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Old 05-20-2012, 06:30 AM   #1
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Water heater and A/C?

We just bought this '83 T1550 yesterday, and the previous owner says the water heater doesn't work. Pictures are attached here of our unit. Never having any experience with these, I figured I'd ask about diagnosis, or repair/rebuild and reinstall or where to find something like this new and just replace. Any and all of the above!

Also, we have a little sticker up inside our vent that says "Wired for Air Conditioner." Gee. Could it be so easy? Where would I find the wires, and what kind of small a/c unit would be appropriate for a small Sunline like this?

Off I go to pull a wheel, pull the rear seal, check bearings and bearing surfaces, run out and get new stuff (seals or just bearing kits - we'll see) and grease it up. Lots to do today.

Thanks for any help here folks, I need it!

Frank
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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Frank,

Any chance of a model number on the Atwood heater you have?

It is an older all gas unit. The gas valve runs the entire control.

A thought before you start drilling into this is, is the tank sound? Does it have a hole in it?

Do you have a small air compressor? You can charge the entire water system by applying 40 psi of compressed air to the city water inlet fitting. Then once charged, go listen for leaks. And or better, install an air gage in the hot water drain plug area, charge up the camper, shut off the charge line and look for a pressure decay. Using air is easier then cleaning up a water leak.

If the tank is shot and the gas valve is corroded then it may be better to start over with a new one. As a fast search, here is the range of $$ for a new one. A standard gas only is cheaper then the higher end DSI gas/electric ones.

Atwood Hot Water Heater on Sale - PPL Motor Homes

And yes you can buy an AC unit just I do not the ceiling hole part. You may have to frame it out. No big deal. Ideal is to find someone with a similar older camper that has an AC unit on how they did it. I do not know if the older camper had roof trusses heavy enough for the AC. Odds are high they are, just need to check.

Does your fuse/breaker box has a spare slot for a 20 amp dedicated circuit? Pull the cover. If you are really luck the wire may be in the box just not hooked up. That may be the pre-wire part. It is run through the walls and left unhooked. Which would be really great. Then you need to find the spot in the ceiling where Sunline would of put it to find the other end.

Here is what to expect on cost. Surfing around may find them cheaper or not. Your's would need the kind that is direct to blow into the camper, not the ducted air type.

RV Air Conditioners and Parts - PPL Motor Homes

Hope this helps. Knowing your handy work, you can do this

John
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:02 PM   #3
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John, it is an Atwood G4-SM, 4 gallons, 8800 btu, 7.37 gal/hr recharge. I have a pic of the label if you need or want me to post it.

I don't know if the tank is sound, but do these pics help?

I have a big 90 gallon shop air compressor. Can I get a fitting that would screw onto that hose connection, or just how do you charge a system with air?

Yes, my 60 amp Gould circuit breaker has an extra slot, and there is a coil of unconnected white 110V wire in the space the circuit breaker occupies. I would be dollars to donuts it's for A/C. There's only one other circuit in the box, and it's 15 amps.

Looking around for sensible A/C, it looks like the best bet would be a Coleman 9200 btu Polar Cub. Low profile, reasonably priced, and looks like around $650 (on the web) for a complete unit with the ceiling assembly. I don't have any problem enlarging the vent hole.

Looks like I'm just getting my drums turned and buy new shoes. Can't get brake assemblies or drum/hubs anymore for these old Dexter 10 X 1 1/2" brakes. Can still get magnets though, and I may have to do that. I have power at the connecter, but not at the wheel. I don't have any experience with electric brakes, but other than the electric and magnet part, have loads of experience. We'll see how it comes out.

Thanks for the help.

Frank
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank_a View Post

I don't know if the tank is sound, but do these pics help?

I have a big 90 gallon shop air compressor. Can I get a fitting that would screw onto that hose connection, or just how do you charge a system with air?

Yes, my 60 amp Gould circuit breaker has an extra slot, and there is a coil of unconnected white 110V wire in the space the circuit breaker occupies. I would be dollars to donuts it's for A/C. There's only one other circuit in the box, and it's 15 amps.

Looking around for sensible A/C, it looks like the best bet would be a Coleman 9200 btu Polar Cub. Low profile, reasonably priced, and looks like around $650 (on the web) for a complete unit with the ceiling assembly. I don't have any problem enlarging the vent hole.

Looks like I'm just getting my drums turned and buy new shoes. Can't get brake assemblies or drum/hubs anymore for these old Dexter 10 X 1 1/2" brakes. Can still get magnets though, and I may have to do that. I have power at the connecter, but not at the wheel. I don't have any experience with electric brakes, but other than the electric and magnet part, have loads of experience. We'll see how it comes out.

