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Author Topic: Aqua-Hot question  (Read 5720 times)
Joe Camper
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« on: January 10, 2011, 07:15:29 AM »

I would go to the yahoo forum for this I know there is one but stupid me can't seem to figure out how to sign up so

I just bought a leaking aqua hot from a friend in Fl here is all the pertinent info on it

Out of a 6yr old American Eagle that they fulltime in Titusville, 12 volt, until removed worked flawlessly all components BUT was dripping Antifreeze under the camper hence the removal. Original owner never even looked at it could be as simple as a leaky rad cap or as bad as a rotten tank?

I know what I have here new but it is not.  I am not going to use it in ours we are set up for webasto and am not looking to reconfigure the entire plumbing bay. I got it to sell or trade for something we can use.


Initially I was going to sell it as is but am rethinking, I have had many calls.

I am going to open it up today and see what is going on.

If I fix it what would be a fair price for something like this? I don't have a clue and Ido not think I am currently asking the correct amount  LOL

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luvrbus
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 07:50:21 AM »

Joe, you can usually buy the Aqua Hot or the Hurricane system used for less than 2 grand I bought one for 1000 bucks and Aqua Hot charged me 2700 to repair it after I sold it for 2500 to a bus nut here made a bunch on that deal lol  point is don't warranty that system as is where is 


good luck
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Joe Camper
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 07:59:04 AM »

O/K they charged you 2700 to repair. I'm suprised you did not try to repair it yourself, or did you?

What part was bad?

So you invested 3700 total cost for purchase and repair?

Warrenty on used stuff off the internet? No

 
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 08:00:38 AM by Joe Camper » Logged

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luvrbus
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 08:11:55 AM »

Wasn't in my bus and he was 2000 miles from me when it quit and I told him to take Aqua Hot in CO and I would pay for it which I did a  money losing deal for me
I am not a big fan of that system uses to much fuel for me if you sell yours and need another I have one in Houston I need to pickup came from Davenports Eagle


good luck
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Phil H / Chicago
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 08:45:38 AM »

Hey Joe,

I don't know if this will help (or work) but try to google yahoo hydronic rv heating group....I think that was how I found it.

I have the aquahot unit in my 1999 motorhome and there are times I love it and times I feel like pulling it out and throwing away. I had always thought about installing it when I start my bus project. But after the last two years of Chicago fulltime living in our present rv not sure I feel the same. Guess time will tell.

I agree...check out the leak. The system has a engine preheat loop that runs thru it as well as the boiler antifreeze....could be either....can you tell by looking at the fluid dipping?  Mine has a leak in the engine preheat that I am just going to eliminate because it would be be costly to tear into the entire system to fix.

Phil

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Joe Camper
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 03:31:46 PM »

I filled the tank with antifreeze mixture today and it held 17lb and did not drop it is still presurized  Iam leaving it overnight.

I mistakenly presumed this was well used they fulltime but I came to find out today they have a Florida room on the ownership lot they live on and use the bath and shower there and almost never used this.

I also pressurized the house water inlet and outlet to 50 psi and it too held all day and if the engine heat exchange were leaking it would show up with the tank pressurized as it has been all day with those ports currently left open, so that exchanger is also OK.

Tomorrow I am going to bench test it. Hook up some hoses and test the 3 circulating pumps 1 loop at a time, give it 12 volts and see if the webasto fires and cycles as it should.

This thing looks bran new inside. I am beginnning to think his leak was one of his hoses there is no evidence anywhere of anything ever leaking on it.

What a pick this could turn out to be!


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luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 04:40:12 PM »

My Aqua Hot is spoken for no more pm guys
thanks
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Joe Camper
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2011, 08:14:54 AM »

I learned yesterday that my bench test was incorrect and incomplete.

I put 50 psi air to the fresh water exchanger (or "loop") and that was wrong.

A leak is not the only way it can fail.

The glue or adhesive they use to attach the copper tube to the outside of the tank can fail and delaminate. This will create a situation where it will give you hot water initially but it will not stay hot indefinitely as it should.The way it was explained to me was this is not a common failure but it is one that they see. A small but undetected leak over time will cause this (replace your radiator caps every other year and make sure the tube is securely attached to the filler neck).

