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Old 12-04-2020, 01:24 AM   #1
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Atwood Water Heater Fitting Leak

2005 Journey 36G
Atwood Water Heater Model GCH10A-4E

Water has been dripping from under the water heater. Removed panel from under the rear of the water heater and found that the leak is from what appears to be a 2 piece plastic compression hose fitting that attaches to a brass elbow on the rear of the tank.

Is there an O ring inside one of the plastic fittings? Has anyone reading this disassembled these fittings and then reassembled them? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:06 AM   #2
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dredel-

The plastic fitting is a Flair-It. It has broken (see the brown mark at the split) and needs to be replaced.

Flair-It catalog is here. You want to look at pages 12 through 16.

Regular PEX crimp fittings would work, but I would not want to use a crimp tool in that restricted space. A Flair-it fitting can be pried off and replaced without tools.

There appears to be a check valve between the Flair-It and the tank. If this is the cold water inlet, you can:

1) eliminate the check valve, or
2) remove its innards, or
3) replace the check valve, or
4) do nothing with the check valve, and have it fail open or closed at a later time

With those mineral deposits I'd be surprised if the check valve is not stuck partially open.

If it's the hot water outlet, then replace the check valve. It's part of the winterization bypass system. At a later time you could modify the bypass system to eliminate a heater outlet check valve; see this thread.

Plumbing diagrams for your coach, among other useful info, are available at this link.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:56 AM   #3
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dredel,

When i had to replace that check valve ( it is the cold water intake) on our 2005 36G i cut off that fitting and used a Sharkbite fitting on the pex pipe to connect back to the new check valve. You can get sharkbite fittings at the big box stores as well as ace hardware. If you do use sharkbite mark the hose so you make sure insert the hose to the correct depth inside the fitting and you do want a clean cut on the pex hose.
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Old 12-20-2020, 11:51 AM   #4
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Leak fixed and Lessons Learned

Thanks Mark and Neub for your helpful input.

What made this repair difficult was the limited access behind the water heater and 2 coolant lines from the engine that connect to a heat exchanger around the water heater tank. I considered disconnecting one of those lines to give better access but couldn't find a way to shut off those lines and prevent spilling a lot of coolant. Fortunately I discovered the round access port on the back of the heater housing (see photos.) One hand working through that open port made the repair much easier. I replaced the check valve (which was stuck open) with a brass nipple of the same length and replaced the cracked plastic flair fitting with a shark bite. I confess that I have not been draining my water system during winter when the coach is not being used. I assumed () with electric heaters inside the coach keeping the interior above 50 degrees that the system would be safe from freezing. Dumb idea! While water lines inside the coach may have been fine, I'm sure that plastic fitting near the bottom of the water heater froze and cracked. From now on I'll be draining my water system during the winter.
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Old 12-20-2020, 12:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dredel View Post
Dumb idea! While water lines inside the coach may have been fine, I'm sure that plastic fitting near the bottom of the water heater froze and cracked. From now on I'll be draining my water system during the winter.
Frozen line in Atascadero, CA? I guess that's possible but hard to fathom. Looked like hard water caused that issue with all the scale. Potentially, that's what ruined that original flair fitting. Do you have a water softener like these?
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Old 12-20-2020, 02:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mile Marker 42 View Post
Frozen line in Atascadero, CA? I guess that's possible but hard to fathom. Looked like hard water caused that issue with all the scale. Potentially, that's what ruined that original flair fitting. Do you have a water softener like these?
Weather.com shows temps have been in the high 20's at night so freeze is very likely


OP...
Winnebago likes to use 'check valves' on BOTH cold in and hot out
Cold in not really needed
Hot out ...not needed IF you have shutoff valve (room to install/access one)
With the cold one scaled/calcium build up.....HOT is probably as bad
Might want to replace it now before it fails and you have NO hot water
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