Author Topic: HydroHot top-off  (Read 6413 times)

Joel Ashley

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HydroHot top-off
« on: October 11, 2020, 12:17:34 AM »
Never had much trouble with the HydroHot, so though I read member issues here, I’m admittedly low on memory as to this one. 

After repainting the chassis side of the corroded tray with POR-15 and putting new maintenance-free Interstate batteries in (the 14 year-old ones still read 12.5 volts), I decided that before humidity rose prior to today’s projected heavy rains, I also should run the HydroHot and genset.  Overdue was the regular 20-30 minute exercise I try to give them while the coach is “stored” here by the house.  The HH wouldn’t start up, so I tried the usual off, pause, and back on reset.  Still nothing.  So I checked the panel lamps in its bay and found the Low Fluid one illuminated red.

Must’ve been just long term evaporation to somewhere.  The coach has been “stored” for almost 4 years. Yup, the expansion tank was below the Cold line, so I added 50/50 boiler mix to that line.  But then, there is no sensor on that plastic tank like on the CAT’s, so I’m thinking this ain’t as simple as that.  I figure, okay, the fluid level sensor must be in the main tank.  I try removing the radiator cap, figuring to add fluid until the lamp goes out or turns green.  Cap loosens but won’t come off.   Hmmm.

If all else fails, read instructions.  From that I get I have to find a way to pump fluid in through the drain valve!  Really?   I obviously can’t get fluid sucked back from the expansion tank without first heating and cooling the main tank, and of course it won’t start to begin with.  So is my only option to rig a manual or electric pump and plastic tube to the drain valve?  Or is there a trick to getting the radiator cap off?  There appears to be no release gap it’s locking flanges can be turned to.  Can I attach a tube to the drain valve, hold it up higher than the unit’s top, and funnel in fluid to raise the tank level?

The HydroHot model is HHE200-09E.  While awaiting any responses here, I’ll go dredge up that specific model’s documents from the AquaHot library, because the manuals I’ve seen so far have varying or insufficient commentary troubleshooting this problem, or relate to other models.

I suppose it could be a gunked up float switch, but the low expansion tank level would seem to counter that notion.  I could jumper the switch’s two circuit board wires on the controller and bypass the switch to likely power up the unit, but if the fluid is actually low in the main tank, that would be ill-advised I would think.

Joel



« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 01:14:49 AM by Joel Ashley »
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
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Eric Maclean

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2020, 01:32:05 AM »
Joel
Sooner or later that rad cap will have to come off.
With that said be careful not to break the filler neck loose in the tank.
If the outter cap is turning and released the problem is likely that the inner rubber seal is stuck in the filler neck
A couple of suggestions

1) you could try to spray a pendant up under the loosened outer cap to help break the rubber loose from the filler neck only problem here is it will likely contaminate the boiler fluid.

2) try heating the fill neck some with a propane torch to get the seal to let go just be careful not to overheat the neck and break
the solder joint at the tank you could keep the lower neck cool by spraying water on it while you heat the upper.

3) you could try drilling the river out of the center of the calm which would release the inner cap from the outer allowing you to get into the inner cap where you can now remove the spring and inner seal one price at a time.

4) or you could just use brut force and ignorance ( not recommend)

This may be why aquahot recommend replacement yearly not that anyone does that.
Although if it were removed once or twice a year may help avoid it sticking again.

Hope this helps and good luck
Eric
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Joel Ashley

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2020, 03:02:54 AM »
Thanks for replying, Eric.  I don’t believe the rubber seal is the problem. 

As I alluded to, the cap is loose enough, but there doesn’t seem to be a gap in the standpipe’s edge for the tightening flanges under the cap’s edge to slip out of.  As I recall from automotive applications, that you are more of an expert about than me, modern radiator caps are built such that they cannot blow off when loosened, and some maybe aren’t removable, at least not by us old-line farm “mechanics”.

🤔 Joel

Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Eric Maclean

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2020, 04:12:52 AM »
Joel
Most rad caps have a second detent to hold the cap from blowing off if loose Ed under pressure if you push down on the cap and continue to rotate it it should move passed the final detent and then lift straight up and off.
Eric
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George Harwell

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2020, 01:45:42 PM »
Eric is spot on Joel. You have a safety detent that prevents the cap from coming off should it get loosened and it can be difficult to push the cap down enough to rotate it past those tabs. My 03 Monterey has the large cap and its getting harder for me to get both arms in there while pushing down at the same time. Persistence will pay off eventually.
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Fred Brooks

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2020, 02:12:06 PM »
     Joel,
The difficulty of pushing down on the cap and turning at the same time as we get older is obvious. Perhaps a pry bar and a 2 X 4 cut to length would give you the leverage you need. Regardless, you need to get the cap off so you can add enough boiler mix to raise the float. Hang in there, you're a smart guy and am confident you will get there! Fred
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Joel Ashley

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2020, 02:55:45 PM »
Yeah, Fred, just not smart enough to remember you have to push down for the second detent🤪.  Shows how long it’s been since I’ve checked anything beyond expansion tanks, letting service centers change fluids as schedules dictate.  The angle of approach to the cap, due to the cramped quarters and being on my knees and it starting to rain, did not lend itself to my recollecting that the cap had to go down once loosened.  If I’d been standing upright over it I’d probably have pressed down as second nature!  I just used a penlight to examine the flanges and from my limited view couldn’t see any way for them to clear one another.

