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Truma Water Heat Fire in the Hole


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We are working with Truma and Oliver on this. The trailer had been winterized for several months, we packed it up and drove to Florida, de-winterized it and when we started up the water heater, this is what happened. The only telltale sign was it sounded a little different and louder when it would start up, the water got hot, just as usual. Glad I stepped outside to take a look at it. When I took that video, I had the fire extinguisher ready to go.

 

Truma initially said “shut off the gas on the trailer,” but then came back later and said it was fine to leave the gas on “just leave the water heater turned off.”

 

 

Per the person at Truma this is a problem unique to Oliver and they are in contact with each other trying to figure out a solution. 

 

We are working with Truma and Oliver on this. The trailer had been winterized for several months, we packed it up and drove to Florida, de-winterized it and when we started up the water heater, this is what happened. The only telltale sign was it sounded a little different and louder when it would start up, the water got hot, just as usual. Glad I stepped outside to take a look at it. When I took that video, I had the fire extinguisher ready to go.

 

Truma initially said “shut off the gas on the trailer,” but then came back later and said it was fine to leave the gas on “just leave the water heater turned off.”

 

 

Per the person at Truma this is a problem unique to Oliver and they are in contact with each other trying to figure out a solution. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Albert & Terri Sterns

Paonia, Colorado

Elite II Hull #1125 Standard Floorplan / 2017 Ford F250 gas

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@Galway Girl had a problem with theirs, two years ago.

 

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In our case Truma kept pointing at Oliver.  But once they got my failed unit back they changed their tune.

 

 

Final Update:

Upon factory inspection by Truma of the failed unit.
They reported back to Oliver that the issue was with some improperly torqued connections inside the water heater, caused by improperly calibrated production tools at Truma.  

So they have fully refunded the cost of my repair.

I don't know if NHTSA is taking any action, but I'll report back the results I heard from Oliver and Truma.

 

I suggest anyone with fire issues turn it in on the NHTSA website. 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
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5 hours ago, Galway Girl said:

In our case Truma kept pointing at Oliver.  But once they got my failed unit back they changed their tune.

 

 

 

Final Update:

Upon factory inspection by Truma of the failed unit.
They reported back to Oliver that the issue was with some improperly torqued connections inside the water heater, caused by improperly calibrated production tools at Truma.  

So they have fully refunded the cost of my repair.

I don't know if NHTSA is taking any action, but I'll report back the results I heard from Oliver and Truma.

 

I suggest anyone with fire issues turn it in on the NHTSA website. 

I will definitely be keeping an eye on this.  Last thing I want is to come back from a nice mountain bike ride and see my tic tac melted into slag.

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On 1/3/2024 at 9:04 PM, AlbertNTerri said:

We are working with Truma and Oliver on this. The trailer had been winterized for several months, we packed it up and drove to Florida, de-winterized it and when we started up the water heater, this is what happened. The only telltale sign was it sounded a little different and louder when it would start up, the water got hot, just as usual. Glad I stepped outside to take a look at it. When I took that video, I had the fire extinguisher ready to go.

 

Truma initially said “shut off the gas on the trailer,” but then came back later and said it was fine to leave the gas on “just leave the water heater turned off.”

 

 

Per the person at Truma this is a problem unique to Oliver and they are in contact with each other trying to figure out a solution. 

 

We are working with Truma and Oliver on this. The trailer had been winterized for several months, we packed it up and drove to Florida, de-winterized it and when we started up the water heater, this is what happened. The only telltale sign was it sounded a little different and louder when it would start up, the water got hot, just as usual. Glad I stepped outside to take a look at it. When I took that video, I had the fire extinguisher ready to go.

 

Truma initially said “shut off the gas on the trailer,” but then came back later and said it was fine to leave the gas on “just leave the water heater turned off.”

 

 

Per the person at Truma this is a problem unique to Oliver and they are in contact with each other trying to figure out a solution. 

 

 

IMG_2031.mov 15 MB · 41 downloads  

 

IMG_2031.mov 15 MB · 41 downloads  

 

IMG_2031.mov 15 MB · 41 downloads  

 

Update (and resolution?)

