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Old 10-21-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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Suburban hot water heater shuts off before hot

So I just bought my Stealth in June, and my hot water heater has been giving me problems the 3 times I have used it. It fires up once turned on but sometimes shuts off and never fires back up. Or possibly fires back up after the tank starts emptying...haven't tracked down all that happens to cause the problem. All I know is that it fires up enough to get hot at some point but other times it is just barely warm (probably residual heat). The other night after inspecting everything we couldn't get it to fire back up. The heating tube was full of what looked like metal debris from the tube coating (I assume?). I got out as much as I could and then we finally got it to fire after waiting, flipping the switch on and off, etc. But it never fully heated up because it was shut off and the water was still only warm by the time a friend showered about an hour later. After that I pulled apart as much as I could to try and clean out everything and it re-fired for my last shower before I went to bed. It had enough heat for a hot shower but was getting cold at the end. The next morning I woke up and the water was cold again.

The manual I have is for SW4D, SW6D, etc. I did notice something that looks odd but maybe it's how it is on my model: I just have one reset button on the unit and there is no cap on the other side (just the hole). Is this normal? Open to any suggestions someone may have.
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:24 PM   #2
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The other "hole" would be for the electric side reset but yours is gas only.
Otherwise it would be a sw6d"e"

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Old 10-21-2014, 04:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
The other "hole" would be for the electric side reset but yours is gas only.
Otherwise it would be a sw6d"e"

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That's what I figured but thought I'd ask to be safe. Found it odd it didn't at least have a cover on it like all the other pictures I seen. Thanks.
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:35 AM   #4
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Just because they included a manual does not mean it is the correct manual for your water heater. A photo will help a lot.

No rubber on the "second hole" is worrisome as there should not be an open access from the "gas" side of the water heater to the "inside" of the water heater (which is inside to the camper).

Again; a photo will help us go from here...
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:02 AM   #5
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Check this out:

http:// youtu.be/IsiXaMEneaY
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:11 AM   #6
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Sorry extra space in link. See if this one works:
RV Water Heater Fail! Don't Make This Newbie Mistake! - YouTube
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Old 10-22-2014, 02:17 PM   #7
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Sorry extra space in link. See if this one works:
RV Water Heater Fail! Don't Make This Newbie Mistake! - YouTube
That's good information that I would've never thought of. I don't think that's my issue as we actually took our outdoor shower out to run hot water for a bit to see if it would kick on when we were testing it. I don't recall not shutting off the knobs but I'll be sure to double check next time.

Now for the model, I don't store my camper at my house so I'll have to double check when I go to storage next time. I actually meant to write down what model was on the unit but forgot. But it does look similar to the one in the video at 1:08. Just not power switch, mine seems to have a little less room between the wall and fittings and of coarse the missing second cap.
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Old 10-22-2014, 02:23 PM   #8
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Just a SWAG, but your hi limit switch may be faulty causing it to shut off prematurely.
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Old 10-22-2014, 02:30 PM   #9
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Just a SWAG, but your hi limit switch may be faulty causing it to shut off prematurely.
I was thinking this could be the issue too since I know it's not getting too hot and shutting off. Wasn't sure how prone those are to failing early though. Then again, I'm famous for hearing "we've never seen that before".
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:44 PM   #10
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Is this normal (attached image)?
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by IsItFast View Post
Is this normal (attached image)?
Looks like a fair amount of carbon buildup. Perhaps you are set too rich (shutter closed too much).
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:18 PM   #12
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Well I figured it out on my last trip. Some joker at the factory had the bypass valve open on the backside of the tank so cold water was being fed back into it continuously. The odd thing was that it was sometimes hot enough to shower, etc. with it like this and other times it was never warm for more than a few seconds.

Since I knew the heater was still kicking on after a day of being hooked up I knew it wasn't totally shutting off. Tested the water on the outside at the tank and it was extremely hot yet it was cold on the inside. So I knew a valve somewhere had to be open. Ended up having to pull a kitchen drawer out to get to it but I seen right away it was in the wrong position. Hot showers and dishwashing back in place.

Thought I'd update this post so others may run across it to remind others to double check those hidden valves.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:24 PM   #13
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Awesome! Thanks for letting us know what the problem was.
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