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Old 01-29-2010, 10:33 PM   #1
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Water Heater Question

Hello Everyone,
We purchased a new Wildwood 31QBSS this past December and finally took it on it's maiden voyage to Fort Wilderness {The Disney World Campground)...wow what a great campground. For the most part everything went well, had a few problems...but nothing major. One of the issues I couldnt figure out was the hot water heater. I was hooked up to the campgrounds water and turned on the water heater but couldn't get any warm water out of it. I decided that maybe I needed to fill the fresh water tank and try it that way. I filled the tanks about 1/3 full, turned on the pump switch, and waited but no hot water. Did I miss something? I looked at the fuse and it was good. Thanks all.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:48 PM   #2
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You probably need to check your heater's bypass valves. I'm not sure how your tt is set up but I have three valves. One is on a blue line going into the hot water tank. One is on a red line coming out of the tank and one is on a blue bypass line that connects the cold water line (blue) with the hot water line (red). If the valves are turned parallel to the line, the vavle is open. If it is perpendicular, it is closed. You need to open the cold water line and the hot water line. You need to close the bypass line.
Which source, electric or propane, did you use to heat the water? If your valves are set to bypass the tank then that means your tank was empty. If you used electric then you probably have burned out your element, but your gas should still work and heat the water.

Just make sure the valves are in the correct position and allow time for the tank to fill with water before you turn your hot water heater on.

Hope this helps.
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2011 LaCrosse 303 RKS Touring Edition : 2007 Flagstaff 206ST MAC Series
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:01 PM   #3
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Grhodes50,
Thanks, that makes perfect sense!!! the trailer is over in storage right now but I will head over there tomorrow and check it out....hopefully I didn't burn out the element. Thanks again.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:38 PM   #4
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No problem.
The valves are there so that after you empty your hot water tank, you can bypass the tank when you add rv anti-freeze for winter. If you have the same water heater I do, and most likely you do, you empty the tank by removing the anode rod. You access the rod by opening the cover on the outside of your tt. Make sure you have a hot water faucet opened in the tt to help relieve pressure before you remove the rod.

There should be a black on/off switch on the tank itself that you use to heat the water by electricity. You access the switch by opening the same cover I mentioned before on the outside of your tt. There may be a small pin holding the switch in the off posistion. Just remove the pin to turn it on. It only takes a few seconds to burn out the element so make sure you have allowed the tank to fill with water before you turn the switch on.

Inside your trailer is the switch for the gas. It may be labeled water heater and a red light should come on when you turn it on. The light will go off when gas lights up. It may take a few attempts at first in order to push air out of the gas line. You will hear a clicking sound coming from your water heater. That just means it's trying to light up. You may have to reset the switch if it isn't able to light after a few attempts. Be sure you have water in the tank first.

I'm not sure if any damage will occur if you run the gas with no water in the tank. I'm sure there are some folks on this forum that can help you with that.

Good luck and enjoy that new trailer! :
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2011 LaCrosse 303 RKS Touring Edition : 2007 Flagstaff 206ST MAC Series
2012 F-250 Lariat : FX4 : CC : SB : 6.7L Diesel : 3/55 Gears

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Old 01-30-2010, 01:13 PM   #5
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Got it !!! you were correct, the hot and cold lines were off and the bypass was on. I didn't get a chance to try it out as the trailer is in storage and I have no water supply there but I plan on going camping a couple weekends from now and will try it out then but I think this wil do it. The only thing I couldnt find was the anode rod you mentioned, I assumed it would be under the trailer but I didn't see anything, wil look again when it's a little drier/warmer out....thanks again for the help
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:17 PM   #6
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The rod is located behind the water heater access door on the outside of your tt. I'm not sure, but I think it takes something like 15/16" socket. I would check but my tt is still at the dealership where I had some minor warranty work done. Anyway, you just open any hot water faucet in your tt to help relieve pressure, then take out the rod and the tank will drain. I usually place teflon tape around the threads and put the rod back in. I have read where some people leave it out until they are ready to camp again.
It's probably best that you check your water heater manual. There are a couple of different water heaters used in tt's. I'm thinking that since we both own tt's made by Forest River we will have the same, but as my wife is so willing to remind me, I can be wrong.
Let us know if this helps or not. One way or another, we'll get it worked out.
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:23 PM   #7
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OSCBRADLEY,
It will have an Anode Rod if it's a Suburban brand water heater. If it's a Atwood brand, it will NOt have an Anode Rod.
It is removed with a 1-1/16" socket.
See Anode Rod Replacement



A new Anode Rod looks like this.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:18 PM   #8
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OSCBRADLEY, there you go. I knew there were people on this forum that could help.

Great job milzat.
Could you anwser a couple of questions for me?

OSCBRADLEY said he turned the water heater on but couldn't get hot water. Let's just say that the valves were set to bypass the tank. I'm not sure how long he had his water heater on without the tank full or if he was using electric or propane. I know that if you turn the electric on without water in the tank you will burn out your element in just a few seconds. But if he was using propane to try and heat his water without water in the tank, will there be any damage? If so how long does it take for the damage to occur?

Thanks for your help.
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2011 LaCrosse 303 RKS Touring Edition : 2007 Flagstaff 206ST MAC Series
2012 F-250 Lariat : FX4 : CC : SB : 6.7L Diesel : 3/55 Gears

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Old 01-30-2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grhodes50 View Post
OSCBRADLEY, there you go. I knew there were people on this forum that could help.

Great job milzat.
Could you answer a couple of questions for me?

OSCBRADLEY said he turned the water heater on but couldn't get hot water. Let's just say that the valves were set to bypass the tank. I'm not sure how long he had his water heater on without the tank full or if he was using electric or propane. I know that if you turn the electric on without water in the tank you will burn out your element in just a few seconds. But if he was using propane to try and heat his water without water in the tank, will there be any damage? If so how long does it take for the damage to occur?

Thanks for your help.
He(OSCBRADLEY) responded in post #5 that the by-pass valves were open.

You're right about the electric heating element being damaged within a few seconds without water present in the tank. As far damage being done with the heater being set to propane, without water present, read the message below.

Copied from the Airxcel(manufacturers of Suburban products) website.

What if I operate the water heater without water in the tank?

Operation without water in the tank on the 12 VDC gas portion of the water heater can cause the copolymer insulation jacket to melt and can cause the ECO/Thermostat to trip.
Opertion without water in the tank on the 120 VAC electric portion of the water heater will damage the element.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:55 AM   #10
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Thanks very much to the both of you, I can appreciate pictures I never operated it with electric so hopefully I will be good and didnt burn out the element. I also looked at the insulation and it all looks ok. I'm impressed with the detail of the responses, thanks again to all and I'm sure I will back with lots more questions
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