Newell Gurus

Full Version: Aquahot leak in neck
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
If you have an Aquahot (AH) system, and find that your hot water runs out during your shower, read on. I have fought with my AH for years, but think that I have finally found the solution.

Before I tell you what the problem / solution is, I want to tell you about the terrific guys that figured the problem out and engineered a solution to the problem. (Both attended the Spearfish rally last year) Rudy Legett (Trainer) is a fellow guru. When I sent him a note asking him to look at my AH, he responded that he might know what the problem is and might even have a solution. He told me that his mentor and acknowledged Aquahot expert Roger Burke had seen the same problem over and over, and had invented a solution to the problem. These guys met me in Nacodoches, Texas this week and applied the fix (still in prototype stage). As of 48 hours the prototype fix is working, and I am once again enjoying hot water.

I would have hot water for about 5 minutes. After that, it would cool off to about 95 degrees. The temperature meter inside my coach never said anything less than about 165 degrees.

It turned out that the tank inside my AH unit was not full of water / coolant. Whenever I filled up the tank, it would slowly leak down. I sometimes could tell that I had a leak (a small puddle under the coach)…but most times the coolant would just kinda disappear.

The fact that I was losing water was a key to understanding what was happening. Previously, I had replaced the radiator cap and overflow hose. (Both had been leaking). I was sure that they were good now. I also figured out that the water only leaked down to a particular level…never ran out altogether. Rudy suggested that the problem was in the neck of the tank (right under the radiator cap). He has a trouble shooting technique, but since I saw some corrosion around the “neck”, I was convinced I had a leak at the top of the tank.

If you get a leak inside the stainless box…you are outta luck. If the tank cracks or the copper tubing inside the box springs a leak…again you are outta luck. But, and this is the important part, if you have a slight leak and your AH unit has a normal radiator cap, there may be a solution. It turns out that the way that the neck was attached to the tank is not terribly robust and has been known to fail.

The solution was invented by Roger Berke and involves using a torch to remove the top of the tube (the neck that holds the radiator cap). After the neck is removed, there is vertical tube that goes to the tank. A silicone tube is attached to the tank tube with constant tension clamps along with a new machined part that holds the cap. Roger provided the part (see pictures) and a new radiator cap.

At the appointed time, Rudy and Roger showed up outside my coach. I had been cooling the unit for a few hours, but it still retained a little heat. Rudy carefully released the pressure on the tank. (Since I had a crack in the neck, there was really no pressure to release) With the cap off, Rudy used his torch to heat up the joint between the neck and the tube.

If you end up doing this, be careful to pack the gap between the tube and the stainless box with some sort of non flammable material. There is thermal insulation inside the stainless box that may be flammable. We used wet cloth to protect the insulation from the torch. (you might have a black rubber gasket fit around the neck)

The solder that holds the neck to the tube was easily liquified with the torch and the neck popped off. The next step was to slide the new silicone hose onto the tank pipe. It was a little tricky to get the constant tension clamp down onto the hose but with the right tools, Rudy was able to get the job done. Next the new machined neck slid down into the silicone pipe and another constant tension clamp added.

Finally, the tank was topped off with distilled water, the radiator cap put on and the unit was fired up. No leaks appeared.

Lessons learned
1. Roger has seen many AH units with corroded / leaking necks. This is the first fix that does not require the entire unit to be removed and rebuilt.
2. The neck part was made of stamped metal and was not robustly attached to the tube. Corrosion was visible on the outside of the tube. Once the neck was removed it was apparent that this problem was probably created during the manufacturing process. (the entire circumference of the neck was not evenly soldered)
3. Roger Berke has invented what may turn out to be a simple solution to what could be a widespread problem. Although the fix is still in the prototype stage, early testing has been successful.
4. Both Roger and Rudy are super knowledgable about Aquahot units and are genuinely good guys. Highly recommended.
nice cheap fix
Very creative solution. Like it.
very cool. rudy and roger, you guys rock

Cleverly done!

After two weeks I have not lost a drop of coolant in the AH unit. I have driven around 1000 miles since the fix and no problem at all. I recommend that you monitor your AH unit for corrosion around the neck and if you (like I was) are losing fluid....look into this fix.

That is very good news!