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Old 04-14-2015, 10:51 PM   #1
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Coach Propane heater

Spent two nights at Mesa Verde NP in the campground, with no hook ups. It was not bad, but the elevation there was about 7500 feet. I could not get my coach propane heater to light.
We arrived here at the Cadillac Ranch in Utah. this morning. I had to try the heater here to see if it would light, it did. Have never had any problems with the heater before.
My coach is a 95' Brave, 27RQ.
Any ideas what was going on?
Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:14 AM   #2
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We need more information. Did the fan ever come on? Did you hear the clicking of the ignition attempting to light the flame? Or was there just absolutely nothing at all?
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Old 04-15-2015, 02:49 AM   #3
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Could it be altitude???
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:15 AM   #4
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There are several possible issues.. Check the spark gap.. Now I am not an RV technician nor a professional HEVAC person but every furnace, Both home and RV, EVERY DSI Furnace I have worked on..the gap was too wide.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:18 AM   #5
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winnbrave1, Yes need more info. If your battery voltage is below 10.7 VDC at the furance the gas valve will not open. One way to check this is to start the engine and see if the furnace will light.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:37 AM   #6
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Sorry about the lack of info, yes the fan would come on and blow, but would not light. Plenty of propane as the stove and water heater would light.
Here in Bluff, Utah, it light and heated as it should. As I had mentioned, it had always worked well up to then.
Sue46 mentioned could it be altitude? My gut feeling is that may be the answer. The altitude here is definitely much lower, but as of now, do not know the exact altitude here.
Does anyone know if there are any altitude limitations of RV LP gas heaters? If there is that would be good to know information.
Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:57 AM   #7
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winnbrave1, Altitude can cause fan switch and spark gap issues to show up because of the thin air. We have camped at 9'000 plus ft in Colorado without problems.
Did have a problem with the refrigerator not lighting one time, cleaned and adjusted the spark gap and that took care of the problem.
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Old 04-15-2015, 11:22 AM   #8
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your propane may be the fault. We stayed at Williams fridge would not work seems propane tank had been filled at lower altitude with butane it will not work at higher altitude , just a thought When we drove home it got lower fridge came back on all was fine then.
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Old 04-15-2015, 02:05 PM   #9
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Coach Propane heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by winnbrave1 View Post
Sorry about the lack of info, yes the fan would come on and blow, but would not light. Plenty of propane as the stove and water heater would light.

Here in Bluff, Utah, it light and heated as it should. As I had mentioned, it had always worked well up to then.

Sue46 mentioned could it be altitude? My gut feeling is that may be the answer. The altitude here is definitely much lower, but as of now, do not know the exact altitude here.

Does anyone know if there are any altitude limitations of RV LP gas heaters? If there is that would be good to know information.

Thanks!

Okay, so the fan would come on and blow. But only cold air and would quit after a minute or so? If you could not hear the igniter trying to light and the 'red trouble light' on the control board is blinking it probably means the sail switch is not operating properly. Had the same problem. Would drive some where and initially the furnace would work. But after sitting for awhile it would not. The sail switch would get jostled around during the drive and would work. After sitting it would not (stuck). Changed sail switch (easy,cheap $15 job) and now it works fine.

If you can hear the igniter trying but not firing it is not the sail switch.
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:32 PM   #10
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rebelcarm Propane verses Butane is a temperature issue. Propane boils at -42 degs F and butane boils at 32 degs F. So any time the temperature is below 32 degs F butane will not turn into gas. Butane is actually a better fuel as long as you are in a warm climate.
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:48 PM   #11
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Thanks again for the comments!
The heater would continue to blow, I would turn the switch off after seeing it would not light. I usually tried to light it three times.
As far as I know, I do not have a red trouble light on a control panel. I only have a thermostat control on the wall with the off/on switch on the bottom of it . My hearing is so poor, I could not hear any sparking if it was trying.
I will definitely check the sail switch, and the voltage going to the igniter when I can.
I did take the outside intake/exhaust air cover to make sure there were no obstructions blocking air flow.
Thanks Again, when I figure out the problem I will post it.
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Old 04-16-2015, 09:44 AM   #12
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Believe I have found the problem, as Firedoc suggested, the sail switch seems to be missing part of the "sail." The sail is only about 1/2" long now. I can see how altitude with less dense air could affect its operation.
I will pick one up, or order one.
Thanks Everyone!
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Old 04-16-2015, 01:44 PM   #13
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Yes, if the sail
Switch does not sense air flow it will not allow propane to flow or the igniter to operate. I too am hard of hearing, use my wife to listen for sparking.
Can't figure out how you would have lost part of sail switch😳
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Old 04-16-2015, 02:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winnbrave1 View Post
Spent two nights at Mesa Verde NP in the campground, with no hook ups. It was not bad, but the elevation there was about 7500 feet. I could not get my coach propane heater to light.
We arrived here at the Cadillac Ranch in Utah. this morning. I had to try the heater here to see if it would light, it did. Have never had any problems with the heater before.
My coach is a 95' Brave, 27RQ.
Any ideas what was going on?
Thanks for any thoughts!
Quote:
Originally Posted by winnbrave1 View Post
Sorry about the lack of info, yes the fan would come on and blow, but would not light. Plenty of propane as the stove and water heater would light.
Here in Bluff, Utah, it light and heated as it should. As I had mentioned, it had always worked well up to then.
Sue46 mentioned could it be altitude? My gut feeling is that may be the answer. The altitude here is definitely much lower, but as of now, do not know the exact altitude here.
Does anyone know if there are any altitude limitations of RV LP gas heaters? If there is that would be good to know information.
Thanks!
winnbrave1
I believe a RV propane "furnace", (which is what you are talking about), can be problematic at elevations of 8,600' and higher.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:20 PM   #15
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As I was trying to find the model number for my furnace, I noticed it said "C.G.A. certified to 4500' altitude. Seems kinda low to me.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:53 PM   #16
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Thanks grtharris
In my post #8 It was only my fridge that did not work on gas as my furnace was not used. We had power for fridge at the park it would work on electric or generator only, elevation was high at Williams Arizona , on the way home all was fine as we drove in Oklahoma and Missouri, fridge then started to work. All I could think was it had to be Butane that had caused the problem. Hope you find what is wrong with the furnace.
again Thanks
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Old 04-17-2015, 07:34 PM   #17
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Had problems this year with altitude twice on refrigerator. Had to relight a couple of times at higher altitude. Once around Flagstaff and other in Smokey mountains. We just recycled and it worked.
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:36 PM   #18
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winnbrave1, I believe the C.G.A. certificate includes emissions which get a little dirty as the air gets thinner. So the furnace exhaust is good and clean up to 4500 feet.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:38 PM   #19
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Thanks! That clears up the CGA rating for me.
Members have mentioned the propane could be a problem. Especially if much butane was blended in. As far as I know "propane" is usually a blend of propane and butane. Who really knows then exactly what blend of gas one gets when the tank is filled. Someone please correct me if my understanding is wrong.
When the problem with the furnace developed, we had no problem with the fridge or water heater working correctly. Here in Moab, the furnace works just fine.
Thanks all for the comments!
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:39 PM   #20
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Altitude can be a real challenge for fossil fuel powered stuff. Back in 1973 we went to the Grand Canyon. We had problems cooking. The water for our coffee boiled away before it was hot, my pancakes got 2 inches high. And my wife learned that she gets altitude sickness. Live and learn.
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