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Old 05-02-2020, 09:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2019
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Replacing water heater check valve

I have a 2014 Adventure 38Q. I just replaced the check valve in the Atwood water heater. Problem is getting the access panel back on, It is located in last passenger compartment. The water lines were fastened with plastic clips riveted to the panel. Now water lines are loose and am unable to keep the valves in holes provided in panel, two winterizing at top and two line drains at bottom. Any help with a solution would be appreciate. A winnie dealer said they use zip ties, but did not work for me. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:02 AM   #2
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Can you give us a bit more info on what you see as the problem? Did the ties break,not look right or not fit? Is there a problem with going back with rivets if they were the original choice?
A picture is always nice to better picture the problem. We can often come up with suggestions, but it's nice to avoid running over the ideas you have already tried!
I'm not fond of rivets as being too permanent, but ties that break too easy might just need stronger ties?
More questions than answers, sorry!
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Old 05-09-2020, 08:34 PM   #3
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The water heater flow check valves have also failed in my 2013 Adventurer 35P. I learned this the hard way when winterizing. I switched the hot water tank bypass valve over to the winterize position last fall and then set up the pump to pull from a 2 gallon rv antifreeze jug and went inside the motorhome, turned on the water pump and started to open faucets. I was getting a bit of rv antifreeze out of each tap but when I shut them off the pump kept running. I proceeded to pump out the whole jug (as it was filling the hot water tank). So that wasn't enough, I went and bought another 2 gallon jug and did the same thing. Luckily I had drained the hot water tank and put the drain plug back in so once I realized the problem, I drained most of the antifreeze back into the jugs. This spring, I put water in the fresh water tank and kept the plug out of the hot water tank and tried the bypass valve in the normal and winterize positions and both had fresh water draining out of the hot water tank. I see the flow check valves are not very accessible behind the hot water heater and I would need to take a sealed panel cover off the back in an awkward place. So I'm thinking I may try and put in-line shut off valves on the water heater lines and make it into a 3 valve system like many of the other units I've had. This should work as long as I have room for the 2 in line valves, shouldn't it?
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:38 PM   #4
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Every coach has it's own unique way of installing, repairing, & accessing the water heater.

In all cases, you will have a water-in and water-out port. However, not all manufactures will install 2 check valves. Some will install just one. ...And after you own a few of these beasts you my ultimately decide you are better off without any check valves.

You don't need them if you have a water by-pass valve and/or water shut-off valve to your water heater and winterize your RV properly.

Moreover, those check-valves are not always available when you are "on the road" which is most often when they fail. So what's the best fix?

1) However, you do it... gain access to the back of your water tank.

2) Remove the plastic fittings... Remove the 2" nipple using a 1-1/8" or 1-1/4" wrench you can buy at Home Depot. (Note: Vise grips will probably not give you as much leverage, but you can try it.)

3) NOW... Drill out the center of those check-valves and reinstall with Teflon tape.

4) The question now becomes if you can reuse those rubber donuts? ...But fortunately these are available from any RV or Trailer supply store. And they are cheap. So by 4. (2 for this fix and 2 more for another rainy day.)

5) Do NOT put too much torque on those plastic fittings!!! ...hand tighten and then use pliers to sinch-down.

That's it! The hard part is getting to the back of your WH. The cost is minimal.

Note: If you are experiencing Hot-Cold surging water problems, then it’s the top check valve that is partially stuck open. ...OR, and you should check this first, maybe you just lost the "air expansion pocket" in the tank. (To fix, turn off your water pump and/or outside water supply... and then open and close your water pressure relief valve on the front of the water heater. This will let water out of the water heater, which is what you want. Then close the valve and turn water source or pump back on, and Walla... you have no more surging hot-cold-hot water problems. Note: I have found this most often occurs after 2-3 weeks of camping with outside water source.)

* No hot water implies your check valve is completely stuck closed or you have a problem with your water heater. (Check the inline fuse by removing it. Just don't run without it for very long. It's there for your safety.)
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:59 PM   #5
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As for cutting out your old winterizing valve, I did that, but it was overkill and I spent $100 on PEX, Shark-bites, and extra time.. all because I could not find the Flair-It Hot Water Valve #16910, Plastic 3-Way Valve at any RV store. ...But here it is on Amazon for only $11.

https://www.amazon.com/Flair-16900-P...9151450&sr=8-1

Note: I color coded my water lines, but you may find your waterlines are in a different order. The red pex line goes to the water heater. And all lines are cold. The hot water comes out the top of the hot water tank. So if you feel any hot water on any of the lines, then you probably have a bad check valve(s).
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:55 PM   #6
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Thx for the responses and advice. I was hoping not to have to access the back of the hot water tank by taking that cover off. I'm hoping to just leave whatever check valves are in place and installing valves on the piping alongside the hot water tank like imnprsd did but it is tight quarters. I'm not sure what valves are available and do you need a special tool or are the plastic tubing fittings just a ferrule that tightens up with the nut?
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:02 PM   #7
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Don't think this would work for me because of space. Just getting the valve out cut my arm in several places due to sharp edges. Hopefully that will work for you. Good luck and thanks for the feedbaci.
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:13 AM   #8
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Yeah... I wouldn't be surprised if you need to pull your water heater forward in order to access the back on your water heater.

I did not have to do that, but every coach manufacture does things different.

...But don't take my word for it. You should do some research for your model of coach before you pull your water tank forward.

* Maybe this is one of those times you want a professional RV mechanic. If you do, I recommend you do not let him talk you into replacing those check valves with new ones, because these things fail all the time!

* And you just pointed out another reason to drill those check valve out, if you ask me, because it's such a pain to replace them. And do you really want to do that again in 1 or 2 or 3 years? ... And some say the newer check valves are made cheaper than the old ones?

* Honestly, once you drill those check valves out and make a nipple out of them, you will never have to do this repair again, because it can't fail. What can happen is that those plastic elbows can crack if you over tighten them! So watch that part of the repair.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:07 PM   #9
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I just replaced my check valve at the hot water heater on my Itasca Meridian. It took me after MUCH persistence 8 hours. I discovered an access panel on the side of the hot water heater sheet metal while crawling under the MH. I unscrewed the circular access panel witch allowed MINIMAL access. It allowed me to put a wrench on the brass fitting and was able reach from the bottom access to turn (?) incrementally (1/64 on an inch at a time, with pliers on the plastic fitting); while not being able to hold the pliers and draping them many many many times.

I had know that I was the cause of the check valve failure because I removed the regulator at the fresh water hose inlet to winterize the coach in the fall. I then proceeded to us shop air to blow out the water in the pipes with 125 PSI air. DO NOT DUE THIS. I will never remove the regulator again.

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Old 05-17-2020, 07:20 PM   #10
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Winnebago says to use 30psi when winterizing with the air blow method. There are about 8 valves to turn during the process but it was much better than using antifreeze. Still had to use anti-freeze in traps, washing machine, and macerating toilet but that was not bad.
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