Thanks for the help.

Frank
Frank,

To get a fitting to screw into the city water connection you can do this a few ways.

There are store bought ones. A schrader tire valve on a garden hose fitting. You have to hold the hose on but it works.

Here is one. I "think" this one has the schrader tire valve. Maybe, maybe not.
Blow-out Plug - Camco RV 36104 - Winterizing - Camping World

Here is another one, this one stays blowing.
Blow Out Hose - Intersource Enterprises D16-252 - Winterizing - Camping World

Or you go to the hardware store and make one yourself like I did.

Start with 1/2 NPT female to 3/4" garden hose thread brass adapter. The adapt down to your air chuck fitting.




I regulate down the pressure to 40 psi and I use 2 filters in from the time it leaves the compressor. One at the compressor before the hose and one at the point of use going into the camper. I do not want compressor moisture in the camper water system. This was on my prior camper. The one we have now I have a blow out fitting all setup inside to blow from the pump forward.

Once you know if the tank is sound then you can figure out if you want to fix the gas system or not.

You said 60 amp breaker. Is that a typo? Most campers of that size had a 30 amp main breaker. However it looks like you may have wires for a AC unit which is a really good start. Are they 12 awg?

Electric brakes. No rocket science here if you know auto hydraulic brakes.

Here is how they work. The drum is like an armature. When the wheel rolls and you apply the magnet it pulls the lever and expands the shoes. The magnet and arm replaces the hydraulic wheel cylinder. More voltage to the brake coils = more holding power on the magnet = more stopping power.



You adjust the shoe running clearance just like in the old days on car drum brakes. Just most all TT brakes do not self adjust. You need to crawl under about every 3,000 miles and tweak the adjuster.

If you have 12.7 volts at the truck on the brake power pin and nothing at the magnets then you have a hot wiring issue or a really bad ground. Both can happen. Also on a old TT, they run the brake wires inside the axle tube to cross left to right. The wire insulation gets brittle and cracks and leaves exposed wire to ground itself out as you tow down the road. This is a text book problem with older campers. To get around it, get some 2 conductor wire and tie wrap it to the back outside of the tube.

Wire size and connections. You only have 12.7 volts to start with. 13.6 if the charger is going. Voltage loss back to the wheel by bad connections of light gage wire can loose enough voltage that the braking power is affected. Ideally run no 10 as the main trunk line back from the 7 wire plug to the axle then split with no 10 or no 12 awg to the other wheel. On your short camper, no 12 awg as the truck line may also work. Us guys with longer camper need to start with no 10.

And make sure the ground at the brakes and the ground at the camper tongue is absolutely good. Bare metal with some dielectric grease to make the connection. Or better yet, run the brake ground all the way up to the front and hard wire it right to the pigtail to the truck.

Good luck and hope this helps

John
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:41 AM   #5
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We have a humungous Boat n RV Warehouse a few miles away John. I have bought lots of stuff there for Spot as well as our classic speed boat. I'll check with them on a fitting for my air system. I could also check the local hardware store for a fitting and make my own like you did.

I get very little water out of my compressed air system because my air feed is a long ways away from the compressor (through black pipe), and is designed to minimize water collection. Plus I have drops I blow out every day, one at my feed, one on the other side of the garage where the compressor is, and of course one at the compressor. Also, I keep handy disposable air system filters for spray painting.

See pic for circuit breaker label. Looks like 60 to me!

Thanks for the advice on the brake system John, that is very helpful stuff. My brake controller says I'm connected, but when I have an assistant step on the brake, nothing happens at the wheel. Should I be spinning the wheel to make it seem like it's in motion? A friend who has experience with this stuff told me all I needed was someone to step on the brake while I stood near a wheel, and I would hear a buzz. I had one drum off, the other on, and nothing.

I'm going to pull the drums today and bring them to a buddy who has a drum turning lathe, and at the same time order shoes from NAPA. While I wait on the drums, I'll do more checking of the electrical system that drives the brakes. I don't know if I'm going to need magnets, but NAPA has them too.

Thanks again for the help, it is greatly appreciated. Enjoy your day!

Frank
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:51 AM   #6
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Frank,

On the 60 load center, OK let's make sure I did not miss understand where this is. Is this in your house or in the camper?

If it is in the camper, take a pic of the shore line plug that you plug into the campground. Most are a special 30 amp RV camper plug rated at 120 vac 30 amp. (3 blades that look similar but are NOT like an older 3 prong 220 dryer plug) If it is not the standard 30 amp 120 vac camper plug , on small campers or pop ups they look like a normal 120 volt 15 amp plug like at home. Or they go to a 220 volt 4 prong plug for a 50 amp 220 volt system in larger 5th wheels or a motorhomes.

