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Thread: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

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    Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    Hello,
    This is an issue on a 2014 Gateway 3650BH. It has a Suburban AirXcel Furnace. I am not sure of exact model number. We are using the 5th wheel and considering buying from a family member. We have used the furnace briefly, and they never used it in the time they had it, since we are on the Gulf Coast, and it has been a summer only rig. When when we turned it on tonight, it worked well, then started making a noise as loud and obnoxious as an air compressor. Went outside, the vent was still venting warm air, but not as hot as normal, it also had a gas smell with it. We turned everything off, including the propane. When we restarted the furnace without the propane on, it made the same horrible noise. Turned it all off, then turned it back on and the same noise with the warm air blowing out of the plenum. Turned off again. It is a Suburban AirXcel furnace. I could not see the exact model number. We r calling the local RV repair outfit in the morning to see what is wrong. My sister-in-law's family never used the furnace in the whole the whole time they have owned it. We are still interested in buying the 5th wheel, since the furnace was never used, it may have deteriorated over the years. If the whole unit has to be changed, would anyone recommend just changing it to a Cheap Heat stand alone system. The rig will not be used for boondocking since it is so large, and we have a generator with a 50amp plug large enough to power the whole unit.
    Thank you for any comment and advice.
    David West

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    Senior Member LBR's Avatar
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by WestPat View Post
    Hello,
    This is an issue on a 2014 Gateway 3650BH. It has a Suburban AirXcel Furnace. I am not sure of exact model number. We are using the 5th wheel and considering buying from a family member. We have used the furnace briefly, and they never used it in the time they had it, since we are on the Gulf Coast, and it has been a summer only rig. When when we turned it on tonight, it worked well, then started making a noise as loud and obnoxious as an air compressor. Went outside, the vent was still venting warm air, but not as hot as normal, it also had a gas smell with it. We turned everything off, including the propane. When we restarted the furnace without the propane on, it made the same horrible noise. Turned it all off, then turned it back on and the same noise with the warm air blowing out of the plenum. Turned off again. It is a Suburban AirXcel furnace. I could not see the exact model number. We r calling the local RV repair outfit in the morning to see what is wrong. My sister-in-law's family never used the furnace in the whole the whole time they have owned it. We are still interested in buying the 5th wheel, since the furnace was never used, it may have deteriorated over the years. If the whole unit has to be changed, would anyone recommend just changing it to a Cheap Heat stand alone system. The rig will not be used for boondocking since it is so large, and we have a generator with a 50amp plug large enough to power the whole unit.
    Thank you for any comment and advice.
    David West
    IMO, the first thing to check is the fan motor.

    Even tho is has "0" hours of run time since new, the motor shaft could have an elongated output bushing from weight on it, age, and heat. When an electric motor output shaft runs in an elognated hole, it can vibrate severely, and could make that chattering, "air compressor" sound.

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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    I hope it is along those lines. It was still blowing some warm air out of the vents, but not nearly as strong as when the noise wasnt present. I hope to have someone come out in the next two days. Maybe it will be an easy fix.
    Thank you,
    David

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    Senior Member mlburst1's Avatar
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    If the outside vents don't have a screen covering of some type over them, it's quite likely that mud daubers or similar pests have built nests on the fan blades or cage. A good cleaning may be all that is necessary.
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    Senior Member Flick's Avatar
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by mlburst1 View Post
    If the outside vents don't have a screen covering of some type over them, it's quite likely that mud daubers or similar pests have built nests on the fan blades or cage. A good cleaning may be all that is necessary.
    Absolutely, my money goes on the bet there’s a mud dauber that will be mad at you!!
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    its my opinion that it needs a good cleaning, inside and out...
    i think you have cobwebs in the flue, which is a common problem..... one would think these would burn out with the slightest flame but they dont...

    RV water heaters are prone to this also....

    a mis-aligned orfice can also cause the flame to surge.... while your in there checking for alignment and cobwebs, use an air compressor to blow the flue out, as there may be soot and particles in there that are a by-product, that only serve to insulate the heat exchanger from the flame....

    inside the rv, at the furnace housing where the air intake is, with the furnace fan running on high, use the air compressor hose to blow into the heater intake from different angles, to remove all the accumulated dust and debris from the fan and intake area... afterwards, if heat is being produced from the heater, you will have a smell of dust and debris drying out as it gets disturbed on the heat exchanger of the furnace... this is normal if the heater needed cleaning, and will go away in about 10 minutes....

    ive seen heaters get so full of lint, dust and debris that a piece can fall loose and get caught in the fan, upsetting the balance and making a racket as it runs....
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    I have someone coming to look at it Wednesday. If it turns out that we will have to replace the furnace, then I believe I will just stay with my parents for a while and order a CheapHeat replacement unit. The 5ver wont be going any farther north than Nashville, and shouldnt have more than a weeks worth of below freezing weather while it is occupied.
    I would be interested to hear any thoughts on that product, and switching over to that.
    Thank you,
    David

  8. Print this Post   #8

    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by WestPat View Post
    I have someone coming to look at it Wednesday. If it turns out that we will have to replace the furnace, then I believe I will just stay with my parents for a while and order a CheapHeat replacement unit. The 5ver wont be going any farther north than Nashville, and shouldnt have more than a weeks worth of below freezing weather while it is occupied.
    I would be interested to hear any thoughts on that product, and switching over to that.
    Thank you,
    David
    whats the problem that has caused the need to replace a furnace that you said hasnt been used much?.... these furnaces last a long time, and I doubt it needs replaced unless it has been used hard for several years...

    as for the CheapHeat system, if you mostly plug into shore power, its a great unit, that is cheaper and more efficient than using propane... but it has to be used with the existing propane furnace.
    if the fan function doesnt work in the existing propane heater, the CheapHeat add-on unit wont do you any good...
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by centerline View Post
    whats the problem that has caused the need to replace a furnace that you said hasnt been used much?.... these furnaces last a long time, and I doubt it needs replaced unless it has been used hard for several years...

    as for the CheapHeat system, if you mostly plug into shore power, its a great unit, that is cheaper and more efficient than using propane... but it has to be used with the existing propane furnace.
    if the fan function doesnt work in the existing propane heater, the CheapHeat add-on unit wont do you any good...
    I think there is a plug compatible electric only replacement from CheapHeat.


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  10. Print this Post   #10
    Senior Member LBR's Avatar
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    Re: Suburban Furnace making noise like an air compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by centerline View Post
    whats the problem that has caused the need to replace a furnace that you said hasnt been used much?
    Post #1 pretty well explains the concern, I thought.

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