Originally Posted by wildcatcwby
I have a 2002 Wildcat with a Suburban SW6DE water heater. I'm having several problems with the heater. I purchased the camper about 6 months ago. The first time I took it out in November, the heater worked perfectly on electric.
Problem 1 - I took it out 2 weeks ago and the water would only get slightly warm for a few seconds then go back cold. I've checked the bypass valve and even replaced it with no help. Running on electric it would only get luke-warm. On gas, it would get a bit warmer but not hot.
Problem 2 - the Pressure Relief (Pop-off) valve at the top of the tank starts leaking when the water starts getting around 95 degrees. I bought a new valve but can't seem to get the old one out.
Problem 3 - when I removed the anode rod to drain the tank - it was in perfect condition except that it was covered in what looked like calcium deposits and quite a bit of calcium came out of the heater when i drained it.
Any help would be appreciated. I'm about ready to just buy a new one and replace this one altogether.
Problem 1 sounds like a bypass valve being set incorrectly. That has been the subject of many forum post here lately. People thought their bypass valves were set correct when in fact they weren't.
If you have three valves behind your water heater, make sure the inlet(cold water) valve is open, the outlet (hot water) valve is open, and the bypass (which ties the cold water into the hot water line) is closed. The valves should be open when the T in handle is turned the same way as the pipe....and closed when the handle is turned across the pipe. Since the bypass water line runs in a different direction than the hot/cold water lines, it's easy to confuse the position of the valve handle being set incorrect.
Check out this thread/post for the proper valves position. It's possible you may only have one or two valves at all behind your water heater.....or three.
Problem 3 doesn't sound like a problem but normal usage. The sacrificial anode rod does leave pieces of itself inside the water heater as it deteriorates, which is dirty white/grey chunks. It's a good idea, when checking/replacing/removing anode rods, to get a flush wand and flush out the water heater with it while the rod is out. It's possible that this anode rod has been replaced before by another owner and he didn't flush it out, and you are getting pieces/chunks from previous anode rods still inside the heater.
WARNING: If removing the anode rod (which drains the water heater tank), make absolutely SURE you don't have the water heaters electric heating element switch turned on. It must be OFF if you have shore power hooked up with no water in the tank. Check for a little hidden black switch on the front of your water heater.
It sounds like you already know this, but it's worth pointing out again for anyone else who may not know and read this forum later on.