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Old 05-03-2024, 04:02 PM   #1
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So Frustrated with furnace

Last year while we were dry camping our furnace wouldn't work. Made due with using the oven. When I came home I ordered a sail switch and installed it. Checked it all out. Furnace ran fine. Parked the rig for the winter and was heading out Sunday. Turned the furnace on, same thing. Fan goes on for a few minutes and then quits. Luckily we are at a powered site so I can plug in a space heater but damn it frustrating. I have a second sail switch that I'll try when we get back.
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Old 05-03-2024, 04:19 PM   #2
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Iíll be watching because we have the exact same RV and same furnace.
Sorry I canít offer any guidance.
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Old 05-03-2024, 05:01 PM   #3
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Light the range

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Last year while we were dry camping our furnace wouldn't work. Made due with using the oven. When I came home I ordered a sail switch and installed it. Checked it all out. Furnace ran fine. Parked the rig for the winter and was heading out Sunday. Turned the furnace on, same thing. Fan goes on for a few minutes and then quits. Luckily we are at a powered site so I can plug in a space heater but damn it frustrating. I have a second sail switch that I'll try when we get back.
Seems like a lot of people accuse the sail switch when it's something else, perhaps because it's the only part they understand. In this case it is DEFINITELY NOT the sail switch. If it were, the fans would only run for 15 seconds before stopping, not a few minutes.

My educated guess is that the furnace took three attempts at ignition and per its design, quit trying. To force retries, you would turn the thermostat to Off, then back to Heat. My further guess is that ignition failed of air in the gas lines. This occurred because owner failed to light all the range burners and let them burn until the flame was steady before attempting to start the furnace. (I wonder if there is room in my sig line to add this helpful advice.)
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Old 05-03-2024, 05:59 PM   #4
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Spot on Larry!


Sometimes, after running the burners on the range, I might have to try 2 or 3 times to get the furnace to fire.
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Old 05-03-2024, 06:34 PM   #5
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I had the propane purged by lighting a burner then started the fridge on propane so I don't think its an issue with air in the lines.
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Old 05-03-2024, 06:53 PM   #6
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I had the propane purged by lighting a burner then started the fridge on propane so I don't think its an issue with air in the lines.
And did you then listen to the furnace closely, to see if you could hear the ignition tries? Each will sound like a clunk (gas valve opening), and then click-click-click of the Direct Spark Ignition. Three tries, each 15 seconds long, with a purge cycle between each one.

And did you go outside and see if you could smell propane at the exhaust outlet during each retry?
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Old 05-03-2024, 07:42 PM   #7
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I went round and round on mine, ended up being the circuit board giving strange results.
Ordered a dinosaur board and no more problems.
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Old 05-03-2024, 10:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
And did you then listen to the furnace closely, to see if you could hear the ignition tries? Each will sound like a clunk (gas valve opening), and then click-click-click of the Direct Spark Ignition. Three tries, each 15 seconds long, with a purge cycle between each one.

And did you go outside and see if you could smell propane at the exhaust outlet during each retry?
No, but I will try that thanks.
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Old 05-11-2024, 05:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
And did you then listen to the furnace closely, to see if you could hear the ignition tries? Each will sound like a clunk (gas valve opening), and then click-click-click of the Direct Spark Ignition. Three tries, each 15 seconds long, with a purge cycle between each one.

And did you go outside and see if you could smell propane at the exhaust outlet during each retry?
It is exactly as you describe, Went outside and could smell the gas in the exhaust, It this a common issue and what is the solution?
Thanks.
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Old 05-12-2024, 05:15 AM   #10
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Failure to ignite

