Suburban GT6-3A furnace help, please. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-15-2009, 06:51 PM   #1
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Unhappy

So... I've been looking for one of the "skinny" gravity-fed propane furnaces like came in the Boler 13's. And looking. And looking.

I finally found one. Whoo! But then.... Not whoo. Come to find a note inside that says "Furnace had bad leak and burner was judged to be faulty and so was removed." Argh!

I downloaded the manual for this furnace from the Document Center here (so helpful!), and I see that it lists the parts included in the burner assembly (yeah, that pretty much is the furnace... well, I have a nice sheet-metal casing!).

I've Googled and haven't come up with the parts (yet anyway).

[Edited to confirm that it is a GT6-3A for sure]

I just thought I'd see if anyone had any tips. I know some of these parts are probably a bit more universal than this furnace, if only one can find them. Here is what the Suburban manual lists as parts for the missing assembly:

D) Thermocouple
E) Pilot burner
F) Burner, Barber Mfg. Co. #654 #70 orifice drill
G) Valve Honeywell #V-5000B-1011
J) Manifold assembly (?)
K) Burner mounting plate assembly (probably proprietary)

There are Suburban part numbers for all these things too, but I believe they are not available?

I just can't believe someone would have taken the whole thing out and pitched it.

Also, if anyone has an old Surburban lying around -- either for parts or for sale -- please let me know.

And here I thought I had a live one....

Raya
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:27 AM   #2
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Do you know any heating service people that could test it for you ?
There isn't that much to a burner.

Bill K
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:06 PM   #3
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Bill,

There really "isn't much" to my burner, as the previous owners apparently took it out and threw it away when there was a gas leak somewhere (may not even have been in the burner, or it may have been repairable).

Kind of stupid, but I didn't realize it until after I had the furnace and opened up the grille... only to find a note explaining that it had all been removed and disposed of

So, I now have a tin man who just needs a heart... and brain

Raya
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:38 PM   #4
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See If you can get a hold of Harry, he may be able to come up with something.
I haven't seen him on here in awhile, but he is probably busy this time of year starting up AC's

Bill K

Quote:
Bill,

There really "isn't much" to my burner, as the previous owners apparently took it out and threw it away when there was a gas leak somewhere (may not even have been in the burner, or it may have been repairable).

Kind of stupid, but I didn't realize it until after I had the furnace and opened up the grille... only to find a note explaining that it had all been removed and disposed of

So, I now have a tin man who just needs a heart... and brain

Raya
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Old 10-15-2010, 03:47 PM   #5
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Trailer: Boler
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Ever have any luck finding these parts?

I need a new thermocouple for the exact same model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post
So... I've been looking for one of the "skinny" gravity-fed propane furnaces like came in the Boler 13's. And looking. And looking.

I finally found one. Whoo! But then.... Not whoo. Come to find a note inside that says "Furnace had bad leak and burner was judged to be faulty and so was removed." Argh!

I downloaded the manual for this furnace from the Document Center here (so helpful!), and I see that it lists the parts included in the burner assembly (yeah, that pretty much is the furnace... well, I have a nice sheet-metal casing!).

I've Googled and haven't come up with the parts (yet anyway).

[Edited to confirm that it is a GT6-3A for sure]

I just thought I'd see if anyone had any tips. I know some of these parts are probably a bit more universal than this furnace, if only one can find them. Here is what the Suburban manual lists as parts for the missing assembly:

D) Thermocouple
E) Pilot burner
F) Burner, Barber Mfg. Co. #654 #70 orifice drill
G) Valve Honeywell #V-5000B-1011
J) Manifold assembly (?)
K) Burner mounting plate assembly (probably proprietary)

There are Suburban part numbers for all these things too, but I believe they are not available?

I just can't believe someone would have taken the whole thing out and pitched it.

Also, if anyone has an old Surburban lying around -- either for parts or for sale -- please let me know.

And here I thought I had a live one....

Raya
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Sadly, no.

I keep hoping someone will decide to remove and sell one of these furnaces, or that someone might have one for parts, but so far no luck

I had been corresponding with Harry Young last fall, and he told me that "the main gas valve is available, the pilot assembly is available, the square bottom plate can be home made...The burner is a old restaurant part by Basco, the two 3/8 ells that make the 180 degree turn are hardware store parts in brass n.p.t. pipe sizes."

However, I don't have any part numbers to actually order or give you. He might have given me a part number in a PM later (I thought he had), but when the forum changed software, all of my PM's were mixed up and overflowed the storage (I guess the new software does not allow as many) and also the sent and received got all combined. Upshot being, that correspondence is gone

I will attach the parts diagrams I have (I think they are available in the document center but might as well put them here too for viewing). The notes in red are mine. You can see the thermocouple, but no generic parts number is given. The thing is, I bet it is an available, "generic" one, if we only knew the numbers! I mean, it's not like Suburban were making their own thermocouples and burners.

Since I was reviving this info in my mind, I did some (more) searching and there is a Basco-Penn company that has something to do with burners. I may have to make some calls next week and see what I can turn up. (I had kind of lost motivation for awhile as it seemed *surely* a furnace would turn up... alas, none has, although I just know there must be people removing these.)

Maybe your revival of this thread will bring me a furnace looking for a new home *and* you a thermocouple or info out of the woodwork!

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Old 10-16-2010, 10:11 PM   #7
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Hey Raya, could you help me correspond with Harry Young. I have the same furnace you are looking for, and i stupidly took it apart one night when it wasn't quite working right, and i can't get it back together. I need to know how to get that gas valve back together. I have all the parts, just need to know the order. Could you get me his contact info. I have found no other help so far. Thanks,
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Old 10-16-2010, 11:39 PM   #8
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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I have a feeling he may be occupied with non-camperish things, but I suppose it would be okay to send him an e-mail and ask.

