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Old 05-24-2022, 04:28 PM   #1
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2000 Bounder Water Heater leaks

Hi Folks,

On my 2000 Bounder I've discovered a leak under the water heater section when I turn on the water pump. In trying to fix the leak I realized that I don't know where the "rest" of the water heater is, because all I find is the flame section controls and drain plug when I open the access door just aft of the whitewater tank on the passenger side.

Where is the tank itself and how do I access it to inspect it?

Best Regards,
Frank
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:47 PM   #2
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Under the water heater should be an inspection plate, hid in the undercoating.
Have fun getting the undercoating off of the screw heads.

Richard
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Old 05-24-2022, 06:37 PM   #3
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Hi Folks,

After some more investigation I've determined that the leaky water heater is an Atwood and I'm guessing that it is a ten-gallon size although I haven't researched the model number to verify that. Their product information shows the tank right behind the face frame.

It LOOKS like I should be able to remove the eleventy-jillion #8 sheet metal screws around the perimeter of the face frame and MAYBE the whole assembly will slide out, as it looks like the heater tank fits into a sheetmetal can that, with more luck than I deserve, installed when the Fleetwood folks were building the coach to receive the Atwood unit.

And when I got back here to update my dilemma I note that Richard suggested there might be an inspection plate underneath the tank, for which I thank him for the suggestion!

I'll feel around for an inspection plate before removing the eleventy-jillion screws. Watch this space for an update...someday.

Best Regards,
Frank
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Old 05-24-2022, 07:53 PM   #4
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Check the plastic fittings on the water hoses connected to the tank (there's two). I had to replace the cold water line into the back side of heater tank this morning because the threaded plastic fitting split and started spraying water. A local RV parts shop had replacement fittings so it turned out to be an easy fix...... except for mopping up all the water!
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Old 05-24-2022, 09:16 PM   #5
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On mine yes.. there is an inspection plate under it.. most rusted.. you will need very good set of vise grips to remove..
But I found easier to climb into bay next to water heater.. there are 2 inspection plates inside the bay.. hard to see without good flashlights.. one just pulls open to reveal plumbing to heater and one for back.. screws far better there .. just use you cell phone with camera and flash and record and you will see if you can find this..
Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:52 AM   #6
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Our Bounders were not high end coaches and I doubt if your coach has a 10 gallon heater unless it's a diesel. The part # will have a 6 or 10 in it, indicating the size. Part # label is inside the door.

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Old 05-26-2022, 04:08 PM   #7
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Hi Folks,

After some more research I've discovered that the water heater is 6 gallon, not 10. I've also discovered, sadly, that the tank has apparently swollen because I can't pull out the unit after having removed the eleventy-jillion screws. I think I know now why it leaks.

Note to self: drain the racklefratz water heater tank when you put the coach down for the winter. If you don't the water left inside will freeze, expand, and crack the tank.

Stoopidhead.

On the upside, however, I talked to Ickes RV Surplus up in Montpelier Indiana and they think they have a replacement unit. I didn't ask the price. They'll open again on Tuesday.

Best Regards,
Frank
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Old 05-26-2022, 10:30 PM   #8
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When i use water heater bypass.. i always after draining water heat leave plug out and run pink stuff into tank.. until I see run totally pink.. I also use air 1st.. but it seems.. no matter how much you drain or blow out.. there is always water left in it.. so I run antifreeze in until I see color change.. then I let drain and put cap back on loosely than bypass the tank..
Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 05-27-2022, 06:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankmerrill View Post
Hi Folks,

After some more research I've discovered that the water heater is 6 gallon, not 10. I've also discovered, sadly, that the tank has apparently swollen because I can't pull out the unit after having removed the eleventy-jillion screws. I think I know now why it leaks.

Note to self: drain the racklefratz water heater tank when you put the coach down for the winter. If you don't the water left inside will freeze, expand, and crack the tank.

Stoopidhead.

