Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-16-2017, 12:38 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 67
Hot Water Heater Modification

I have a 2017 30' FR3 and am thinking of modifying the propane hot water heater by adding an immersion heating element (Hott Rod Water Heater Conversion Kit or Camco Hot Water Hybrid Heat Kit) to increase hot water supply and/or reduce reliance on propane supply. Does anyone have any experience with these products ?
__________________

BILL49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 02:06 AM   #2
I go RV'ing not Camping
 
jgourlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Lethbridge, Ab, Canada
Posts: 1,486
I have only read about them. I almost bought one with my previous trailer but bought or new trailer with the electric hot water built in, so I never pulled the trigger for the hot rod on my old trailer.

Hope that helps,
__________________

__________________
312QBUD Owners Thread
2015 Wildwood Heritage Glen 312QBUD
2000 Chev 2500 Extended Cab 6 Liter
1400lbs Equal-i-zer Hitch
jgourlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 02:45 AM   #3
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by BILL49 View Post
I have a 2017 30' FR3 and am thinking of modifying the propane hot water heater by adding an immersion heating element (Hott Rod Water Heater Conversion Kit or Camco Hot Water Hybrid Heat Kit) to increase hot water supply and/or reduce reliance on propane supply. Does anyone have any experience with these products ?
According to the Forest River FR3 website, you have a combination gas/electric 6 gallon water heater already installed...supposedly.

You may have to expand the "electrical and plumbing" section under the "features" tab in the link below, which I also attached a screenshot snippet of this:

FR3 Class A Motorhomes by Forest River RV


Name:   fr3.jpg
Views: 1952
Size:  14.4 KB

It's possible if there is no switch to turn on the electric heating element for your water heater inside the RV in your panel of switches next to the switch for the propane/dsi part of your water heater...that you may have a Suburban brand name SW6DE water heater...that has the electric heating element switch on the face of the water heater, assessed from outside the RV.

This link explains that hidden switch:

Suburban's electric switch and much more

I would check and see, as you just might be surprised as this is often neglected to be explained to new RV owners who have this type water heater. (hence the very detailed FAQ link above)

Good Luck and let us know what you find.
__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Geaux Tigers!!!!
wmtire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 10:37 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 519
While I'm not familiar with the Hot Rod setup, we do have an electric/propane heater, after 2014 models. Your heating element might be burned out. It can easily happen if someone de-winterized the RV with the Electric switch ON, and one forgets to purge out the air in the hot water tank before turning on the hot water. It'll burn out the element in less than a second.

Another thing to check before replacing element is to make sure the circuit breakers on the water heater isn't blown. Under the water heater cover, there is a black rubber cover that says push to reset. Just press through the two rubber circles to make sure each circuit breakers are seated. From there, you can check for resistance on the heating element with a multi-meter. Should be reading something and not reading open.

This is the heating element that I bought to replace mine.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
__________________
Mike
2015 FR3 30DS
KansasFR3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 10:53 AM   #5
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by KansasFR3 View Post
There is an overall water heater ON/OFF switch inside the coach on the main panel. It just turns on the water heater (propane/electric) ON or OFF. In side the water heater door, bottom LH side, there is another ON/OFF switch. This is for the electric heating element. If this is OFF, then when the coach switch is ON, it'll run on propane.
KansasFR3, usually the inside switch (if there is only one water heater switch) is ONLY to the propane/dsi side of the Suburban water heater. It's not a main, but only controls the propane/dsi part of the water heater.

The outside switch on the face of the water heater ONLY controls the electric heating element.

If you have BOTH switches on, then you're using the propane AND the electric heating element at the same time...... which is what the system is designed for if you want this. It's explained in the FAQ link above as to the SW6DE (one inside switch) and the SW6DEL (two inside switches, one for propane, one for electric)

You can use only the electric element by turning the outside switch on, and leaving the inside propane/dsi switch off.
__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Geaux Tigers!!!!
wmtire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 10:59 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 519
Thanks WMTIRE, I'll have to try it out once I de-winterize the next time.
__________________
Mike
2015 FR3 30DS
KansasFR3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 11:00 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: payson, az
Posts: 2,241
minor clarification on the suburban water heater switches. the switch inside controls the propane source to the water heater. if it is on the propane source will heat the water. the switch on the water heater panel controls the electric heater source. if it is on the electric source will heat the water (assuming no faults - see below). the two switches are independent of each other. thus you can heat the water with:
gas only
electric only
both gas and electric

as stated the electric will not work if:
element is burnt out
circuit breaker has tripped
__________________
2015 cardinal model 3825fl
2015 dodge ram 3500 dually
CHICKDOE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 11:09 AM   #8
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by KansasFR3 View Post
Thanks WMTIRE, I'll have to try it out once I de-winterize the next time.
You are very welcome, Mike.

The operation of the Suburban SWDE model line of water heaters is often ill-explained in dealer walk-thrus with customers...and the documentation is not very intuitive explaining the two switch operation/placement.

