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Old 07-15-2015, 02:18 PM   #1
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Starting Water Heater - SW6DE

My wife and I just bought our first travel trailer, a 2012 Cherokee 26L. We're excited to begin using it and I have been going through the systems to get familiar with them as well as to de-winterize the TT. The person I bought it from didn't know much about it (he never used it), so I've relied on the manuals and many of the posts in these forums.

I have one problem that has me stymied. I filled the propane tanks and connected my hose to the city water supply port on the TT yesterday to test out those functions. I attempted to turn on the water heater using the switch inside the coach, which I now understand to be the DSI switch. I first tried to confirm that I had water in the hot water tank by checking to see if water flowed freely from the hot water lines in the kitchen sink (it did). The water heater fired up (I could hear it and feel the heat outside the access panel) and I expected hot water soon.

After several minutes with no hot water I got anxious and turned the DSI switch off. After a long hunt I finally found the hot water tank and learned that it was indeed in bypass mode. I changed the valves to fill the tank and take it out of bypass mode. After struggling a bit to replace the anode so that the water wasn't pouring out of the tank, I finally got the tank filled and attempted to heat the water by turning on the switch. It stubbornly refused to fire up this time....

I have tried pushing what I think is the reset button, as well as turning the DSI switch off and on (as directed in the manual), but still don't seem to be able to coax the ignitor to fire up. I do have gas working properly on the range, so I don't think that it's a gas supply problem.

Any thoughts? Did I break something or is there some reset procedure that I am missing?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:45 PM   #2
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If you tried to heat without water, the overheat sensor probably tripped. It is a rubber covered button, that you can press to rest.
Sorry I don't have a picture for you.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:55 PM   #3
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I would recommend reading this FAQ on the water heater, if you do indeed have the Suburban brand. It has a lot of details that get overlooked:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html

Hold on a sec and I will get some pics of the ECO hi-limit thermostats that joenic53 is explaining to you. This emergency cut off will trip if the temp get's too high...but can also burn out too.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for the prompt reply. I've attached a pic here of my WH from the access panel. There are two buttons covered by rubber (conveniently next to the phrase "Push to reset" ), although the rubber has worn off the one on the left.

From looking at the parts diagram in the manual, the one on the right is the 12 VDC switch, and the left is the 120 VAC switch. The 12 VDC switch seems to depress, but the 120 VAC switch doesn't seem to move at all (the one on the left where the rubber has worn off). I'm not sure which one would have tripped, but I've tried pushing them both repeatedly to no avail.

I also learned that my WH has an electric heating element, which had been switched off. I turned that on but it doesn't seem to be getting warmer. Does that take a long time, or is my electric heating element shot?
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:00 PM   #5
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First off, make sure you read the above link and verify there is water in the heater using the temp/pressure relief valve near the top of the water heater.


If you have the Suburban water heater, your resets are underneath this rubber cover. If you have a water heater that can be powered by propane and an electric heating element, then you also have two Hi-limit thermostats (one for each). Just press both to make sure.



Now if this doesn't solve the problem, the hi-limit may be burned out. You will have to remove the rubber cover to check. I will edit this post with a pic of this in a minute.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:08 PM   #6
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Correction - my electric heating element does appear to be working. I just needed to be a bit more patient.....
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:09 PM   #7
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Here is what you will find underneath the cover. You may want to see (what you could call a fusible link) between the two terminals (upper and lower) has melted away, which it's designed to in order to save the wiring from burning up.

If you will notice in the pic below, the left hi-limit has blown, but the right thermostat is still intact. You have to replace the entire hi-limit thermostat either for the 120 volt AC (electric heating element) or 12 volt DC side (DSI/propane) when this happens. They are two different part numbers, so make sure you get the correct one if applicable to your situation.

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Old 07-15-2015, 03:20 PM   #8
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If your getting hot water by the electrical element then I would let everything dry out. Water may have gotten the wiring wet and not allowing the fuel valves to operate correctly, or you cold have gotten the orifice wet. There is an alignment check but unless you got vigorous with the drain plug and jarred something, I wouldn't worry.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:25 PM   #9
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When you turn the water heater on go outside by it and listen for the ignitor to "click" or attempt to ignite the LP gas. Can you hear it? It should attempt to ignite up to three separate attempts. No ignition will cause the propane to lock out and you will need to turn the WH switch off wait three minutes and turn it back on for an additional three attempts to ignite. Additionally I believe the electrical element will need the WH switch to be in the on position to heat the WH.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:32 PM   #10
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Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I did pull off the rubber cover and found the fusible links intact. However, pushing the button on the left still seems off. It doesn't move much at all and there's no click. The switch on the right at least makes a soft clicking sound when I press it. Is it possible that this is bad even though the fusible link is still in place?

