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  #1  
Old 12-08-2012
CheddarYeti's Avatar
CheddarYeti CheddarYeti is offline
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Question What's The Best Hot Water Heater Solution?

Hi Everyone!

So we are thinking about a new hot water heater. The original in our 'bird was removed - see photo- (not sure what WAS there originally, but the tank is gone.) and the P.O. put in the current, tank-less, Electric HW heater made by Eemax.

Man, can we tell you that this Electric HW heater sucks! We've been w/o HW for two months because the darn thing has burnt two heating elements and a circuit board. Not to mention each time we turn it on we have to run gallons of water (to get the air out of the lines) - filling our tanks and wasting precious fresh water.

Ultimately we'd like to have another water heating solution because we dry camp a whole bunch and heating water with electricity isn't the best model for us.

So, a traditional LPG HW heater was never in this unit we're gathering because- there's no ventilation under the bed where the tank sat?

Our questions:
What are our options for a HW Heater in this 'bird? If LPG wasn't used originally, can/should it be used now?

The new HW tanks we've seen are square, not round (as it appears the Original was), and it seems from other posts here, it's not an easy 'fit'. Should we look for a refurbished round unit or have one made(?) or try to squeeze a square one in somehow?

The tankless LPG RV-500 looks like an easier yet $$expensive solution. Another WOG member here has had good luck with theirs. Does the extra $$ save some installation headache? We'll have to cut a hole somewhere? Would it be installed under the bad or else where?

Can we have/keep/switch between both our current tankless electric and a tankless LPG water heater (like the RV 500)? Just a thought.

We're in NJ/PA area, is Camping World someone we can trust to do this kind of work? Or is it too custom of a job?

Any local recommendations of pros that would intall a new water heating solution for us?


Thanks all for your feedback on this.

Here's our under the bed area (the Eemax is the white box in the lower left corner).
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Dennis & Jeanette Vieira
Pilot & Co-Pilot of the Cheddar Yeti, a 1978 FC35 Blue Bird Wanderlodge Bus.

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  #2  
Old 12-08-2012
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gcyeaw gcyeaw is online now
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I assume from the picture you have the rear-twin beds? My '83 FC 35 also has the twin beds and I have a square water heater in that space. There is little clearance between the rear wall and the heater, just enough room for the heating hoses.

So my heater is also hooked up to the coach chassis heat lines via an internal heat exchanger. That way it makes hot water while driving, and uses electricity to make hot water when parked. The hot water holds overnight so we can shower in the morning. I run the generator to charge the batteries every day so the hot water is replenished. The 78 has less phantom power loads so you may not need to charge daily, but 20/30 minutes seems to be enough to provide hot water.

A gas fired unit will not be easy to install either. I think thee are a couple of FC's that have been modified that way, try a search on the forum.

Here's Bill Garamella's after replacing the old square one with a new square one. Looks busy but we added a bypass (3 valves) for winterization and a dedicated drain. Pex made it way easier.



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Last edited by gcyeaw; 12-08-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2012
f.wernlein f.wernlein is offline
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The OEM setup was likely a dual heat type heater...electric coil and a heat transfer coil that ran hot engine coolant (same circuit as for the chassis heat). These H2O heaters are available at RV and marine sources.

Some general thoughts: the OEM set up works great on the road, at a place where you have shore power, or if willing to run the genny an hour or so (typically an hour in am and pm for us: for breakfast and dinner cooking, heating water, charging the batts up a bit - we also have a solar panel)...

But the OEM set up does falls short when boondocking...critically if not wanting to run a genny for any length of time.

I think a typical "electric instant flow tankless" type heater (like what you have) could work: but you need it installed right at the place of usage...IE: on a FC one might work if installed in galley cabinet to service both galley and head. For a longer bus one under kitchen sink and one in bathroom to limit the use of precious water "before the hot comes".

LPG options might work...but the gas line work and venting in my mind would make it too much of a project in balance with benifits.

Also...save heat...insulate all hot water lines as best you can.

Lastly...most gennys die from "not enough use". Good use could easily be using yours 2 hours a day might burn 2 gallons of fuel (say $8.00)...

