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Old 10-16-2017, 02:45 PM   #1
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2006 cardinal 5th wheel water heater

So here's the problem, gas side works electric doesn't. I'v replaced the heating element and the rocker switch on the heater and still no hot water. I've seen something about the "high" limit switch could be bad. I'm not kicking the breaker inside on the elec panel nor the two reset buttons on the outside. How do I find out if the switch is bad? The items mentioned above I replaced knowing they were bad but I'm stumped now? Any ideas on where to go next?
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:54 PM   #2
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Have you checked voltage on the wiring, to make sure you are getting power to the element. If you have the Suburban brand, it's fairly straight forward to see at what point you don't have power thru as explained below

We have instances of where the water heater isn't plugged into an outlet behind the water heater...thus no power.



Here is a pic of the 120 volt AC hi-limit thermostat (on the left side, as the right one is to the 12 volt DC), with the fusible link burned out between the hi-limit and thermostat..which won't allow power to the electric element. This happens a lot if the element burns out. These are located behind that rubber cover that has RESET on it.

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Old 10-16-2017, 03:12 PM   #3
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should I be getting any type of voltage reading on the heating element if my water is cold, the element switch is "on" and my breaker is not tripped? When I replaced the heating element there was not a specific side marked for either the white or black wire, does it make a difference? How do I go about test the "high" limit switch to see if it is good or not?

what kind of voltage should I be getting here https://photos.google.com/u/1/photo/...NEfDvdjCv-bGKz
https://photos.google.com/u/1/photo/...VXc2O3RB6MT6mO
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jlscjs View Post
should I be getting any type of voltage reading on the heating element if my water is cold, the element switch is "on" and my breaker is not tripped? When I replaced the heating element there was not a specific side marked for either the white or black wire, does it make a difference? How do I go about test the "high" limit switch to see if it is good or not?
As per the wiring diagram above, and for testing voltage on the black "hot line" you will need to set your multi-meter for AC voltage and above 120 volts if applicable. Each multi-meter will be different.

You will turn everything ON (make sure you are connected to a form of 120 volt AC shore power). The way you check for voltage on the hot leg, is to place the red probe on the line/connection/terminal.....then the black probe on a good ground.

You cannot check for voltage on just the hot leg, by placing the probes on each side of either the switch...or the thermostat...since you can't read voltage utilizing the same line. You have to measure voltage with the hot line and the difference in potential...which is either the ground or neutral. You won't have a neutral until you get all the way to the elements connections.

Using the schematic: You want to check for voltage on both sides of the small black electric switch. If you have voltage on both sides, proceed downstream to the hi-limit, and check for voltage on both sides/terminal there. If good, proceed downstream to the electric heating element. Check for voltage there.

If you don't have voltage at the black switch, then you know the problem is upstream...and you need to find out if the water heater is plugged into an outlet, and if this outlet has power to it.

If you turn everything on, If the water is cold, then you should have 120 volts all the way to the element, so it can heat the water. If the water is heated, you would still have 120 volts up to the thermostat, which then cuts the power off at that point, until the water cools enough, and the thermostat closes the circuit to allow 120 volts to the element.

Look at the schematic for the BK (Black) wire. BTW, it shouldn't matter which side you connected the hot line and neutral wire at the element.

Simply put, all a heating element is, is a part of a 120 volt wiring circuit, that has more resistance at that point. It's this resistance that make it heat up and thus warm the water.

The switch, hi-limit thermostat, and regular thermostat just cut the 120 volts off at their respective junction.....to keep the element from heating up. You can think of the hi-limit and regular thermostat as just two switches that operate off temp to open/close the circuit to allow 120 volts thru to the element. it's really a simple setup and not much to go wrong.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:03 PM   #5
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As per the wiring diagram above, and for testing voltage on the black "hot line" you will need to set your multi-meter for AC voltage and above 120 volts if applicable. Each multi-meter will be different.

You will turn everything ON (make sure you are connected to a form of 120 volt AC shore power). The way you check for voltage on the hot leg, is to place the red probe on the line/connection/terminal.....then the black probe on a good ground.

