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Old 08-31-2021, 11:33 PM   #1
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I can't find the water heater in my 2004 FR fifth wheel

I bought a 2004 Forest River Cardinal 32ft fifth wheel last year. I have not had a need for hot water till now. I found the on/off switch, which is off. For the life of me I can't find the water heater! I went all round inside and out and nothing resembling a water heater. I feel just a little silly

And once I find it, I gather I should check for gas, look at switches etc. I didn't see any videos on YouTube that would help. I'm parked permanently, in an area where mobile RV repair folks don't come. I have handy friends but they're also at a loss.

I do know it's propane only; the propane is hooked up and working, because I can turn on the stove burners. There was hot water at the dealer walk-through. The RV is overall in very good shape and was well-maintained by the previous owners, everything works.

Is there a place I can look all this up, before someone has to write several pages to help me figure this out?

Thank you-all so much!
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:46 PM   #2
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Somewhere on the outside you should see a door about 12x12” with some vents on the right hand side. That’s it. Or run hot water for a bit and walk around listening for a burner going.
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Old 09-01-2021, 12:58 AM   #3
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Look for something like this on the outside of the RV:

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Old 09-01-2021, 04:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uscgvet View Post
I bought a 2004 Forest River Cardinal 32ft fifth wheel last year. I have not had a need for hot water till now. I found the on/off switch, which is off. For the life of me I can't find the water heater! I went all round inside and out and nothing resembling a water heater. I feel just a little silly

And once I find it, I gather I should check for gas, look at switches etc. I didn't see any videos on YouTube that would help. I'm parked permanently, in an area where mobile RV repair folks don't come. I have handy friends but they're also at a loss.

I do know it's propane only; the propane is hooked up and working, because I can turn on the stove burners. There was hot water at the dealer walk-through. The RV is overall in very good shape and was well-maintained by the previous owners, everything works.

Is there a place I can look all this up, before someone has to write several pages to help me figure this out?

Thank you-all so much!

A 2004 Cardinal probably has a Suburban gas/electric tank type water heater.


Please read this thread (all 6 posts), which explains the operation of, and also where you may find the two different switches to control the gas and separate electric heating element. It also shows the outside access door that others have pointed out.


Take careful note of the post about winterization valves in that thread, as we want to make absolute sure your water heater is not in the bypass position, before you go to trying to turn on the water heater.


https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ore-36197.html
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:46 AM   #5
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It looks like it is in the curb/door side right behind the door.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:33 PM   #6
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That's the outside of it!

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Originally Posted by wildcatter View Post
It looks like it is in the curb/door side right behind the door.
That would be the outside of it. The OP should visualize where the back end of it is, inside the trailer. He may have to unscrew a panel or remove a drawer to see it. The back end is where the bypass valves are.
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Old 09-01-2021, 06:18 PM   #7
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From a picture I found. Not sure if it is your model. The version I found has a mid kitchen with a "L" shape. I think I saw the vent on the outside next to a slide. The hot water tank/heater is in the back corner of the kitchen "L".
I hope this helps in finding in your RV.
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