Today many newer campers come with an electronic ignitor for the water heater. However many campers on the road have a manual pilot light system, as we had on our 1992 Starcraft and our 2005 Niagara.
One common problem with these manual water heaters (Suburban model) is that the pilot light goes out, especially at higher altitudes. Some people are able to overcome this by slightly opening the exterior water heater door to allow more air into the compartment.
To eliminate this problem completely and to make it easier to light the pilot light when setting up the camper, I purchased a Suburban Reignitor Control Kit #520569. Since I installed this kit several years ago, the water heater pilot has never gone out. Lighting the pilot is now a piece of cake. I depress the pilot knob with a piece of PCV pipe, turn on the reignitor switch and continue with the camper set up. Once done setting up the camper, I turn the pilot knob to the “on” position and the water heater lights up.
Below are pictures of the installation.
Above: Picture of water heater before work is started.
Above: The instructions come with a template to drill two holes for the reignitor control unit. The instructions say to tape it to the lower left corner and drill two holes. However, it looked like it would be too difficult to gain access to the reignitor’s on/off switch. At this point I noticed two dimples at the upper left corner that exactly matched the holes in the reignitor control and placing it at the top would make it easy to access.
Above: Two dimples at the upper left hand corner.
Above: Gas assembly and pilot light assembly. The reignitor electrode and ground wire will be bolted to this.
Above: Another problem — the instructions show the electrode mounted upside down, which just won’t work. I noticed this before I installed the electrode assembly and got it right the first time. 🙂
Above: I ran a positive and ground wire from the camper’s converter to the reignitor kit. Worked the first time.