I take it the owners manual and diagrams weren't helpful?

Raya

PS: No, wait, I think you should just send me your furnace :cackle:
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:04 PM   #9
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Raya, problem is i don't have his email. Could you pm it to me? Thanks
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:15 PM   #10
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Michael,

When you asked if I could help you correspond with Harry Young, I thought you meant could I e-mail him for you. I don't really feel comfortable giving his e-mail address out, but I could certainly try e-mailing him to see if he is available for a query for you. I will let you know when/if I hear back, okay?

Raya
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:39 PM   #11
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Smile

Hi Raya,

Why not put in a modern control unit? It seems to me that, from a philosophical point of view, the burner is just a vented box that heats up when gas is put in and ignited by the pilot. Any modern gas control that physically can fit in the space should work.

For my old Wagon Master gravity furnace, the original control was replaced a couple of years ago with a new Maxitrol GV-30 control unit. It works great and gives security of mind knowing that the gas controller is a modern and presumably safer unit. Their link is here: GV30 & GV60 - Mertik Maxitrol
but I am sure there are other manufacturers out there that would work equally well.

Rick G
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:13 PM   #12
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Rick,

Wow, thanks for jumping in here. I don't (didn't) know enough about these units to *know* I could put in a modern control. All I know is that they no longer make gravity furnaces, and I absolutely, positively want to stay away from the modern ones with a fan.

So you are saying I can put in a new/different control and burner? Will it just "pop" in, or do I have to change other things?

I'm really glad you piped in, thanks!

I do have everything but the parts shown (circled in red on the attachments in my previous post), and all is basically clean and rust free.

Edited to add:
I went to look at the one you linked to, and the GV 30 is the non-electric one. But it looks like I would still need a burner, right? And I'm missing the burner. Do you know I can just use a different (available) burner?

GV30

DESCRIPTION:
The GV30 Series are non-electric gas combination controls in full conformance with CE certification according to EN126.

Typical applications are: space heaters, fireplaces, storage water heaters and commercial cooking.

I would welcome any additional info from you as this is outside my normal area of expertise. Again, thank you for contributing!

Raya
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:14 PM   #13
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Hi Raya,

Ok, I will make some comments from memory, hopefully it will help. There is nothing magic about a gas control unit. It simply regulates the flow of gas to the burner. My new control used the original pilot and burner assembly and gas lines, it was just a new controller for them. The propane system runs on the same 11 inches of water column pressure that it did 40 years ago, so there is not much different, really. You will undoubtedly have to mount things differently, as it would be too much to expect that a new controller would have the same footprint as the old one, however that should not be an issue. Many of these control units are not even attached to the wall of the furnace, but simply hang by the gas lines, which are fairly solid. I looked at a manufacturer’s website today (http://www.pexsupply.com/Robertshaw-700-501-1-2-x-1-2-Millivolt-Combo-Gas-Valve-100-000) that said it did not matter which way a control unit was mounted as long as it was not upside down. I think that my Maxitrol controller is smaller than the one in that link, though.

Last winter I took my furnace out of the Boler and made some changes. I had two reasons to do it. First, the pilot was hard to light sometimes and other times easy, and I did not know why. Second, the pilot with the new controller unit seemed to be hard to reach, being physically on the opposite side of where the exterior hole for the pilot light was. So, I decided to try to switch the burner around so that the pilot light would be near the pilot light hole and easy to reach.

It turned out to be very easy to do over a period of time. On my furnace, the entire interior floor of the furnace was the burner assembly, which included the pilot. The floor bolted onto the rest of the furnace to attach it. You can see from the picture which I hope I can include in this post. This picture is of the burner before I changed it (I like to take pictures so that I can put it back together again if necessary).

You will note that the Maxitrol controller is not attached to the floor of the furnace, but is simply suspended by the tubes, which are quite rigid. I wanted to reverse this assembly, so that the pilot was on the left.

The T shaped burner is mounted onto the floor of the furnace by 2 bolts. I removed that to clean it out, and the entry for the gas is just an orifice in the floor of the furnace. The gas is directed up into the burner while mixing with the air in the furnace body, just like a propane barbecue. When I put it back on, I reversed it so that it was facing backward, which would become the new forward. I would think that a propane barbecue burner would work, if one could be found small enough to fit into the space.

The pilot gas tube and the thermocouple were on a single assembly which was also attached by bolts, so I was able to reverse that assembly so that it faced backward (which would become the new forward). The new controller used a new style thermocouple, as you would expect, so a modern thermocouple will do the job.

The reason the pilot was sometimes hard to light was because the thermocouple was not fastened down, but simply pushed up near the pilot light. As the trailer travelled, it would change position so that sometimes it was in the right spot, and other times it was not. I used brass plumbing compression fittings of the right diameter to hold it in place without crushing it. Since then it has worked perfectly every time.

Finally, I took the control unit off and mounted it backward, which would become the new forward. This involved straightening and bending a number of the gas lines, very carefully so that the tubes did not crimp and interrupt the gas flow. If they did, I would have just bought new tubes. As an extra, I decided to attach the controller to the floor of the furnace for extra support, which I did with a metal U-shaped bracket on the mounting flange of the control, screwed to the outside floor of the furnace when I reinstalled it.

Hope that is useful,
Rick G
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:16 PM   #14
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Thanks Rick,

One thing though: Unless I am misunderstanding you, you are talking about mounting a new controller on the old burner. I am missing the burner.

Or are you saying that I can get a new burner that will fit in place of the original burner (which, I do not have).

Thanks,
Raya

PS: Funny that we are both working on furnaces now!
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