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Old 06-11-2024, 06:07 AM   #21
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Join Date: Jun 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
You must turn on the propane tanks, by opening the valves. (The regulator automatically switches to the tank its handle point at but that's a question for another day.)

Before attempting to run the furnace OR the water heater, it's always a good idea to light the range burners and let them burn until they burn steadily. Somehow air seems to get into the system when everything is off, and it's better to purge the air through the range burners than trying to light the water heater or furnace which you can't see.

To expand on this, there are check valves (one-way valves) at the water pump and at the city water inlet. When you provide pressure from one input, the other one automatically shuts off.

Never run the water pump and city water at the same time. Both valves start to open and city water overpowers the pump. This can result in filling and overflowing your fresh water tank.

The furnace generally works by setting the thermostat to a temperature higher than ambient and setting the Cool-Off-Heat switch to heat. If you have an electronic thermostat, it will be about the same.

There are two basic water heater types: Tank and Tankless. I'll guess you have a tank type. Among the tank types, some use propane, some use electricity, and some use either or both. Tell us what make and model you have for more info. NEVER ATTEMPT TO HEAT THE WATER HEATER WITHOUT ASSURING THERE IS WATER IN THE TANK. MOST PEOPLE DRAIN THE WATER HEATER OVER THE WINTER TO PREVENT FREEZING. ATTEMPTING TO DO SO, ELECTRIC OR GAS, WILL CAUSE DAMAGE.
You are correct that it is a tank water heater. It is a suburban brand heater. Currently the entire water system is empty. I need to put a new anode rod in the water heater and seal it up. It looks like the old rod has been uninstalled for the last few years (I may have some rust issues in there).

The furnace is also a suburban brand. I can not seem to find a thermostat anywhere in the camper but will look more today.

In happier news, I tore the burner off the fridge and blew it out. Now the fridge works on propane power. I also found where I was missing a fuse for the battery, so now the 12v system works as it should. I also figured out how the cassette toilet works and verified the water pump in there works correctly.

Plans for today are

1. seal water heater
2. test water system with city water
3. sanitize water system tank.
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsherman26 View Post
Since this is a 2004 model, I will say my 2004 Rockwood popup camper's Dometic refrigerator was completely manual. Since the OP mentions there's a piezo ignitor, that sounds very much like the one I had. There were two switches for 120 volts or 12 volts, a thermostat, a control knob for the gas, and the ignitor button. I had to turn on whatever source was appropriate, it had no way of switching sources or lighting itself like later ones. The thermostat only applied to 120 volt operation.

To light it on gas, I had to turn the knob to high, push the knob in, and keep hitting the ignitor button periodically for close to a minute to purge all the air out and actually have it light. There was a small shutter at the base of the chimney so you could see a small flame once it lit (very hard to see in daylight), but you had to keep holding the control knob in for 10 seconds or so after it lit for the thermocouple to keep the valve open. The control knob only controlled the flame, the instructions were you might need it on high if it's a hot day, but if it's cool or stuff in the refrigerator was starting to freeze, then you had to turn the control knob down to medium or low.

A tip, my refrigerator didn't work very well until I added a 12 volt computer fan inside the compartment to help move the hot air out through the upper vent. I think there are RV refrigerator fans that do this that actually have a thermostat built in to them so they turn on if the compartment is getting too warm. I just added a switch to turn it on or off manually and wired it to the 12 volt supply for the refrigerator.

Oh, and I could not tow my camper while the refrigerator was running on gas; the wind would blow through the screen and blow out the burner. I would just run it off 12 volts while towing.
Totally agree with dsherman. You likely have the manual fridge used in pop-ups and A-frames (still used in the smaller models).

Getting it started on gas was a chore at altitude (lived in Colorado at the time) until I learned on these forums:
- you have to keep the gas valve pushed in while pushing the igniter button. I found I had to hold it in for about 30 seconds after getting the gas lit.
- the igniter button gives you a spark per push of the igniter button
- 2 repeated pushes in quick succession of the igniter button works a lot better than 1 push and waiting to see what happened
- mode switches at top have to be set correctly, only 1 mode at a time

Like dsherman, I found the propane flame would blow out at highway speeds, so would have to use DC mode while towing.

