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Old 05-10-2010, 11:14 PM   #1
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Main Heater Cracked

Hello All,

Last year on a trip to Arizona, the primary heater on my '91 Fleetwood Southwind burned up the outside casing and turned off. When the RV tech came to inspect it, he told me it was cracked and unsafe to use. I'm looking to replace it and have seen prices of $800 - $1000 for parts plus labor. What's the most economical way to replace it? I've heard that these can be built? Is it safe to buy a used unit? And, if I buy used, are there any special specs I need?

Thanks,

sjkted
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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What's the most economical way to replace it? I've heard that these can be built? Is it safe to buy a used unit? And, if I buy used, are there any special specs I need?
sjkted, I would look to buy a used heater if you can find one that is not cracked. It's better to be extremely safe with these types of devices because they emit carbon monoxide.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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I'm not sure I understand what failed, so don't know how to answer. Does "primary heater" mean the LP furnace? or maybe the dashboard heat system (heater core)? Water heater?
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:42 AM   #4
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I'm not sure I understand what failed, so don't know how to answer. Does "primary heater" mean the LP furnace? or maybe the dashboard heat system (heater core)? Water heater?
Yes, it's the LP furnace. I'm looking into getting a used one right now. I'm not sure exactly how many BTU I need or how to spec it out. I'm also taking it into service tomorrow to see if I can get it rebuilt. The furnace does technically work, but I've been advised by a few RV techs that it should not be used and is a safety hazard.

--sjkted
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:44 AM   #5
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Should be no problem getting one from an RV salvage yard, but unless they are real cheap I'd get a new one instead. Same btu as the original or maybe a bit larger.

Parts or replacement furnace source
RV Furnaces & Heaters
RV Furnace - RV Water Heater & Stove Catalog - Suburban - Atwood RV Furnaces & Heaters
I like the Atwoods, but Suburban makes a nice furnace too. One of them ought to slip into the same space.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RV Roamer [Gary] View Post
Should be no problem getting one from an RV salvage yard, but unless they are real cheap I'd get a new one instead. Same btu as the original or maybe a bit larger.

Parts or replacement furnace source
RV Furnaces & Heaters
RV Furnace - RV Water Heater & Stove Catalog - Suburban - Atwood RV Furnaces & Heaters
I like the Atwoods, but Suburban makes a nice furnace too. One of them ought to slip into the same space.
Thanks for the links.

I've been looking at some of the salvage yards, and some are only $200 less than a brand new one. I can't understand why someone would buy used for that difference. Is space an issue with these? Can I just buy a 12V one with approx the same BTUs or do I thoroughly need to spec out the amount of space it is consuming in the compartment?

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Old 05-16-2010, 09:08 AM   #7
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Not sure what your space question is. A new one has to fit in the available space, right? So the physical dimensions have to be same or less than what you have after removing the old one. Otherwise, yes, any 12v gas furnace with about the same btu rating is fine.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:37 AM   #8
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Go back to the salvage yard and make an offer. You don't have to accept a quote out of hand. Also, if it were me, I would want an exact replacement. There will be little room to effect adjustments, there is outdoor trim/fascia to be concerned about, and even the thermostat and air conditioning interface to worry about. Good luck!!
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