Gad, my brain seems to be aging faster than the rest of me;  and that’s sad enough 🤣.

Thanks fellas... my cobwebs needed a good shaking.  Just in time for All Hallows Eve.

Joel
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Eric Maclean

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2020, 04:16:03 PM »
Joel
Did you get the system topped up and running?
Eric
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David T. Richelderfer

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2020, 04:38:51 PM »
Joel - Yes, I agree with almost all you said... especially about our aging phenomena.  When I needed to add antifreeze to our Aquahot several years ago, I knew I had to push down harder and twist the cap more firmly to get past that second detent.  The problem is that position on our knees and then having to reach out about two feet makes it difficult to gauge how much pressure we are applying.  Thus, I broke the collar off and it came into my hand with the radiator cap!  After several years and a few annuals of the Aquahot, I can confirm that JB Weld is pretty good stuff.  lol
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 12:42:06 AM by David T. Richelderfer »
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Stan Simpson

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2020, 07:04:15 PM »
Joel,

You didn't say whether you got it off. Hope you did!

I had the same problem as you, except when I did the second push down, and it started to turn, the cap ran in to the clamp that holds the hose tight. The one that goes from the neck to the expansion tank.

At the same time, the screw that tightens the clamp was facing away so it was hard to get to it. I eventually got the screw loose, slid the clamp out of the way, and was able to get the cap off. Big time hassle. I re-worked the whole thing when I put the cap back on.
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Joel Ashley

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2020, 09:33:52 PM »
It’s been raining and I haven’t been at the task again since.  But I did manage another bohunk move related to it before trying to get the cap off. 

First thing I did when seeing the low expansion tank level was add fluid, right?  Knee jerk reaction for any of us, I reckon.  Boiler Fluid only;  check.  Dilute tp 50/50;  check.  Pour the mix into tank;  check...
Realize suddenly you should use only distilled/deionized water;  ... (cough)... check.

So now when the rains cease I have to clamp off the bottom tank-to-HH hose, get down practically on my belly, finagle one or more hands with pliers into the impossibly tight space under the tank - with rags and engineered catch basin, and remove the hose to drain the tank of mineral contaminated boiler blend.  That one hose uses a small spring clamp, not a stainless screw one which would’ve been easier to loosen.  And of course, the prongs on it are turned toward the sidewall!

Hey, at least thanks to you guys I can forget the previously anticipated notion of having to pump fluid into the main tank via its drain valve!  Forgetting stuff seems so much easier these days.  ;D

I’ll get back to you when it’s dry enough to work out there.

...If I remember.

Joel
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

Eric Maclean

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2020, 10:05:32 PM »
Joel
Why not just syphon off the top half of the recovery tank out and add the deionized water to the remainder.
Eric
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Joel Ashley

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2020, 03:07:52 AM »
Yeah, did that already.  Unfortunately for me I’m a perfectionist, and will go to some lengths to achieve little.  If I can get the tube off and get that last bit of tap-water out that the siphon hose couldn’t get, the many ancestors that taught me detail focus will smile down from above.

Of course a certain amount of cursing in the process of getting that clamp off may have a negative effect on such angelic oversight, in which case I’ll likely throw in the towel.  No wait, I already put towels in there, didn’t I?

Joel
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2020, 04:26:36 AM »
Joel,
WADR I'm  reading this thread and wondering what your goal is. In all honesty it appears you are on a path to put up with a tank cap that you can't remove so you will continue to come up with painful and unnecessary work arounds. Get the cap off! I had a similar issue on my 01 (large cap) and ended up using an extender bar and wedge as a leverage fulcrum to apply downward pressure to the cap and a very large channel lock pliers to turn the cap. It came off with no damage to the tank neck but the cap clearly needed replacement. If I misread or misinterpreted the post, I apologize.
BTW, strongly suggest you use a refractometer to validate your mixture BEFORE adding any fluid.
Steve
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Joel Ashley

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Re: HydroHot top-off
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2020, 04:57:22 AM »
Due to heavy rain I haven’t gone back out to try pressing down the cap while turning.  I’m sure it will come off when I do.  I’ll check the fluid quality/density as suggested, as any evaporative fluid loss that’s the initial startup problem should be water content.  I may need to add just pure distilled water. 

Joel 
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
Clackamas, Oregon
36.9 ft. 2006 Monterey Ventura IV, aka"Monty Rae"
C9 400HP Cat
towing a 1997 Ford Explorer Limited, aka "Pearl"