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Old 10-18-2021, 03:01 PM   #1
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Water Heater Bypass Valve

I have a 2004 Winnebago Journey and my water heater bypass valve failed this summer. I purchased and installed a new valve and have used the camper for weeks with the valve in "normal" mode and had no problems. I thought it was all hooked up okay until I just tried to freeze protect the coach for the winter. With the valve in "bypass" mode the antifreeze is pumped into my water heater. I obviously got the three hoses connected wrong. The hoses are not labeled and I don't know how to proceed with changes. There are no RV service shops nearby and the ones I can drive to are booked. I need to rework the connections and get my coach freeze protected. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-18-2021, 03:41 PM   #2
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Your Winnebago has a valve with a handle on one side of the heater and a check valve on the other.
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:58 AM   #3
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Water Heater Bypass Valve

Thank you for the input.
I am aware of the check valve but have not yet found it. I also have found the plumbing diagrams for my coach and have carefully reviewed the installation. I believe everything is connected correctly and that the new bypass valve I installed is working properly. When the system is in normal mode a significant flow of water is provided to the hot water heater. I know that because I tested the system with the water heater drain open. However, when the valve is moved to bypass position, water still flows to the water heater but at a reduced flow. Again, I know the bypass valve works because I checked it separately. I am thinking that I may have a bad check valve. Is that a common / possible failure item? When my original bypass valve failed this summer, it blew apart while I was driving. Could my original bypass valve and my check valve have both failed during the same incident? I don't have experience to draw upon but a bad check valve seems to be the only thing I have not yet checked.

Is the check valve installed on or behind the water heater? Is it easy to replace? Also, do I need to be concerned if get antifreeze in my water heater when I freeze protect. Buying 10 more gallons of antifreeze my be my best short term solution.
I am still in need of some expertise. Thanks again.
Bill P.
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Old 10-19-2021, 12:33 PM   #4
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Winnebago likes to use Check valves in Hot Out port AND Cold Inlet port

New 3 way valve should close off ALL flow to hot out line
Cold inlet flows to/thru bypass valve and then into hot water line downstream of WH Tank

So....Hot Out check valve and/or Cold Inlet check valve could be bad


Issue with Anti-freeze in water heater
*Excess quantity needed
*Anti-freeze can be difficult to fully rinse out of WH Tank
(Frothy/foaming water)
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Old 10-21-2021, 08:34 AM   #5
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Water Heater Bypass Valve

Thanks for the input. I am pretty sure my check valve(s) have debris blocking them from closing. Since the valve(s) are behind the water heater the location is difficult to access. I am going to fill my water heater with antifreeze this year since time is short before cold weather. I will decide later about replacing the check valve(s). Thanks again.
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Old 10-21-2021, 08:47 AM   #6
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I have the same problem with a brand-new 5er. It is back at the dealership right now to get sorted out under warrantee.

I put a couple of gallons of antifreeze into the water heater before I figured out that something was seriously wrong. (I should have released pressure in the water line before I removed the anode to drain it out .) I flushed the water heater from the anode hole to get the pink out.
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Old 10-21-2021, 02:51 PM   #7
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I have a 2005 Tiffin Phaeton. The check valve or backflow valve was bad on mine. It was located very close to the hot water tank.
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