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Old 05-23-2023, 07:22 PM   #1
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Suburban SW10DE Water Heater Replacement

Have a 2003 3290RK with the above gas/electric water heater.

Would appreciation any information regarding replacing this old leaking unit with the same model new water heater. The Suburban site says only a certified RV technician should due this but it doesn't look like the job is rocket science and RV service centers are charging a fortune for labor.

Thanks a bunch for any thoughts.

Montana owner since 2005!

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Old 05-23-2023, 08:14 PM   #2
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You might want to watch a number of youtube videos and see if you have the skill set and tools to do this.

Not making a recommendations to DIY or not but I would think and stating the obvious that the critical safety items include turning off power and propane, ensuring good ventilation. Also making sure you have absolutely no propane leaks, exhaust leaks, or water leaks at the new connections. Any propane and exhaust leaks would be dangerous and potentially deadly. For home, WHs, new gas supply lines and valve are used - you’d have to check on best practice for RVs and not go low budget. You may need a new gasket or whatever is used at the exhaust. You’ll also need to know how your water supply/exit lines are done - ie PEX or other.

Many things aren’t rocket science but could be done wrong with significant consequences if one doesn’t have the aptitude, skills, tools, etc. I don’t mean that to sound harsh but underestimating the complexity can lead to problems.

The above is probably a few of the reasons a mfr would state it needs to be installed by a certified RV tech. Also, you might check if your warranty would be honored if you don’t use a certified RV tech.
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Old 05-23-2023, 08:23 PM   #3
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About seven years ago I replaced our 12 gallon Suburban, took maybe 2 hours, and no, it's not rocket science. The hardest part was accessing the water fittings on the back of the unit. Ours was leaking from a weld where the gas burner tube was welded to the front of the tank.
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Old 05-23-2023, 08:35 PM   #4
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The propane reconnect would be the primary area of concern. Improperly connecting electric would either result in it not working, or tripping a breaker. But improperly connecting the gas lines could result in a fire or explosion.

I would not hesitate to replace one. But I have replaced both gas and electric home water heaters. As well as many other electric appliances. As well as many other electrical and plumbing projects. So it is really a matter of how comfortable you feel you can safely do it.
Bill & Patricia
Riley, our Golden
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Old 05-25-2023, 12:23 PM   #5
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SW10DE Water Heater Replacement.

Thanks to everyone for their posts regarding hot water heater replacement

Safe travels,

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Old 05-31-2023, 03:46 PM   #6
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Have you thought about an tankless endless hot water on demand replacement? From what I understand, they only use propane (a negative) but never run out of hot water (a plus) and should last longer (another plus). I also believe they are a drop in replacement for the suburban one…
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Old 06-19-2023, 06:38 AM   #7
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Hi does somebody has actually replace his water heater by a tankless endless hot water on demand system?
Etienne M
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Old 06-19-2023, 07:23 AM   #8
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Do a google search for “install tankless water heater in my RV”.
Dozens of videos come up that will be very helpful. It is not a difficult job.
Here is a screen shot showing bunches of videos…
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