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Old 03-02-2006, 02:57 PM   #1
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Winnebago provides a "bumper kit" for Atwood water heaters ...designed to stop the constant failure of the thermal cutoff due to overheating. Atwood blames the problem on Winnebago's putting an outer door over the drop-down WH door. The bumper kit consists of two rubber bumpers and two screws. The rubber bumpers supposedly create more space (and presumably air circulation I guess) between the door and the WH. A dealer in VA got the kit and installed it on my coach in my presence, locating the two rubber bumpers at the bottom corners inside the inner WH door. The outer door would not go far enough closed for the latches to catch. They finally gave up, removed the bumpers, and bent the inner door a bit hoping to improve the air circulation/heat dissipation. It didn't work. After more thermal cutoff failures, I requested and received a new bumper kit from Winnebago recently. They also sent the instruction sheet. The is very poor quality (picture worthless), but it appears to say that the two rubber bumpers are to be mounted on the OUTSIDE of the inner door ...between the inner door and the fiberglass compartment door ...to insure there is at least 1/2" space between the two doors. On inspecting mine, I find that there is a rubber seal at the very bottom between the fiberglass outer door and the inner door ...it would seem circulation would be greatly increased by removing that seal!

Has anyone had the bumper kit installed, and if so, can you tell me exactly where the two rubber bumpers are on yours?
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:57 PM   #2
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Winnebago provides a "bumper kit" for Atwood water heaters ...designed to stop the constant failure of the thermal cutoff due to overheating. Atwood blames the problem on Winnebago's putting an outer door over the drop-down WH door. The bumper kit consists of two rubber bumpers and two screws. The rubber bumpers supposedly create more space (and presumably air circulation I guess) between the door and the WH. A dealer in VA got the kit and installed it on my coach in my presence, locating the two rubber bumpers at the bottom corners inside the inner WH door. The outer door would not go far enough closed for the latches to catch. They finally gave up, removed the bumpers, and bent the inner door a bit hoping to improve the air circulation/heat dissipation. It didn't work. After more thermal cutoff failures, I requested and received a new bumper kit from Winnebago recently. They also sent the instruction sheet. The is very poor quality (picture worthless), but it appears to say that the two rubber bumpers are to be mounted on the OUTSIDE of the inner door ...between the inner door and the fiberglass compartment door ...to insure there is at least 1/2" space between the two doors. On inspecting mine, I find that there is a rubber seal at the very bottom between the fiberglass outer door and the inner door ...it would seem circulation would be greatly increased by removing that seal!

Has anyone had the bumper kit installed, and if so, can you tell me exactly where the two rubber bumpers are on yours?
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:44 AM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">there is a rubber seal at the very bottom between the fiberglass outer door and the inner door ...it would seem circulation would be greatly increased by removing that seal! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Paul, removing part of that compartment seal may give you more air, but may also give you water/road spray and varmint problems.
While I have not seen the "bumper kit", I suspect you're right about trying to bring air into the water heater box itself near the bottom of it's metal door.
Therefore, I would think that the rubber bumpers would be mounted near the bottom, likely at the rounded corners of the metal door. I would not mount a bumper that was close to where the outer compartment fiberglass door will latch (like you said, the dealer's attempt prevented your door from latching). One thing I've seen on newer Winnie's now is an added ventilation "slot" in the outer compartment door where the water heater is...

Have you had your thermostat as well as your thermal cutoff sensor replaced on your WH?
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:05 AM   #4
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I also had several thermal cutoff failures soon after bought our 2003 Adventurer. Atwood told me about the bumper kit but suggested an even simpler modification. That was to bend the two lower hinges in such a way as to create maybe a 1/8 inch gap at the bottom of the drop down door in order to increase air flow. I did this and have had no further thermal cutoff failures. Dirt or water intrusion into the compartment has not been a problem.

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Old 03-03-2006, 09:28 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I would think that the rubber bumpers would be mounted near the bottom, likely at the rounded corners of the metal door. I would not mount a bumper that was close to where the outer compartment fiberglass door will latch </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The instruction sheet I received appears to show installation of the two bumpers at the two bottom corners of the metal door (on the outside) to press against the fiberglass door ...that is in fact right where the latches are.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Have you had your thermostat as well as your thermal cutoff sensor replaced on your WH? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I have replaced the thermal cutoff several times ...about every 6-9 months we go through a couple of cutoffs in quick succession, then good for another 6-9 months. They may last that long only because we don't use it on LP all that often.

The rubber seal I am talking about is between the fiberglass door and the metal door, and probably serves primarily to hold the fiberglass door secure against it's latches. Removing it, and adding a rubber bumper on each corner would probably do the same thing while improving air circulation. But I think the real place circulation needs to be improved is behind the metal door.
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Old 04-12-2006, 07:20 AM   #6
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I have had this problem also, just had to replace another thermal fuse this past weekend at the WIT Southwest Ralley in Hemet, CA.

I talked to Paul Smith of 3-T's and asked him if there was anything I could do short of cutting a hole in the outer door like the new coaches have.

He said to cut a 1 inch strip of the Atwood door lip, just above the lower left & right corners.

I cut mine yesterday, using a dremel tool. Seems to work, but only time will tell.

I have uploaded pics here:

Atwood HWH Door
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:37 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">He said to cut a 1 inch strip of the Atwood door lip, just above the lower left & right corners.

I cut mine yesterday, using a dremel tool. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dan

Looks like a good possibility for solution ...and good pics of what you did. Thanks for sharing. We rarely use our WH on gas, but if we have the problem again I'll be digging out my dremel tool!!
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