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It is exactly as you describe, Went outside and could smell the gas in the exhaust, It this a common issue and what is the solution?
Thanks.
There are a couple of causes of failure to ignite. The furnace is effectively turbocharged; one of the two blowers pumps air into the firebox. If the fuel-air mixture isn't exactl y right, the furnace won't light.
  • Restriction in the air intake or exhaust. Mud dauber bees or spiders can obstruct that small vent on the outside.
  • Regulator failure: It is common for the thin metal diaphragm in the regulator to get pinholes after 8-10 years, causing the propane pressure to change. Your range, water heater, and and refrigerator will not be affected, but the furnace will.
Less likely causes are:
  • Spark gap on the ignitor electrode is incorrect.
  • Control board has failed. People love to replace these boards, but our 2002 and 2008 trailers still have the original boards.
At the top of this page, click "Library" and look for the furnace service manual, or search online.
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Old 05-12-2024, 06:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
There are a couple of causes of failure to ignite. The furnace is effectively turbocharged; one of the two blowers pumps air into the firebox. If the fuel-air mixture isn't exactl y right, the furnace won't light.
  • Restriction in the air intake or exhaust. Mud dauber bees or spiders can obstruct that small vent on the outside.
  • Regulator failure: It is common for the thin metal diaphragm in the regulator to get pinholes after 8-10 years, causing the propane pressure to change. Your range, water heater, and and refrigerator will not be affected, but the furnace will.
Less likely causes are:
  • Spark gap on the ignitor electrode is incorrect.
  • Control board has failed. People love to replace these boards, but our 2002 and 2008 trailers still have the original boards.
At the top of this page, click "Library" and look for the furnace service manual, or search online.
Thanks so much for your help.
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Old 05-12-2024, 07:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Eh View Post
Thanks so much for your help.

Please post back when you figure out the solution. I'm probably not the only one following this thread...
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Old 05-16-2024, 10:02 PM   #13
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Had the same thing happen to us. Checked all the usual suspects to no avail. While checking the underside of the trailer, I noticed that the copper propane line feeding the furnace was so battered with rocks/gravel during travel, that the line was almost pinched off. Replaced the section, and added some rubber tubing for protection and the furnace worked perfectly. Might be worth a check.
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Old 05-17-2024, 09:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
Seems like a lot of people accuse the sail switch when it's something else, perhaps because it's the only part they understand. In this case it is DEFINITELY NOT the sail switch. If it were, the fans would only run for 15 seconds before stopping, not a few minutes.

My educated guess is that the furnace took three attempts at ignition and per its design, quit trying. To force retries, you would turn the thermostat to Off, then back to Heat. My further guess is that ignition failed of air in the gas lines. This occurred because owner failed to light all the range burners and let them burn until the flame was steady before attempting to start the furnace. (I wonder if there is room in my sig line to add this helpful advice.)
This or get a dinosaur board
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Old 05-17-2024, 09:32 AM   #15
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I have had that experience. RV furnaces are not like residential furnaces. They get dirt in them and fail from lack of use. I have hired a mobile RV tech a couple of times over the years. They fix problems in 20 minutes and do not cost much. Stop getting upset and just call the man.
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Old 05-17-2024, 01:11 PM   #16
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I have seen times the sail switch was fine, but failed to 'make' due to low speed/battery voltage. Should not be an issue while on shore power, but a concern while dry camping.
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Old 05-23-2024, 10:59 PM   #17
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Our 2018 Coachman 5th wheel when new at home mid May hooked up to 15 amp power everything ran well. Did not start the air conditioner because of only being on 15 amp and too chilly to use.
First boondock in 2018 could not get the furnace to light (same time the water heater control board failed and thought the same for the furnace).
Looked at our furnace and thermostat manual. Had to set the thermostat correctly to get furnace running.
Our first full hook up had to set the thermostat correctly to get the A/C running.
Post from 3010ds https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ems-36180.html
If setting the thermostat correctly doesn't work this is what I had to do on our old motorhome furnace. You shouldn't have to go to the extremes I did but may give you some insight, https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ir-272646.html
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Old 05-24-2024, 06:21 AM   #18
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Went through similar scenario with my Rockwood. Pulled out the furnace two times.
Tried all the things mentioned in this thread. Cleaned the spark gap, re-adjusted the
spark gap, checked LP pressure, etc etc.
It would work one time at home and then when we needed it NO GO.
People kept saying it was the sail switch. It wasn't.
Put in a new dinosaur ignition board and fixed the problem.

Now that I'm typing this... I think mine would light for a few seconds and then go out. Apparently the flame sensor circuit was bad/weak. A new dino board took care of it.
Please let us know how yours turns out.
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Old 05-24-2024, 06:28 AM   #19
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What is a dinosaur board?
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Old 05-24-2024, 06:33 AM   #20
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Hereís a link to the Dinosaur ignighter boards. They make an excellent replacement. I have one on my water heater that is several years old.

Ignitor Board Index page
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