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Old 06-13-2021, 07:21 PM   #1
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Atwood 5/6 gallon water heater

I just purchased this '99 Damon Ultrasport and I get about three cups of hot water from the Atwood water heater. It seems to be LP only and, shuts down after about three minutes of running, I get the impression this is a dumb newbie question--but is this a common issue or am I looking at a new hot water heater?
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Old 06-13-2021, 07:47 PM   #2
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I just purchased this '99 Damon Ultrasport and I get about three cups of hot water from the Atwood water heater. It seems to be LP only and, shuts down after about three minutes of running, I get the impression this is a dumb newbie question--but is this a common issue or am I looking at a new hot water heater?

We have a 2000 Tioga with the 6 gallon Atwood W.H. .

We have had overall good luck with the heater , but it has needed repair a couple times .

Good news is the tank is aluminum and should last forever . The other good news it is a simple appliance . It has a thermostat , electronic control board , burner , ignitor and a propane control valve . All of which are readily available and relatively easy to replace.

Since it starts and will run on propane , albeit a short time . The propane component appears to be working properly . It ignites and burns , so I figure the burner and ignitor are working .

I'm leaning toward the control board being the problem . Available for less than 1 Motorhome Buck ( $100 ) and about 10 minutes to install .

Go to YouTube and search " Atwood water heater problems" . There are videos for repairing and replacing all the components.

In addition there is a 110v heater kit available to convert the Atwood so it can run on either propane or electric when plugged in . You can also run both the propane and electric at the same time to heat the water faster and gives a quicker recovery .

Let us know what you find.

Bill
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Gileg View Post
I just purchased this '99 Damon Ultrasport and I get about three cups of hot water from the Atwood water heater. It seems to be LP only and, shuts down after about three minutes of running, I get the impression this is a dumb newbie question--but is this a common issue or am I looking at a new hot water heater?
It would help to know the model number of the heater. As stated some are Li only, but that is rare.

You say 3 cups of hot water? Is it hot or warm? Does water continue to flow with the hot tap on?

The first thing to do is pull the nylon drain plug and see how much junk you get out of it. Then replace the drain plug and make sure itís full. Some say to flip the pop off valve to make sure itís full. Iím not a fan of that but do sometimes when troubleshooting. Let the water run until you get no air out of the hot tap.

You say it runs for 3 minutes. I assume you mean the flame?

They are designed to try and light 3 times and if they donít fire properly shut down.

You may need to pull the igniter out, clean it and recap it. The way it knows itís running is when the flame is on the electrode sends a signal yo the controller that it is burning. The gap must be set at exactly 1/8 inch.

The other common problem is the thermostats. There are 2. One is 140 degrees, or if it has been replaced may be adjustable, the second marked ECO is 180 degree. If the water heater over heats it shuts it down at 180degrees.

Iíd check those before throwing a $100 control board in it.

If it needs a new igniter they are abou $20 but usually you can clean and adjust them.
The thermostat kit is $22 and are easily replaced.

I would never recommend putting the 110 v hot stick in a gas only unit. It screws in where the drain plug goes and then you have to wire to it. Live with the local.
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:52 PM   #4
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The drain plug that I found when I picked this unit up, (it was winterized) was out and it appears to be brass. (unless there is another drain plug) Yje water is quite warm for four cups, then continues to run until it becomes ambient tank temp. (I am only running on tank water right now, no city hook up)
Yes, the flame runs for about 3 minutes and then simply shuts down.

Thanks Amosnandy
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:16 PM   #5
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Does it look like this model


OR does it look like this model



Top model......could be T-stat or could be spark electrode

Bottom model.....could be the thermocouple or the gas control valve

Brass drain plug??
Was it a solid brass plug OR
Was it a brass Pet Cock drain plug???
*Solid should not be used
Pet Cock was used on early pilot gas only models
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:53 PM   #6
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I just purchased this '99 Damon Ultrasport and I get about three cups of hot water from the Atwood water heater. It seems to be LP only and, shuts down after about three minutes of running, I get the impression this is a dumb newbie question--but is this a common issue or am I looking at a new hot water heater?
Gileg ,

All the contributing posters have valid points .

Just to clarify , I wasn't recommending you buy a control board , I was just commenting on my personal experience with a similar problem .

To trouble shoot your problem , the YouTube videos will show how to test all the components to determine the problem before you purchase parts and will provide a visual representation of what you should be looking for .

