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Old 05-29-2020, 02:04 PM   #1
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Water heater - Need your experienced opinion

I recently bought my first small camper, brand new. I towed it from the dealership to my driveway in early March. We took it out for the first time and found the water heater with valves closed, the rod loosely laying in the chamber and completely covered with thick limescale. The casing also is completely rusted.

The dealership tells me this is "completely normal" since they perform quality checks when they receive it and then again prior to owner pick up.


Any thoughts on all this? Does it sound like they are being honest?
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:31 PM   #2
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Since you live in cold climate region, it's not unusual to it being in winterized mode. BUT they should have gone over this before you left the dealership with the trailer.
But the limescale and rust is not acceptable.
Did you not look at it before accepting delivery. They should have got over the WH access area and operations.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:12 PM   #3
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Thank you Dan, they showed us where the water heater was but it was winterized at the time so they didn't run the water during the pick up inspection. Since I'm new at this I didn't think much of it.

They are saying that they ran water through it during their "2 routine checks" which caused the problems. Not possible right?
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:24 PM   #4
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Can you perhaps post pics with your cellphone of the water heater and the rod you are stating is covered. That would enable us to help you more, if we can see what you are seeing.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:46 PM   #5
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Also how long has that trailer been on the lot?
Since you didn't list year, make and model you bought, its hard to estimate how old it is.
A new 2019 model was probably built in 2018. A 2020 in 2019.
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:12 PM   #6
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Pics attached

Here are the pics

It's a 2020
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnTree View Post
Here are the pics

It's a 2020
That is not normal for a simple fill test and winterize . maybe it was a unit they rented out . bad water and a summers use for a anode rod like that . or maybe they left it full of water all summer last yr
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Old 05-29-2020, 05:29 PM   #8
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looks like the heater had water in it for a while before it was winterized. if i was unwinterizing it that rod would go right back into the tank. it still has lots of life in it. the rust seems to be normal as i get it on my tank.
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Old 05-29-2020, 05:31 PM   #9
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Here are the pics

It's a 2020
That is definitely not normal for a 2020. That is worse than the one in my 2013 built tt and it has water in it for 6 months at a time and never been changed.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:18 PM   #10
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Yes, the pics help tremendously. I agree that anode rod looks like it was in water for awhile.....maybe it was switched at the dealer
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:12 PM   #11
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Absolutely perfectly normal looking for an anode rod that has been in a water heater that had water for any lenght of time.
Water quality makes a huge difference in life of an anode rod.
Clean up the threads with a wire brush, wrap a couple times with Teflon tape and reinstall.
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:14 PM   #12
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The anode rod is designed to waste away. Here's how to know when to replace it:
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Old 05-30-2020, 02:23 PM   #13
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Looks normal to me

I agree with the others. The buildup on the anode rod is normal if your area has "hard water." If that trailer had sat on the lot for a summer with water, to demonstrate to customers, the rod would look like that. The rods are consumables. You expect them to erode away. Then you buy another one from Amazon for $10 and install it. But that one has years of life remaining.

Now, about the rust. The water tank is cast iron. Just cast iron. No plating. No paint. Just cast iron. You can expect to see rust on the threaded coupling where the anode rod goes in. It probably first occurs at the factory where they do fill the entire system with water to leak-test it prior to shipment. When they remove the anode rod for the first time, the coupling gets wet and surface rust appears. Perfectly normal.
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Old 05-30-2020, 03:32 PM   #14
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I agree with the others. The buildup on the anode rod is normal if your area has "hard water." If that trailer had sat on the lot for a summer with water, to demonstrate to customers, the rod would look like that. The rods are consumables. You expect them to erode away. Then you buy another one from Amazon for $10 and install it. But that one has years of life remaining.

Now, about the rust. The water tank is cast iron. Just cast iron. No plating. No paint. Just cast iron. You can expect to see rust on the threaded coupling where the anode rod goes in. It probably first occurs at the factory where they do fill the entire system with water to leak-test it prior to shipment. When they remove the anode rod for the first time, the coupling gets wet and surface rust appears. Perfectly normal.
Suburban water heater tanks are not cast iron. They are a porcelain-lined steel water heater tank. In fact, they are made from cold rolled steel, the same as a commercial or residential water heater or steel supply tank. Having the porcelain lining is the main reason not to fire it up without water in it, the difference in the expansion rate will cause the porcelain to crack and flake off exposing more of the steel to the galvanic process. The porcelain lining is baked in after the tank is formed and welded. See the attached service manual. page 4.
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:05 PM   #15
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Of course!

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Suburban water heater tanks are not cast iron. They are a porcelain-lined steel water heater tank. In fact, they are made from cold rolled steel, the same as a commercial or residential water heater or steel supply tank. Having the porcelain lining is the main reason not to fire it up without water in it, the difference in the expansion rate will cause the porcelain to crack and flake off exposing more of the steel to the galvanic process. The porcelain lining is baked in after the tank is formed and welded. See the attached service manual. page 4.
Of course/ They would be way too heavy. What I should have written is that the fitting that accepts the anode rod is cast iron. You can see it in the photo--and you can see surface rust. That's actually the only visible part--the rest is covered with a sheet metal shroud.
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:11 PM   #16
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Of course/ They would be way too heavy. What I should have written is that the fitting that accepts the anode rod is cast iron. You can see it in the photo--and you can see surface rust. That's actually the only visible part--the rest is covered with a sheet metal shroud.
Larry, if you want to get technical about it, that tap is actually malleable iron — not cast iron. Cast iron has too much carbon in it for this type of application.

With an NPT thread, the female connection would split if it was cast iron. The malleable iron has some flexibility and allows the female side of a joint to expand as the male thread is tightened into it.

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Old 05-30-2020, 05:05 PM   #17
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Good information

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Larry, if you want to get technical about it, that tap is actually malleable iron ó not cast iron. Cast iron has too much carbon in it for this type of application.

With an NPT thread, the female connection would split if it was cast iron. The malleable iron has some flexibility and allows the female side of a joint to expand as the male thread is tightened into it.

Bruce
Good information. I always learn from you. It does rust on the surface quickly, right? Or have I got that wrong, too?
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:41 PM   #18
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Good information. I always learn from you. It does rust on the surface quickly, right? Or have I got that wrong, too?
It rusts alright. Just like all of those malleable iron gas pipe fittings you see rusting on the outside of peopleís houses where their gas meter is. It is code to paint those fittings and the black steel pipe if it is outside, but you see it not done everywhere and those fittings are just rusting away.

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Old 05-30-2020, 11:39 PM   #19
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Thanks for the updated manual, mine was dated 8-96
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:05 AM   #20
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Thank you all, I really appreciate your replies. I'm very relieved by your reassurances that it is typical for a season's use.

I guess what is so upsetting about this is that the dealership is telling me there was never water sitting in it, it was never used, and generally just trying to brush me off. I don't think it's unreasonable to receive a new camper when that is what they sold me.

I hope you all have a wonderful camping season despite the crazy world we're living in right now. - Dawn
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