Help diagnosing a heater issue

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Aaron Vice, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. Aaron Vice

    Aaron Vice New Member

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    First time pup up owner. 1998 Coleman Mesa. I’m not having any luck getting the heater to work. Here’s what I know.

    gas works. I tested the stove and it’s fine.

    fans work. I know about the switch ok the heater and the one on the thermostat. They’re both on and the fan blows air. The exhaust on the exterior is also functioning.

    After the fan kicks on (20-30 seconds) I hear a second noise similar to the clicking of a gas stove igniter which i assume is what’s happening. The happens for a few seconds on and off 4-5 times. When this happens, if outside I can hear the gas leaving the tank so I know fuel is moving.

    this is where I am and have no heat. Only cold air.
    I’ve let it fun for 10 min. With no change.
    Help
     
  2. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

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    It's possible that it gives up lighting after a few tries but keeps the fan on. Mine will shut down in that case but yours may not, and just shut off the gas but keep the fan on. Maybe try turning it off for a few minutes, then turn it on again, and repeat a few more times? You may just have to purge a little more air out of that line.

    If that fails you may need to check if you actually have gas to the appliance, or maybe the flame sensor is bad (thermocouple) so it won't stay lit.
     
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  3. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    @tfischer has good advice. Out of curiosity, are you on battery, or shore power?
     
  4. Aaron Vice

    Aaron Vice New Member

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    Purged by running the stove for a min. And then shut off. And I tried off and on a few times trying to trouble shoot (with breaks in between)

    as far as power goes, I plugged a 30a to 110 standard plug converter and was using power from my home.
     
  5. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I am no expert, but sounds like you are doing the right things to narrow down the problem. I suppose it’s possible the gas line is blocked at the furnace... spiders like to make nests in there but I don’t know the proper way to disassemble and check/ clean.
     
  6. Steven Alleman

    Steven Alleman New Member

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    Mine had a mouse nest in the flue and the ignitor gap was too big,did about the same thing as yours.The fan would come on,then you could hear the gas valve clunk on and then a few secs. later it would click off,did it 3 times and then shut down.I pulled the unit and really cleaned it and closed up the ignitor gap to like 1/8" and all worked fine when it went back together.
     
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  7. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Purge it more. Ill bet there is still air in the line. Hearing air escape will sound the same as gas. My older camper didnt have an auto igniter. Make sure its in the right spot and actually giving out a spark.
     
  8. _WW_

    _WW_ Member

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    I had an Aliner that had a faulty furnace. I went online and found the diagrams and discovered a thing called a "sail switch"
    Basically what happens is this: The fan comes on first. The circuit board then checks the sail switch to confirm that there is moving air. Once moving air is established then, and only then will the circuit board allow the furnace to light. After the burn cycle, the fan will keep running to cool down the burn chamber before it shuts off.

    To get at the sail switch, I had to remove the furnace and get to it by removing a side or a panel, (can't remember for sure). I cleaned out the dog hairs and dust bunnies from around it and made sure it moved freely then reassembled. It cured the problem.
     
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  9. squirrelbox

    squirrelbox Member

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    Most of my appliance problems have been thermocouples. Fridge ,water heater. I am not well versed on ( no nothing) about electronics. Which frustrates me to no end. But I would start with cheapest and easiest which would be the thermo couple
     
  10. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    What make and model of heater? I assume its an Atwood 7916 mark 2.

    Does the gas valve clack? Its loud so you will know it. Does the igniter make a sound? If they do the sailswitch and the limit switch are good.

    Have you checked the furnace exhaust for a propane smell to confirm its getting gas?

    The thermocouple on mine is a feedback through the igniter therefore make sure the igniter gap is an 1/8" and the igniter over an 1/8" from the burner blade.

    You can check the coils on the gas valve to make sure BOTH are working.

    bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/hflamefurn04.pdf
     
  11. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the sail switch troubleshooting, and the other things mentioned too. We have had a sail switch keep a furnace from lighting, and on another a thermo coupler. On one, a circuit board. We fixed them all ourselves, but on the circuit board, we got troubleshooting help from a shop. It was on a class b RV and more complicated than the pop up furnaces. You could also try to light while stove is lit.
     
  12. Katskamper

    Katskamper Active Member

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  13. PA-Scott

    PA-Scott Active Member

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    Aaron, any luck yet?
    Back in the 70's, my dad had to use a tank of compressed air to blow out spider webs so the fridge and stove would light. Today we can buy compressed air in a can which is much easier. A small web can prevent them from lighting and its easy to point and spray. Wont hurt, only a couple dollars .
     
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  14. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    On mine I had to leave the stove running for longer and kept on trying the furnace. Multiple times. It was such a long distance between the stove and furnace it took longer for the air to work out of the system. It could also be spider nest in the line. Those buggers can climb in anywhere. Hope it's an easy fix.
     

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