I need to put water thru that loop and let it flow at 6gpm and the output temp should remain at 110 or 112 degree, indefinitely. Another fact I was unaware of. ( the more I learn the more I want this in my bus LOL)

So it is Jan in Chicago and I am moving the show inside to the basement next to the wash basin where I can run it with water and have a convenient place to run a Temp exhaust to the Webasto burner to the outside. It's a project but something that is important to me.

So far the biggest mistake was telling Debbie I'm taking it downstairs sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

    
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 08:25:53 AM by Joe Camper » Logged

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Phil H / Chicago
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2011, 09:58:12 AM »

Hey Joe....do you have the cover off the boiler section so you can see if the tubing has separated from the tank? There is also a mixer valve at the bottom of the burner that goes bad and can change the water temp.

What part of Chicago are you in? If you have the unit opened up I would enjoy seeing how it is put together. I need to determine whether my engine preheat loop leak can be repaired.

Thanks,
Phil
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2011, 10:13:14 AM »

Joe, interesting thread. 

If at all possible, please post some pictures here or on some site.  As Phil said, we would all like to benefit from you project.

I have been through the factory assembly area a couple of times, but did not take pictures (didn't think they would approve) and don't recall the construction in detail.

I do recall seeing them work on a couple of units that had frozen.  Made it sound like fixing the boiler was doable. 

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2011, 02:05:37 PM »

I will do a thread on my homepage with photos and put a link here to it. I will photo document bench testing it however I do not believe it will require that much disassembly. On this unit the case around the tank assembly is riveted together and unless I see something that requires opening it I am not. I am beginning to think in the end I am going to find nothing wrong with it!

On a side note me and a friend of mine were dissecting a brain box for the webasto, we had it open and we were testing it open. and He tells me he wants to build a test board/tool that would facilitate isolating what exactly went bad and low and behold it has a part # they already sell them LOL.

The factory does service seminars at the factory for 300 bucks twice a year then if your local is O/K they will make you an authorized service provider 2 or 3 days or something like that. Not a bad deal if so inclined. I inquired.

I am headed to KC will get to this early next week.

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Hard Headed Ken
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 07:59:34 AM »

I purchased one that had damage to the fresh water coil from freezing in two separate places. I'm cutting out the damaged sections and splicing in the shortest sections possible with lead solder. The factory splice used silver solder. I'm going to use lead solder because I'm not able to get behind the joint once the tubing is back in place. Lead solder sweats much better than silver and should flow around the connection.  I know there is a lot of differences in the strength and operating temperatures. I think lead solder should OK for this temperature and pressure range. There will be some reduction in efficiency because the new sections may not contact the tank like the original.

Ken
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TomC
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2011, 08:08:14 AM »

I don't quite understand the draw of using the Aqua Hot with its' high maintenance!?  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 08:29:28 AM »

I used a Webasto 2010 many years for my heat system and it never gave a problem. The Aquahot I have seems to be just a variation of the same principle. I think in an 8 by 40 home the 3 zone thing is a little crazy, but other than that the design seems simple. This is my first Aquahot, I hope I'm not disappointed.

Ken
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gumpy
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2011, 12:04:09 PM »

I don't quite understand the draw of using the Aqua Hot with its' high maintenance!?  Good Luck, TomC

What high maintenance are you referring to? 

I've been using mine for several years and have had only one problem, which was solved by tightening 3 screws. 


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TomC
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2011, 12:33:02 PM »

Gumpy-then you've been very lucky.  I hear complaints about the burner not working, pumps not pumping, leaks, etc-seems like at least once a month someone is writting in about some sort of problem with the Aqua Hots.  And considering their cost new-they should be trouble free.  Good Luck, TomC
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Gary W
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2011, 12:34:55 PM »

I had a leak in my fresh water line in my Aqua hot.  The factory tech told me I probably didn't winterize properly. I know I did it right, they told me they would do a exchange with me for only$4000. I said no. When I cut the unit open I found a hole in the tubing. I took it to a rad shop, they said the hole was not from freezing but from the fresh water tubing rubbing against the engine coolant line. They repaired the hole and brazed a plate between the 2 coils to stop them from rubbing. I called Aquahot and sent them the pictures and asked them to repay me for the repair. They said no I voided the warranty by opening the unit.