Here see this, this is the 1st hit on the web to find a 30 amp RV plug

30 amp rv plug - Bing Images

You may have a 60 breaker box rating but only 30 amps coming to it and a 30 amp breaker in the main feed line. "IF" this is in the camper and for sure you have an actual 60 amp infeed line, this is a special or someone did some really heavy upgrading. The plug configuration at the camp ground power post would need a special split adapter system to tap into the 220V line to create 2, 120 volt feeds. The only system I have ever seen do this is when some one is a master electrician that knows enough about this to even think of doing it. I have a buddy who actually did this....

If this 60 amp box is in the camper, then I "think" the label have miss lead you. I have not “yet” seen a campground with a 60 amp 120volt receptacle at it for you to plug into. I would have to look it up if they even make a single phase, 60 amp 120 vac plug... I know they make a 50 as we had a computer system use it years ago. Not a common thing.

The brakes, your method of determining working is not a bullet proof one. Sometimes they buzz so you can hear them, sometimes not. Some use a compass next to the drum to see the needle move. Again not always 100% reliable. If you use a volt meter and get it onto the coil leads this will tell you more then the buzz/compass approach however that means you have to tap into the wiring and create an opening.

What ever voltage is at the truck plug brake pin then you should have the same at the brake coils unless you are loosing resistance in the wiring/ground. If you have an actual DC clamp on amp probe, then you and clamp on at the brake coil and read the amperage. I suspect you may not have one as a DC probe is more of a special.

Each type of coil is a little different in amp draws but most are in the 3 amp range at full voltage. And since you only have 2 of them then a standard VOM is some times good for 10 to 20 amps DC on the meter. You could use a standard VOM meter in series with the brake feed line at the 7 wire plug setup or the junction box on the front of the camper if one is there. Some have one, some don’t. Some are inside the camper on the older ones.

Mechanically speaking, in order for the brake to work the wheel has to roll. The magnet just attracts to the side of the drum. The drum turns and provides the force to spread the shoes. The more voltage to the coil the more amps it will draw and the attraction will be more powerful verses slip. Your truck brake controller is varying the voltage to create more or less power to the coils.

Hope this helps and points you where to go looking. Be back later to check in.

John
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:56 AM   #7
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Frank, forgot. The linings in that pic do not look that worn. Yes I know they are thin but new ones are not that thick to start with. The adjuster may be frozen so check that. You could take them apart and clean them up and go for a while yet on them. Put a dab of grease on the magent arm pivot bushing (just behind the spring at the 12:00 position) and a dab on the rub pin (would be on the back side of the magnet arm where it touches the backing plate) that slides on the back plate. Some used a hard flat top pin some used a bump as the rub pin.

Good luck

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Old 05-21-2012, 07:09 AM   #8
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Here's a picture of the breaker John (and the wiring for the A/C unit). It's obviously a two position breaker, which, 60 amp or not, does not give me anything extra. Also, it's a Gould, and the one breaker now in the box is a Gould. The cover has that label I posted on the inside and fits the box like it was made for it.

The cord is a standard 3 prong cord, and says Recreational Use on it (or something similar). It would be easy to swap that cord out.

So maybe just get the drums turned? That would save me some bucks.

I'll do some maintenance on the brake system based on your suggestions later this week. The next few days are going to be kind of crazy for me, and I doubt I'll get much done.

Thanks for all the help, I sure do appreciate it. Have a great day!

Frank
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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Frank,

If that wire hanging is for the A/C then the other end should be at the roof opening. Could be!

Did you ever get the rest of the pictures?
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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Yuk, yuk. This little sticker is on the inside of the vent...

Rest of what pictures?!?
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Yuk, yuk. This little sticker is on the inside of the vent...

Rest of what pictures?!?
If you will size the pigtail and cirsuitbreaker for 30 amp you will be good to go. The opening is the standard 14 by 14 roof vent to you can set the A/C on top, screw it down, wire it up and turn it on.

You had said you would get the inside pictures but I can't find them.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:20 AM   #12
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Jim, I have checked out A/C units and have picked this one: COLEMAN POLAR CUB RV ROOF AIR CONDITIONER - $639.00

It is the complete unit, both top and interior, and yes, it will just pop right in. That, and a 30 amp Gould circuit breaker and I'm good to go!

Sorry, forgot to post pics of the interior. I set up an album here with a few pics, but will have more later. Thanks!

http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...albums264.html
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:01 AM   #13
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My '81 17.5SB was wired for AC like yours. The wire was on the drivers side, bathroom side, of the roof vent.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:10 AM   #14
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I haven't pulled the vent yet to look, but that is the side the vent sticker is on. I can't worry about it till I have more bucks!

