SOME LIKE IT HOT: How I finally fixed the Suburban Propane SF-30 Furnace
If I only knew then, what I know now. I have spent countless hours and trips, and at least $250 trying to get the Suburban SF-30 furnace on my 2005 FR Wildwood 37BHSS TT to work properly. This endeavor has spanned the last 15 months. It was complicated by the fact that our "home away from home" is parked in the deep woods, ship-in-a-bottle like, where it cannot be easily extracted, or towed to a repair shop.
To think that I could have repaired this problem all along with a $39 part is beyond maddening, so if you are having furnace problems, please read this and pay heed to my misfortune. DONT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID.
When our furnace stopped firing up in heat mode like it should, we at first suspected the cheapo OEM Dometics controller board, so I bought a Dinosaur Electronics board instead for $100, removed the furnace, installed it and tried to get it going. The furnace worked better, because the new board works better and does not time out as fast, but the furnace was still intermittent on the fire-up. It would often not fire up like it should. Some improvement though.
Next, I got all the documents on this unit, studied them, then removed the furnace, took it 40 miles to my workshop and partially dissassembled it and cleaned it with a vacuum cleaner. No problems found. took it back and reinstalled it, and it would not fire off. Removed it and took it to the local RV dealer for testing.
$75 and two days later, and they said it worked fine for them. Took it back and carefully reinstalled it again (4th time?). By this time, I had added quick connect connectors to replace the wire nuts, so the install would go easier.
Again, the furnace would work sometimes and not fire off other times. Now that the RV dealer had touched the furnace, it now had a "squeak, squeak, squeak" sound on the blower motor on start up that is beyond annoying. Makes my head want to explode since I know that it did not do that before I handed it to those bozos.
Next, I torqued with a wrench the non-user adjustable black plastic wrench head on the Marshall propane dual regulator that came OEM with my trailer. It's not supposed to adjust anything, but it did. In fact, this permitted better gas flow and the furnace would fire off more easily... for a while.
Since it doesn't get very cold in FLA, finalizing the furnace repair kept getting put off, again and again, then summer came and went, and finally last week, when I could not get the furnace to fire up for any reason after many tries, I ordered a CAMCO dual propane regulator from AMAZON.COM for $39. This turned out to be a god send.
After replacing that regulator, my furnace and stove work like a CHARM. No problems at all firing up the furnace. Also the gas flame at the Dometic stove burners, which I always fired up to ensure there was no air in the line, no longer have orange tips.
TO BE CLEAR, I HAD A $39 PROBLEM WITH MY FURNACE. THE OEM MARSHALL DUAL TANK REGULATOR WAS FAILING AND I DID NOT KNOW IT. THERE WAS NEVER ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE FURNACE, NO LEAKS AND THE CONTROLLER BOARD WAS FINE (let me know if you need one by the way). ALL THIS TIME AND EFFORT SPENT TO FIND OUT THAT THE DUAL REGULATOR WAS THE PROBLEM.
IF I HAD JUST KNOWN TO REPLACE THE DUAL REGULATOR EVERY 2-3 YEARS, BECAUSE THEY FAIL, BECAUSE THEY ARE EXPOSED TO THE ELEMENTS AND STOP WORKING, I WOULD HAVE SAVED MYSELF OVER 40 HOURS OF TIME AND $250 and MY FURNANCE WOULD NOT BE SQUEAKING NOW.
I am happy to report that the furnace is working great now with the new CAMCO regulator and the flame at the stove is a perfect blue color. In fact, the flame at the stove's burner is probably the best troubleshooting tip of all. But, when in doubt, replace the regulator first.