On the upside, however, I talked to Ickes RV Surplus up in Montpelier Indiana and they think they have a replacement unit. I didn't ask the price. They'll open again on Tuesday.

Best Regards,
Frank
Morning Frank,

Did you disconnect the 2 water lines on the back of the water heater? Maybe that is why is won't come out.

Amazon sells Atwood water heaters. If you have your Atwood model number you might get it cheaper and quicker from Amazon.
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Old 05-29-2022, 10:31 PM   #10
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On my 2000 Bounder I had to crawl under the MH at the hwt and there was an inspection plate on the back of the hwt enclosure- between it and the frame of the vehicle. Removing the inspection plate allows you to develope extra joints in hands and elbows to do any plumbing work in the back of said hwt.
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Old 05-31-2022, 01:48 PM   #11
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Hi Folks,

Thanks to Poppasmurf and my own investigation I removed the inspection plate on the vertical back side of the metal "can" into which the water heater fits. Ickes has a brand-new but surplus original unit for 25% less than what I could find on Amazon, so we'll drive up there in the Toyota tomorrow and get it. With a little more than dumb luck I'll be able to install some additional joints in my arms, wrists, and hands to be able to install it with minimal angst and blood loss.

In other news, we enjoyed a +/- 1,100 mile trip over the weekend to visit my centenarian mother in southwestern Missouri. We clocked 6.83 MPG with the cruise set at 55 MPH while running the generator almost constantly to allow the A/C units to permit greater comfort. We always take in too much of the great food and entertainment of the "throwed rolls" at Lambert's in Springfield and the Pecan Turtles from Redmon's candy store in Phillipsburg, but the real reason for the trip was to visit Mom.

Best Regards,
Frank
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Old 06-01-2022, 08:00 AM   #12
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Feel your pain. Get dimensional data. Dometic has re-designed the line. Newer w/h are more compact and do not fit older openings. There are supposed to be plates to fit the excess opening, but alas, they were out and no production runs were scheduled as of last fall. There are replacement tank only kits available on line (ebay). Not too difficult. The ignition and the exhaust tube can be distorted from the welding process where you will invent all sorts of new words while attaching the mounting rings
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Old 06-01-2022, 07:10 PM   #13
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Hi Folks,

This should be my final report.

I went up to Ickes RV Surplus store in Montpelier Indiana this morning to pick up a brand-new original Dometic GC6AA-10E water heater that they found in one of their cavernous warehouses. It is a direct replacement but I believe the dead Atwood heater was not Fleetwood original because of the less than careful wiring I discovered when I pulled it out. Would it be impolite to say the wiring was a kludge job? Because of the non-standard wiring, I needed to spend some time with the schematics and various electrical testers, but I was able to identify the various wires and connected them much better than the previous knuckleheaded installer. Upon pressurization I discovered one of the hose fittings on the back of the tank leaked, but that was fixed by a short trip to the hardware store for a new hose. Being fortunate enough to find my basin wrench, I did not need to be triple-jointed to tighten the hose fittings through the access panel on the back side of the heater cabinet.

I'm happy to report that my Bounder has hot and cold running water again!

Thank you to all y'all for your kind assistance, opinions, and observations. Job well done!

Best Regards,
Frank
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Old 06-16-2022, 07:01 PM   #14
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Hi Folks,

Although I said my previous post would be my final post on this subject, I thought it might be helpful to upload a photo of the burst water heater tank, thinking it might prevent someone else from making the mistake of not draining the water heater tank when winterizing your rig. In my case, not draining the tank cost me a a trip that included outrageously cold showers which resulted in a grumpy sweetheart and thereby discovering the dead water heater, a few days of analyzing the problem and finding a replacement, half a day of driving up to Montpelier, Indiana to buy a replacement unit for $300, a day of removal and installation, and innumerable thumping myself episodes accompanied by phrases such as "How could I have missed doing something so obvious?"

Click image for larger version

Name:	Burst water heater tank.jpg
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Best Regards,
Frank
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