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Old 04-26-2013, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default Propane water heaters

Hello! I have been lurking in this forum too long.
Now that my wife and I are actually going to travel in our Leisure Travel Van(1997 on a Dodge3500 chassis), I'm finding a few problems I need to fix. The first is the water heater which is a Suburban Manufacturing Company model SW6D propane water heater. It worked when we bought the van but now will light and cut out after a few seconds. I have replaced the electrode, the flame is blue and not small and the gas orifice looks to be in good condition. There was some dirt etc. in the burn chamber which I cleaned out. There is no soot or indication of incomplete combustion.
I'm appealing to wiser, experienced members on the forum for ideas.
Ed
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Propane water heaters

Sounds like you've been working on it so any air in the propane line should be purged out. A simple way to make sure the air is purged out would be to light the stove. Maybe even keep the stove lit long enough to boil water in a kettle or pot. That way you'll know gas is flowing to other appliances.

If it is a gas pressure problem then that will probably require a dealer to fix or replace parts as needed. I'd fill the propane tank to make sure that a low level of propane is not the problem first.

Hopefully some other advice will come in from anyone who has experienced a similar problem.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Propane water heaters

Thank you marcopolo! I have not touched the propane supply line but I will check to see that the propane tank is full. All the other propane appliances(stove Refrigerator and Space heater work). I agree, I may need to see an RV dealer. They are very busy here and the one I tried gave me an appointment 10 days ahead. I'll keep posting my progress. Are there adjustments that a user can get to? Is there a hidden reset button? There is a strong spark to ignite the propane at the start and the flame is a full strong blue flame for about 5 seconds and then I hear a click and it shuts down - no lingering propane smell.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Propane water heaters

Some troubleshooting tips here: http://www.ducktec.com/suburban-waterhe ... oting.html

First on my list would be checking ground connections.

Service manual here: http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/subsw.pdf - It also has a troubleshooting section.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Propane water heaters

The last click you hear is the gas solenoid shutting off. The circuit board thinks that it did not light. Things to check,
Electrode clean? for can use steel wool of fine sand paper.
Wire connection at the electrode
Wire connection at the circuit board. Careful with this. Just unplug the connector and plug it in a couple of times.
If every thing checks out, it is probably the circuit board.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: Propane water heaters

Thank you markopolo and slipbobber! First I must apologize - I uploaded 3 pictures of the heater but managed to put them in what is probably not the right album and am at a loss as to how to change that. I think the diagnosis is correct that the circuit board is not sensing that there is a flame. The reset does not do anything to change that. All the connections appear to be good. It is a new electrode in there now ($30). Looks like the circuit board could be it, which means more disassembly then what I want to do, so I'll try to get a shop to do it.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Propane water heaters

Linking the photos:







and an older Suburban water heater troubleshooting manual: http://hometips.me/Mar/Suburban_Water_H ... Manual.pdf
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Old 08-22-2015, 05:47 PM   #8
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Default

I have exact same problem. Can anyone advise where I might order a new circuit board from?
Original poster still around to advise how it turned out??
Thanks
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