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Old 11-26-2020, 11:45 AM   #1
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Hot Water Tank "Loose Wire"

More posting as a FYI, but at the outside chance of maybe a short-cut fix. Long story short, my hot water tank doesn't work on gas. Works fine on shore power. Come to think of it, I didn't use it on gas at all in the last 18 months.

So at this years East Coast ORV Rally in New York this past August (we were dry camping) flipped on the switch for "gas" and the hot water tank went thru it's 3 attempts to light, after failing, the DSI warning light lite up on the switch. I did confirm I was getting gas to the burner unit (you can hear it, and smell it), but the gas electrode wasn't firing.

Back at home I pulled the electrode from outside and sure enough, no voltage to the electrode when attempting to light. Called my dealer to pick their brain. They did say, especially on the rear kitchen models (24rks) the electrode cable wire might have fallen off the circuit board. From the inside of the trailer, going thru the corner kitchen cabinets I couldn't see a thing as far as a wire falling off as the tank sits against the back wall of the trailer and you can't see the circuit board.

Then a few weeks ago, I took a closer look ( bigger flashlight) inside the cabinet, and sure enough I can see an orange wire laying on the floor under the tank. The electrode wire is orange colored on the outside, so one can only assume that's the problem.

Since it looks like the only way to re-attach the wire is to pull the whole unit, because the control module sits on the backside of the tank, inaccessible to human hands. Pulling the unit is above my pay grade. I have a dealer appointment for Dec 8th. Just thought there might be a short-cut other than pulling the tank.

For what its worth, I called Suburban and according to them, the RV manufacturers are supposed to re-mount the control module on the side of the tank most easily accessible for service if ever need be. They said it's just wire tied for that reason. ORV says, "We only take the Suburban units out of the shipping box and install it. We don't move nothing"
What "could" be a 30 second fix, will now cost me XXXX for a dealer to tinker with. I'm more worried about them cracking the outside black trim molding, or not caulking it properly when re-installing it. Pictures: the one with the red circle is the electrode orange wire that fell off. With my 58 year old body, I can't even touch the wire from the cabinet access opening, let alone feel around to re-attact it to its terminal post.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:28 PM   #2
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Take a look at Darren's (My RV Works) videos. Perhaps one shows how to remove the water heater .... https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...MnrHqlE3mk7Xa5
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:34 PM   #3
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How far up is the circuit board?
Can you reach and grab the orange wire using one of those 'pick up' tools?
Then pull it up where you can get hold of it and plug it back onto circuit board?

Suburban WH circuit boards are mounted on top/backside of water heater ----secured for shipping AND installation by RV MFG.

Called my dealer to pick their brain. They did say, especially on the rear kitchen models (24rks) the electrode cable wire might have fallen off the circuit board.
Obvious a KNOWN issue ---dealers aware cause they are having to fix it. Seems like DEALERS should be notifying RV MFG about this reoccurring problem that could be easily FIXED during production

RV MFGs do not have 'techs' --- they have floor jockeys that install as fast as they can so they can get to next install.
No time to THINK and make 'revisions' if needed.

RV MFG Designers are worst...they don't have to work on what they conjure up.

Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:43 PM   #4
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It's hard to tell for sure from pictures, but I think it might be worth investing in some long needle nose pliers to see if you can get to the wire and put it where it belongs.

https://www.amazon.com/Zenith-Indust...s%2C370&sr=8-6
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
How far up is the circuit board?
Can you reach and grab the orange wire using one of those 'pick up' tools?
Then pull it up where you can get hold of it and plug it back onto circuit board?
Yes, I have one of the pick up tools, the problem is I can't see or feel the circuit board. That last picture, your looking at the back wall of the trailer. I just got done talking to a fellow ORV owner who had a 2017 Creekside, where his control module laying on the floor. According to him, the Suburban control modules come with two sided tape and are "stuck" to the wall. His fell off, causing the module to fail. So the new one he screwed to the wall. Now that was a 6 gal tank.

