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I finally got tired of running out of hot water with the Suburban 6 gallon water heater that came stock on our 301BQ. With 2-3 kids taking showers, we constantly ran out, even if we waited 15 minutes between showers. The Suburban gas burner also had a nasty habit of blowing out in even moderate winds. A few weeks ago, I replaced the Suburban with an Atwood 10 gallon gas/electric/DSI model that I got from American RV for $525. I discovered that American is only about 30 minutes away, so I drove to Azusa and had the water heater the same day. Removing the Suburban was so easy, even I could do it. The 301BQ has a ton of room in the water pump/heater compartment, so I could actually crawl inside and work from both sides when I needed to.



I made a template for the new water heater and marked the outline on the inside of the compartment. My original plan was to carefully remove the luan from the inside, make my cuts, re-frame and put the luan back in place. Well, Gilligan has the luan stuck to the framing and insulation with gobs of glue, so the only way to get it off was to destroy it with a scraper. I re-marked the outline on the outside of the trailer, using the rearward vertical aluminum framing as my rightmost edge. I used a Sawzall to make the cuts, but a jigsaw would work as well. I made the hole slightly small so I could carefully enlarge it with a file and sander.





The bottom aluminum framing is secured to the trailer floor with LARGE screws coming from underneath, and a flange that extends over the side of the floor. I had to remove the molding and aluminum skirting to cut the flange. After that, I just needed to trim the skirting and cut the molding to fit.





I had some old 2x3" studs that were the perfect size for the new framing. I ripped down a few pieces on the table saw and glued & screwed them to the 2x3's to fill in the spaces where I had removed the foam insulation. I then screwed the 2x3 assemblies from the inside of the compartment to the existing aluminum framing at the top, bottom and sides to make a strong opening that the water heater would be secured to.





The last step was to clean up some of Gilligan's mess of the water lines and electrical connections, and install the water heater. Three 110 volt wires for electric use, four 12 volt wires, and the propane connection are all that's necessary. I used butyl putty tape on the outside and screwed the heater into the new framing. Installed the new door and we were good to go! I thought that the Styrofoam jacket around the water heater wasn't fitting well, so I cut the straps holding the two pieces together. I couldn't make it fit much better, but I didn't have any 4 foot zip-ties, so I put the pieces back together with Gorilla Tape, lol....







We took our first trip with the new water heater and it was a smashing success!! Even with 3 girls taking back-to-back showers we didn't run out of hot water. On our last night I took a 10 minute, non-military type shower and STILL didn't run out of hot water! I am now one VERY happy camper!!
 

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How to Light RV Water Heater Pilot? The first important step in lighting up your water heater is to locate its mechanism box, fill the water tank with water before turning on the water heater in the pilot machine. Turn on the propane tank of the water heater, turn the control knob towards the pilot. Press the button down and hold it to feed propane through the internal ignition lines using the stove's lighter, hold the knob for a few seconds or a minute until a flare through the pilot light appears. You can now set the water heater to the desired water temperature.
 
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