Frank
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:22 PM   #15
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It looks mighty fine Frank. You should get much good use out of it once the essentials are added. Good going.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:24 PM   #16
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Thanks Jim, I sure hope so. It is a very nice trailer, and about as big as I want to go for now anyways. I think we'll get a lot of good use out of it.

Frank
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:51 PM   #17
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..... .. My brake controller says I'm connected, but when I have an assistant step on the brake, nothing happens at the wheel. ....
My brake controller is inertia based. When I am stopped it doesn't put out much voltage. Try using the manual slider.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:36 AM   #18
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Here's a picture of the breaker John (and the wiring for the A/C unit). It's obviously a two position breaker, which, 60 amp or not, does not give me anything extra. Also, it's a Gould, and the one breaker now in the box is a Gould. The cover has that label I posted on the inside and fits the box like it was made for it.

The cord is a standard 3 prong cord, and says Recreational Use on it (or something similar). It would be easy to swap that cord out.

So maybe just get the drums turned? That would save me some bucks.

I'll do some maintenance on the brake system based on your suggestions later this week. The next few days are going to be kind of crazy for me, and I doubt I'll get much done.

Thanks for all the help, I sure do appreciate it. Have a great day!

Frank
Frank, that picture tells a lot. You have a 15 amp only service right now. The breaker box is rated at 60 amp but that is just the box rating. You have minimual inside 120 VAC items. A power converter, some wall plugs and don't know what else but not much.


Can you provide some more info as I see you are looking at the electric option on the HW heater.
  • Do you have a micro wave and what is the wattage rating?
  • Do you have an option on the fridge to run on electric? (it may be all gas)
  • What is the awg rating (no 14 or no 12) on the AC wire coiled up next to the breaker box?
  • Any chances of taking a picture of the inside of the breaker box? Looking to see how many termail strips are inside and the breaker buss bar setup. Take pic so we can see the entire inside and how it is wired.
From this info the answers will fit better on how to setup the camper for both a AC unit and a possible future electric HW heater element. Pending the setup in that box, you may be able to add 4 circuit breakers to divide up the load better for a 30 amp 120 VAC incoming line.

Thanks

John
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:17 AM   #19
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The pig tail hanging out of your camper is rated 15 amps. Your box (load center) probably is a 60 amp box but the input will be a lot less. A 120v 30 amp RV cord cap is 4X the size of the plug you have and the wire would be #10. 15 Amps will run a small A/C but little else. In order to get 30 amps into the camper you will have to replace the power cord and install a 30 amp main breaker the only problem would be plugging it in at home can be done with an adapter but that will reduce your amperage back to 15 amps.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Frank, that picture tells a lot. You have a 15 amp only service right now. The breaker box is rated at 60 amp but that is just the box rating. You have minimual inside 120 VAC items. A power converter, some wall plugs and don't know what else but not much.


Can you provide some more info as I see you are looking at the electric option on the HW heater.
  • Do you have a micro wave and what is the wattage rating?
  • Do you have an option on the fridge to run on electric? (it may be all gas)
  • What is the awg rating (no 14 or no 12) on the AC wire coiled up next to the breaker box?
  • Any chances of taking a picture of the inside of the breaker box? Looking to see how many termail strips are inside and the breaker buss bar setup. Take pic so we can see the entire inside and how it is wired.
From this info the answers will fit better on how to setup the camper for both a AC unit and a possible future electric HW heater element. Pending the setup in that box, you may be able to add 4 circuit breakers to divide up the load better for a 30 amp 120 VAC incoming line.

Thanks

John
John, we do want to add a microwave, so what should I be looking for I wonder? There is really not enough space to add one above the stove or sink, so my idea would be to get a sink cover (or make one) and store a microwave for when we need it. I believe there's a 110V outlet right above the sink. There's another weird outlet there with a small two thin prong plug next to it. Hmmm?

The propane fridge was replaced with a cheap WalMart electric unit. It works fine when the trailer is plugged into 110V. I would like to get a propane/electric frig, but that will be after A/C and an electric/propane hot water. I'll probably need circuit breakers for both these won't I?

The wire for the A/C is 12/2.

I may need to swap out this box, as it looks like it's just 2 position anyways. I sure appreciate your help with this stuff John, thanks!

Frank
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2009 GMC Canyon with factory tow package & new fangled brake controller
2008 Subaru Outback
1983 Sunline T-1550

Image to come as soon as I figure out how to flatten a pic!
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