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  1. #1
    Rolling Along jjbbrewer's Avatar
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    Suburban gas/electric water heater wiring - potential short - check yours!

    While troubleshooting my Suburban SW12DEL gas/electric water heater yesterday I discovered a problem waiting to happen.

    Short background - the 12V/gas system of my water heater is intermittently working/not working. There's a very detailed troubleshooting process on the Forest River forum in this thread -
    https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...es-161397.html

    While following the process, I needed to remove this reset button cover to measure the voltage at the two thermostats/resets ..

    Click image for larger version. 

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    What I found was pretty concerning. Both the 120VAC wires and the 12VDC wires had been pinched pretty badly during assembly/installation of the heater. Here's a look under that cover showing that all 4 wires had been damaged.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Fortunately none of these wires had shorted out on me - yet - but it's pretty clear that a little more road vibration could have easily worked through the insulation and, at a minimum, caused a blown fuse / tripped breaker / or worse.

    Plus, unless you know to remove the reset button cover, this would be a really REALLY difficult problem to find.

    I ended up creating clearance in both the metal backing and the plastic cover so the wires have room to not be pinched. I also put a couple wraps of tape around these wires to isolate the damaged insulation.

    So, this is just a head up to everyone to check their wires here.

    I think this is Suburban's problem, not GD's, but it's really bogus IMHO.
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  2. #2
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjbbrewer View Post
    While troubleshooting my Suburban SW12DEL gas/electric water heater yesterday I discovered a problem waiting to happen.

    Short background - the 12V/gas system of my water heater is intermittently working/not working. There's a very detailed troubleshooting process on the Forest River forum in this thread -
    https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...es-161397.html

    While following the process, I needed to remove this reset button cover to measure the voltage at the two thermostats/resets ..

    What I found was pretty concerning. Both the 120VAC wires and the 12VDC wires had been pinched pretty badly during assembly/installation of the heater. Here's a look under that cover showing that all 4 wires had been damaged.

    Fortunately none of these wires had shorted out on me - yet - but it's pretty clear that a little more road vibration could have easily worked through the insulation and, at a minimum, caused a blown fuse / tripped breaker / or worse.

    Plus, unless you know to remove the reset button cover, this would be a really REALLY difficult problem to find.

    I ended up creating clearance in both the metal backing and the plastic cover so the wires have room to not be pinched. I also put a couple wraps of tape around these wires to isolate the damaged insulation.

    So, this is just a head up to everyone to check their wires here.

    I think this is Suburban's problem, not GD's, but it's really bogus IMHO.

    We have the Suburban SW10DEL and I'll check ours, thanks. Did you just bend the metal out of the way to free up the wires from being pinched?
    Last edited by Steven@147; 05-24-2024 at 07:14 AM.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Texas Fulltimers since July 2020, Escapee's, FMCA Members
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  3. #3
    Rolling Along jjbbrewer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven@147 View Post
    Did you just bend the metal out of the way to free up the wires from being pinched?
    Yep - what I did was bend the metal to create a channel for the wires, filed the edges to take away the sharpness, and put a couple layers of duct tape over the edges.

    Then I put a couple wraps of electrical tape over the pinched area of the wires. Finally, I notched the plastic reset button cover to clear the bent metal areas.

    I had to do this all out in the field. When I get it home, I'll probably dremel out the bent metal areas and put in grommets to replace the duct tape.
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    Site Sponsor ajg617's Avatar
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    While we were stuck in Glacier, I started looking into why the heater wouldn't work on electric (same model). There were a couple of YT videos pointing that exact problem out which seemed to be a bit more common than one would hope. So I checked mine last August and the wires were not pinched.
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  5. #5
    Rolling Along jjbbrewer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajg617 View Post
    There were a couple of YT videos pointing that exact problem out which seemed to be a bit more common than one would hope. So I checked mine last August and the wires were not pinched.
    Thanks for the response! Looks like this guy found the exact same problem and made a nice video about fixing it. Fortunately, mine hadn't shorted out yet.

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    Site Team Second Chance's Avatar
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    Our mobile tech said this is a common problem and he had to fix a short at that location for our neighbors across the street a couple of months ago.

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  7. #7
    King Pin
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    Sounds like something I should take a look at. TIA
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  8. #8
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjbbrewer View Post
    Yep - what I did was bend the metal to create a channel for the wires, filed the edges to take away the sharpness, and put a couple layers of duct tape over the edges.

    Then I put a couple wraps of electrical tape over the pinched area of the wires. Finally, I notched the plastic reset button cover to clear the bent metal areas.

    I had to do this all out in the field. When I get it home, I'll probably dremel out the bent metal areas and put in grommets to replace the duct tape.
    Thanks for posting about this, Ours is the same way, I just looked. Ours is the SW10DEL I've got some work to do. Fortunately it doesn't look like the wires are cut through yet, just pinched, and it's been 5 years. It looks like there is enough clearance between the metal and the wires. I'll just notch grove the black cover top and bottom and once I put the cap back on I think it will keep the wires away from the metal and be ok.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_5772.jpg   IMG_5774.jpg   IMG_5775.jpg  
    Last edited by Steven@147; 05-24-2024 at 09:55 AM.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Texas Fulltimers since July 2020, Escapee's, FMCA Members
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, 2018 Ram 3500 DRW, Laramie Longhorn, B&W Companion, Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License
    Sharing the Fulltime Lifestyle - www.youtube.com/@tsrvadventures3219/videos, Nonprofit Channel

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