water heater shutting off.

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bellman

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Joined
Oct 23, 2012
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4
Recently purchased a used class A.
Water heater fires up and heats water, but as heating, is making a "whooshing" sound the entire time.  Not sure if this is normal.  shut off several times over the weekend.  Re lit each time and re heated the water, but kept shutting off.

Any ideas on what to look for?

Thank you !
 

afchap

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Dec 19, 2008
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...East TX, or on the road...
Sounds normal. It will shut off when water reaches temp, and come on again when the thermostat requires it. The "whooshing" noise is typical off an RV gas fired water heater. However, EXCESSIVE whooshing noise indicates the air gate on the burner tube may need to be adjusted/closed a bit ... it should not be so loud that it disturbs the neighbors!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Not sure what a "whooshing sound" may be. Water gurgling thru the tank, or perhaps the roar of an improperly adjusted propane flame?

When you say "shut off", I assume you mean something more than the normal thermostat-controlled on/off cycle?  I.E. you had to turn the switch off and back on again to get it to re-light?

What make and model of water heater is it? Should be a label on the heater itself, when viewed from the outer access door. That info would help a lot.

Typically a DSI (automatic ignition) heater goes into "lock out" if it attempts to re-light on its own and fails. It makes three attempts to light the burner, then shuts down if unsuccessful. This may mean that the burner did not actually light, or it lit but the flame sensor did not detect it. The later is usually obvious - the burner lights and runs about 15-30 seconds, then shuts off. The former is just a series of clicks or "snaps" that you may not hear unless close by.
 

Harry B

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Jan 9, 2009
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Central Florida
Some Winnebagos had this problem.  Not enough oxygen getting to the burner because of the outside cover.  Shims between the internal cover resolved the problems
 

lions6

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Apr 7, 2011
Posts
31
My suburban 6 gallon water heater is doing the clicking of the solanoids on the gas valve but only a couple times and then it wont try again. I replaced the little rocker switch but it still does not work. It doesnt seem to work on electric either. I am wondering if anyone happens to know which part I should throw at it next. This is in a 1995 5th wheel by Cobra so it is pretty old.  Lions6
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What model Suburban is it?

The clicking sound is probably not  a solenoid but instead the sound of the igniter sparking. The only solenoid in the heater is the one that opens the gas valve and it should click just once. If it is actually clicking multiple times, either the valve is bad or the wire that connects it to the controller is intermittent or not delivering adequate voltage to operate it.
 

lions6

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Apr 7, 2011
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Thanks, I actually got it working on the gas side. I went inside the cabinet under the water heater and took out the board. I took it to a local rv repair and parts place and they tested it and said it was not working (sparking) properly. The guy sold me a used board and I barely got it mounted and it started sparking and it took right off. I am glad he had a used board as they wanted 165.00 for a new one. I still have to get the electric side working but at least I have hot water on the propane side. I think the element is probably bad since the trailer is a 1995 and I think the water heater is original to the trailer. I guess as long as it is not leaking and it is still making hot water I will leave it alone other than changing the element. I will have to wait to do that until I get home as I dont have the large socket with me to take out the old one. Thanks again. I hope this helps for anyone else who may be having problems with theirs. Mike. Lions6
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
ON new boards (And you might wish to get a spare if that is an OEM board)

The board for my rurnace, per the loacl dealer who it appears is honest is about 250 bucks, Best price I could find was like 247 + S&H (I said he appears honest)

Dinosaur board,  Which I got, price, shipping and handling included, 108.

The board impressed me as being very well made,, There is an "RV-Expert" parked 2 rows over from me, he says exactly the same thing...  Oh, works too, as recently as one hour ago.
 

lions6

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The board I got was used at $75.00 at an Oregon coast RV repair shop. I felt it was decent at the time since there are not a lot of places at the beach in our area. The board that he gave me was smaller than the one that came out of it but so far it seems to fire right up since I replaced it. So now I need to see if I can get the electric side of it working. I think it probably needs a new electric element. Does anyone happen to know the socket size needed for replacing that on a suburban 6 gallon water heater is? I will be bringing some tools down with me after I run home for a while so I want to try and take the right size with me or several that are close. Am I thinking right with the element? the trailer is a 1995 cobra trailer so it should be due if it hasnt been changed yet. Mike, (lions6).
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Many Suburban heaters have a reset button under the cover for the electric input. Could also have  bad thermostat on the electric side. However, a failed heating element is a good possibility too.

You can find a service manual for your heater at http://bryantrv.com/docs.html#water_heater
 

lions6

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Apr 7, 2011
Posts
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It is a suburban 6 gallon. I picked up a new element today and I will be heading back down to the beach tomorrow to try and get it installed. (my rv is at the beach in a campground right now). It looks like the replacement element is about 6 inches long and it takes an 1 1/2 inch socket. I dont have a thin wall socket but I will see if the regular 1/2 inch drive socket will get out the old one or not. I am taking a couple of different sockets with me. If it does not work when replaced I guess I will try for the next item. Maybe the thermostat or the limit switches? Mike.
 

Jeff

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SD/AZ
Our 6 gallon Atwood used a separate thermostat and Eco shutoff for the electric side . If the Surburban does I would try running the hot wire directly to the element instead of through the thermostat and Eco overheat shutoff before changing the element. Let it run for 15 minutes or so and see if you get hot water. If so a $15-20 thermostat/Eco kit is all you need.
 

lions6

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Apr 7, 2011
Posts
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I finally got mine working on both electric and gas. It turned out that with a tester I determined that the little rocker switch outside was not shutting off the power to the electric element. It took some thinking but I finally realized that when the switch had gone bad someone reversed the polarity of the pig tail on the water heater to bypass the switch. The element was also bad. I also figured out that the directions are pretty vague. It says to turn on and off the switch (listed on the burner cover) to get the burner to come on. I did not realize that they were actually talking about the switch inside the trailer not the one at the outside of the water heater. Once I realized that the little rocker switch on the exterior was to turn on power to the water heater and once I corrected the polarity of the wires to the water heater it worked just fine. (well I also had to change the electric element). Now I have a 15 year old water heater that has a used board that fixed the gas side and a new rocker switch and element that is working the electric side. Finally I am saving money on propane. Thanks for all the tips and help. By the way I used a 1 1/2 inch socket to take out the element. I did have to slightly bend the metal plate with a needle nose pliers to get the socket to fit into the hole in the backing plate. I just used a flat tip screwdriver to push the plate back into place so the cover would go back over the element. Thanks again for the help. Mike.
 
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