The unit works great now with very little maintenance.

Gary
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luvrbus
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2011, 01:25:15 PM »

Some Aqua Hot units give few problems and some you work on all the time,I have seen the support team at the Fmca rallies and they will have a waiting list for units to be worked on.
At a Eagle rally in CO Springs of 30 buses the rep worked for 3 days I don't if he fixed all of those or not I am sure not all the Eagles had the units,I do know you could hear the owners crying over the bills lol. mine used a lot of fuel that part I did not like and fuel was only a buck a gal and I didn't like the 500 degree exhaust harness that baby and they would cheap to run 



good luck
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2011, 05:05:26 PM »

I took over the hockey team's bus 5 years ago. 102D3, S60 with Webasto. It wasn't working then. I fixed it with a new nozzle and mostly rotten wiring that I fixed. It has performed for me flawlessly since with routine preventive maintenance. That's a great little heater.  I would use one if I built a conversion.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2011, 08:17:42 PM »

Mine has been running for over 6 years with no maintenance other than nozzle replacement per the book.

Clifford, the fellow at the Colorado Springs rally was a terrible technician.  He did some work for me on an installation a few months before the rally and did not even know how to cut copper tubing with a cutter (the cutter was missing the wheel and he did not even know it!!).  Shortly after that rally, Aqua-Hot de-certified him.  You could not believe the stories David Haynes told me about him.

The service group at the rallies are mostly doing normal service (nozzle etc.) from what I can tell. 

I love my system and would not consider an alternative.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2011, 04:16:08 AM »

Jim, I know people that have very few problems with the unit mine was like Bryons it never worked when you needed it, just after mine ran out of warranty the control box quit man is Aqua Hot proud of that over 700 bucks then the float another 300 bucks,fuel pump 350 bucks just went on and on  fwiw I think Roger Berke is sharper on the units than the guys at the factory.



good luck
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2011, 06:57:11 AM »

Clifford, my unit was manufactured before they went to the "computer controlled" system.  Mine is pretty basic and I really like that - this from a guy that has based his systems on micro chip/PC board based technology Grin Shocked.

Without question, this technology can be very robust (my board has been running 24/7 for over 5 years in my bus and I have not had a reported failure).  That can not be said of all boards.  Sometimes the environment can be a factor.  As I recall, the control system for the Aqua-Hot is in the same area as the boiler and coolant distribution system.

Computer control systems CAN be designed for some pretty terrible environments.   One of the best examples are the ECMs on diesel engines.  That is a terrible application (heat/moisture/vibration) yet they almost never fail (the other parts do fail but not the ECM).  One adjustment to the previous statement:  Sometimes the first generation reveals flaws that are resolved in the next generation (DDEC I is probably not a product that DD is proud of).

So, what does all that minutia have to do with your comments.  I suspect that Aqua-Hot probably had some "growing pains" with their conversion to computer control - probably both board design and consideration of the environment.

Aqua-Hot has never been shy about making a profit on their replacement parts.  That can be said of almost any component in our buses.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2011, 07:07:25 AM »

Jim, my control box was outside the unit on wall,the PC board was inside another 350 bucks lol but they are good units so is the Hurricane I just never had good luck fwiw Cole ripped his Aqua Hot diesel fired unit out and had Aqua Hot build him a upgraded propane system and he loves it the unit and the service  

good luck
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 08:12:36 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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Joe Camper
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2011, 07:49:34 AM »

Vehicle systems in Colorado that is the supplier for Aqua-hot is also a authorized Webasto dealer. I called the Webasto factory just this week for a price on the heat exchanger on a stand alone webasto unit. It was rotted thru and weeping antifreeze. The factory told me they could not sell to me direct but they did give me the list price for it 1600 bucks. I called vehicle systems they told me 2200. That is a ripoff period.  It leaves me looking for other sources for anything and everything they provide. I will use them last for everything.

That unqualified tech that is a result of the factorys 300 dollar service seminar programs I mentioned earlier. Show up give them 300 and you too can be an authorized service provider.

