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November 11, 2010

Fixed my furnace (Quatro TrueBlue 90)

Filed under: Misc — Tags: , , — Marcus @ 2:00 am

If you are coming here because you have this same furnace and can’t find a part for it, please leave a comment on this article with the part you are looking for, I found most of them online and can send you links to where I found them, I was looking mostly at the sensors and electronic parts and almost all of them are standard Honeywell parts.

So we got a bit of a surprise when we turned our furnace on this year, it came on a couple times, then one morning it seemed kind of cold, I checked the thermostat and it was about 64 degrees in the house and the furnace should have kicked on at 68 degrees, not good!

So I go through some basic troubleshooting, turned the furnace off and on, checked the breaker, made sure the AC could come on etc.  I ended up noticing the controller for the furnace was blinking an error code, time to call the furnace repair place I guess.  Of course this breaks quite the streak for us, this was the first time we have had to have a repair person to our house to fix something since we bought it 5 years ago, everything that has broken so far I have been able to fix.

So a couple days later the repair man shows up and as luck would have it, the furnace was working just fine that day, he seemed to think it was a clogged up filter causing it, I shrugged my shoulders and said I would replace it.  Two days later, furnace stops working again, called the repair place out and luckily this time it wasn’t working when they got here, I wasn’t at the house so I don’t know what they did, but it was working when they left.  They told Meagan that if it still wasn’t working we would probably have to replace the controller.

So guess what, couple more days and it stops working yet again, gah!  I call the repair place one more time and they tell me they will research the prices and call back that afternoon.  In the mean time I had been looking on the internet to try and figure some of it out myself, I didn’t want to mess with it too much because I have no experience with gas products and didn’t want to blow the house up or something.  In my research I came to find out the company that made my furnace has been out of business for several years and that nobody carries parts anymore for this furnace.

A couple days later the repair place calls me to tell me none of their suppliers have even heard of this name brand and that they probably can’t get parts for it, they ask me if I can find out who installed the furnace so that they can try a different way of tracking it down, of course I have no idea who installed it and no way of finding out.  So now I am at a bit of an impasse, as per the repair place it is looking more and more like I am going to have to get a brand new furnace because of a $200 part they can’t find.

Anyone that knows me very well will know what came next, the furnace is essentially done for, nothing for me to break at the point, so I started tearing it apart and researching everything I could find, in about a half an hour I found our that #1 all the controls on my furnace are made by a company by the name of honeywell and they are still in business (and a pretty standard brand) and #2 this particular part (the controller) was used in another brand of furnace that they still make, so I could get the part.

A few minutes more of research and I found one used on eBay, I was able to buy it for $35.  A few days later the new part came in and it took me about 45 minutes to switch them out, I flicked the switch and the furnace roared to life!  I was excited, I didn’t have to pay any more money to the repair place, and I wouldn’t have to “somehow” come up with $2,000 or more to replace a mostly working furnace.

Of course, as is probably becoming apparent by now, it wasn’t actually fixed yet, worked for a couple days, then the same error code blinking again.  I was annoyed, but I had spent enough time researching that I was pretty confident that I could fix it, I had cross referenced and been able to find almost every control part on the furnace, so it was just down to determining which part was bad.

I took a ton of high resolution pictures to send to my good friend Paul (He works in maintenance for a local grocery chain in PA and NY) and I would trust his opinion way more than the “trained” guys they sent out.  He told me how to check the different sensors, I checked them once while the furnace was working then I just had to wait till it stopped working test again and compare the results.

While going through the pictures again I found that one of the air lines to test air pressure was half full of water, I drained that, turned the furnace back on and it worked, twice when the furnace wasn’t working I found that that line was full of water and draining it would immediately “fix” the furnace.

Great we know the cause, now to find the solution, there had to be a reason for the water to back up into there.  So this last weekend Paul was out for a visit and we spent some time looking at it and found the drain lines were totally and completely plugged up, he could barely blow through them!  I spent some time with a dowel and hot water getting everything cleaned out, and that seems to have fixed it.

There is a real takeaway from this story, had I just blindly followed what the “experts” that came out to my house had told me, I would currently be at least $2,000 further in debt.  However, instead I took the time to try and work out the issue and in the end I spent about $125 to fix it (Of course looking back I could have fixed it with a 50 cent dowel!).  I know I am most likely better than average at troubleshooting than the average Joe, but for two thousand dollars, I think most people should be willing to spend some time trying to work out the problem.

The writer of one of the financial blogs I read every day (Get Rich Slowly) has a quote that is so true “Nobody cares more about your money than you do”.  I for one am glad to have my furnace working now, and if it breaks again, you can bet I will take a stab at troubleshooting it before calling in another “expert”.

