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2005 Monaco hot water tank element replaced without removing the tank?


Rick A
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Is it possible to replace the hot water element in 2005 Monaco without removing the tank? There is a small letter box sized opening in the wall between the hold and the tank compartment. Anybody tried this? 
 

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Well my panel to the rear opens up. Not sure if thats any easier. 

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I had to replace the element on our Atwood wh. The regular socket you find just would not get a good grip. Used a 1.75” socket with a breaker bar to break it loose. How to get in to the element in your coach sounds like a challenge.

Good luck and all the best.

Martin.

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Rick:

You are going to need to remove the water heater to replace the element.

That little opening in the wall will let you unhook the wiring and water lines, so that you can remove the water heater.  There's no way you're going to be able to get the heating element out through that little opening.

Once you get the water heater out of the coach, as Martin said, you will need a good socket.  The one they sell for water heaters is cheap and did not work for me.

My water heater was sealed in place with a ridiculous amount of silicone around the door.  Cutting that out was annoying.

In my coach, the real problem was that the water heater was connected to 120v with Romex and wire nuts.  The wire nuts melted. The wire nuts must have loosened over time and resistance or arcing caused the wire nuts to melt.  After melt down of wire nuts, there was no electrical connection any more.

While the  water heater was out.  I replaced the heating element, which is not real expensive, so why not.

Dwight

 

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Thanks very much everybody. I was seriously hoping that somebody had come up with an ingenious way to do this but I guess I'm SOL. 

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Rick:

It's not that bad a job.

If you've never done it before, it's probably 4 to 6 hours including all the head scratching.  Be prepared with the right socket for the heating element.  The cheap ones don't work well.  You need a real socket or wrench.

If you or a helper has done one of these before, then it's probably a two hour job.

Nothing rocket science about it.  The trick is to get a good socket and breaker bar.

Dwight

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One other suggestion, considering you are facing some surgery. While you have the water heater out, also consider replacing the pressure relief valve.

Martin

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I removed and reinstalled mine a couple of times to get to the back of it in a 05 Endeavor same as Dip.  The keys are to put tape around the opening to protect the paint, don't be too aggressive when loosening the sealant, and get all the connections in the rear unhooked.  

The sealant is a butyl sealant that doesn't have adhesive qualities.  However, it can be messy to release so you need to work your way around the flange with a multitool and not bend the flange as it is just sheet metal.  You can get replacement sealant at any RV supply. On mine there is an outlet for the 120 volt supply.  The 12 volt control wiring is such that you need to get the water heater out about halfway.  I had to replace the support inside the compartment also.

Here is a video (1) RV How To - Water Heater install - Bing video

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Thanks Larry. That was helpful, I taped it off because I could see there was going be some maneuvering to get it out.
The Atwood element ($46) is a 1400 watt unit but I see some if the replacement units being adversed ($25) are 1500 watt. 

Do you have any idea what the other 2 cables are that are lying on the top of the tank that don’t connect to anything. They are both about 6’  long -  one with a plug, the other with 4 wires and connectors. 

Edited by Rick A
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Rick,

Not sure what the other cables would be.  My coach had a "Winterizing" system that included a bypass valve at the tank.  I have never used it.

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