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Old 01-05-2017, 01:30 AM   #1
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Furnace Problems (In Freezing Canada)

Howdy folks,

I live in my 94 32ft Bounder year round, and have been having a problem with my furnace lately.

It seems as though if I set the thermostat to 75 or so it will work as it is supposed to.
However if I set it for say around 63 at night, and go to sleep, I will always wake up to it with the blower running, blowing freezing air into the rv and having it be nowhere near 63 degrees.

Hoping someone might have an idea or run into a similar issue.
I dont have model information in front of me at the moment, but I have disassembled it before its a simple unit with a blower and electronics etc separate from the heat exchanger/plenum

If I can find it I will post it, but I'm sure someone has had a similar issue.
But I tell you waking up freezing 3-4 times a week is making me miserable.

Thank you
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:01 AM   #2
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You should be tearing it down every year, cleaning and servicing the unit. What happens if you set the T'stat to 65?
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:04 AM   #3
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That sucks!

It's usually the thermostat at fault. A little more information would help.

Do you have enough propane pressure based on temps at night? Pressure regulator issue?

Do you have a pilot or electronic ignition? If it's electronic you could have a bad control board.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:57 AM   #4
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The very first thing you need to check is WHY the furnace is not lighting.

There's only a couple of possible reasons, and based on your brief description I'd guess that the furnace is hitting the high temperature safety limit and shutting down. At colder temperatures the furnace has to be on longer than it wants to and overheats a little before it reaches the set point on the thermostat.

Generally the main culprit in a case like this is the blower drawing too much power for too long and either your batteries are weak, the converter is weak, or both. If the fan can't move enough air out of the heat exchanger it will overheat, period.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Murf2u View Post
The very first thing you need to check is WHY the furnace is not lighting.

There's only a couple of possible reasons, and based on your brief description I'd guess that the furnace is hitting the high temperature safety limit and shutting down. At colder temperatures the furnace has to be on longer than it wants to and overheats a little before it reaches the set point on the thermostat.

Generally the main culprit in a case like this is the blower drawing too much power for too long and either your batteries are weak, the converter is weak, or both. If the fan can't move enough air out of the heat exchanger it will overheat, period.
I dont think the issue is it overheating as Im getting tons of air from all vents, and my batteries are new, with clean connections and converter is a new 50amp which I replaced last year.
Tons of power, also plugged into shore power at all times.

It's very strange because its very intermittent, this morning for example I had set it to 60 last night, and woke up and it was off this morning, my little space heater had kept it warm enough, but still to chilly for me to get out of bed. so I flipped the thermostat up to max and went back to bed for 45 min,
when I woke up it was not burning and just blowing cold air constantly.

You'd think they would stop blowing cold air after a while as it serves no purpose and just freezes inside of the RV.

I'm considering buying an Arduino microcontroller and some relays and programming my own settings and eliminating the circuit controller board and all electronics.

At least that way I'd know it would act right.

I'm going to tear it down tomorrow and check everything out.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:33 PM   #6
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That sucks!

It's usually the thermostat at fault. A little more information would help.

Do you have enough propane pressure based on temps at night? Pressure regulator issue?

Do you have a pilot or electronic ignition? If it's electronic you could have a bad control board.

Good Luck!
Fresh full tank of propane, water heater and range work fine, electronic ignition. however it lights fine, it just seems to shut down the burner and continue blowing cold air
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:49 PM   #7
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You didn't mention the thermostat--if the furnace works "great" when set at 75 but not at 63, I'd focus on the thermostat [assuming it has one????]. All the other stuff mentioned above would impact on either setting. The fact that this problem is intermittent make it more of a challenged to sort out--good luck.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:55 PM   #8
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In 94 the design of the furnace is as you describe in that if the burner did not lite, the fan could continue to run even after the controls had gone into lock out. The control board will try to lite the burner up to a maximum of three times, then it will lock out and not try to ignite any further until the power is turned of and then back on and it will go back through the ignition sequences. Pull it, clean it, inspect it repair if need be, bench test and reinstall when it is working properly.
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:02 AM   #9
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After a bit of testing and poking around I discovered a couple things tonight, one was a vent hose under some drawers had been blocked off with a yogurt container by a former owner I'd presume. This is great for a couple of reasons, first off it will allow more heat out, thus helping if it is overheating trying to get rig up to thermostat temp.

