Indiana Dunes, Truma E 81 H Error

Our camper came with a Truma Combi combination forced air furnace and hot water heater. It’s by far the best furnace and/or water with which I’m familiar. The Combi works off either propane, 120v electric, or both at once. The water heater can heat to two temperatures, warm and hot. Unlike the typical RV furnace, it’s efficient and quiet. I takes up about as much space as a normal RV hot water heater, so is ideal for a campervan.

It can also fail.

Our Truma occasionally failed to start, kicking out an ‘E81H’ error. The error occurred randomly – roughly once every few days and only while heating with propane.

Clearing the error would restart the furnace.

It failed often enough that I could not rely on the furnace to heat the camper unless we were in the camper, in which case we’d wake up to a cold camper and clear the error.

Searching the web for Truma E81H errors proved fruitless. The error isn’t listed in their public documentation or on any indexed web site or forum. This post will hopefully get indexed and help out the owner of the next Truma that dies on an E 81 H error.

The Truma came with a two-year warranty, so with just a few months left I called Truma & got an RMA to replace the entire unit. They suggested driving down to their facility in Indiana and having them do the replacement. Truma would have paid my local dealer to do the replacement, but my dealer has already hit the ‘three strikes and you’re out‘ threshold for poor or non-repairs. I tried to work with them on this repair, but after three unreturned phone calls I gave up and scheduled the replacement at Truma’s facility in Indiana. I figured that the best chance for getting it done right was to drive the thousand mile round trip and have them swap the unit.

In this model, the Truma is stuffed under the galley/kitchen cabinet, buried in an almost inaccessible location. Because I thought that they’d have to pull the entire galley/kitchen out to access the Truma, we packed only the bare minimum of food and kitchen gear, leaving the galley drawers and most of our dishes at home, removing my custom cabinet, etc.

When we got to Indiana, the Truma tech queried me for symptoms and decided to troubleshoot rather than simply replace the unit. He has experience with poor ground connections causing that error. Sure enough, jiggling the ground wire caused the error. He found a bad solder joint where the ground wire attaches to the main circuit board. After the board swap, he was unable to re-create the error. I think it’s fixed.

A side benefit to the trip was that we got to tour the Indiana Dunes National and State Parks. The dunes are along the south shore of Lake Michigan, nestled between small villages and large steel mills. I’d not expected that there would be State and National Parks with miles of trails, swamps, bogs, and wooded hills mixed in with the steel mills an hour from downtown Chicago.

Years ago the National Park Service asked permission to use one of my photos on some signage at the Indiana Dunes National Park. IIRC they has the sign mocked up and were waiting to have it printed and installed. I don’t know if they did or not. But while were were at the Park, I kept checking the signage to see if they used it.

I didn’t find it.

We ended up camping at the Indiana State Park, mostly because the National Park web site doesn’t show any National Park campgrounds. It turns out that the National Park has a primitive campground, and if you don’t needed electric, is nicer (and cheaper) than the State Park. We’ll probably hit this park again and camp at the National Park instead.

We returned home to record breaking October snowfall. Seven inches of snow the third week of October. Gonna be a long winter.

1 Comment

  1. Might want to just pack up that camper van and keep heading south with how this winter is looking LOL

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