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Full Version: changing both electric elements on aquahot
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i was getting some popping noises when my aquahot was on electric only.  kinda like when an element is going bad on a house hot water heater.  

so i bought two new elements from roger berke.   a 120v and 240v.  

with some guidance from rudy, i did the job.

i bought a 12v transfer pump from harborfreight.  and two sockets for the hot water heater.  one is a 1 1/2" impact socket that i had machined so there was no taper on the socket.  since the element nut is so slim, a regular socket will not catch enough on it.  i also bought a camco rv water heater element socket which is not impact worthy but served a purpose i discuss later.  

first i took the burner completely out.  disconnected the fuel lines at the burner as that was the easiest.  you have to take the 4 wires that plug onto the two thermostats above the burner to pull those 4 wires out of the housing as they are attached to the burner.  take a picture of how they are connected.  

then i drained the coolant out the drain hose under the coach.  used a storage bin and then pumped the coolant out into 4 five gallon buckets.  it drains fast and the pump is really fast.  

then took the covers off the elements.  they are both at the bottom.  one at the front and one at the rear.  the front one i just put my 1/2" impact gun on it and it spun right out after a number of hard impacts.  the back element is the 240v one and on mine was a real pain in the neck.  the plumbing back there makes it so i could hardly get my fat hands in there.  i put the impact socket on it with a short extension and used a breaker bar and was able to get it out with some effort.  

replaced the front 120v element was easy.  the back one was not.  it is much longer and heavier and i had to have some way of holding it level to get the threads to start.  so i used the camco socket and put a couple of washers in it, then a couple of pieces of tshirt cloth and wedged the element in it enough to hold it so i could used the socket for leverage.  with a bunch of tries i finally got it.  

then buttoned it all back up and was done.  have not fired it up yet but sure it will be fine. 

the elements ohmed out fine and didnt look very corroded.  the 120v one more than the 240v one.  

i also used my 20mp boroscope and examined inside the tank.  looked pretty clean.  

the last picture on my previous post was a picture of the watts mixing valve from the back side. it is a good reference so you know which way to turn it to make it hotter or colder. yes that is my mug in the back....ha

Great job Tom. Hope that stops the popping noises.
Good job! Could the popping noise be the relay? Mine is mounted on right wall above the AH. It was acting weird a few years ago.

Also, the electrical connections under the access door on the front (curbside) of the unit can get loose and start arcing. I had this problem and have seen at least one other. Turn off the power and take off the access cover and inspect the connections. Mine just had a wire nut and when it got loose, it melted and then was arcing against the cover plate.

Rudy helped me fix that one.

Enjoy the hot water!
Nice job and writeup. One small upgrade to my aquahot will be to add a 4 wire plug (probably a 4 wire trailer light connector) to the 4 thermostat wires. That will make it easier when I have to pull out the burner.
it made the noises for the first minute or so it was on and then no more. wont know for sure until i use it alot again.

one thing i forgot to say in my writeup is priming the 4 pumps.

per rudy's guidance, i pressurized the tank using a radiator pressure test setup. i have one so didnt have to go find one. you take the radiator cap off and put the tester on it and pump it up to 15psi.

then turned each of the 4 pumps on one at a time by using a jumper from ground to the terminal block labeled with what thermostat it serves. then leave them on until you can feel the pump priming or feel the coolant pulsing throught the hose above the pump. one of mine wouldnt prime so i tapped the brass check valve just above the pump with a hammer and freed it up. then it primed.