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I have newly acquired a 1977 EXCEL 20 travel trailer, and…

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I have newly acquired a...
I have newly acquired a 1977 EXCEL 20' travel trailer, and so far have had no luck with getting the water heater to light up. The gas fridge and stove are fine, so propane is flowing though some of the lines!

I have moved what I suppose is the electronic ignition to "Pilot" and pushed, but see no spark. I also don't smell gas when I move the heater dial to hot - maybe I am not supposed to.
Submitted: 12 years ago.Category: RV
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Answered in 6 hours by:
11/14/2009
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 12 years ago
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 28,167
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
Verified
Hi: Thanks for coming to Just Answer with your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX perhaps I can assist you with this, but first a few questions. What is the make and model of your water heater. There should be a data tag on the outside under the inspection cover. Have you had it fired recently? When was the last time the LP pressure was adjusted? Get back to me and I will help you resolve this. All the best, R.J.
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Customer reply replied 12 years ago
It is a 6 gallon water heater Model 6ARV from American Appliance Manufacturing Corp in Santa Monica, on a 1977 Excel 20' travel trailer. The controls look quite like this heater
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-water-heaters/60154.htm

I have just bought this trailer - there is quite a lot of soot around the controls, and I was told that they had used the heater several months back, but I am starting to wonder how honest the sellers really were!
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 12 years ago
Probably not telling you the whole truth. The first thing to do is to have the LP pressure checked on the regulator. Soot indicates either some debris in the flue and burner tube like a cobweb or low LP pressure. Run a bottle brush through the burner tube and be sure it is clean. This company doesn't make water heaters any more, but some of the parts are still available or can be adapted from a Surburban. Get back to me when you have checked these things. All the best, R.J.
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Customer reply replied 12 years ago
Thanks. I had just been out to measure the depth, in case I need to replace the heater, and when I put the steel tape into the burner tube I was amazed at the huge amount of soot I scraped out. I will go in with a bottle brush and see what happens when I next try to light it up! I have a newly filled gas tank.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 12 years ago
The gas in the tank doesn't determine the pressure. That is done by the LP regulator and it drops as the diaphram ages. Low LP pressure is the cause of a host of problems and sooty build up is one. A new regulator isn't that expensive either. Check that and you may find everything works better. R.J.
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 28,167
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
Verified
Randall and 87 other RV Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 12 years ago
One more question (if you are lucky!). If there is no soot being generated by the stove top, and the flame for the fridge looks (through the window) to be relatively clean burning, would that exclude the regulator?

Thanks so much.
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