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Ask Dave: Where can I find a replacement for my 21-year-old water heater?

Dear Dave,
I need to replace my Atwood GC10A-3E water heater. I’m having trouble finding a replacement model. Can you help? —Kevin, 2001 Country Coach Islander

Dear Kevin,
Atwood Products was bought out by Dometic some time ago, and I have been seeing them drop several Atwood appliances and push the Dometic brand. Just this week, Steve, my technician that helps with the RV Repair Club, had a 6-gallon version go bad. The only thing that was available was a Dometic brand.

So I contacted my Dometic tech support person and the same is true with your model. Dometic has discontinued all engine coolant routing models. Your model GC10A-3E has a pipe that wraps around the tank and the engine coolant is spliced at the front of the chassis, routed back to the water heater tank, and then back up to the engine. As you drive down the road, the engine coolant runs at about 200 degrees and heats the 10 gallons of water basically for free. So you have hot water when you get to the campground or wherever you stop driving.

Here is a shot of the GHC10A-4E I have as a demo in the shop. Notice the left and right pipes at the bottom.

My tech said they are substituting Dometic model WH-10GEA for yours, which is PN 95001SP. You will need to cap off the engine coolant lines that come to it.

More suggestions for replacement water heater

I would suggest doing a little digging as there has to be some type of old stock out there or even something at the many RV junkyards. The measurements for mine where 16” W x 15” H x 21” D. The retro I found for the Steve’s unit was retail $950! It might be better to get a Furrion or other on demand system, which I have seen for about $500. Just match up the opening of your sidewall and see if you have room in the compartment the tank is in.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Gregory Illes
4 months ago

Dave, FYI…
My Itasca 2003 Sunova had the engine-heated plumbing, and it went sour about 8 years ago, leaking from internally-corroded steel sections of the piping. Horrible mess, and I capped it all off at the engine and lived without the “convenience” — which disappears after you park, anyway. Good riddance.

Jesse Crouse
4 months ago

Doesn’t Lippert make Dometic and just about all RV parts? So it’s a Lippert water heater.

Dave Solberg
4 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Lippert and Dometic are two separate companies…at least for now!

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