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Replace heater motor

Forum member Frank needed to replace the noisy heater motor on the Hydroflame 8525-IIIV unit on his 1995 Four Winds. He shared this procedure with us.

The heater was making nasty noises on spin up and down, so I decided it best to just swap out the motor. I found a place online that sells the motor for $75, and found it locally for $83. I bought it locally to have it now. I was going to have the shop swap out the motor, but they wanted $90 to do it, and I just couldn't justify it.

I received advice that this could be performed without removing the heater unit from the camper, but due to having a lot of rust on the motor shaft, I needed to get at it with an angle that was not provided with the heater in the camper. I pulled the heater to do this, but I think if you don't have the rust issue that I had you may be able to do this just by opening the access cover.

Follow these instructions at your own risk. If you see anything awry, please feel free to correct me.

Here's how I would do this again:
  • Disconnect negative battery terminal, ensure that shore power is disconnected.
  • Turn off propane tanks, disconnect propane main line from tank.
  • Open and secure access cover on exterior of unit.
  • On right side of unit is the burner blower. Loosen wingnut, remove exhaust tube.
  • On left side of unit is the air handler blower. Remove wires from main cutoff switch on left side of blower cover. These wires were red on my unit.
  • On right side of blower cover, two wires go to the motor itself. Remove and label wires top and bottom. For me, top was yellow, bottom was red.
  • Remove four mounting screws for squirrel cage blower cover. Raise cover up and out of the way.
  • On the very upper right of the unit, there is a wing nut that holds the power board. Loosen this wingnut and slide power board out. Secure this board out of the way.
  • The plastic squirrel caqe is secured to the shaft of the motor with a clamp. Rotate the cage until you see a notch that is cut in one of the vanes. Using a 1/8" allen key, insert through the key through the vane and loosen the clamp.
  • Slide the plastic cage left and off of the shaft. (You can't slide it far enough if the electronics board is still in place.) Remove the cage from the unit.
  • On the right side, the burner blower housing has an access hole in the front of the housing. Rotate the other cage around until you can access the collar set screw with the 1/8" key. Do not remove the set screw! Only loosen this screw 1 to 1.5 turns. If you drop this screw you will be seriously hosed.
  • Next, loosen the clamp that holds the motor in place. You may need to bend the clamp outward somewhat to clear the wire terminal block.
  • Once the motor is loose in the motor clamp, you should be able to slide the motor shaft out of the burner blower. If you are like me, and the shaft was swollen with rust, you may need to encourage it out a little. I sprayed a very small amount of WD40 on the shaft. Then I had to grab the blower collar with water pump pliers. I used pliers to grab the motor shaft on the left side of the motor, and started to wiggle and pull. After some skinned knuckles and swearing the motor came loose. You could probably do this without the skinned knuckles, but you're going to have to swear. Sorry.
  • While you have the electronics out, blow them off with some canned air and do a little general cleaning.

Wasn't that fun? Nope, I didn't think so either. Reassemble in the reverse order.

Stay tuned. Next week I give instructions on a do-it-yourself root canal.

Happy camping!