Water Heater Re-ignitor - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-15-2005, 11:23 AM   #1
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Here's a mod I reported on previously but was lost:

Suburban water heaters come in three basic flavors:
1. It has a pilot light. It's manually pilot lit.
2. It has a pilot light. It has a "sparker" that will light the pilot, or you can light it manually.
3. It has NO pilot light. When the water is cold the DSI unit opens the gas, a sparker lights the burner, the water heats up then the DSI shuts everything off again until the water needs to be heated up again.

There is also something that is called the "On Demand" water heater system. I'll let Charles describe it's intricacies.

My Suburn water heater was the manual light model. I sometimes have problems with the pilot blowing out. It also can take a bit of time to get the gas to the pilot the first time you light it on a trip. I can be impatient. And my thumb tires holding the pilot button down.

I decided to buy the aftermarket (Suburban) sparker to install. It was about $80 from Camping World
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:29 AM   #2
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Holes must be drilled!

As it turns out, Suburban has put dimples in the body where you are to drill. I advise restraint. Don't install that 18" long drill bit in your drill and then drive it home. Drill until it penetrates, then stop for goodness sake.

I circled the dimples.

Obviously, the holes are in the cover, not the water tank.
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:38 AM   #3
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You run a wire to the 12v distribution panel. I assigned a separate fuse to the sparker.

That front shield with all the writing on it comes off. You have to take apart some of the gas lines to install the sparker by the pilot light. There is a very rusty screw at the pilot end that gets removed to attach the sparker and then is reattached.

Something attaches somewhere (I'm a little hazy on the details this far removed from the project) to detect when the pilot has gone out.

It's a bit fussy putting it together again. Be careful not to cross thread any of the pipes. And you're done.

I thought the directions were easy to follow and the project fairly simple.

And...it works.

I turn on the gas at the bottles. I light the stove briefly to get gas along the lines a way.
I turn the gas valve at the water heater to Pilot, press down and turn on the sparker.

Eventually, the pilot lights, the sparker stops sparking on it's own and I turn the gas valve to On. Then, if the pilot goes out, the sparker immediately senses it and starts sparking until the pilot lights and then stops sparking again.
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:48 AM   #4
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This mod meets my basic requirement that no mod, if it should fail, would mean I can't go camping. Even if the circuitry poops out, I'm no worse off than before and manually lighting the pilot.

It is, as always, wretched excess.
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Old 12-15-2005, 05:49 PM   #5
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Looks pretty interesting, Steve. Just might try it!
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:59 PM   #6
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"Wretched excess" you say, Steve? What about that box of matches you spilled that windy night at the rest stop parking lot? And the fellow with $500 tires that came skidding to a stop the next morning at that same spot. And the brown spot on the whitewall that must have come from one of those errant matches. And the insurance adjuster that . . . and. and. and.

"Wretched excess" you say? I'd say "Gotta Have", sir. Just think how much better life would be if there were a public cry out demanding that all gas fired appliances have these things as standard equipment. We need to be writing our congressmen! The government needs to get involved in this.

Now, what was the name of the company that made that re-ignitor? And you wouldn't happen to know what their stock exchange symbol is, would you?
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Old 12-16-2005, 01:47 PM   #7
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The Suburban reignitor kit is their part number 520790. I called Suburban and they me the kit number as 520821 but the kit paper work has the first mentioned number. I purchased my kit through a local RV dealer/supplier.
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Old 12-16-2005, 02:34 PM   #8
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As I read through Loren's response, my first thought was, "I like the way Loren thinks. He's obviously spotted the rationale I need to justify these expenses. They're basic necessities. Of course I should have bought one."

And I felt good.

But then, second thoughts.

Perhaps I'm only doing what's necessary (for me). Perhaps these expenses are only what's required (for me). Maybe I'm just barely getting along! Perhaps, in fact, I'm not traveling in wretched excess at all!!!

Now I'm conflicted.

But...Not to worry. I'm pretty sure there's a gadget to address my condition.
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:27 PM   #9
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What does need have to do with it? I want to have it!
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