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Old 09-14-2018, 04:15 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Dometic Furnace will not operate at high altitude

We own a 2018 Pinnacle 37RLWS. In late July on a trip to Donner Lake (5,700) area, we could not get our LP furnace to come on in the AM when outside temps were 40 degrees. We thought this to be suspicious since our LP water heater worked just fine.


We contacted the dealer in Sacramento who scheduled a service visit for us, and they could not replicate the issue. So the initial finding was "no problem," but I have owned a few RV's in my life, camped all over the US at high altitudes, and never had the furnace ignition issue.


So I sent an email to via the Jayco Customer Service Website describing the problem in mid-August, and a Customer Care / Warranty Service Representative promptly called me. Her name was Amy, and she took ownership for resolving my issue. Earlier this week, Amy called me and told me that her research confirmed that my model furnace, a Dometic 40,000 Btu Unit would not work at altitudes above 4,000 feet, and that there was no known adjustment or fix that could remedy the problem.


I was not very happy about this. Essentially, Jayco sold me a product with a known flaw, and without disclosing this known flaw to me. Intentional act or not, it should be reasonably foreseeable by an RV manufacturer and an RV retailer that the purchaser of an RV would likely want to use the RV in the mountains above 4,500 feet.


So yesterday I sent a follow up email to Derard Bontrager, the Jayco CEO demanding a plan and timeline for which Jayco would resolve this problem, and set a 1 day expectation to hear back.


This morning, I received a call from Dometic to discuss "your problem with our furnace." She told me that Jayco forwarded my email to Dometic. During this call, Jenny H. from Dometic told me that the furnace in my coach would not operate at 4,500 feet, but that the product literature and multiple stickers located on the furnace unit itself stated that the furnace would not operate above 2,500 feet due to the sealed and UN-serviceable combustion compartment. Her suggestion was that I contact an LP gas specialist and pay for a unit modification, but she was not clear about what that modification was or how much it would cost. She also asserted that I would need to pay for such a service, as I was attempting to make the unit function beyond it's design parameters.


The story actually gets better. While I was on the phone with Dometic, I received another call from the Jayco Customer Care group, who left a voice message asking me to call them back. So after getting off the phone with Dometic, I called customer care back and talked with my first contact, Amy. Amy wanted to advise me that Jayco determined that Dometic must own the resolution of my problem as this appears to be a furnace warranty issue. Then I informed her about the conversation I just had with Dometic, and she was shocked. She said she was going to the manufacturing floor to pull a furnace unit out of their parts inventory to confirm the sticker story, and she would call me back with an update. That was at 10am Indiana time, and it is now 6pm Indiana time. My guess is that she confirmed the Dometic story, and came away with "sticker shock".


I will give Jayco some time to work this out. Worst case for me is I can sue for Fraud, and force them to buy my unit back plus court costs, but I hope it does not come to that.


But I want my Jayco brethren to know about this problem. If you have a 2018 Pinnacle fifth wheel, you very likely have the same Dometic furnace as do I. You should check, even if your furnace has worked above 2,500 feet on a recent trip. These rigs cost way too much money for this kind of quality oversight, and no one should be going through the ping-pong customer survice experience that I am to get this resolved.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:52 PM   #2
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Can you post up the model number and serial number? Others may want to check what they have on other model Jayco's. 2500ft of elevation is nothing... We live at 4,600 and camp often at 7k - 9k in the summer.
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Old 09-14-2018, 05:00 PM   #3
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Don't get excited, it is not good for one's soul and health. Use the proper language and your issue get resolved by Jayco or Dometic.
Keep us posted here on the forum.
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Old 09-14-2018, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thanks Auburndan for taking the time to inform us.
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:31 PM   #5
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Did you ever read anything put out by Jayco that states the furnace will work above 4500 ft, I understand your frustration but unless its in writing somewhere how can you call it fraud. I am sure Jayco will step up and correct the problem, they always seem to do the right thing.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:03 AM   #6
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WOW!

I might consider it fraud as well. The dealer where we bought our rig is at 4000ft elevation. We live at 4500ft now and our last home was at 6700ft.

It shocks me that Dometic would make a furnace that would not work in a large portion of the western US.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:34 PM   #7
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On our Eagle HT it's the Norcold fridge that won't operate right at elevations over about 5k feet. Odd because I know of two other RVs with the same fridge that work well up to 10k.
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:50 AM   #8
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Funny cause ours works fine at 6000ft.
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:17 AM   #9
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This is not in defense of anybody, but there are numerous stories/comments about all brands malfunctuning at higher alltitudes on the web. Furnaces, refrigerators and water heaters.
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vcbice View Post
WOW!

I might consider it fraud as well. The dealer where we bought our rig is at 4000ft elevation. We live at 4500ft now and our last home was at 6700ft.

It shocks me that Dometic would make a furnace that would not work in a large portion of the western US.
Did you attempt to operate the furnace as part of the PDI when you picked up the unit?
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:47 AM   #11
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BTW, I did find on the Heartland owners website a warning about the operation the furnace at high altitudes...

"Altitude Considerations
Some owners have experienced problems with furnace operations at high altitude, where the furnace works correctly at lower altitudes. Propane suppliers in low altitude areas (less than 1,000 feet above sea level) may mix additives into the propane. While this can provide improved operation at lower altitudes, at higher altitudes (greater than 5,000 feet above sea level), it can lead to furnace failure, including intermittent lockouts and other symptoms.

If planning a cold weather trip to a location greater than 5,000 feet above sea level, filling tanks after arrival may provide for more reliable operation of the furnace."

So it seems this is a known issue to some manufacturers.
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:50 AM   #12
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I also found an instruction guide for modifying a furnace for operation above 4,500 feet...

https://www.upgnet.com/pdffileredirec...000-c-0404.pdf

I also found some warnings about the refrigerator operating on propane at high altitudes.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:03 PM   #13
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same furnace altitude issue

Have same issue with 2007 pop up and ATWOOD 7916-II(rated for 4500 ft) Jayco dealer no help ATWOOD suggested turn gas valve down(not work) So far unable to find anybody with a modification solution
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