Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > RV SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES FORUMS > RV Systems & Appliances
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-27-2017, 06:35 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Great Basin
Posts: 4
Suburban water heater repair/maintenance

I have a 1985 Skyline TT with what appears to be a Suburban water heater; name on the mostly faded tag is American Appliance Mfg. Corp. The model number is SSRVB-A or something like that.

The P/T valve is in good shape, the leak I have is a weeping drip from behind the thermostat when it is fired up and water is heating. Once the tank and water are hot, I cannot determine if the unit is no longer leaking or if the water is just evaporating before dripping. The water pump has been giving an occasional "bump" every hour or two so my assumption is that the leak is still present. Removing everything else and then the thermostat to reseal the fitting behind it appears to be a difficult (if not near impossible) task.

New propane only water heaters are about 260.00 and up, just verifying if I can toggle the pump when needed and live with the leak, repair it, or R/R the WH.

Any input is greatly appreciated. I have been lurking and learning on this site for about a year now. My favorite threads are RV Mutants and Vintage.

Edit: photo attached
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	wh.jpg
Views:	396
Size:	640.5 KB
ID:	174602  
derboreno is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free! RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-27-2017, 07:06 PM   #2
Senior Member
BFlinn181's Avatar
Gulf Streamers Club
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 19,927

Suburban bought out the American Appliance Mfg. Corp in 1987. Some parts might be interchangeable, but it's hard to determine without the old part in hand.

In a Suburban WH, the thermostats don't penetrate the tank wall, they are mounted on studs on the tank and measure heat by conduction through the stud. To see if the tank is actually leaking, I'd put a wadded up tissue inside the bottom of the square cover plate over the thermostat. It will absorb and hold the water to show a leak. A Suburban WH has a steel tank and the drain plug has an anode on it. If yours is leaking, it might be time to install a new WH.

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
BFlinn181 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2017, 11:39 PM   #3
Senior Member
JFXG's Avatar
Newmar Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Today? Clayton, North Carolina
Posts: 4,867
I suspect it is never a good idea to try to live with the leak. Water damage is inexorable, but your situation will determine your decision.
I replaced my leaking Suburban 10 gal last summer. Assuming the current Suburban are similar in dimension to your old unit, the R/R should be quite straightforward. One suggestion: in my DS there was rigid PEX plumbing direct to the cold and hot fittings on the back of the unit. Very difficult access. I cut the PEX back to a convenient work point and then bought flexible feed lines and fittings to make the connections. Much easier.
Good Luck!
John, Diane, and Lincoln, the guard cat. RVM103
Fulltimers since June 2012
2002 Dutch Star 40, Freightliner, Cat 3126,
2004 Element
JFXG is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2017, 12:07 AM   #4
Senior Member
Old-Biscuit's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 19,549
The only thermostats on THAT unit is the WARM to HOT knob on the front of the Unitrol Gas Valve and the ECO/Hi Temp 'probe' that comes out the back of that Unitrol Gas Valve and 'sticks' thru tank wall into the water.

That vintage ..monies better spent on NEW water heater
Is it time for YOUR Medication or Mine?
Dodge 3500 w/Tractor Motor & NUWA 5vr
US NAVY---USS Decatur DDG-31
Old-Biscuit is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2017, 01:17 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: lancaster CA
Posts: 590
Let it drip. The pan will catch the drip and move it to the outside. I am in the water business, lots of new installations will just barely leak. A few days and the lime in the water will seal the leak up.
2001 dodge 2500 auto, with billet Mojave Green torque converter with 2nd gear lockup mod, raptor 100 fuel transfer pump and gauges. RV275 injectors
94 Alpenlite 27sl with many mods. Master mechanic over 55 years
oldbeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2017, 01:20 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Great Basin
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
The only thermostats on THAT unit is the WARM to HOT knob on the front of the Unitrol Gas Valve and the ECO/Hi Temp 'probe' that comes out the back of that Unitrol Gas Valve and 'sticks' thru tank wall into the water.

That vintage ..monies better spent on NEW water heater

That's it, excellent and thanks.
derboreno is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2017, 01:30 AM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Great Basin
Posts: 4
All great tips,thank you. After reading more about these water heaters I determined that there was no air space, creating excess pressure when heated but not enough for the P/T valve to blow.

After using the P/T valve to create an air space, i fired it up and... no drip. That doesn't mean ther isn't a problem though. I may dig into it when daytime temps cool down.
derboreno is online now   Reply With Quote

maintenance, heater, repair, water heater, water, air, heat

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Suburban preventative maintenance Ron Burgundy RV Systems & Appliances 3 01-22-2017 04:47 PM
Jelly water in Suburban water heater LarrytheBear RV Systems & Appliances 7 12-01-2016 10:47 PM
Suburban Water Heater Question Rnicfingrp Newmar Owner's Forum 14 01-13-2009 12:41 PM
Suburban Water Heater -- Won't Light! RobG RV Systems & Appliances 8 01-09-2009 06:58 PM
Suburban hot water heater not hot enough ?? rvtips Monaco Owner's Forum 4 08-11-2007 05:25 AM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.