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Old 12-29-2008, 04:26 PM   #1
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Suburban Heater problem

Greetings,

I have a Suburban heater, powered by propane.
Every time I use it, I turn on the propane knob.
Have not used it all summer and now when I need it, it will not work!
I removed the fuse and it is fine.
I removed the thermastat-tried joining the two wires for the unit-nothing.
Is there a switch or on/off device that I do not know about?
The propane water heater works fine though!

Soo, who has any tips on how to get the Surburban heater to work?

Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks,

Zugg

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Old 12-29-2008, 04:43 PM   #2
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When you saw it doesn't work, does anything happen? Does the fan come on? Etc. You might also look at the post

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/viewto ... 58&start=0

Although this question was about high altitude usage, John Kalmbach has some good general information about the propane heater...
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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Hi Jack,

Thanks for the link.
Seems like these Surburban furnaces are not so great, after reading the link!
When I turn the thermostat to 90, no blower turns on, no air, no nothing.
The propane tank was just filled!

Any other ideas to get the Suburban furnace to work??

Thanks,

Zugg
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:57 PM   #4
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If you have not done so already, remove the faceplate on the interior Suburban thermostat and check all of the wiring and connections.

They can easily vibrate loose given how the SMB rides, especially on washboard roads.

Mine stopped working and it turned out to be a faulty connection that was easily fixed with a screwdriver. Also, the on/off switch is temperature sensitive and the temp switch is poorly designed IMHO. Once a connection was made on mine, it still took a bit of jiggliing to get the furnace to kick on. Not ideal, but these things do crank out an impressive amount of heat.

Good luck
Rob
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:32 AM   #5
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It definitely sounds electrical. I assume that when you turn the thermostat up to 90, you here it click closed. If not, you could connect the two wires temporarily. In looking at the electrical schematic plan for the furnace that SMB provided with our van, there is a On/Off switch on the furnace itself although I can't see how it might be turned off accidentally...you should check it though. In looking at the electrical schematic, the fan motor should come on (even if the heater doesn't start putting out heat) when the thermostat is closed, the Time Delay switch closes (I assume this is to keep the motor from starting if the thermostat is closed only for a very short time and then opens), and the On/Off switch is closed. Since the fan motor is not coming on, then either there is a loose wire somewhere along this path as Rob suggests or the Time Delay switch has failed. I'd check those areas...if you can't find anything, a regular RV shop could easily track it down. That is one advantage of using Suburban heaters in our vans...they are basically the industry standard for RVs.

Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:47 AM   #6
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I fired up the furnace with the propane off one time, it wouldn't work after that "fault" and to get it to work after that had to pull the furnace fuse, wait and replace it (resetting?) after that it fired right up. Of course I'd turned the propane on in the meantime!
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:50 AM   #7
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Yep, sounds electrical since you don't even get the fan on when you turn it on. Ours runs the fan for a couple minutes, then fires.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
I fired up the furnace with the propane off one time, it wouldn't work after that "fault" and to get it to work after that had to pull the furnace fuse, wait and replace it (resetting?) after that it fired right up. Of course I'd turned the propane on in the meantime!
We have a "rule" that when the furnace is on, the cover to our programmable thermostat is left open and closed when the furnace is turned off. However, on our last trip, the cover somehow got closed when the switch still in the ON position. (That means I didn't do it and my wife says that she didn't do it...maybe our Bengal cat did it.) I didn't realize it until a couple of days after we returned home and I had to get something out of the van and I heard the furnace on. The propane wasn't on during that couple of days. Even with solar, the house battery was down to 11.9v since, without propane, the furnace was running during all of the times the thermostat was programmed to run.

I'll check it tomorrow to see if it will fire up (with the propane on). When you say "fuse", are you talking about the main SMB circuit breaker or a fuse somewhere?
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:42 PM   #9
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Cool,

Thanks Jack, Rob, Jage, and the Adventure Duo for the advice.
I have removed the two wires that go to the themastat, connected them and no fan/blower or click is happening!
There is only one main fuse panel in my van, under the bench seat.
(Hard to get at-and not easy to remove/replace.)
The fuse looks fine and not blown.
Thanks to all and I will try the suggestions, hoping for heat!
I will post my results when I have hot air blowing from this furnace!

Peace,

Zugg
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:10 AM   #10
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furnace

It does sound like an electrical issue. The thermostat wires, and SMB 12volt (+) & (-) wires come into the furnace on the right side (when you're facing it inside the van). You'll need to confirm that 12volt power is present at the furnace. If not, trace the 10 gauge red (+) wire from the 15 amp furnace fuse on the SMB fuse block to the furnace, confirm power is present at the furnace. Check the 10 gauge white ground wire (-) at the furnace too. It may have come loose or corroded, which will also prevent the furnace from working.

I hope this helps!

John K.
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