts aligned while I pressed them together. After a very brief time of alignment the parts literally snapped together. So, easy when you know the tricks. Thanks for sharing yours.

And I am sure I don't have to tell you about the Turquoise Room there in Winslow. I was just telling someone today how much I enjoyed dinner there. I was just stunned at such a fine dining spot there. In fact, I was looking at their menu this afternoon wishing I could be there for dinner this weekend.

Thanks again for the update on the Aqua-Hot.
Bob
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:42 AM   #3
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I got the bearing kit with all the washers and new c-clips. My bearings were not bad, just old, and the Aqua-hot guy recommended replacement since I had to get it all apart to do the clutches anyway.

Thanks for the tip on the Turquoise Room, maybe we will try it today.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:50 PM   #4
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Wow! What a coincidence. I just had the same thing happen to me. I had to have the clutch replaced in a 7 yr old HydroHot. Fortunately, my extended warranty insurance covered it.
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