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15 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the article! Ijust woke up on Thanksgiving morning to find my downstairs at 38 degrees and the pilot light out on my Quattro True Blue 90. And yes the pipes were frozen. Luckily my woodstove was burning upstairs all night so the pipes thawed within an hour and no bursts. My light is still at a constant green, which says that its running fine, but obviously it isnt. I cant get the pilot light to go on, but with your motivational blog I’ll try to troubleshoot it before calling the “Experts on a Thanksgiving” If you know how to light the pilot or any info you know it would be greatly appreciated.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Comment by Ryan Carroll — November 25, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  2. Ah, I know that feeling seeing the furnace isn’t working. If yours is the same as mine, my pilot light is not on all the time, it only comes on when the furnace is ready to light.

    If you are not blinking a code and its not trying to come on, I would make sure the thermostat is working properly, I would think any of the other things that might trigger the furnace to come on would show a code if they were not working correctly.

    Comment by Marcus — November 25, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  3. my son lives in Wva and I live in South Carolina and am trying to help him with his furnace it is a true blue 90 961210127 model# usa090nh4r my question is where is the code flashing at also is there an online site where the manual might be found he can hear water gurgling but lines are open when he blows in them any help would be great thank you Evangelist John Ladd

    Comment by john ladd — December 27, 2010 @ 11:43 am

  4. Depending on where the gurgling is coming from you are probably getting water backing up somewhere. I had an issue at the very beginning when the sump pump thats connected to my furnace went, all the drains seemed fine, but the water was backing up into the system, when I would pull some of the hoses off some water would run out (not much, just some). I started getting a noise from the blower motor that was a gurgling noise, I ran my furnace for a bit without a sump, I just had the hose run into a cool whip container, but I would have to empty it every day.

    As to where the code is blinking, there is a light on the lower left of the computer/controller, the controller is the thing down in the bottom right of the furnace when you have the front cover off. You can see the controller in the first picture on the blog post. When you look at the code on the computer for the furnace, normal is it going from brightly lit to dimly lit, that is not an error, when it is showing an error it will blink totally on and off.

    Also, when I looked, I was not able to find any type of manual online, and I don’t have the original manual that came with the furnace (I inherited the furnace with the house).

    I hope you figure out the issue with your furnace, I actually just had mine break again right before Christmas, I had the blower motor go out on it, I will be doing another post on my blog about that in the upcoming weeks.

    Comment by Marcus — December 27, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  5. it looks like there are a lot of people with the same problem when it comes to this furnace
    so yea my frickin quatro ( i call it Audi) true blue 90 is not working for the past 2 days.
    everything works except the flame wont light up. i think its the ignitor some friends say it could be pressure switch. what do you think. please help
    THANK YOU !

    Comment by Almir — January 7, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  6. We are trying to find a replacement part number for our True Blue 90 blower motor and where to find one. Any help would be appreciated.

    Comment by James — January 24, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  7. Hello. I’m looking for the limit switch for this same unit. If you have a link for the part I would love to have it. Thanks in advance -David-

    Comment by David Shapiro — February 2, 2011 @ 3:28 am

  8. Same as you, furnace gets water and will not light.
    Even after draining sometimes it will not light for at least an hour or more.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks
    Jim

    Comment by jim adams — February 10, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

  9. If it is lighting after an hour or so, then its probably a timeout thing with the controller, during the time its not working, is it blinking a code on the controller?

    If you are getting water backup, even sometimes, find the root problem of that, you probably either have a sump thats not working, or something is blocked like I had in this article or something. Your furnace won’t work consistently until you get the water issue fixed.

    Comment by Marcus — February 11, 2011 @ 6:19 am

  10. I have this same furnace. I had to call a repairman to come out and take a look at it because it was not sending out heated air. The fan would run, but no heat. The repairman told me the furnace needs a new heat exchanger. The company is looking for this part but said that if they can’t find it, we would have to buy a new furnace. Do you have any links for me to look at where I might be able to find that part for this furnace? I am hoping that the furnace company will be able to locate one and that they will exhaust all resources to find the part but, just in case, I am looking into it myself.

    Comment by Amanda — March 29, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  11. need a control module for a Quatro Trueblue m#usa090nh4r . Rigged it to cool but will need on to heat. Could you please send me info on to where I could find this part.p# 40665 . thanks

    Comment by jim — June 26, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  12. http://www.kd8itx.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/furnace_drain.jpg

    I need that same plastic part. I believe its called a collector box. Please let me know where I can purchase one.

    Comment by rico — July 8, 2011 @ 6:57 am

  13. HI,

    I have the same heater and it has stopped working. My heating repair guy tells me I need the “Snap Disk” or Flame roll out disk. Can someone please help me in locating that part??
    Thanks!
    Diane

    Comment by Diane Raynes — September 19, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  14. I have a questions about my True Blue 90 Tech 4 that has a squealing noise coming from it. My dad suggested oiling the fan as it is blowing but making this awful noise. Anyone have this issue (I am sure many did)? What did you do?

    Comment by Quinn — October 21, 2011 @ 8:55 am

  15. I think I need a new mother board. No lights are on and it doesn`t do anything.

    Comment by Joe — November 15, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

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