Quote:
RV MFG Designers are worst...they don't have to work on what they conjure up.
I know, funny thing is, the day after we bought ours (Nov 2017) we took the factory tour the next day and they were building our floorplan (24fks) So I wonder, was or is my control module attached to the tank, or is it as my buddies 2017 Creekside taped to the back wall?
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Old 11-26-2020, 04:54 PM   #6
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Do you have access to a boroscope/endoscope that will give you a better view on the far side of the heater?

https://smile.amazon.com/DEPSTECH-Wa.../dp/B01MYTHWK4
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Old 11-26-2020, 07:14 PM   #7
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Ours did just this thing this past summer. In our 20FQ the HWH is below the oven, so six screws and one propane connection to get the oven out and I had access to the HWH board. Reconnected and had enough wire to shift the control board to the space with the water pump for easier future access.
I think our issue was the mount for the circuit board was double side taped to the styro surrounding the HWH, came unstuck and was sliding around putting strain on the wires. Styro and tape don't necessarily play well.
Is there anything you can move/remove above the HWH to gain access? Tough situation if it's underneath the countertop.
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Old 11-26-2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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No access from under the kitchen sink?

How about via that storage compartment right next to water heater...removable panel??

Per Suburban:
The module board on models SW6D/SW6DE and SW10D/SW10DE is not secured to the water heater.
It is to be permanently mounted by the installer.
The module board must be mounted to where it is accessible for service yet out of way of children.
It should be located in a place where it cannot be subjected to
moisture, cleaning chemicals, flammable vapors and liquids, etc.


Circuit boards are 'attached' to WH via double sided tape for shipping.

As typical...RV MFGs just slap the RVs together W/O following ANY Installation Instructions from Vendors.....Water Heaters, Fridges, Furnaces, Stove/Oven etc etc etc
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:00 PM   #9
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Unfortunately no access... it’s stuffed into the back corner of the trailer. The compartment door you see is outside shower and on the wrong side of the HWT.

Maybe... if the sink is removed you can get to it from up top???

Thanks for posting, mine has no issues as of yet, I will have to double check where the board is mounted now. I did notice my 110 switch is seized when winterizing, I didn’t want to mess with it (yet) its more that likely pooched.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:23 PM   #10
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After pulling paneling for shelf above tank.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Wilf View Post
Maybe... if the sink is removed you can get to it from up top???
After pulling paneling for shelf above tank.
So there MAY be access W/O having to remove WH from RV

Not 'easily' accessed but should be easier then disconnecting WH water lines, electrical connections and removal from exterior of RV

I once had to remove the bathroom sink in order to gain better access to shower faucet/lines/fittings.

PITA but better then other 'options'
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
So there MAY be access W/O having to remove WH from RV

Not 'easily' accessed but should be easier then disconnecting WH water lines, electrical connections and removal from exterior of RV

I once had to remove the bathroom sink in order to gain better access to shower faucet/lines/fittings.

PITA but better then other 'options'
IMO yes possibly a better choice than pulling tank, be pulling staples from shelf paneling and pulling sink. At least no worries about exterior sealing, propane connections etc as mentioned. Still will have to be a bit of a contortionist to get in... but maybe.. after taking Advil an hour before to loosen things up.

Id try it.. I hate spending $$ on something I can do myself.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:53 AM   #13
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I have the same model trailer....2019 24RKS. I am wondering if you would have any access to it if you removed the sink? Might have to also cut an access panel since there is a shelf in there under the sink. Sounds like a lot, but I would think some plumbing is easier to deal with and less invasive than breaking outside seals and gas lines. I'm watching this one, please keep us posted on the fix.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:53 AM   #14
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Once you can get eyes on it, mirrors and flashlights are my tools in these situations.

The more permanant solution is to pull the heater (grunt work). No years of training required for this. I am sure you would do a better job than some tech given 30 minutes for the job.

Then place the control board properly and move on. The wire will fall off again if you repeat their error.

The off/on switch on the heater can be fixed by removing it and cleaning it with WD40. I've done that twice on 2 trailers. Try shooting some in with the straw. That works for awhile. Switch pops out if you pry gently on the black plastic mounting. Water corrodes the mechanism. Amazon sells a replacement as well for around $10.

Have fun. Go for it. Then you know it was done right.
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