 

We're currently in Key West until late April. The soonest Truma could see us at their facility in Lakeland FL was in March. Oliver sent a list of places they have blessed, the closest is about 5 - 7 hours north (traffic dependent) but they (La Mesa RV in Port St. Lucie) won't work on an Oliver since they don't sell them, so the next closest place is further than that. I discussed the problem with a local mobile RV repair guy who was highly recommended by a friend (name and address below), he took a look at it, reached inside and discovered a loose fitting, he pulled out his tools and in about 15 minutes he had the problem diagnosed and fixed (see below). $300 and he was on his way. A bargain! I Called Truma and Oliver to update them on the repair. Mike from Oliver said he would likely be able to mail me a check for the $300 later this week. 

 

Problem:

Looking at the Truma from the outside with the cover open, the gas comes in from the right, goes into the burner assembly then makes a 90-degree turn upward and then attaches to the assembly with a large (about 3/4 inch) collar nut to hold the compression fitting in place. The collar nut had come loose and was freely spinning. You can't see it from this prospective, to access it there are two star head screws on the bottom, once removed the entire burner assembly is able to be slid out enough to get a wrench on the collar nut. Tighten it down, return the burner assembly to its home position and Viola! The tech hypothesized that the collar nut was never tightened appropriately at the Truma factory. Since there was no evidence of burned wires or other burn damage (see videos in the first post) we thought is was fine to continue using the unit. If there had been any concerns of damage then we would have had to replace the unit, Truma had already agreed to replace the unit since it was still under their 2-year warrenty.

 

Fortunately the Gas fire ball only occured 2-3 times and the odd sound it was making prompted  me to take a look at the unit. After seeing the "fire in the hole I opted to allow it to occur one more time (this time with a fire extinguisher in hand) so I could get a video of the symptom to send to Truma, Oliver and share with all my friends.  I suppose the Take-Home message should be: if it's not looking or sounding like it has in the past, something has probably changed, go take a look at it, whatever it is....

 

RV Mobile Repair in Key West, FL:

I highly recommend Vern for any RV concerns if you are on the Florida Keys. He's been living there for about 2 years, moved from Michigan. He has a very impressive tool set-up in the back of his pick up, a secure topper with tool boxes all the way around, very well organized, and clean. He is polite, responsive, knowledgeable, he arrived when he said he would and cleaned up after himself when he left. He apparently worked for another RV repair place in the past and is making a go-of-it on his own. I'm glad to support his efforts and will absolutely use him any time I have any issues. This is however the first time he had ever laid eyes on an Oliver or a Truma water heater. He was excited to see the Oliver first hand since he'd heard of them in the past and had seen them in pictures. 

 

GBoyz Mobile RV Repair LLC.

Vern@gbzllc.com

(269) 370-3905

65821 Overseas Hwy

Long Key, FL 33001

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Albert & Terri Sterns

Paonia, Colorado

Elite II Hull #1125 Standard Floorplan / 2017 Ford F250 gas

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PS. thanks Galway Girl, per your recommendation we submitted a report to the NHTSA and they called me the next day for additional info. The guy I spoke with was not aware of your report last year, I made him aware of it and pointed him to the Oliver Forum to see your post about it. He commented that since Oliver has such a low production number that they probably didn't do much with it, but now that there's been two reports, they may move forward with investigating this. After seeing the problem, I'm thinking this is more of  Truma issue and not so much an "Oliver" Issue.

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Albert & Terri Sterns

Paonia, Colorado

Elite II Hull #1125 Standard Floorplan / 2017 Ford F250 gas

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8 hours ago, AlbertNTerri said:

he pulled out his tools and in about 15 minutes he had the problem diagnosed and fixed

After initially reading of your issue and that of others, I invested in a gas leak detector to carry with and for home use, as well. Being a lifelong DIYer, I am heavily vested in tools and have no qualms fixing problems, and this device will be used to routinely sweep the Oliver to help ensure all is good with it. Thanks for the followup and good to know your issue has been resolved.

