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Old 08-02-2022, 05:38 PM   #1
Bharrisv65
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Electric on water heater not working

Hello everyone, new to the forum and needed to ask a question. My electric element is not working on my water heater, gas works fine; it's a Suburban 12G model. It hasn't worked since day one but I did not find out until after we had left the dealer where I bought it which is about seven hours away. I have a 2022 Montana Legacy.

I have checked and there is no power coming to the element nor at the T-stat. The element is good, I checked it and it has 10 ohms which is what it's supposed to show. Mine DOES NOT have the small switch behind the gas valve and has no switch anywhere that I can find. I have the In Command system, I checked and have 12V at the connector for the water heater which I "assume" activates the 120V power to the WH. Oh and I also have 120V at the breaker which I cycled several times to be certain it wasn't the problem. Yes, this thing is under warranty but if it's an easy fix, I'd rather not have to drag it to the dealer (there is a local one, but whom I dislike) and have to wait weeks on them to fix it...if they even do (but that's another story). I just want to be certain I'm not missing a switch somewhere that's not been turned on. I even called Keystone but they were not very helpful....

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm not new to RV life, this is my third fifth wheel (but the only one I've towed) and I've owned two motorhomes, the last being a Tiffin Zephyr. I'm very capable of fixing darn near anything if I can get to it! Thanks!
 
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Old 08-02-2022, 05:52 PM   #2
Foldbak
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Welcome to the forums. Unfortunately I can't answer your question as I don't have in command. I'm all analog with a switch for gas or electric. Someone here will be able to answer. Good luck
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Old 08-02-2022, 06:02 PM   #3
mhs4771
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If you can get access to the backside of the WH, look for a small junction box with both 12V and 120V wires. Inside the box is a relay, the 12V controls the relay which then connects the 120V to the WH. There have been problems with loose wire nuts in that box.
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Old 08-02-2022, 07:14 PM   #4
Bharrisv65
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Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
If you can get access to the backside of the WH, look for a small junction box with both 12V and 120V wires. Inside the box is a relay, the 12V controls the relay which then connects the 120V to the WH. There have been problems with loose wire nuts in that box.
Yes, that's going to be my next check I'll do, thank you for mentioning it because I was thinking something along those lines. I can access that area, it will require taking the panel off the backside but it's in my basement so it should not be a problem to get to it.

If anyone has a similar setup, I have a ton of storage underneath and it WAS all open until today, I've been installing "paneling" to close off the separate compartments which were just open with the aluminum bracing. To me, it gives the basement a more "finished" look and you don't lose any storage. And since I'm doing this project, removing the panels enclosing the WH shouldn't be a problem. Again, a BIG THANKS!
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:30 PM   #5
Daryles
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I'm not sure about the InCommand system. I do not have it.
There is a 5A fuse on the back of the control panel where the electric water heater switch is.
Since it works on propane it's probably good.

The 120vac relay (activated by 12vdc) is on the top left side of the water heater. You have to remove the water heater to get to it.

I wrote about mine coming loose and reinstalling it (with pictures)
https://www.montanaowners.com/forums...ad.php?t=86637
Pretty easy task.

Someone else had to replace that relay. Picture below.

Also there is a Suburban water heater manual in the files section with the wiring diagram. The 120vac side is very simple to trace.
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Old 08-02-2022, 10:35 PM   #6
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Last year i purchased the Montana High Country 385BR. I believe we have the same unit. mine also would not work on the electric side from day one also. found that the electric cord wasn't actually plugged in to the outlet. assume it left the factory that way. it's located at the back of the water heater. you will need to access somehow through your wet bay?
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Old 08-03-2022, 07:04 AM   #7
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Last year i purchased the Montana High Country 385BR. I believe we have the same unit. mine also would not work on the electric side from day one also. found that the electric cord wasn't actually plugged in to the outlet. assume it left the factory that way. it's located at the back of the water heater. you will need to access somehow through your wet bay?
That's EXACTLY what was wrong with mine! after removing the side enclosure in the basement, I saw the cord just sitting there, not plugged in at all. I plugged it into the outlet close to the unit, checked and I have power to the element now. I also checked if it was linked to the In Command system and it is working as it is supposed to. Sorry the pics are turned sideways, I have to figure out how to get them to download in the proper orientation...

This is why I joined this forum, I've joined others relating to the unit I owned at the time and the help is invaluable. I avoided a frustrating and most likely, LENGTHY visit to the dealer for a VERY simple fix! THANK YOU to all who replied, I will reciprocate when I can with help and advice as I can offer any.
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Old 08-03-2022, 08:24 AM   #8
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Details details.....the whistle blew just before he plugged it in.
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Old 08-03-2022, 08:50 AM   #9
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Nope, wasn't his job, up to the Electrician to plug it in and he was off that day.
Anyway, glad it was a simple fix.
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Old 08-03-2022, 08:29 PM   #10
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Nope, wasn't his job, up to the Electrician to plug it in and he was off that day.
Anyway, glad it was a simple fix.

Lol always someone else's fault
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Old 08-04-2022, 05:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
Nope, wasn't his job, up to the Electrician to plug it in and he was off that day.
Anyway, glad it was a simple fix.
An Amish electrician?
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Old 08-04-2022, 07:25 AM   #12
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An Amish electrician?
Ok so I had to fact check and went down the rabbit hole. Found this 2017 article. I've heard it before but didn't know how true it was.



"The strong RV industry provided jobs for Northern Indiana’s Amish once farming was no longer a plausible option. Year-round, Amish men go into work at 4:00-5:00am, riding into town in a bike or buggy, and working until they complete their day’s quota. The faster they work, the sooner they go home. In Newmar’s Nappanee factory, for example, once workers finish eight RVs, they’re done for the day. Some might not even have to work a full eight-hour day, and wages are relatively high—reported to be around $4,000 a month and up."


https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...rthern-indiana
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Old 08-05-2022, 04:33 AM   #13
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An Amish electrician?
That's my retirement job. Very little work but even less competition.
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Old 08-08-2022, 05:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bharrisv65 View Post
Yes, that's going to be my next check I'll do, thank you for mentioning it because I was thinking something along those lines. I can access that area, it will require taking the panel off the backside but it's in my basement so it should not be a problem to get to it.

If anyone has a similar setup, I have a ton of storage underneath and it WAS all open until today, I've been installing "paneling" to close off the separate compartments which were just open with the aluminum bracing. To me, it gives the basement a more "finished" look and you don't lose any storage. And since I'm doing this project, removing the panels enclosing the WH shouldn't be a problem. Again, a BIG THANKS!
That junction box could very well be your problem. Several years ago while on a trip we smelled plastic burning. Also went to take a shower and there was no hot water. I followed my nose which led me to that junction box. All the wires relays wire nuts everything inside that box was burnt to a crisp. Don't know how we didn't catch on fire.
If you ask me it's a horrible design so I changed it. I rewired it and pulled a new wire to the bedroom with 120 volt switch for the water heater. No more 12 volt relay
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