I do still have a slow leak around the anode (I need to clean that up and put on some teflon tape). Is it possible that this water leak is affecting the propane ignition? It doesn't seem to be getting that part of the system wet. I also don't hear any clicking to indicate that it's trying to ignite.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jlietzow View Post
Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I did pull off the rubber cover and found the fusible links intact. However, pushing the button on the left still seems off. It doesn't move much at all and there's no click. The switch on the right at least makes a soft clicking sound when I press it. Is it possible that this is bad even though the fusible link is still in place?

I do still have a slow leak around the anode (I need to clean that up and put on some teflon tape). Is it possible that this water leak is affecting the propane ignition? It doesn't seem to be getting that part of the system wet. I also don't hear any clicking to indicate that it's trying to ignite.
IIRC, the left side hi-limit is the one to your 12 volt/dsi/propane. The fact that the rubber is wore off the cover of that reset, seems to show that it has been problematic for awhile and may have been pushed many, many times.. You seem to be very knowledgeable and probably can work a multimeter. You might could disconnect power and use the continuity tester (ohms) and see if there is continuity between the top and bottom terminals...and wiggle the t-stat to see if it changes. You can also use the 12 volt DC part of your tester with power, to test same terminals and see if the voltage changes (if there is any).

If so, then you know the hi-limit thermostat is bad (or problematic) and can be replaced. They are around $20 or so if I recall.
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlietzow View Post
Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I did pull off the rubber cover and found the fusible links intact. However, pushing the button on the left still seems off. It doesn't move much at all and there's no click. The switch on the right at least makes a soft clicking sound when I press it. Is it possible that this is bad even though the fusible link is still in place?

I do still have a slow leak around the anode (I need to clean that up and put on some teflon tape). Is it possible that this water leak is affecting the propane ignition? It doesn't seem to be getting that part of the system wet. I also don't hear any clicking to indicate that it's trying to ignite.
Appears the DC temp limit is open and will not reset. That's a reset, not a pushbutton. It open on fault and must be reset when temp falls to normal. If it clicks it's not latching. To check, you can "jump it" temporarily and confirm it works. Can order new by phone to Subur. Or any RV supply. The lower piece is DC thermostat gets renew also. Can elect your temp, from maybe 4 ranges.
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:22 AM   #13
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Now that I have a much better understanding of how this system works, it does seem that it must be the 12V DC switch / thermostat. The 120V AC side works just fine. I'll take wmtire's suggestion and test it with my multi-meter. I may also test briefly bypassing it to see if it fires up.

Thanks so much to all for the helpful insights! I'll be sure to post an update after I make progress....
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:19 AM   #14
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That's it! I tested the 12V DC switch and found that it is open. I then jumped around the switch with a short piece of wire and the burner fired up like a champ! Now I just need to wait for my local RV store to open to see if they have the part. If not, I can get it on Amazon for $23 with free shipping (Amazon Prime).

Thanks all!!!
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:20 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jlietzow View Post
That's it! I tested the 12V DC switch and found that it is open. I then jumped around the switch with a short piece of wire and the burner fired up like a champ! Now I just need to wait for my local RV store to open to see if they have the part. If not, I can get it on Amazon for $23 with free shipping (Amazon Prime).

Thanks all!!!
You are very welcome. And thank you for updating the thread with the final solution. Many times, a member will fix their problem, but never come back to the thread, so anyone reading it will know what the final outcome was.

By letting us know the solution, it will help members in the future, who are searching the forums for an answer to their similar problems.
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:36 AM   #16
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Old 07-16-2015, 12:05 PM   #17
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Make sure you have battery power. 12 volts needed for propane. 120 Volt heater may have failed if run with no water.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:35 AM   #18
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Just to close out this thread, I wanted to report that replacing the 12V DC thermostat/hi-limit switch solved the problem. I don't know if I burned that out by firing up the propane burner with the tank empty, or if it just died a natural death, but in either case it was ultimately an easy and relatively inexpensive fix. And as a bonus it was a great introduction to much of the operation of my plumbing system!

Thanks again to all who offered their helpful suggestions. It's great to become part of such a supportive and welcoming group of people!
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:45 AM   #19
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jlietzow Thanks for that info very valuable. Later RJD
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:01 AM   #20
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I agree, thanks for "closing out" your thread. I find it very inconsiderate when posters don't take a minute or two to close out a thread that others have spent considerable time posting solutions. Good job!!!!!!!!
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