You cannot check for voltage on just the hot leg, by placing the probes on each side of either the switch...or the thermostat...since you can't read voltage utilizing the same line. You have to measure voltage with the hot line and the difference in potential...which is either the ground or neutral. You won't have a neutral until you get all the way to the elements connections.

Using the schematic: You want to check for voltage on both sides of the small black electric switch. If you have voltage on both sides, proceed downstream to the hi-limit, and check for voltage on both sides/terminal there. If good, proceed downstream to the electric heating element. Check for voltage there.

If you don't have voltage at the black switch, then you know the problem is upstream...and you need to find out if the water heater is plugged into an outlet, and if this outlet has power to it.

If you turn everything on, If the water is cold, then you should have 120 volts all the way to the element, so it can heat the water. If the water is heated, you would still have 120 volts up to the thermostat, which then cuts the power off at that point, until the water cools enough, and the thermostat closes the circuit to allow 120 volts to the element.

Look at the schematic for the BK (Black) wire. BTW, it shouldn't matter which side you connected the hot line and neutral wire at the element.

Simply put, all a heating element is, is a part of a 120 volt wiring circuit, that has more resistance at that point. It's this resistance that make it heat up and thus warm the water.

The switch, hi-limit thermostat, and regular thermostat just cut the 120 volts off at their respective junction.....to keep the element from heating up. You can think of the hi-limit and regular thermostat as just two switches that operate off temp to open/close the circuit to allow 120 volts thru to the element. it's really a simple setup and not much to go wrong.
did the checks and I have no voltage at the heating element, not sure where to go for now, can't find a good place behind the on/off switch to check without pulling out the water heater, gonna keep looking
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:18 PM   #6
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Do you have voltage on either side of the thermostats?

I am assuming still you have a Suburban brand water heater. Is this so?
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:37 PM   #7
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Do you have voltage on either side of the thermostats?

I am assuming still you have a Suburban brand water heater. Is this so?
cant get any readings on the high limit switch, I do have voltage going down there, I thought when I replaced the element switch the black wire came from under the counter to it first then to the high limit, but maybe I looked at it wrong, I only popped out the on/off switch to replaced it, not remove the tank itself.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:52 PM   #8
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cant get any readings on the high limit switch, I do have voltage going down there, I thought when I replaced the element switch the black wire came from under the counter to it first then to the high limit, but maybe I looked at it wrong, I only popped out the on/off switch to replaced it, not remove the tank itself.
but I just now found the hot wire with a blade running from my junction box to the front of the heater doesn't appear to be attached, was moving it around and pulling on it and the end came through the junction box, so I guess I get to pull the whole unit and find out what is going on>Not sure where it actually goes, I have a black running to the on/off switch and one still connected to the high limit side so now I am confused, nothing in the print I have or yours shows anything like that! Oh the fun of repairing
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jlscjs View Post
cant get any readings on the high limit switch, I do have voltage going down there, I thought when I replaced the element switch the black wire came from under the counter to it first then to the high limit, but maybe I looked at it wrong, I only popped out the on/off switch to replaced it, not remove the tank itself.
No need to remove tank to do any of this. I'm not sure you are following the schematic correct. I have some stuff on my home computer already saved that will help you here. I'll be home about 5:30 central, and will get it to you. Hold tight.

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Old 10-16-2017, 05:09 PM   #10
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but I just now found the hot wire with a blade running from my junction box to the front of the heater doesn't appear to be attached, was moving it around and pulling on it and the end came through the junction box, so I guess I get to pull the whole unit and find out what is going on>Not sure where it actually goes, I have a black running to the on/off switch and one still connected to the high limit side so now I am confused, nothing in the print I have or yours shows anything like that! Oh the fun of repairing
You should have two black wires to the ON/OFF switch. All the switch does is open/close to allow 120 volts thru from say wire A to wire B.

When you replaced the black switch, did you not connect two wires back to it?

Pictures would help tremendously if you have your cellphone handy.
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