Second, I can install a vent in the kitchen area, as there is only currently 2 in the entrance stairway? not sure why they'd put 2 there, one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom.

I did some testing and it seems to be working well with that vent opened up and thermostat set at 68-69 or so.

Any higher and I run into issues, Im going to assume its just too cold out for it to keep up with out high limiting out, probably actually a good safety feature.

Im going to invest in setting up an outdoor wood burning boiler with quick connects to plumb it into the rigs coolant system since there are already lines run from the engine back to the bedroom for the bus heater under the bed, add another under the couch and I should be able to knock my propane bill way down.

Hell maybe even just putting a small radiator in the cold air return inlet, and plumbing that to an outdoor boiler... hmm


Thanks for all the advice
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by wmacdonald View Post
After a bit of testing and poking around I discovered a couple things tonight, one was a vent hose under some drawers had been blocked off with a yogurt container by a former owner I'd presume. This is great for a couple of reasons, first off it will allow more heat out, thus helping if it is overheating trying to get rig up to thermostat temp.

Second, I can install a vent in the kitchen area, as there is only currently 2 in the entrance stairway? not sure why they'd put 2 there, one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom.

I did some testing and it seems to be working well with that vent opened up and thermostat set at 68-69 or so.

I

Pretty much what I figured, except the overheating was caused by a combination of reduced airflow from the capped vent and higher thermostat setting causing increased run time.

BTW, the vents in the stairwell are likely because they are poorly insulated so they put extra heat there so you don't notice it as much.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by wmacdonald View Post
Howdy folks,
if I set the thermostat to 75 or so it will work as it is supposed to.
However if I set it for say around 63 at night, and go to sleep, I will always wake up to it with the blower running, blowing freezing air into the rv and having it be nowhere near 63 degrees.
I'm sure someone has had a similar issue.
But I tell you waking up freezing 3-4 times a week is making me miserable.
Thank you
wmacdonald
When I had a similar problem with the Suberban SF-42F furnace, (in my 1996 Safari) it turned out to be a bad control board.

Most RV parts/service shops have a board tester..(some test boards at no charge).
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:13 PM   #12
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I had a similar problem, but mine would not ignite at all. The fan would run for a couple of minutes then shut down. Took it to a repair shop and they changed a limit switch on the furnace. Part is only like ten dollars.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:22 PM   #13
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I had a similar problem, but mine would not ignite at all. The fan would run for a couple of minutes then shut down. Took it to a repair shop and they changed a limit switch on the furnace. Part is only like ten dollars.

A limit switch or sail switch?
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:28 PM   #14
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I just experienced similar.

When I got a call for heat, The blower would come on, the furnace would lite, stay lit for about 5 seconds then go out. It would do this three times, then the blower would keep running, forever, or until I turned the thermostat real low or off to reset it.

I suspect this is what killed my battery in Iowa a month ago when it was -15 degrees outside.

Anyway, this is what I discovered.

I suspected the ignitor was dirty and just needed to be cleaned with a green scrubby pad. The ignitor serves double purpose, its used to spark to ignite the gas, and also used to sens the flame, and if it gets any coating on it, it may not sense the flame.

On my furnace, I could get the furnace to stay lit, but sometimes it took 5 or 6 of the re-lite / resets to get it to stay lit. Not reliable and I was going to attempt to fix it while on the road.


I wanted to remove the ignitor to clean it but couldn't get the vent tube to come out, so I can't get to the ignitor. frustrated, I decided to do this when I get home. I had removed the control board, and noted it was very dirty and dusty.

I cleaned the control board, and then used a pencil eraser to clean the connector edge of the board. When I put it all back together, BAM, the furnace lites and stays lit, no more problems.

Flame detector. The amount of current that flows through the flame is very very small (microamps). If there is any coating, dirt, etc on the sens rod, it could reduce the current, and the board thinks there is no flame. I suspect the dirty connectors or board was doing something similiar, reducing the current from the flame sense.

Furnace blower kills the battery...

The furnace control system is a very bad design. If there is an ignition failure, the blower continues to run, drawing its 7 amps, and running the battery down. I understand the Dinosaur control board (replacement control board) doesn't do this. If there is a failure, it shuts the blower off also.
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