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Old 05-05-2014, 09:18 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Monson, MA
Posts: 11
Furnace and water heater fixes

I recently picked up a '95 Sierra this past fall and there were obvious signs of "defered maintainence" however the price was to good to pass up. Over the fall/spring i did a bunch of small repairs to it and went through everything to make sure when it was time to move it to the permanent site, things were in operating condition. This past weekend i wrapped just about everything and thought i share a few things i learned along the way.

When it tried the water heater(Suburban) for the first time this spring, it didnt want to fire. Havent dealt with one in the past i wasnt completely new to these water heaters so i did some troubleshooting and testing to find out what was wrong. I could hear the ignitor clicking but no fire. I was able to manually light it but unless i held the lighter next to the pilot, it'd go out. I removed the burner tube and ignitor to check or anything out of the ordinary. I found one prong of the ignitor had seperated from the ceramic isolator causing it to form an incorrect gap for it to ingite the propane. $15 later for a new ignitor and it was all set.

The furnace was my next challenge. I've never dealt with a propane TT furnace before this was all new to me. The first time i tried firing it up it took about 3-4 tries to get it to fire but it worked fine when i did get it to fire. I tried it again a few days later to make sure it was working properly. No dice. I tried mulitple times after that but it wouldnt fire, i could hear the ignitor trying but it wouldnt fire. I put that aside while i dealt with other issues but i got around to it this past weekend. I removed it about a week prior to see if anything was obviously wrong but i didnt have the time to really troubleshoot it. But this time it was getting dealt with. Based on what i what i read on the web about these units i was sure it was something small that was causing to not to fire. I could hear it trying to fire so the ignitor was probably ok. I coud smell propane out of the exhaust so i knew the solenoid was opeing allowing gas to flow. The fans were running so i doubted it was a sail switch, but i test that anyways. I removed the unit again(Suburban) and took it into the garage where i tore it all apart, that thing was a pain to dissassemble. I found some rust and crud inside the burner orifice so i blew it out with compressed air and make sure everything else was ok. Put it all back together and it fired right up.

The moral of the story is you need to troubleshoot these components if they're not working properly because it may be a simple $15 part or a cleaning and you're back in business. Thankfully i'm handy with things like this and saved myself a bunch of money. hopefully this may help someone else out.

'95 Sierra
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Central PA
Posts: 199
Good story. I had similar issues with a used pop up I bought. The 3 way fridge would not light off of propane. I did my research on a pop up website and tried everything from cleaning to replacing thermocouple and finally the main gas control valve. I went from least expensive method to the most expensive fix (gas control valve was the culprit). I spent about $125 in parts and maybe 8 hrs of labor. I also had problems with my Suburban heater. Went through the same process for troubleshooting. Went as far as to replace the main board and relay with no fix. Last ditch effort was to replace the mechanical wall thermostat with a digital one. Thermostat was the problem. So about another $200 and another 8 hrs labor. I know the dealer I bought the camper from has a posted shop rate @ over $100/hr. So 16 hrs of labor is a heafty bill. Also, calling them for parts prices was about double what I found online.

It pays to keep up with these forums and learn from others experiences.
2012 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab Short bed 5.3L v8
2014 Prime Time Manufacturing Avenger ATI 27BBS
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