This is why we keep that long detailed explanation in the FAQ section, to help the members here.
__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Geaux Tigers!!!!
wmtire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 03:18 PM   #9
Dahagen
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Cascade Idaho
Posts: 391
I added the Hott Rod to my Coachman...very easy job. Just make sure you have a simple way to turn it off if you are on AC and there is no water in the water heater.
dahagen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 03:27 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Chattahoochee National Forest
Posts: 90
Well I need to confess that I to was not aware that I had electric hot water function with my Charleston 40 DP. Always used propane because that is the only switch for hot water on my inside panel. Found out last year when I went to change my anode and saw a on/ off switch. Found out it was for the electric element, switched it on and sure enough HOT WATER. Yes you can run both at the same time to heat the water faster. What I do is leave the outside switch in the on position and shut off the breaker on the inside panel . After I finish up setting up I turn on the breaker for the hot water and also run the gas for about five minutes just to exercise the gas side then shut the gas switch off and use the electric for the rest of our stay. I really never looked behind the outside hot water panel as I have never winterized due to living in the Fl Keys. I said many times you think that they would have had electric hot water also in a high end coach such as this, well they did but just explain it very well at purchase time.Anyway now I know and am very happy.
rickkey2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 04:57 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 267
You may have more than one 120v AC switch for your heater. I have two at my Suburban SW6DE heater, one on each end of my heater. (One in the storage bay on the inside end of the heater and one behind the access door of the heater.) Both have to be on for the AC heating element to work.

Also check that the AC breaker is turned on for the heater.
__________________
Catalina 333RETS
Keystone Outback 23RS
Silverado 2500HD
Goldwing 1800GL
Wilco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 05:19 PM   #12
edm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Oregon
Posts: 130
Water heater ac

As you are looking at the water heater on the left lower side there is a black switch. The switch is for the 120 volt heater element. One note of CAUTION you need to make sure you turn the switch off before you drain the hot water heater. If you should forget it and drain the tank you will burn out the heating element.
Happy travels.
edm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 05:27 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
Posts: 691
Both "on" gives quick recovery to shower many people.......
Jim in Halifax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 07:07 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 83
I have never figured out why FR does not put a switch for the electric part of the WH on the inside.If you leave the outside switch "on" you can control the electric part by turning the circuit breaker off or on
JR Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 07:21 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
heavynlori's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR Smith View Post
I have never figured out why FR does not put a switch for the electric part of the WH on the inside.If you leave the outside switch "on" you can control the electric part by turning the circuit breaker off or on

Our Crusader has a switch for both on the inside....gas or electric located on the control panel for everything else

We leave the outside switch on as well as the breaker and just turn it on/off with the inside switch


Sent from my iPhone using Forest River Forums 🇺🇸
heavynlori is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 09:27 PM   #16
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 67
I too leave the outside switch on and use the breaker to turn it off.
kurtsont is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 10:55 PM   #17
Pickin', Campin', Mason
 
5picker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 11,177
Quote:
Originally Posted by heavynlori View Post
Our Crusader has a switch for both on the inside....gas or electric located on the control panel for everything else

We leave the outside switch on as well as the breaker and just turn it on/off with the inside switch


Sent from my iPhone using Forest River Forums 🇺🇸
This is exactly how our Flagstaff is configured. Not every brand has the 2nd inside switch though.
__________________
_________________________________________
2016 Flagstaff 8529IKBS Diamond Package 5th Wheel-Goodyear Endurance Tires
2017 Ford F-Series SCREW 4x4 - Factory Puck B&W Companion
TST Tire Monitor w/Repeater - Sinemate 3500w Gen.

Days Camped: '17=30 '18=51 '19=58 '20=14
5picker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2017, 11:06 PM   #18
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
This is exactly how our Flagstaff is configured. Not every brand has the 2nd inside switch though.
Correct, and that is usually the SWDEL model if it has an inside 12 volt DC and outside 120 volt AC switch for the electric heating element. The inside 12 volt DC switch powers a relay which then sends 120 volt AC power thru to the outside 120 volt AC switch. These schematics show the electric heating elements 12 volt DC switch to the relay, and the 120 volt AC switch after the relay.



The SWDE model usually only has the outside 120 volt AC switch for the electric heating element. (No inside 12 volt DC switch or relay)



Both model water heaters are explained in the link in post #3 above. Forest River uses both models of Suburban water heaters, and it varies between RV brands/models.

If it was the SWDEL model, I think the OP would have noticed the switch for the electric element right beside his propane/dsi switch. Since he didn't, I'm betting he has the SWDE model, and the only switch to the electric element is on the face of his water heater.
__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Geaux Tigers!!!!
wmtire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2017, 09:09 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
Posts: 691
I have considered putting a switch in our panel but decided "NO" This way there is no danger of burning out the element which in most cases is very difficult to change out!!!! When tank is full open and turn on switch!!!! Breaking camp I always turn it off as a habit.....J
Jim in Halifax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2017, 07:44 AM   #20
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 21,737
It has been confirmed via PM that the OP does indeed have a Suburban SWDE model water heater with electric element, and is good to go.

Sent from my Z958 using Tapatalk
__________________

__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

Geaux Tigers!!!!
wmtire is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cat, heater, hot water, water, water heater

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Forest River, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:49 PM.


×