YMMV
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Old 12-08-2012
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CheddarYeti CheddarYeti is offline
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Gardner, We have a rear Full size bed, the photo is zoomed in, cropping out the rest of the under bed area which is filled with heaters/ fresh water tank, pump etc.. But the space available looks quite similar. I'll have to measure as best as I can the available space that's there.

Now, since my original system is out/removed, how would I know if the old chassis heating system is still in operation? Would this be a cost/deal breaker for re-installing this tank?

The square unit you have, what is the brand?

It's good you put that by-pass system in while you're in there. You guys are always thinking... I'll have to add that to our notes.

-------Ideas spinning around: So, the water was originally heated on a 12v system (besides the chassis operation)? So, in the future IF I had solar say, that would kept my batteries charged, this system would also be dry camp/boondock friendly? uhm?!? (I don't want to get off topic but that peeked my interest). Our gen works well too and running it once a day isn't such a bad thing for us. Solar vs Gas though... could be nice!
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Dennis & Jeanette Vieira
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Catch up with us on our travels: Cheddar Yeti Travels
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2012
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susanmarycamilleri susanmarycamilleri is offline
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kuuma-Camco-...fa4c68&vxp=mtr

I put one of these in a PT36 last year. they look like good quality, are electric and engine coolant. I think it woul be a good fit for your bus.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2012
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Your original Water Heater was 120 Volt which received power while plugged in or on Generator power and Engine Heat exchanger that heated the water in the Water Heater while the engine is running. The exchange in heat is between the engine coolant and the water in the Water Heater.
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheddarYeti View Post
Gardner, We have a rear Full size bed, the photo is zoomed in, cropping out the rest of the under bed area which is filled with heaters/ fresh water tank, pump etc.. But the space available looks quite similar. I'll have to measure as best as I can the available space that's there.

Now, since my original system is out/removed, how would I know if the old chassis heating system is still in operation? Would this be a cost/deal breaker for re-installing this tank?

The square unit you have, what is the brand?

It's good you put that by-pass system in while you're in there. You guys are always thinking... I'll have to add that to our notes.

-------Ideas spinning around: So, the water was originally heated on a 12v system (besides the chassis operation)? So, in the future IF I had solar say, that would kept my batteries charged, this system would also be dry camp/boondock friendly? uhm?!? (I don't want to get off topic but that peeked my interest). Our gen works well too and running it once a day isn't such a bad thing for us. Solar vs Gas though... could be nice!
I helped install a square one in a side queen one this summer. Pretty much the same space.

I got a Seaward F1100, here is a url. I paid 350 I think with overnight shipping, I was on the road and desparate.
http://www.suremarineservice.com/F1100.aspx

The heavy hoses in your space are the chassis heater loop. There are manual valves (summer/winter) that bypass the chassis heaters or include them in the loop. The coolant water always pass through the hot water heater. I suspect the ex-changer loop connections were removed by the PO and replaced by a single hose.

Perhaps someone has pictures of the 78 connections. Basically it is a one inch hose loop with two copper T's having a 1/2 inch tap spaced a foot or so apart. I will see if I can find a picture.

Here is a diagram of the connections. I believe the hose connected to the galvanized T (the center of the T) is where the loop should be inserted. There should be a pump under the coach right below were the hoses exit through the floor. It will be covered by a metal box.


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Last edited by gcyeaw; 12-08-2012 at 05:19 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2012
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Rob Robinson Rob Robinson is offline
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Gardner was that FL1100 the one you and I picked up at West Marine? If so I didn't know you had to pay extra shipping. I thought you were buying direct from them.
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  #9  
Old 12-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Robinson View Post
Gardner was that FL1100 the one you and I picked up at West Marine? If so I didn't know you had to pay extra shipping. I thought you were buying direct from them.
Rob,
They had to ship it from the warehouse, I paid extra to get it overnight. At least that's what I remember, but memory is a tricky thing. As my sister says, "I am beginning to remember things that never happened"

I would have to do some digging through several staches of receipts to find out the model number. I just looked it up again, but it was not easy to find as I had forgotten the maufacturer name
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2012
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Most if not all the older Birds have converted to the cube style heater. They are much cheaper than the round Raritan heater and work very well plus parts are easily found.
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