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Old 05-19-2013, 09:06 AM   #1
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Best course of action for my Atwood water heater

Hey everyone, I have a 2012 Eagle 320 RLDS Travel Trailer with an Atwood 10 gal. gas/electric water heater. Just got back from the first trip out this year which was basically a systems check. Everything worked fine last year. My problem is that when I fired the water heater on propane, I noticed a slight flame blow back or flare back when it ignited. After that, it ran well for about 2 minutes [nice blue flame] and then shut down. Repeated attempts to re-fire were unsuccessful. When I flip the switch for gas, I can hear the gas valve open and the igniter "clicking" but no flame and no gas smell. The electric side of the heater works great as this doesn't seem to have anything to do with the gas side. After doing some research, it seems that it could be the Thermal Cut Off locking out the gas side of the heater. Visually, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it, but it's hard to tell. The heater is still under warranty and I called Camping World and the guy said "sure, bring it up", we'll have to keep it for 4 to 6 weeks till we can get to it. Unacceptable. I then asked if there was a mobile RV guy available and he laughed at me. Not bashing CW as I've been treated well there. Wanting to know if anyone else has had a problem similar to this and what you did about it. If it is a simple fix [new TCO], I'll repair it myself because of the fuel savings hauling it up to CW and back. I was also thinking of calling Atwood direct. Thanks, Terry

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Old 05-19-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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It seems unlikely that the TCO is the problem since you have found that "I can hear the gas valve open and the igniter "clicking..." More likely, I think, that there is some gas supply issue. I'm sure you've checked the other gas appliances and they are working properly? If so, it seems to me (and I am not an expert of any sort) that the orifice is stopped up. I believe that the orifice unscrews. Unscrew it, and use a solvent or soft brush to clean it; do NOT use a pin or wire as you may damage the orifice. Hopefully that will fix it.

Hopefully a real expert will have precise information.

Here's a link to the Atwood manual if you don't have one:Atwood Manual Link

Detailed (very) Atwood manual: Atwood Service Manual

There's lots of advice and information in forums... sometimes it is correct. For example, all of my posts are made by a political appointee who got the job as a reward for contributions to my diesel bill.

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Old 05-19-2013, 07:51 PM   #3
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Thanks RVhiker, I will unscrew the small orifice on the gas release side of the valve and inspect it. You're right, why would it go through the "motions" of lighting if it had TCO lockout. I guess I was thinking that if the TCO had failed, it wouldn't let the gas flow no matter what. And yes, all other gas appliances are working properly as I fire them in order from the propane tanks. Thanks again for the insight, Terry
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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Best course of action for my Atwood water heater

Mine did almost the same thing over spring break. It turned out ti be a restricted orfice. Some little small knats had got in there, i unscrewed it cleaned it up and all was good. Hope this works for you.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:18 PM   #5
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My flame sensor thermocouple acted kind of like that.
It lit for awhile, then went out.
Then the pilot would light, but wouldn't let the gas flow.
I unscrewed the TC and put in a new one an RV shop gave me.

Instantly solved my problem.

I am not sure you have the pilot light, so this may not be of much help.

If the orifice is not the problem, may look at flame sensor.

Let us know what you find.


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Old 05-20-2013, 06:09 AM   #6
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I recently went through a similar thing with my Atwood hot water heater. I would turn it on and the unit would lite. The issue was that I noticed even though the unit was lit the sparker kept sparking. The after a short time the unit would stop sparking and the gas would turn off. I would go through this a few times until the unit stayed lit. I did some searching and calling Atwood I cleaned the sparker/flame sensor with a wire brush. Problem solved. I now have a replacement spraker/flame sensor incase it acts up again.


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