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Old 05-11-2021, 08:38 AM   #1
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2004 Itasca 35U Water heater issue

Ok, here we go...
Out camping "boon docking" for the first time this season... Hot water on propane worked fine the first few times, then it wouldn't light anymore. i turned on the generator and heated it via electricity and it worked fine.

I can hear a clicking sound before the "failed to light" light copies on. The sound does not sound like (but I can be wrong) the sparker. it goes through this process 3 times before quiting and flashing the red light.

I tried using a match to light the burner during this time. Its would light, but then immediately stop and shut off.

I then cleaned the tube and replaced the thermocouple with no success.

Question: Do I just need to bite the bullet and buy a new sparker and control board, or is there a way to diagnose further?

Thanks all
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:42 AM   #2
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You didn't specify which brand of water heater you have but since it's a 2004 Itasca, I'll have to assume it's the same as the Atwood water heater in my 2004 Itasca Sunrise.

There are a number of online resources for troubleshooting your water heater as well as a number of YouTube videos. https://www.viewnavionmotorhomes.com...leshooting.pdf

The first thing I would check is the electrical harness connection to make sure all the connections are clean and tight. Next, clean the flame sensor and make sure the gap is correct. From what I gather, a bad control board is rarely a problem and is pretty expensive to replace. FWIW, we had the exact problem with our water heater when we took possession of it from my wife's aunt and uncle in late 2019. Turns out there was a very small, nearly invisible crack in the ceramic on the sensor electrode. Replacing it was a super easy fix. Atwood part number 93868 purchased on Amazon for less than $15.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:50 AM   #3
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I forgot to ask the obvious question since you stated it worked fine on propane the first few times. You DID check the propane level, right????
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AveryF View Post
I forgot to ask the obvious question since you stated it worked fine on propane the first few times. You DID check the propane level, right????
Maybe his Mother-In-Law reached in and turned the valve on the propane tank off.

Some wise ass did this to a friend of mine after we went through his and got his 25 year old water heater working correctly. Neighbor slipped over and turned the gas off. After hearing profanity coming from inside, the neighbor came over and fessed up.
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by blackjack747 View Post
Question: Do I just need to bite the bullet and buy a new sparker and control board, or is there a way to diagnose further?
The new ignition probe is the best answer from what you have told us. I suspect that if you go out and watch the spark while someone inside turns on the water heater, you will probably see the propane light but the spark continue for 3 times, the turn off the gas. That happens because that probe is also what detects the heat of the flame, and sends a tiny voltage back to the control circuit board. Yours does not seem to be detecting the flame, which is the most common failure. If that is still the original ignition probe on a 2004 water heater, that is amazing that it has lasted this long. I suspect that a typical probe if used a lot will last 5 to 10 years.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:40 AM   #6
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Probe ordered

Thanks all.

I have ordered the probe and it should get here this afternoon. I will post the results
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:25 PM   #7
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No Go

replaced the probe / ignighter... no changes.

I hear things clicking and I smell propane, but I still do not get a spark.

I have now replaced the thermocouple and the probe / ignighter. next cheapest thing to replace are the thermostats, then the board. Not sure what would be next
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:59 PM   #8
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If you hear the snapping sound and it isn't a spark, what is it? The only sound that I know of from the probe area is the spark crossing the air gap and it would try 3 times. It can be difficult to see the spark in daylight but it can be seen if it is dark.

If you are sure that all connections are good, then it must be the circuit board. If you replace the circuit board, I suggest that you use one from Dinosaur Electronics as they cost less and have a longer warranty than the OEM boards.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:04 PM   #9
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Where's Old Bisquit when you need him! He's the guy with so much knowledge on these things.
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Old 05-21-2021, 10:25 AM   #10
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Fixed

It ended up being the control board.

Thanks everybody.
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