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Old 08-25-2020, 08:37 PM   #1
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Help with Suburban RV water heater

Hi,
I have a Suburban SW6D water heater. I spent 4 hours yesterday trying to fix this but had no luck. Let me recap what I have done so that you can tell me if there is anything else I can do:

(Please note that I am doing this myself because RV repair shops are not talking clients currently for a few months due to covid demand).

Water heater works perfectly when on electric mode. Propane tank is full. When attempting to use the water heater in gas mode, after turning on the white button inside, the heater will spark but the gas valve will not release propane. As a result, I replaced the gas valve assuming that the part was bad. After replacing it, problem persists. The gas valve is getting plenty of propane because when I turn off the gas tank and unscrew the gas fitting form the gas valve in the heater, the propane that was in the line comes out and I can smell it. I checked the reset buttons and cannot tell if they are popped out or not, but (like I said), the heater works without any issues in electric mode.
What else can I do?
Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2020, 09:14 PM   #2
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Try ensuring that the reset button under the right rubber cover has not been set. Actually you can check both but the LH one is for the 110v operation (electric) while the RH is for the 12V (propane).
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Old 08-25-2020, 09:46 PM   #3
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I pressed both of those two black buttons as hard as I could but cant tell if the fuses are ok or not. In order to get a closer look, I unscrewed the black plastic cover, but was unable to remove it because it seems to be glued in. Tomorrow I will attempt to forcibly remove it to make sure there is no popped fuses).
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Old 08-25-2020, 10:30 PM   #4
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I don't know what year your water heater is but the Suburbans had a run of heaters where the control board went bad and the gas side doesn't work. They exhibit the symptoms you mention.

There are multiple threads here showing a burned spot on the board. The control board is usually located on the back side of the water heater. Sometimes it is double sided taped to the back of the water heater, sometimes screwed to a trim piece, sometimes it is laying loose on the floor.

If yours is bad and not covered by warranty, consider purchasing a Dinosaur Electronics brand board.
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevor68 View Post
I pressed both of those two black buttons as hard as I could but cant tell if the fuses are ok or not. In order to get a closer look, I unscrewed the black plastic cover, but was unable to remove it because it seems to be glued in. Tomorrow I will attempt to forcibly remove it to make sure there is no popped fuses).
Don't force it off. Just remove the rubber plugs. You will see a post under each. It wont take much force to push on them and reset them if that is the issue. Again it would only be the right one since you stated the function on electric is ok.

If the post doesn't "push in" then the issue lies else where.
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:11 AM   #6
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Three questions...
What other propane appliances are close to the WH?
Are all working fine?
How many attempts to light does the WH try to make?
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:17 AM   #7
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Ok, a forth question....sorry.....

On the panel where the switch is for the WH, is there any red lights (small dot) illuminated? If the WH fails to light it should trip a DSI fault.
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Old 08-26-2020, 07:10 AM   #8
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I agree with 5Picker, it's likely the control board.

If the igniter is firing then the hi-limit isn't tripped as it's in the circuit before the igniter.
Also if the igniter is firing but the gas valve isn't opening, that leads to the control board not calling for it to open (bad board).

You can test to see if the board is sending 12 volts to the valve by trying to light the heater and using a multimeter to check voltage at the gas valve. But, since you replace the valve I'd probably just replace the board.
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Old 08-26-2020, 07:41 AM   #9
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This is from a "foreign" website, but it looks pretty good.


https://manuals.heartlandowners.org/...ban%20V1.3.pdf
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Old 08-26-2020, 01:19 PM   #10
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I had this same issue and it turned out that basically nothing was wrong. The button on the right that is for Gas has a thermal sensor. If the water is already hot (I think 130deg is the trip setting) then the Gas won't fire. After doing a lot of research I came across that in one of the youtubes. So to test that, I waited until I hit the next campground and made sure the hotwater electric was OFF. Then I turned it on Gas only. A few minutes later I could hear it trying to light and the DSI panel light litup and then went off. I went outside and I could hear and feel the gas heat running.

By the way, I assumed my switch was bad so I ordered one from Amazon for about $20 but still haven't needed to use it.

Suburban 232319 12V Thermostat Switch Assembly


Youtube showing how to replace thermostat
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Old 08-26-2020, 02:29 PM   #11
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DID YOU CHECK THIS?>>>with rubber cover removed look at 12volt switch. Make sure there is a not a burned up wire that is made in to the reset switch left side. attaches from top to bottom. Has to be there for water heater to work. Happen to my electric side of water heater.
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Old 08-26-2020, 09:02 PM   #12
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Some steps to try

Have you done these steps?
  • Light all the range burners and let them burn for 10-20 seconds. This will clear the air from the gas lines. (Water heaters don't light on air.)
  • Go outside and stand by the heater. Have someone else turn it on. You should hear the gas solenoid click and then hear a bunch of snapping sounds as it tries to light.

Let us know the results of these tests and we will tell you what to try next.
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