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Water Heater Element Replacement

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Sandpiper View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 May 2010 at 10:13pm
Well, despite all the warnings, remarks and advice we have a burned out water heater element. I am confident I am responsible for the element being burned out due to my unfamiliarity and haste in winterizing the Pod(Drained the tank and forgot to turn off the electric to the heater) .
We went camping over the weekend and the water would not heat up with the 120V so the trouble shooting found a burned out element.  So I am going to share my misfortune and try to make it a positive experience.

Lesson one:  Buy your replacement element from Home Depot #15896 120V 1500W Camco # 2142  cost $9.67.  The same element from a RV site was $11.36 with $6.98 shipping. A Suburban element # 520789 will set you back at least $19.50 + $4.59 shipping.

Lesson two: You will need a Screw in Element Wrench Camco # 15493 also available from Home Depot#154932 for $6.47.  Unless you have a much better selection of wenchs than I do you will need to have this wrench if you want to remove and replace the element.  It is a 1 1/2" wrench that looks like the "old" spark plug trench's.  You young whipper snappers will have to look it up.

Lesson three:  It is simple to replace the element .
WARNING:  SHUTOFF ALL POWER TO THE WATER HEATER:  I RECOMMEND REMOVING ALL 120V FROM THE POD:

OPEN the HOT Water faucet and leave it open until you are finished with replacing the element and refill the water heater.
Look at the manual figure 15 page 9 and remove these parts.
1.) The burner assembly(item 26)
2.)The outlet Manifold (item 37) along with items 55 and 56 which are the tubing nuts that are on item 37.  This stuff has to be removed to get the element out.
3.) Remove the three screws holding the element cover (item 24 and it's gasket)
4.) Remove the two wires attached to the element.
When the next step is performed the water heater will drain so be ready.
5.)Using the Element Wrench and a screw driver, remove the screw in heating element(item 28)
6.)Install the new heating element and using the Wrench and screw driver tighten the new element snug. Reverse the above steps and replace the items that were removed.
Now refill the water heater and when no more air comes out of the faucet, close the faucet and re apply 120v to the Pod and to the water heater.  Wait about 1/2 hour and the water should be rather warm.   The water heater has a recover rate of approx 6 gallons per hour so 1/2 hour should yield some rather warm water.
You are done and have saved at least $50 to $75 probably more at today's mechanics rates.
My cost $24.09 + a Yeungling because I didn't learn about Home Depot Elements until I had ordered one on line.
It didn't take me an hour to replace the element and the tools I used were
1   Cresent wrench
1   Phillips head screw driver
1   slotted head screw driver
1   7/16" open end wrench
1  5"(long)Screw in Element Wrench
and One Yeungling when I was all finished
Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]
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Kenn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kenn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 10:27pm
Thanks a bunch for this info. You rock!Thumbs Up

2010 RPOD 176 (Silly-POD), 2011 Forest River Stealth 2612, and 2014 Forest River XLR 380AMP
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Ratdog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ratdog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 10:38pm
Great stuff, Sandpiper. Thanks for posting that. I will try not to follow in your footsteps by trying to remember to shut down the heater before dumping the water but, if I forget, I will know how to fix it. However, I must comment on one of your statements:

"Unless you have a much better selection of wenchs than I do . . . "
 
My bride of 39 years doesn't allow me to have any of those LOL
 
Take care,
-- Steve

Steve, Anne, and Paige the Rat Terrier
2013 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid AWD
2011 RP-177 (aka: The Circus Wagon)
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Sandpiper View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sandpiper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2010 at 10:39pm
Kenn
After reading your post about cold weather camping I think you might get ROCKED--
with big stones if you catch my drift.OuchWink

No offense meant no offense taken.

Ratdog : 
As a certified old timer  wenchs and wrenchs all look the same after a Yeungling.
Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PodPatrol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 10:09am
Thanks for the course Sand-Man !!!

Think I'll give it a test to see if our element is working. We use "both" AC and LP
on the Water Heater. LP for the "giddy-up", and AC for consistancey.
In cooler weather the LP kicks on more often.

I tried to order some wenches, but the better half didn't approve.
I guess I'm not cut-out for a political life style .....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tedbear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 10:21am

I burned up my element as well by not making sure the tank was full before turning it on.  I sure wish there was an on-off switch inside the camper like with the gas water heater (or has someone here already done that?).  I am now in the habit of turning it on and off only when I need it (like for a shower) and leave the panel door hanging open as a reminder to turn it off as soon as I'm done.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sandpiper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 11:11am
Sorry to hear your element bit the dust too.  That makes two of us that would like to have a switch inside the Pod.  I'll accept the challenge and see what I can come up with.  I didn't understand the switch being outside the first time I read the manual.  I think (which gets me in trouble) there are switches with pilot lights that light when the switch is turned on.   When trouble shooting the element I checked the voltage in the junction box on the water heater and it would be easy to add a switch there or maybe one near the distribution box.  I'll also check because I think someone has already done this mod.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PodPatrol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 11:20am
Nothing gets past you Sand-Man !!!

Yes, there's a mod post where someone has added a "light" indicating
the element is active. They put it near the monitor panel/LP switch !!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote popgoesweasel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 1:13pm
There is one mod in Maintenace Issues, Tips and Tricks.

It is called Water Heater Switch (revised pics) and is on page 16 in that set.

If and when we have some time with our unit, it is now on our list of mods to add.
2010 R-pod 171 towed by a 2009 Nissan Frontier
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Mrs. 'Piper View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mrs. 'Piper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 2:12pm
http://rpodnation.com/water-heater-switch-revised-pics_topic578.html.......this is the link to the post and pics to add a water heater switch to the inside of the pod
Mrs. 'Piper (Anne)
Sandpiper (Carroll)
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