The fan to exhaust the hot air out of the fridge compartment is critical to fridge performance in warm weather. I mounted a 12V computer case fan directly on the exhaust (upper) grill. Put a switch to manually turn on/off. Worked like a champ.

I used a wireless outdoor thermometer ($11 at Walmart) to monitor inside fridge temp. The sense head went inside the fridge, the readout could be inside the camper or the tow vehicle.

Fred W
prev 2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
now 2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:21 AM   #23
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Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
Totally agree with dsherman. You likely have the manual fridge used in pop-ups and A-frames (still used in the smaller models).

Getting it started on gas was a chore at altitude (lived in Colorado at the time) until I learned on these forums:
- you have to keep the gas valve pushed in while pushing the igniter button. I found I had to hold it in for about 30 seconds after getting the gas lit.
- the igniter button gives you a spark per push of the igniter button
- 2 repeated pushes in quick succession of the igniter button works a lot better than 1 push and waiting to see what happened
- mode switches at top have to be set correctly, only 1 mode at a time

Like dsherman, I found the propane flame would blow out at highway speeds, so would have to use DC mode while towing.

The fan to exhaust the hot air out of the fridge compartment is critical to fridge performance in warm weather. I mounted a 12V computer case fan directly on the exhaust (upper) grill. Put a switch to manually turn on/off. Worked like a champ.

I used a wireless outdoor thermometer ($11 at Walmart) to monitor inside fridge temp. The sense head went inside the fridge, the readout could be inside the camper or the tow vehicle.

Fred W
prev 2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
now 2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame
The fridge will now turn on and run. Thanks for the tip about the fan. I'll look into adding one
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:05 AM   #24
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 9,868
Good progress

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2004flagstaff625d View Post
You are correct that it is a tank water heater. It is a suburban brand heater. Currently the entire water system is empty. I need to put a new anode rod in the water heater and seal it up. It looks like the old rod has been uninstalled for the last few years (I may have some rust issues in there).

The furnace is also a suburban brand. I can not seem to find a thermostat anywhere in the camper but will look more today.

In happier news, I tore the burner off the fridge and blew it out. Now the fridge works on propane power. I also found where I was missing a fuse for the battery, so now the 12v system works as it should. I also figured out how the cassette toilet works and verified the water pump in there works correctly.

Plans for today are

1. seal water heater
2. test water system with city water
3. sanitize water system tank.
Good progress. Don't worry about a little rust on the cast iron fitting for the anode rod. They all do that. You can clean it with a toothbrush, bottle brush, or cylindrical wire brush if you insist. It's sufficient to wrap some Teflon tape around the threaded portion of the anode rod before installing it, to get a leakfree seal.
  • Wrap the tape in the direction that doesn't unwind when you screw in the rod.
  • The threads on the rod and corresponding threads on the cast iron tank fitting are tapered (cone-shaped: the cast iron fitting is wider at the open end, and the rod threads are narrower at the end that touches first. This means it will NOT go all the way in--don't try. Just tighten it tight and don't overdo it.
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Larry
"Everybody's RV is not like your RV."
"Always take pictures with the button on the right."
"Always bypass the water heater before opening the low-point drains."
Sticks and Bricks: Raleigh, NC
2008 Cherokee 38P: at Ivor, VA permanently
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:09 AM   #25
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Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
Good progress. Don't worry about a little rust on the cast iron fitting for the anode rod. They all do that. You can clean it with a toothbrush, bottle brush, or cylindrical wire brush if you insist. It's sufficient to wrap some Teflon tape around the threaded portion of the anode rod before installing it, to get a leakfree seal.
  • Wrap the tape in the direction that doesn't unwind when you screw in the rod.
  • The threads on the rod and corresponding threads on the cast iron tank fitting are tapered (cone-shaped: the cast iron fitting is wider at the open end, and the rod threads are narrower at the end that touches first. This means it will NOT go all the way in--don't try. Just tighten it tight and don't overdo it.
Thanks for the tip! I was gonna use "the green stuff" thread sealer but that's probably overkill
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