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Old 03-20-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
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Removing an Atwood water heater

Okay, so the old Atwood 6A3 has given up the ghost....may is rest in "pieces". I need to replace this thing. How tough a job is this? I know I can probably just read the installation instructions backwards to pull this thing out, but I don't want to screw anything up in pulling out the old unit.
I would appreciate instructions from any of you guys and or gals that have performed this ritual, so I can benefit from your experiences. The RV is an "88 Seville" And the model of the water heater is a 6A3.
I am particularly concerned about how difficult the connections are to get to and any tips that will save me the headaches that you may have suffered.
By the way this 6 gal. job wil cost me close to $370 at my RV dealer...is that in the ball park or should I check out ebay?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:45 PM   #2
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Hi Drake,

I had to install a WH in our fifth wheel and it wasn't too difficult. I'm not sure on how easy it is, to get to the back side of the unit in your coach. If it's not too difficult to get to, the install should go quite easily. As you said, just follow the install steps in reverse. There should be some putty tape, where the outside edge of the WH goes against the siding. You will need to replace that with new putty tape. The electrical connections are fairly simple, but please triple check the water pipe connections for leaks.

JohnB should be along shortly.. He's better at explaining things, than I am.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:44 PM   #3
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Thanks EMD! Yes the connections are the bugaboos, I'm worried about most!
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:28 PM   #4
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I ended up replacing two pex fittings, because they decided to start leaking. It wouldn't have been so bad, but there wasn't much room to get the crimping tool in the WH area.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:28 PM   #5
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uhhhh...crimping tool?
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
uhhhh...crimping tool?
Many of the PEX fittings are crimped on the ends of the pipe with a special crimping tool. The tools used to be beaucoup expensive, but have fallen in price as more and more PEX is being used in residential applications. Last I saw, a PEX crimper ran about $89, but that was a while ago.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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Ye gods and little fishes, Steve, that PEX Crimper ( I capitalize here because anything that expensive SHOULD be capitalized) is a third of the cost of the water heater! Is there an alternative method to attach the lines, or a way the connections currently on the hoses can be saved and re-attached to the new heater?
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:16 PM   #8
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The fittings unscrew from the water heater BUT, if the fittings are not in good condition on the PEX tubing then you need the crimper to put new fittings on the PEX. When I replaced my water heater the fittings were only 2 years old.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:50 PM   #9
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Hi Drake

While I have the PEX crimper, and back then the only reason I ended up with it was they where clearancing them, there are alternatives.

See these

Flair-It Store - Flair-It PEX and Polybutylene Plumbing System

These work on PEX and do not require the cooper or stainless crimp rings. They also sell a fitting I "think" called Shark bite. They are in Lowes/Home Depot. They are however very long. The Flairit is short.

As far as the Hot Water Heater, searching around on line may get you a better deal. Here is one hit

Atwood Hot Water Heater on Sale

Now the key to sort out if your older one and a new one use the same hole size. You also now have an option if you want to deal with some wiring to add the electric element option. A 6 gallon with DSI and a 1,400 watt electric element is $349 plus freight. Some shopping around and some places give free freight over $100 orders.

I'll do some digging to see if I can find the cut out sheet for your older heater. It may even be in your manual if you have one. We can then compare to the new style if you want to go that route. Or $274 for the gas pilot no electric G6A-7 but need to check the cut out that it will work in the place of your older 6A3

Here are some more. Atwood Water Heater Atwood Water Heaters Atwood RV Water Heater Atwood Trailer Water Heater Atwood Camper Water Heater Atwood Motorhome Water Heater Atwood Motor Home Water Heater These guys are however in CA. I have bought from them and all worked well but PPL is in TX and the freight might be less.

Again, need to shop around. Or compare to your dealer price and his may be the cheaper with the freight deal.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:42 PM   #10
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JohnB,

You always come through in the pinch!!! Thank you for your extensive help on this...I'l be looking at Lowes (for shark)/ Rv store for Flarit) in the near future for the connections you mentioned. What size are these fittings by the way...I'm thinkin' 3/8ths? Which ones and how many will I need? female/male/ male to female/etc.
I hate to be a pain but our RV is pretty remote and I have a long way to go to get supplies, so I'd like to have them when I get there the first time if possible.

