Troubleshooting Your Suburban RV Furnace

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Suburban RV Furnace disassembled while being repaired

Are you having trouble with your Suburban RV furnace? If so, it’s important to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. A malfunctioning furnace can result in major problems such as frozen pipes – especially if you’re camping in a cold climate. 

Luckily, there are things you can do right now to get your furnace up and running without having to wait for a technician to come to your location. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how to troubleshoot your RV furnace and keep toasty warm regardless of the weather outside.

Who Makes Suburban RV Furnaces?

Originally established in 1947, Suburban began as a space heater manufacturer. Not long after, they expanded to produce RV heaters, water heaters, cooktops, and more. It didn’t take long for them to gain an excellent reputation for quality and excellence, and they still manufacture these products in the town Suburban was founded in over 70 years ago. 

In 1998, however, Suburban was bought by Airxcel, which is now one of the top manufacturers in the RV industry. Suburban, therefore, joined brands such as Dicor, Coleman-March, Maxxair, Aqua-hot, and many others under the Airxcel family. It’s been going strong ever since. 

Keep in Mind: Troubleshoot your furnace with ease and ask yourself these questions before troubleshooting your furnace.

Where Are Suburban Furnaces Made?

Amazingly, Suburban still produces furnaces in its hometown of Dayton, Tenn. The company currently operates a 300,000 square foot manufacturing facility and remains one of the largest employers in the area. According to Suburban’s website, the manufacturer touts a commitment to employee empowerment, community support, and continued growth. 

Troubleshooting Your Suburban RV Furnace

So, how do you fix your Suburban RV furnace? First, you need to find out the source of the problem. Begin by following these steps. 

Check the Power 

First, make sure your Suburban RV furnace is actually receiving electricity from your power supply. You can do this by using a voltmeter. There’s usually some kind of door or grill that allows you to access the furnace from inside its encasement.

Once you’ve found a good access point, simply attach your voltmeter to the wires coming from your furnace’s power source. If the meter shows electricity flowing to your furnace, you know the issue is within the furnace itself and not its power supply. 

Check for Dirt and Debris in the Intake 

If too much dirt and debris become caught within the intake of the Suburban RV furnace, there won’t be an adequate amount of airflow to allow it to function properly. This is why it’s important to check this duct and remove any trapped dust or debris. You never know, a family of mice may have made their home within your furnace, and the solution could be as simple as cleaning house. 

Pro Tip: Do you even need a furnace in your RV? Check out this article to find out!

Intake vent RV furnace blocked with dirt dauber nest of mud

Check the Fan 

Has your furnace become particularly loud? Or maybe your furnace isn’t emitting much air at all. If so, the fan might be to blame. To check the fan, you’ll need to take the furnace out of its metal encasement.

You can do this either through the access door or by unscrewing the back panel. Once you have the actual furnace exposed, you’ll be able to locate the wheel that houses the fan (across from the duct). If the fan is damaged or clogged and unable to spin, your furnace won’t be able to properly push hot air through the duct into your RV. 

Blower fan of the Suburban RV Furnace
Source: Blower Fan

Check the Thermostat 

The thermostat tells your Suburban RV furnace it needs to turn on, so the problem could very well lie within this vital piece of equipment. In fact, a clear sign that there’s something wrong with the thermostat is if the motor doesn’t turn on when it should. Of course, this could be caused by other problems (such as an issue with the control board or the motor itself). Sometimes we have to rely on the process of elimination to figure out the specific cause. 

Check the Motor

It’s possible your furnace’s motor is simply worn out. Signs of a faulty motor include the furnace failing to start or producing a squealing sound when it is running. To check the health of the motor, remove it from its compartment near the fan. If the shaft feels loose, your motor might need to replacing altogether.  

Check the Relay 

If you hear a clicking noise, but the fan doesn’t come on, the issue could lie within the time delay relay. However, this is only applicable in RV furnaces before 2001, as newer furnaces won’t have a relay wire. 

The time delay relay is the wire that receives the power from the ON/OFF switch and allows it to pass to the motor. Therefore, if the relay wire is faulty, your motor won’t receive the power to turn on.

To find where the electrical issue is, use a voltmeter to check which components are receiving power and which ones aren’t. If the control board is receiving power, but the motor isn’t, the relay wire is to blame. 

Check the Control Board 

If you’ve investigated all of the above components and still can’t find the source of the problem, the control board may very well be the issue. This is especially true If you find that power is reaching the control board, but your Suburban RV furnace still isn’t working.

Thankfully, replacing the control board is not that complicated. Here’s a fantastic video that shows you how to install the new panel. 

Control board of Suburban RV furnace

If All Else Fails, Call for Help 

Still can’t find the source of the problem after going through each of these steps? Don’t hesitate to call Suburban’s Customer Support line at (423)775-2131. They can help walk you through each step to locate the source of the problem. If there are still problems, they’ll send a technician out to help.

If you’re not comfortable working with wiring or electrical circuits, we highly recommend utilizing this service beforehand. After all, your safety is what’s most important (and you don’t want to accidentally make the problem worse!). 

Have you ever had to troubleshoot an RV furnace?

1 comment
  1. Mine furnace all I had to do was switch the power power switch located with the furnace assembly on/off. I have to do this every time I have turned off the propane and then turn it back on.

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