Go Back   iRV2 Forums > iRV2.com COMMUNITY FORUMS > Vintage RV's
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-10-2016, 04:38 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 421
How does my water heater work?

I'm looking for information on my 1986 Winnebago Chieftains water heater. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of it or specific information as to what it is other than it's a square metal box under the bed.

I thought it didn't work and I would have to replace it, but I accidently discovered I get hot water if the water heater switch is set to "off" and I open the cold water tap.

I need to experiment with it when I next have shore power (later tonight), but wondered how long should I expect to have to wait before I have hot water? Any tips on how best to utilize what I have?
__________________

__________________
alvo is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-10-2016, 06:40 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
BFlinn181's Avatar
 
Gulf Streamers Club
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 16,239
Your water heater should be accessible from the outside WH cover. Inside that cover should be some details about what unit you have. From the information inside that outdoor cover, you can search on Google and download a manual.

Typically, the WH is LP gas heated. Again, according to model, it might have a pilot light or be electrically ignited. Usually if they don't light properly after 3 attempts, the control board will shut it down and you have to turn off power to reset it. Spider webs and insect nests often get built in the combustion tube, causing non-igniting issues. You should check and blow out the tube after any period of non-use. Also make sure the tank is full of water, it will overheat and cause problems if turned on when empty. A 12 v switch in the RV should turn it on, often with an indicator light.

Usually when winterized, the drain plug is removed and a 'winterizing' valve or two is set to the position to stop water flow through the tank.

If you have a 120 v heating element, it usually will have a 120 v wall switch that might also be lighted or have a light. In addition to the switch in the RV, a second shut off switch might be located in the outside compartment to make sure the 120 v power isn't turned on when the tank is empty.

A third way of heating the water might be engine coolant run through the tank to keep the water heated while driving.

When you find the WH and copy the serial number, looking it up will tell you exactly what you have.

While the normal tank is only 6-10 gallons, when it's hot it will remain hot for some time after turning it off.

At the Winnebago website the only owner's manual for your year is pretty generic and doesn't tell much about the water heater.

http://winnebagoind.com/resources/ma...ago-Itasca.pdf
__________________

__________________

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
BFlinn181 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 06:53 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 421
Thanks for the reply. Mine is definitely electric, as I have zero propane in the tank. It also has (from memory) romex going to it. It runs only on shore power and there's a switch by the lavatory sink that is apparently labeled backwards as I have hot water when it's in the "Water Heater Off" position.

I built a new platform in the bedroom and to access it from inside requires removing the mattress and then removing a couple of screws to take the top boards off. There is an access door on the outside, but I don't have the keys to unlock it. When I got it I had a locksmith make a key for one compartment and didn't know at the time they aren't all keyed alike.
__________________
alvo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
beamisl's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: MI
Posts: 3,470
Alvo,

Go to winnebagoind.com/product-resources/product-information


You will need to enter your coach info and you should find everything you need on your coach. This is where we got a manual for ours and all blueprints of plumbing, electrical, parts, and every thing we needed.

Good Luck, Lynne
__________________
Retirement coming soon on January 4th, 2018
Lynne and Jerry RVM 105
2004 Winnebago Itasca Sunova (Miss May) Blue Ox Tow Bar /2015 Equinox
beamisl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2016, 11:06 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
tderonne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Motor City, Mich
Posts: 2,302
Right, use the resources section of the Winnebago website. It's very useful.

In your parts manual it lists three water heaters, all Atwood, G6A-3, G6A-3E, and GH6-3E. Looks like one has motoraid (as mentioned above), and two have electronic ignition. No mention of 120V option. Could have been standard, may not have existed back then.

That is, if the heater is original. Get that key and get some more info...

About that key....

Doesn't yours look like this:


The water heater was rarely behind another door.
__________________
Tim.

tderonne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2016, 01:27 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 421


The locks aren't keyed the same as the gas and the storage door below.
__________________
alvo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2016, 01:31 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
BFlinn181's Avatar
 
Gulf Streamers Club
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 16,239
If you take the RV to any RV sales lot, they probably have a ring of keys that include all the keyed lockers on your RV. Most RVs have only a few common locks.
__________________

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
BFlinn181 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2016, 01:47 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,080
Quote:
Originally Posted by tderonne View Post

In your parts manual it lists three water heaters, all Atwood, G6A-3, G6A-3E, and GH6-3E. Looks like one has motoraid (as mentioned above), and two have electronic ignition. No mention of 120V option. Could have been standard, may not have existed back then.

That is, if the heater is original.
None of those Atwood models have 'electric heating'

G6A-3 is a 6 gallon pilot
G6A-3E is a 6 gallon with electronic ignition
GH6-3E is a 6 gallon with motoraid and electronic ignition

So OP has something other than what is listed in 'parts manual'
OR previous owner has installed an aftermarket element via the drain hole (Hott Rod or Lightning Rod)

OEM electric element is installed in backside of WH Tank (inside the rv)

Aftermarket one would be installed in the OEM drain hole and should have it's own set of t-stats on the side of tank.

