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Old 04-20-2015, 09:55 PM   #1
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Life expectancy of Suburban SW6P? six-gallon water heater for 1996 popup

Folks,

I have a 1996 Rockwood pop-up.

Just pulled out the non-working water heater - never lit in the past two seasons.

When I drained it, about 2/3 cup of corrosion/debris/bits of sand/metal with water dumped out.

Should I bother hauling this Suburban SW6P into the shop to see if they can get it working, or simply bite the bullet and buy a new $250 6-gallon water heater?

Is 20-years the expected lifespan of one of these units?

I don't think the ANODE ROD had ever been replaced.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Gordon
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:34 PM   #2
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Never came with an anode originally, does it have one now? First I would move the thermostat lever at the top back and forth...does it have a noticible click? Move the entire range. If it does thats good. If not then its trash. Very rarely does it slip and lose calibration. Then I would ....did you say 250?...thats a pretty good deal. Depends on how mechanically inclined you are...alkaline water is a killer onthese tanks. But she may have some life..LMK if you want the rundown...
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:38 PM   #3
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My bad...my entire response was based on an atwood water heater...little preoccupied...sorry
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:41 PM   #4
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Did you pull the pilot line loose and check for gas from the thermostat? May be just a dirty pilot burner? Watch the nut carefully where it attaches to the thermostat to be sure you dont rotate the aluminum line with it. Little oil helps sometimes
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:44 PM   #5
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If you can get a new water heater for $250 go for it. I would not trust a 20 year old water heater. You might spend $100 to get it working only to find that the tank will start leaking because of rust.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:48 PM   #6
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If in 20 years the anode was never replaced, you can be sure the tank is well shot. I am amazed you were able to get the old anode out; usually it is corroded in so tight without anode material that it would take 2 men and a boy with a 3 foot cheater bar to break it loose.

That heater owes you nothing; get a new one.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
If in 20 years the anode was never replaced, you can be sure the tank is well shot. I am amazed you were able to get the old anode out; usually it is corroded in so tight without anode material that it would take 2 men and a boy with a 3 foot cheater bar to break it loose.

That heater owes you nothing; get a new one.
Agree, wouldn't even haul it past the trash can.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:23 PM   #8
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What? With that oil filled italian valve now made in china? Ok...get a new one...lol. Once an rv tech...always a tech.

I want a pic of the anode rod..

Do u need a door kit with that?
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:31 AM   #9
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Consider a sw6d if you have continuous 12v. The pilot model has a control valve that just gives people fits. Youd have to wire it in and spend a little more money to get it. But you could run for short periods if you wish and save propane in the process.
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:56 PM   #10
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Crockett has a good point. You may already be informed about this, but you can get a Suburban water heater with gas firing and a pilot light, or with gas firing and direct spark ignition (required 12 volts) or gas direct spark plus a 110 volt heating element.

The direct spark doesn't require much 12 volt power, so you probably wouldn't notice the drain on your battery.

The key question is, how will you camp? If you seldom have hookups, I'd recommend gas only with direct spark ignition. It only costs about $30 or $40 more, but you'd need to run some wires. 110 volt element adds about $100 more.
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