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  #1  
Old 02-01-2013
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bosshog bosshog is offline
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Question Suburban furnace problem

I've got my rear furnace out for maintenance, Suburban NT16 . It would not light after many years of non use. It now lights after oiling fan and freeing up sail switch.
The problem I now have is that the exhaust vent steams and stinks. Initially it would also puff when lighting. I have pulled it back out, have dissassembled totally several times and reassembled. Things I have corrected or done:

Cleaned burner
Cleaned orfice (found chunk of white corrsion )
Blown out heat exchanger
Adjusted burner (both on bench and in furnace)
Resealed housing for air intake
Disassembled gas valve and checked
Tried on 3 different gas regulators

I'm running out of ideas. I get a nice blue flame, but am not sure I'm getting full gas pressure to it. I'm gonna check the valve again for flow.
I am getting plenty of heat out when it is running, I just don't like the steam and odor out the vent. The fumes are pretty intense so I know it's not burning right even though I have blue flame.

What am I missing?
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Old 02-01-2013
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Craig,

Typically when it "puffs" when lighting then one of two things is wrong. The spark gap or pilot is wrong OR the burners still have blockage. Did you clean out all the slits too? Typically the flow of gas is wrong and when ignition occurs the LP does not ignite immediately but does when it reaches the ignition source the "wrong" way. So sometimes there are bent tabs or something to help "steer" the fuel to the fire. If it has to take a longer path you get "puffs" or banging.

I can't think of anything on the smell or steam? Wonder if something got into the vent tube? Did you check the outer tube on the double wall pipe to see if something nested there?
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Old 02-01-2013
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I wire brushed the burner but have not used a hacksaw blade to clean the slits. The puffing when it lights pretty much went away once I resealed the inlet air housing. I have it on the bench now, but it still is burning wrong.

When I had put it back in the Bird, it actually was dripping water down the side from the vent.

If I was not getting full gas pressure would it do this? The gas valve was stuck and would not open until I took it apart, the rubber seal was slightly sticky.
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Old 02-01-2013
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Does propane carry water like natural gas? We see water vapor from our boilers at work when its cold outside and we are burring gas due to the amount of water carried in the gas. Did you happen to take pictures of your furnace work, because I think I have the same project coming up soon myself.
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Old 02-01-2013
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It sounds to me like a large mud dauber nest inside the large kidney of the heat exchanger. I have never had much moisture come out of mine, unless they were full of water from some kid using the hose to fill it up. Getting inside that kidney is nearly impossible. You might try a coat hanger and jam inside to loosen up whatever mud is clinging to the sides of the exchanger. A wire brush to the burner and the nice blue flame tell me that the problem is with the exhaust side.
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Old 02-01-2013
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Follow the Putz post #2, take the burner apart & clean out the rust, the gaps are about 1/8" & 1/4". If you have a BBQ tank , regulator & the swivel connector. it should hook up nicely.
Add 12 volts, short the t-stat wires, & run it out side the bus to clear the old debris off of the burner & exhaust,
Moisture may be from condensation.
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Old 02-01-2013
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I'm gonna take it all apart again in the next few days. I'll clean the burner with a hacksaw blade and check the plenum again. I tried blowing it out with compressed air again this morning, but did not have much time to mess with anything else.

The steam starts a minute or so after I fire it up. It's very possible a mud dauber got in the heat plenum somewhere, although it had screen on it when I bought the bird. I can feel slight suction on the inlet air, but exhaust only blows steam/exhaust about 18". I've gotta compare that to my other working furnace. Haven't serviced the front one yet.

One thing that concerns me is that the previous owner had worked on it as it has been sprayed with cold galvanizing in various places, so I don't know if I'm chasing an old problem that was never fixed or a more current one. Screen may have been added too late.

I haven't taken any pictures yet, but can when I take it apart the rest of the way again.
Thanks for all the help!
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Craig and Mary McGuire
Dover, Ar
1979 FC35XV (SOLD)
1974 Avion Travelcade 28'
1984 Dodge Travel Wagon Class B (SOLD)
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Old 02-01-2013
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I talked to our HVAC tech this morning at shift change about the water content of propane and he said that propane does carry some water but not as much as natural gas. What is the ambiant tempature and humidity where you are doing your test? If its cold you may just be seeing condesation, and I would think that you might need to let the furnace come up to operating tempature before you might see the steam disappear.
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Old 02-01-2013
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It's not too cold, was around 25 this morning. This furnace will do it, but my other one running at same time does not. The smell of the fumes is terrible, burns the nose and eyes. There is always a little wator vapor when they run, but this one will run water down the side of the bird. Definitely burning wrong.
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Dover, Ar
1979 FC35XV (SOLD)
1974 Avion Travelcade 28'
1984 Dodge Travel Wagon Class B (SOLD)
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosshog View Post
It's not too cold, was around 25 this morning.
Fahrenheit? Not cold???

Guess AZ has spoiled me....
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