As to the comment to not install the 110v heating kit , remember those of us who have done the conversion have actual experience with it's use and performance and recommend the heaters .
They come in handy when ever the propane acts up . We've used it for several years and are pleased with the heater and have had no problems with it's operation . Plus when in a CG it's like free hot water when plugged in to shore power. There is also cost savings because of lower propane use.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:04 PM   #7
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Gileg ,

All the contributing posters have valid points .

Just to clarify , I wasn't recommending you buy a control board , I was just commenting on my personal experience with a similar problem .

To trouble shoot your problem , the YouTube videos will show how to test all the components to determine the problem before you purchase parts and will provide a visual representation of what you should be looking for .

As to the comment to not install the 110v heating kit , remember those of us who have done the conversion have actual experience with it's use and performance and recommend the heaters .
They come in handy when ever the propane acts up . We've used it for several years and are pleased with the heater and have had no problems with it's operation . Plus when in a CG it's like free hot water when plugged in to shore power. There is also cost savings because of lower propane use.

Only issue with the electric add on kit is OWNERS
They install in the drain hole and MANY times Owners are too lazy to disconnect/remove element so WH Tank can be drained/flushed as needed

Kits come with set of t-stats and therefore have their own temp control...safe operation just slower due to much smaller wattage element
**And if used in Suburban they have a VERY small anode rod
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:27 PM   #8
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Only issue with the electric add on kit is OWNERS
They install in the drain hole and MANY times Owners are too lazy to disconnect/remove element so WH Tank can be drained/flushed as needed

Kits come with set of t-stats and therefore have their own temp control...safe operation just slower due to much smaller wattage element
**And if used in Suburban they have a VERY small anode rod


Completely agree with O.B.

I can't speak to a Suburban W.H. , never owned one .

On our Atwood a little maintenance and zero problems.

I pull my heating element every year in the fall and drain and flush the tank and clean the electrode.

Simple to do , but some folks have never removed their original H.W. tank drain plug or drained and flushed the tank.

I like the fact that the electric heater is a low draw , and with 30 amp power to the coach I can still run all the major appliances , just not at the same time .

It's all about energy management.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:38 PM   #9
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Closer to the first pic.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:39 PM   #10
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Completely agree with O.B.

I can't speak to a Suburban W.H. , never owned one .

On our Atwood a little maintenance and zero problems.

I pull my heating element every year in the fall and drain and flush the tank and clean the electrode.

Simple to do , but some folks have never removed their original H.W. tank drain plug or drained and flushed the tank.

I like the fact that the electric heater is a low draw , and with 30 amp power to the coach I can still run all the major appliances , just not at the same time .

It's all about energy management.
Suburban uses a Steel glass lined WH Tank (like residential) and requires an anode rod to protect against corrosion
OEM Anode Rod is 9 1/2" long

Add on Kit...the anode rod is only a few inches long and doesn't last very long
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:42 PM   #11
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I am learning quickly, Bill, but I have a long way to go.I seem to have inherited a bunch of small problems, as is expected with 22 year old unit that has sat unattended for a few years. I am working through them, one by one. At the same time I am upgrading all the lighting to LED and the audio and visuals to flat screens and Bluetooth. It has been fun, but it can get daunting, some days.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:48 PM   #12
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Solid brass drain plug is what I found when I opened the door. Not screwed in, unit had been winterized when I bought it, tank was empty and bypassed. I screwed it back in and filled it, didn't know until today that it was supposed to be a plastic plug. Learning a lot, here.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:52 PM   #13
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nevermind
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Old 06-13-2021, 11:03 PM   #14
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I am learning quickly, Bill, but I have a long way to go.I seem to have inherited a bunch of small problems, as is expected with 22 year old unit that has sat unattended for a few years. I am working through them, one by one. At the same time I am upgrading all the lighting to LED and the audio and visuals to flat screens and Bluetooth. It has been fun, but it can get daunting, some days.
Gileg,

Even the brand new rigs have problems , usually the older rigs are experiencing things starting to wear out so you get some notice things need work.

You can rely on this site and its great members to be here to support you .

As you become more familiar with your MH and all it's systems , you'll get more comfortable owning and driving it . Plus , when something comes up , and it's not if but when , you'll have the knowledge to address it.

Think of it as an adventure . Remember it's supposed to be fun .

Bill
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