The only connections I see on the diagram I have are hot water out/cold water in/
and one more, which I forget since I am away from that diagram at present.

Yes the opening size issue now concerns me. I just took for granted that the G6A-7 would fit because it looks like the one that is in the RV now and it has a 6A in the model #....but we all know what ASSUME does, right? The propane connection is in the front of the unit.
One other thing, I'd like to replace the rusted LP distribution pipe portion that runs from the front of the RV to the water heater. Is that a 1/2" galvinize pipe?

JohnB, I can't thank you enough....it's great having an expert as close as my keyboard.

Drake
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:32 PM   #11
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Hi again Drake,

The reason I used the crimping tool, was because the factory compression style plastic fittings leaked on me. I crimped new fittings on the ends of the pex. I used a crimping tool from Lowes and it was only $38.97 Here's a picture of it:



It's called a "Kobalt Quick-Cinch PEX Clamp Tool" and the part number is: Item #: 197243 | Model #: KG1096A

I now carry a few "Emergency" pex repair fittings and the crimping tool in the Sunline.

Gary

EDIT: Those Flare-It fittings are what I was referring to, when I said "Compression style fittings" That's what our Sunline got from the factory and the fittings I was having leak on me.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #12
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There's also this little gem that retails for around $25: The Pex Pocket Crimper- For permanent crimp connections with PEX tubing fittings

It does require a 10" vise grip to operate, but is still a lot cheaper than most of the dedicated tools except for the Kobalt that Gary has.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:38 PM   #13
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I don't know if this will help much, but when I had my little 1986 T-1661 I had to replace the water heater. At that time I never even thought about different size openings. I just purchased an Atwood Gas W/H and it was a direct replacement. It was the 6 gallon size.

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Old 03-22-2011, 07:07 PM   #14
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Drake,
You can buy these fittings most anywhere, but it's helpful to know what to look for. RV dealers use the Coast Catalog for a lot of their parts. Click on the next button and also the previous button to see a whole bunch of similar SeaTech fittings. Where I live the SeaTech is much more likely to be found in hardware stores. I have never seen Flair-It except on my Sunline and then only a couple of fittings around the winterizing bypass on the water heater--something you might consider installing if you don't have it--and on the water pump. Everything else is PEX and crimp rings.

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Old 03-22-2011, 09:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post

What size are these fittings by the way...I'm thinkin' 3/8ths? Which ones and how many will I need? female/male/ male to female/etc.



The only connections I see on the diagram I have are hot water out/cold water in/ and one more, which I forget since I am away from that diagram at present.

Yes the opening size issue now concerns me. I just took for granted that the G6A-7 would fit because it looks like the one that is in the RV now and it has a 6A in the model #....but we all know what ASSUME does, right?
The propane connection is in the front of the unit.

One other thing, I'd like to replace the rusted LP distribution pipe portion that runs from the front of the RV to the water heater. Is that a 1/2" galvinize pipe?
Hi Drake

First thanks for the kind words but don't put me up there in that high up a status. The fall to the ground hurts way too much.... We "Sunline Owners Club" as a group each bring something to the table to learn and have fun with. And right now we are learing thru you what Sunline built in 1988...

Now to some of your questions. I do not know what year Sunline went to 1/2" OD Pex tubing. And I do not know if your 1988 is on 1/2" Pex. We had another member here not too long ago on an older camper and that tubing that actaully looked like 3/8 and was something else. I'll see if I can dig it up, it was on a Hot Water heater by pass and I know MackC85 helped him out with a bypass pic.

There are only 2 water connections on the HW heater. Cold in and hot out... A bypass kit was mentioned, if yours does not have that now is the time to add.

Here is the back of my prior T2499. The T310SR is too burried in a cabinet to get good pic's of. This is a 2004 unit. This unit has the 120 VAC electric element in it. It is down in that little black box on the bottom of the unit. This also has the Bypass kit on it using I do believe the Flarit fittings. Blue is cold in and Red is hot out.




