Tankless water heater for 1987 Bigfoot 19’ - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-08-2024, 06:27 AM   #1
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Name: Jay
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Tankless water heater for 1987 Bigfoot 19’

Hi gang, just bought this trailer and the hot water tank is kaput. Want to go tankless and will pretty much always be camping with all hookups.

Can anyone recommend a tankless heater for me? Hopefully I can find one that will fit without much modification ?

Thank you

Jay
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Old 04-08-2024, 02:21 PM   #2
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This looks interesting……. https://www.truma.com/products/water...heater-boiler/
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Old 04-08-2024, 08:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Suregrip391 View Post
That is not a tankless water heater. Please re-read Jay's post.
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Old 04-08-2024, 09:02 PM   #4
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They aren't very popular for small trailers because they waste so much water, though with full hookups you may not care. Maybe check to see what they are using on Class As?
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Old 04-10-2024, 06:23 AM   #5
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Existing space for a retrofit, and adaptation to connect something else into what you already have, might be as big a consideration.
Our camper has a Truma Combi that combines tank-less water heat and space heat into one unit that is not much bigger than the expanded polystyrene insulating shell of our former Casita's hot water tank. A combination unit could mean gaining volume by eliminating the need for space for any present space heater were you to replace the water heater in your Big Foot.
You'll need to look at your present lay-out to determine how involved ($, time, additional parts, additional labor) you want to make the changes that might be needed to get the result you want.
Much as I like the instant (OK, 15 seconds ) hot water, I don't think I'd have done anything but replace the tank in a prior Casita with another had that failed.
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Old 04-10-2024, 09:12 AM   #6
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230 Volt

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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
That is not a tankless water heater. Please re-read Jay's post.
And it's 3,7 A 230 Volt, not good for North America.
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Old 04-10-2024, 10:48 AM   #7
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I don't think that the tankless like I have ( Fastar 5l) wastes any more water than a regular tank type as the tankless is pretty much instant or at least 2 - 3 seconds PLUS THE TIME THE HOT WATER TAKES TO GET TO THE FAUCET. That time would be the same for tankless and tank.
The important thing is the length of the hot water line from the heater to the faucet.
If you are a die hard BoonDockers you could catch the water and reuse or you can take into account the 6 gallons in the hot water heater that is basically trapped in the heater.
If you have a 10 gallon tank and a 6 gallon water heater you have 16 gallons X 8 lbs or 128 lbs. The tankless would have 80 lbs. Of course you could get a 5 gallon can to have more useable (at least easily used) water.
I have my tankless mounted on the front trailer frame which I extended when I rebuilt it. That is the real issue with the cheap tankless units - mounting - as the RV water heaters were made for (wait for it) RVs.
An other issue is that the two D cell battery holder gets wet when towing and the contacts corrode and are not reliable. On my unit I used a buck DC - DC converter to get the 3 volts from the 12 volt DC from the trailer.
My unit coat about $100, but you should not get too large of a unit as most applications don't use that much water and the larger units will teen to be pretty hot and take more flow to start.
I have been using mine for about 10 years or so with the occasional aggravation as mentioned with the battery holder corrosion issue.
One feature is the lack of burner noise as the heater cycles on and off with the standard heaters. The tankless is basically noiseless and there is no LP gas plumbed in the cabin.
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Old 04-13-2024, 01:32 PM   #8
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That also requires 230V
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Old 04-13-2024, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay in Duncan View Post
Hi gang, just bought this trailer and the hot water tank is kaput. Want to go tankless and will pretty much always be camping with all hookups.

Can anyone recommend a tankless heater for me? Hopefully I can find one that will fit without much modification ?

Thank you

Jay

Pretty much means how much? And what is "full hookups" Tankless means that you would need more service than just a 15A120V that is some times full hookups. What happens when you don't have full hookups? Is this going to change over time and are you going to maybe want more hookupsless camping?
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Old 04-13-2024, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
I don't think that the tankless like I have ( Fastar 5l) wastes any more water than a regular tank type as the tankless is pretty much instant or at least 2 - 3 seconds PLUS THE TIME THE HOT WATER TAKES TO GET TO THE FAUCET. That time would be the same for tankless and tank.
The important thing is the length of the hot water line from the heater to the faucet.
If you are a die hard BoonDockers you could catch the water and reuse or you can take into account the 6 gallons in the hot water heater that is basically trapped in the heater.
If you have a 10 gallon tank and a 6 gallon water heater you have 16 gallons X 8 lbs or 128 lbs. The tankless would have 80 lbs. Of course you could get a 5 gallon can to have more useable (at least easily used) water.
I have my tankless mounted on the front trailer frame which I extended when I rebuilt it. That is the real issue with the cheap tankless units - mounting - as the RV water heaters were made for (wait for it) RVs.
An other issue is that the two D cell battery holder gets wet when towing and the contacts corrode and are not reliable. On my unit I used a buck DC - DC converter to get the 3 volts from the 12 volt DC from the trailer.
My unit coat about $100, but you should not get too large of a unit as most applications don't use that much water and the larger units will teen to be pretty hot and take more flow to start.
I have been using mine for about 10 years or so with the occasional aggravation as mentioned with the battery holder corrosion issue.
One feature is the lack of burner noise as the heater cycles on and off with the standard heaters. The tankless is basically noiseless and there is no LP gas plumbed in the cabin.
The question is not quite as simple as tank vs tankless.

You make a good point about the tank having six gallons trapped all the time. But to say the tankless does not waste more water is questionable. I get that it only takes a few seconds for the tankless to fire up, but the water flowing through it must be high enough velocity to make it fire up. And if you are taking a navy shower and want to turn off the water to soap up, you have to go through the start up cycle each time you shut the water off. That means a cold blast at the shower each time you turn the shower back on. That means lost water, unless you like getting a cold blast each time, or want to catch it in a bucket. The tank style does not give you a cold slug of water at each turn on.

Better than either of those is the diverter system where the tankless water diverts back top the tank and the heater stays on when the shower head is off. This is a simple modification I did and it gave me the best of both worlds. The tankless stayed on when diverted and no cold shots when the shower head was turned back on. And no six gallons sitting that could not be accessed. It also would never run out of hot water, like a tank style heater does. So if tied to shore water, long showers were available. Excellent.

The tankless with diverter is the best of all in my opinion. Without the diverter, a tankless is wasteful, unless you like getting a cold shot each time you turn the faucet on. The tank style is heavy and limited in how much it can produce at shower flow rates.

Here's a pic of my shower diverter. It simply selects between shower head and a return line to the tank. When diverted, it also gives instant hot water at the sinks. I don't mean instant after a startup, I mean instant. Right now.
Attached Thumbnails
Shower diverter 2.jpg  
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Old 04-18-2024, 10:59 AM   #11
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Name: Jay
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Thank you guys for all the great input!!

Jay
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