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Old 05-03-2009, 12:49 PM   #1
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dirko's Avatar
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Draper, UT
Posts: 549
water heater ac heater failure

Hi Ho: Well I had some time and the weather was really nice for a few days, so I took out the water heater to do three things:
(1) work on the auxilary blower
(2) remove the backflow preventers from the water lines
(3) repair the 115-volt wiring on the water heater

I discovered some things that might be of interest to others: On the 35U it is not necessary to remove the water heater to do any of these things. It takes a lot of time to remove the water heater because it is really glued in with black polyurethane(?) and clear silicon.

Also (and this might be important) the ac wires to the water heater element are probably going to get loose and overheat and fail, especially if they have been wiggled. The reason is that the wires are attached with a right-angle push-on connectors (Amp type) that are the wrong size for the terminal on the thermal switches. Amp connectors come in at least two sizes, one being 4.75 mm and the other 6.35 mm. (We used to call these 3/16 and 1/4 inch) The thermal switch has a blade that is the smaller size and the larger size right-angle push-on terminal was used on the wire.

What this means is that it will work (sort of) until it is wiggled and gets loose and then a high-resistance contact results and the connector heats up, melts and the wire may also burn up. The 12 ga. wire failed on our heater. There is a cover plate that may prevent a fire. Anyway this is something to pay attention to if you smell something burning. The heater element draws about 11 amps according to the one-place readout, so there is enough current to cause problems.

The fix is easy and can be done without removing the water heater. However, it is nice to work on it out in the open.

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Old 05-04-2009, 05:43 AM   #2
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DAN L's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,936
thanks for the info.
it is timely for me as i recently purchased 2 camco brass backflow preventers pn 23302 but haven't installed them yet.
what about the aux blower? can you remove it with the water heater installed? mine blows the fuse when turned on. unfortunately, it is the same fuse circuit that the sony backup camera is on. i recently disconnected the wires from the switch to keep this from happening inadvertently.
01 WINNEBAGO 35U W20.8.1L SW Wa, Hi. Good Sam, SKP. AMSOIL fluids. BANKS ecm program. SCAN GAUGE II w/ Ally temp. 2 LIFELINE GPL-6CT AGM Batts on their sides. TST tptts. K&N panel air filter. AERO mufflers. TAYLOR plug wires. ULTRA POWER track bar. KONI fsd shocks, toad '18 MB CLA FWD on dolly
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:25 PM   #3
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Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Draper, UT
Posts: 549
Hi Ho Dan: The short answer is yes if you are willing to work in a somewhat cramped space. You also need the right tools. I started to take out the entire heat exchanger for the aux heater and realized this meant disconnecting another pair of coolent lines from underneath which have been foamed in place.

So I just took out the three accessable phillips screws holding the thing down and then took out the blower. The screw furthest to the front of the coach will require a long #2 driver and you either have to feel your way there have a smaller child reach in. I used a grandchild when I replaced the heater element on the water heater. Once you know where things are it is easier. I wouldn't take out the water heater next time.

You should have a 1/4 inch nut driver and a 1/4 inch ratchet to remove the screws on the end panel and end panel of the heat exchanger. the trick is to rotate the heat exchanger to get access to the two screws that come in from the left side of the heat exchanger. (They are covered by foam insulation strip). Otherwize, just take out the screws on the end panel and remove the four screws that hold the blower in place. The electrical connectors just pull off.

Have fun and let me know if something isn't clear.

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:29 PM   #4
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Location: Draper, UT
Posts: 549
Hi Ho Dan L: Check out the thread about Aux blower on this Forum. Dan has a good idea about fixing the blower. You don't need to remove the water heater.

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