The opening size, again I'm not a 1988 wizard on what sizes where used then. They well may be the same opening but I for sure suggest to check or be prepaired to create a fix. While you may not find info on the older unit you can on the new unit. You can measure the camper for the old unit and compare to the new.

Looking here Pilot Ignition Water Heaters - Atwood Mobile

That is the manual pilot light system. The G6A-7 In this file on page 1 we can decode the part number G = Gas, 6 = 6 gallon, A= I'm not sure, it says screw in or bolt on element but does not declare what an A is or an AA, 7 = the rev level.

http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/...2011.19.07.pdf

Your 6A3 I think is missing the G in front of it or back then they did not use a G. So that is 6 gallon, The A feature I do not know and rev 3.

On page 2 it talks about the cutout diminsion, for a newer 6 gallon it lists 12 5/8" x 16 1/4" and 17 5/8" deep.

This much I can tell you, call Atwood Mobile, their tech service is great. You give them your old model/serial number and ask the one that will replace it, they can and will help. Ask about the opening too. I called them on a Hydroflame furnace and thay are top flight. Phone number is on top of that PDF file above.

The main gas pipe, on the newer ones it is 1/2" sch 40 black iron pipe. I do not know if LP is rated on galvanized.

Good luck and hope this helps

John
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:00 PM   #16
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You guys and gals are the greatest... I need just a little more info please!!
What size fittings will I encounter back there? 3/8ths? 1/2 in? What types (male/female etc.)do I need? I'm off to Lowes tomorrow for a crimper/fittings. JohnB, looks like American RV's got the best price on the water heater, (279 +30 shipping) coming in a good 50 bucks less than my dealer.
Thanks again all you dear, helpful people!!!
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
I'll see if I can dig it up, it was on a Hot Water heater by pass and I know MackC85 helped him out with a bypass pic.
Here is the bypass pic:


This unit uses two (ea.) three-way valves and one (ea.)on/off valve. The three ways are in the cold supply and hot discharge lines with a pipe between them with the on/off valve in it. Bypassed the three ways flow through the "bypass" pipe with the on/off "on". Normal operation the three ways flow to the tank and the bypass line valve is closed. (Note: When using three -way valves, the valve in the bypass pipe is not really needed. See below)

The newer units use one three way valve in the cold "supply" line and a "tee" fitting in the hot "discharge" line to connect the bypass pipe. A check valve is placed into the "hot" line between the tank and the "tee" that only allows water to flow out of the tank.

There is a third way to do this, using three on/off valves and two tees. A valve is placed in the the supply and discharge of the tank, then a tee is installed in each line with the bypass pipe between them. This set-up does need a valve in the bypass pipe.

Send me a PM if I've confused you, but a bypass will save you 6 gals of pink stuff every year, so it's worth it.

Mack
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:06 AM   #18
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There are diagrams and descriptions of all the different by-pass systems in the Files area in the same section with water heaters.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:06 PM   #19
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Thanks again folks...bought the water heater today...$305 including shipping. Bought the Kobalt Crimper as suggested by EMD earlier in this thread. Bought the pinch clamps to use with this tool...which must be used with the Kobalt crimper evidentally as the other kind, crimp rings, a solid band (instead of like the pinch clamp which is band with a raised rectangle on top) The raised rectangle on the pinch clamps, I assume, goes into the jaw tips of the Kobalt crimper and I squeeze.
Bought both 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch pinch clamps as there seems to be a question as to which size I may find when I pull the old heater out. I am also going to think about installing the bypass as suggested by Steve and John B. Is there an advantage to this bypass if I don't use antifreeze ( except for traps and drains), but instead blow out the lines instead? This is what I did last year and things seem to be fine...although getting all the water out was a pain and took more than the recommended 55psi air pressure to shift it all.

I still need to know what types of connectors I will need to replace any that may be leaking on the lines leading to the heater as to male/female.

Also on all the connections I've seen in this thread, I have not seen the pxp pinchclamp type which I will be using....which gives me pause ....hmmmmm
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Also on all the connections I've seen in this thread, I have not seen the pxp pinchclamp type which I will be using....which gives me pause ....hmmmmm

Drake,

I used standard pex fittings from Lowes, when I did my WH.
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