Our Suburban RV gas furnace has worked well for over six years now. We have a hairy little beagle, so every six months or so I pull the access panel and vacuum around the furnace case and grills. With the fall season approaching that time has come once again.
This time though I’ve decided to pull the furnace right out of its enclosure for a more thorough cleaning. I’ll have a chance to inspect the inner condition of things. The decision has been prompted by recent rodent visitors to the RV. The mice have been expelled, but I want to make sure they didn’t make a mess in there.
Disclaimer: Working with LP Gas and Electricity can be dangerous. I’m not a certified RV technician merely an RV owner. This post and video should not be taken as instructional. If you decide to work on your own RV furnace do the research and be aware of all risks involved. I accept no liability, you have been warned. – Ray
Removing Our Suburban SF-30F Furnace
In our 2011 Keystone Cougar, the furnace lives under the refrigerator. A grilled access panel is removed by pulling four long wood screws. To completely remove the Suburban furnace several steps were needed. First I turned off the RVs LP gas cylinders and purged the lines by lighting the stove until the flame went out. Best advice is to remove any power by unplugging the rig and disconnecting the batteries.
Next, I undid the gas line and removed the front metal panel. Behind the panel are two screws holding the furnace to the floor. Once removed the furnace can be pulled forwarded. It took a bit of wrangling as the intake and exhaust pipes are press fit to the external ports.
The final step to remove the furnace was to cut the wiring. Unfortunately, there is no removal plug on the furnace, and the wires disappear into the RV walls. I cut them about midway, and the whole unit could be slid out of the cabinet. With one more screw, the furnaces metal cover is removed.
Cleaning and Inspecting the Furnace
The furnace case and cabinet floor were fairly dusty with dog hair here and there. Thankfully I didn’t find any evidence of rodent activity! I got out the vacuum and sucked it all up and then wiped down the furnace exterior. I wish I had compressed air to blow things out, maybe next time.
I inspected all the wiring and electronics for any signs of overheating or loose connections. I then examined the metal baffles of the burner enclosure and heat exchanger tubing looking for signs of corrosion or rust. A pin hole in there could cause exhaust gases to enter the RV.
The intake and exhaust pipes were other points of interest, checking to see if any insects had decided to set up shop. I hear in some parts of the country a critter called a mud dauber wasp can be a real problem. Luckily my pipes were clear.
Finally, I cleaned out the squirrel cage fan the best I could without disassembly. There are further maintenance steps outlined in the service manual like removing the fan covers and burner access panel. I decide against going too far at this time and left well enough alone. The furnace is working fine and things looked quite clean in there from the outside.
Reinstalling the furnace was just a reverse of the removal. I reconnected the wires with crimp on butt connectors and tightened up the LP gas connection. Then checked for leaks using a soapy water solution. I’m glad I pulled the furnace for a clean and inspection. I have peace of mind now that there are no mouse leftovers in there. We are ready for the winter RVing season.
Video Detailing the RV Furnace Removal
It was good to familiarize myself with the removal procedure and get a look at the furnace’s inner workings. One day I may need to repair it so now it won’t be a complete mystery. It’s actually not too complicated. I found a complete service manual online with diagrams, parts lists and troubleshooting steps. It covers many Suburban RV furnace models. You can download a PDF copy here – Suburban RV Furnace Manual
See Tips for Dealing with Mice in the RV