Need to get that cover/access door open and look see
__________________
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2016, 06:12 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
KSagal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Wilmington, MA
Posts: 559
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvo View Post


The locks aren't keyed the same as the gas and the storage door below.
I have never heard of any motor coach water heater that is mounted behind a door like that. You said it was under the bed in the bedroom.

I sounds to me like you may have an aftermarket household water heater. What does it look like?

Most motor home water heaters are propane fed, or partially propane fed, and are mounted on the inside of the outside wall of the camper.

All that I have seen when viewed from inside kind of looked like a cylinder on it's side so that it was kind of round coming into the camper, and usually in a brown cardboard cover. (with insulation inside that)

Small household heaters are usually metal, also a cylinder, but usually on end, so there is a flat top and bottom, and round sides.

Another tell tale point would be if it has an outside accessible drain. A household unit may have a spigot near the bottom with perhaps a hose, but a camper heater would more likely have a plug or some other access directly outside.

A picture tells a thousand tales. The rest is just guessing. (including and perhaps especially mine)
__________________
Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
KSagal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2016, 07:08 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 421
I realize this isn't a great picture, but I realized the water heater was in one of the photos I took during construction:


It's screwed to the floor with brackets fore and aft (I had to move it a couple of inches during the remodel). It has what appear to be original tubing connecting it to the water tank and the faucets and has the same drain plug as the rest of the plumbing. If it's not original, the original must have been in the same place as nothing looked out-of-place.

My better half just had surgery and is laid up, so getting the bed moved and the platform disassembled may have to wait a bit. A least there is some hot water, just not where I expected to find it.

Again, thanks for all the replies.
__________________
alvo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2016, 12:15 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,080
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvo View Post
I realize this isn't a great picture, but I realized the water heater was in one of the photos I took during construction:


It's screwed to the floor with brackets fore and aft (I had to move it a couple of inches during the remodel). It has what appear to be original tubing connecting it to the water tank and the faucets and has the same drain plug as the rest of the plumbing. If it's not original, the original must have been in the same place as nothing looked out-of-place.

My better half just had surgery and is laid up, so getting the bed moved and the platform disassembled may have to wait a bit. A least there is some hot water, just not where I expected to find it.

Again, thanks for all the replies.
That looks like an Atwood MARINE water heater.........all electric with motoraid (engine coolant heats water when traveling)
Electric element/thermostats are under that cover.
Most likely a 6 gallon EHM6
__________________
Old-Biscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2016, 12:35 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,796
Could the hot water you are getting be from the engine running, if so that would be the answer to your switch setting mystery.
__________________
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
Mike and Cha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2016, 12:41 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
chboone's Avatar


 
National RV Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Horse Town USA, CA.
Posts: 2,933
Old-Biscuit is correct it's a marine water heater. Odd they would put one in an RV. Here's the manual for it. If the lines for the engine coolant are connected you would have hot water anytime the engine has run for a while.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MPD 93757 PS 11.19.07.pdf (393.2 KB, 26 views)
__________________
1999 35 ft. Dolphin 5350,F53 Chassis Chassis build date 1/99, Banks System, 5 Stars Tune, Air Lift Air Bags front & rear, Koni Shocks,Blue OX TruCenter,TigerTrak track bars front & rear, Roadmaster 1-3/4" rear auxiliary sway bar,2004 F450 Lariat 6.0 Diesel Crew Cab DRW with B & W Custom Truck Bed, 1994 36 ft. Avion 5th Wheel
chboone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2016, 09:48 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
BFlinn181's Avatar
 
Gulf Streamers Club
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 16,239
According to the PDF file chboone provided, the WH has a 240 v heating element. I would hope a 120 v element was installed, because 240 v is pretty hard to come by in an RV unless some creative rewiring was done at the power panel, assuming you have 50 amp service.
__________________

__________________

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
BFlinn181 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
heat, heater, water, water heater



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Insulated Water Service - Does it work? Minnesota51 Class A Motorhome Discussions 4 04-04-2015 09:23 PM
Electric Water Heater does Not Work Unless Plugged Into Shore Power jimfryar Newmar Owner's Forum 4 03-23-2014 11:23 PM
asking for help... water pump suddenly does not want to work Roll RV Systems & Appliances 3 06-30-2013 03:16 PM
Replacing Water heater with tankless water heater? JAFORV2012 Class A Motorhome Discussions 5 09-24-2012 07:48 AM
Fresh water sensor in my 1992 Holiday Rambler, how does it work? mmcl26554 Class A Motorhome Discussions 12 09-08-2012 07:35 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.