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Additional Update:

I received a call from another person at Truma to follow up on the problem and repair (this individual called from the office in Indiana, the one I'd been dealing with previously was based out of Tampa/Lakeland area). He had viewed the video, I described the course and outcome.  He informed me that they were aware of the collar nut which fastens the propane source to the burner assembly not being torqued to the appropriate level on some of the units that left the Truma factory and that they thought they had addressed this issue. He informed me that,

"Out of the multiple thousands of water heaters they have produced, only a handful, less than a dozen, have had this problem, and they thought they had fully addressed it."

He also informed me that they have been in touch with Oliver since it seemed to happen more often with units that were installed in Oliver's trailers. He told me (Truma) would like to see the unit and evaluate the repair themselves and suggested I bring it to the Lakeland FL location when we head north at the end of April. I told him that when this was initially discovered and I started talking to them last week about it, I was about 2-3 hours away from that facility and was happy to head over there (albeit in the opposite direction from our destination at the time). I actually started heading that way when they called me back and said they could not see me until the end of March due to their current schedule and work load. the gentleman from Indiana scoffed at that and told me that they will make the time to see me whenever I can get to them and to just call him when I'm heading that way so he can arrange me getting to the front of the line. (Currently we're settled in in Key West which is 5-7 hours away from Lakeland, traffic depending).

For now, the unit is working well, no evidence of gas leaking. When we start heading north in April we may make the effort to swing by Lakeland since that will add less time to our journey north then stopping by The Mother Ship in TN. I'll update as needed.

 

TAKE-HOME SUGGESTION:

If you're so DIY inclined, I recommend removing the 2 star-head screws holding the bottom of the burner assembly in place, slide the burner assembly out enough to get a wrench on the collar nut (where the gas line turns upward 90-degrees and attaches to the burner assembly with a compression fitting) and make sure it is good and snug. I've reached out to Truma again and asked for their recommended torque for this nut, I'll update when they reply. 

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Albert & Terri Sterns

Paonia, Colorado

Elite II Hull #1125 Standard Floorplan / 2017 Ford F250 gas

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@AlbertNTerri a very solid report and glad you have your issue fixed. Thank you for letting us all know.
 

What I find really disturbing is that Truma knowingly admitted to you that they were aware of the collar nut not being properly torqued which resulted in a gas leak and a fire. Wow, very disconcerting. At a minimum one would think that Truma would have initiated a safety recall via serial number and address this serious fire hazzard. This could have really turned out to be a fire that might have completely destroyed your Oliver.  I am so glad it did not, and you took all the appropriate steps to prevent further damage. Again, so glad you are both safe and your Oliver did not suffer and damage as far as you can tell. 

 

Hopefully Truma will do the right thing and immediately initiate a safety recall to address the torque issues on ALL serial number units with improper torque specs. 

 

Patriot🇺🇸
 

 

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56 minutes ago, Patriot said:

Hopefully Truma will do the right thing and immediately initiate a safety recall to address the torque issues on ALL serial number units with improper torque specs. 

It may be prudent for Oliver to address the issue in the forum’s News & Announcements for good measure, as well!

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2012 Silverado 1500 4x4

No installed solar, Renogy 40A DC-DC charger, 460Ah LFP battery bank/Victron SmartShunt

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Hull 505 - Reports back

Our SN for the failed unit was 

Hull 505 - SN DLE 60C - 29289053..

 

Another SN reported is....  Hill 1125  - S/N DLE 60C - 32153014

There were other reports before and after hull 505.

Maybe Truma needs to reveal and report all suspect unit S/N to NHTSA? 

 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
Batteries Upgrade: Dual 315GTX Lithionics Lithiums - 630AH Total
Inverter/Charger: Xantrex 2000Pro 

Travel BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

 

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23 hours ago, Cameron said:

I don't have a Truma, but this issue is VERY concerning b/c it could result not only in property damage but death!

Frankly, we enjoy having the extra 6 gallons of available water in our standard Atwood water heater.  Been using either an Atwood or Suburban in our RV's since the early '90's - we know them and how to keep them working.  With the fresh tank syphon tube mod and the Atwood we're toting north of 38 gallons usable... plus a 6 gallon tote in the TV.  

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