IMO if you can get a good used Auqa-hot it is worth the effort. IMO the new units are desirable but very overpriced. After getting that 600 over list price for that part I needed I will no longer trust any of their pricing.

I do have friends that do tons of buisness with them and love them.
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2011, 08:17:35 AM »

John at Bus Serivices in Sharon Ks will most of the time have good prices on the Webasto parts  new and used  and Roger Berke usually has decent prices on the Aqua Hot parts not always though as some he buys from Aqua Hot.Joe now you know why I got a 2700.00 bill lol  



good luck
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 08:26:51 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2011, 08:24:35 AM »

Once again-lots of complaints about the cost and frequency of repairs on the AquaHots.
I like things simple-albeit it might not be the most efficient.  My water heater is two 10gal electric water heaters bought straight from Home Depot ($550.00 for the both).  The heating element is about $25.00-of which in 16 years, have never replaced them or done any maintenance-other then draining the water heaters once a year.  The two water heaters are plumbed one into the next with the last water heater wired through the inverter to stay hot while driving.
My furnace is a 35,000btu Atwood propane job-of which I just replaced since I mistakenly left the last one on for 2 weeks-and the fan motor didn't like that.  Replacement- $590.00. (I could have just replaced the fan motor, but the new furnace has a redesigned fan that is noticeably quieter then the old one).
If I need to keep my engine warm, I just put a 500 watt halogen light under the oil pan.
There is always another way of doing things-how simple or complicated you want to go is your choice.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2011, 08:29:04 AM »

Vehicle systems in Colorado that is the supplier for Aqua-hot ...


Joe, "Vehicle Systems" changed their name to "Aqua-Hot Heating Systems" several years ago.  Lots of old literature around that still refers to the old name, but anyone looking for the company is better served searching for "Aqua Hot."

http://www.rvtradedigest.com/web/online/Industry-Product-News/Vehicle-Systems-becomes-Aqua-Hot-Heating-Systems/3$1473

-Sean


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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2011, 08:30:51 AM »

Joe, not that it matters, but the service guy I spoke of was an Aqua-Hot employee in his previous employment.   Roll Eyes

Nick has not been posting much lately - hope he is not pissed off.  I think he had access to most of the components via his business.  If my memory is correct, that would be a good source.

Jim

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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2011, 08:37:22 AM »

BTW, most of you are aware that the owners of Aqua-Hot were brutally murdered by their daughter a couple of years ago - details here:

http://www.9news.com/rss/article.aspx?storyid=132880

From all reports, he was very customer and employee oriented.  Indeed, it was reported that he was making payroll out of his personal funds when the economy tanked. 

In my opinion, the company has not been the same since Hap was murdered.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
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« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2011, 08:40:12 AM »

I just hope Aqua Hot survives under the new leader the guy that owed it before his death was a good guy and honest and David ( forgot the last name) is no longer there and he was easy to deal with also


good luck


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« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2011, 05:07:32 PM »

Thanks for the correction Sean

Gary W please post the results of that repair your doing in terms of preformance.

I am planning on running mine on the bench in the garage tomorrow.
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« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2011, 06:09:05 AM »

I made my own heating system with a Webasto Scholastic series heater.  It does everything an Aqua-Hot does.  I've had it for 8 years and never had a problem with it.  I got it from Bus Bart for around $1200.
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« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2011, 06:55:49 AM »

George Myers did a great book on heating with hydronic the pros cons the good bad and ugly. One of the greatest things about Mr Myers is he tells you all the mistakes he makes and troubles he has had. The annoying thing with a complicated system is you want and need it to work when its cold and your on the road, and can be difficult to repair when its cold and your on the road.
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« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2011, 07:14:25 AM »

Other systems on the market Aqua Hot is just one player me I have the Hurricane System in our boat have no idea what one cost new I do know they burn a lot cleaner than the Aqua Hot and about every part in the unit is stainless steel IMO a lot better unit than Aqua Hot,like Cole I do not like the 5 or 6 gals of fuel per day for hot water and to stay warm a better way of doing that  



good luck
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 07:19:30 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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