TRANE XL80, replace control board, or whole furnace?

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I have a TRANE XL80 two stage upflow furnace that is eleven years old, with a programmable thermostat. The furnace quit working, I called a technician. He said the problem is the integrated two stage heating control board, He recommends that I replace the entire furnace, because "the board is so expensive, and the furnace is so old." I checked on myhvacparts.com, and the board is $162.95. Seems to me that a TRANE XL80, with a 20-year limited warranty on the heat exchanger, should last longer than 11 years. An entire new furnace, installed, is going to run me about $3000. Should I just replace the board, or would this be throwing my money away?
BTW, the furnace started working again, but the board appears not to be responding to the thermostat. It's either all on (until the house is about 80), or I manually turn it off.
Any advice?
Thanks
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Get another opinion.
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Unless you have a stack of money around, or you heavily abused you furnace (i.e. - don't check/change your air filter every thirty days) I seriously doubt you NEED a new furnace.

In terms of diagnostics, I can see only three possible causes as you have described the situation:
1) faulty thermostat 2) faulty thermostat wiring 3) faulty board
Keep in mind there may be some other cause, customers rarely describe with complete accuracy; either unwarrented assumtions are made or critical details are left out. Whatever the case I"d say call for a second opinion.
Good luck.

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Comfortspecialist wrote:

it does raise the question as to why the board went out. (Treat the cause, not just the symptom.)

I had the same problem in Feb, and the fix then was to replace the thermostat. The same technician installed a new programmable thermostat, a Honeywell VisionPRO TH 8000 series. How likely is he to diagnose his own problem? BTW, this is one of the best plumbing, heating and A/C companies in northern VA,.

As a former Air Force pilot, I'm pretty good at diagnostics on things I know (jet engines, aircraft systems), but I can only describe symptoms, because I don't know what the possible causes are. When I speculate about cause, it tends to influence the technician, and they go with what I say. May be the reason I ended up with a new thermostat earlier this year was because I opined that I thought it was the thermostat.

I will call for a second opinion, but I wonder how much better off I'll be starting new with someone else...

Thanks for answering quickly, I'll call this morning for a second opinion (it's $150 an hour for the techs to just look at it...)
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As a former US Army helicopter repairman, i's my opinion that most pilots ain't got a clue when it comes to what makes the fucking things fly.
Either get a new tech or get a new furnace.
That's SOP
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I would for the new tech....but instead of tech...go for a new mechanic
There is a difference...I have them all in my employ

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B-Hate-Me wrote:

Exactly my point, I fly them (or used to), but don't build them, or fix them. The only way the flight mechanics can fix a broken jet is if you describe, specifically, what went wrong. I never had a flight mech say my writeup didn't have enough detail, and they seemed to appreciate that my writeups weren't "elec malfunction.". And I didn't try to fix the jet in flight either :^)
So, if I tell the furnace tech exactly what went wrong, am I also supposed to tell him what I think is broken? Seems like that is his job, not mine. I'm not a HVAC tech, nor would I try to play one on TV.

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Your technician must really like you..... http://americanhvacparts.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=IGM50A51405&Category_Code =
Jabs
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I am a Current US Army helicopter repairman (Airframe)...What was your mos?
B-Hate-Me wrote:

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Do they still train you guys at Ft. Rucker?
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Airframe has always been at Ft. Eustis in Virginia. I am getting ready to go back there in Jan.
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it does raise the question as to why the board went out. (Treat the cause, not just the symptom.)

Anyone can throw parts at a furnace. Guess what your guy is doing? If thats one of the best companies, then your area sucks! :-)

Exactly why you should stay away from your furnace. I wouldnt want you working on my furnace and you wouldnt want me working on your jet.

Yup, thats exactly what happened. If I get a customer that tells me its the "thermostat, motor, pinion valve, do-hickey-flapper, etc" they get exactly what they wish for and then I install the part that fixes the problem. Too damn hard to change their mind when they think it is "x".

Depends. You want to keep shelling out money for parts the tech throws at it or do you want it fixed right? Look for whoever your friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers use and are satisfied with. Dont open the yellow pages and look for the biggest ad. Bubba

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Baby J wrote:

although it does raise the question as to why the board went out. (Treat the cause, not just the symptom.)
They do fail on occasion. Usually a relay on the board begins to stick. Never seen one operate quite like yours before, but that doesn't mean it couldn't. Could be caused by undersized thermostat wiring, but that tends to fry the stat, not the board. Should be 18 ga. wire. ask the new tech. multiple POSSIBLE scenarios on that one.

if they really are the best, not just the biggest, then they have a reputation to protect. call the office and complain.

No intention to be mean here, just getting to the point. observations are helpful, armchair diagnosis isn't. As a pilot you got at least a basic understanding of each system on the plane. planes aren't furnaces. no need to defend yourself on this, just pointing out the difference. >

old company or new, tell them that you have had repeated issues, and you want to make sure the tech is qualified before they send someone out. NATE certification is ok. RSES CMS or even the best, CM, is even better. CM's would do a little jig on the last guys head for acting like he did, but they are hard to find.

They'd be shot at the door for charging those rates here. But you're not here.
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Last time I saw this set of symptoms, the customer had replaced the thermsotat four times (not kidding). Some diagnosis found a bad relay. And in your case, the relay is probably on the board.
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Christopher A. Young
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Thanks, the tech ordered the part ten days ago, and I'm still waiting. I just turn on the furnace manually, and turn it off when the house is warm enough. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a thermostat. When he finally shows up, I'll have him check the relay. I'll probably end up with a new board anyway. I'll also have him check the thermostat wiring.
Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time.
Stormin Mormon wrote:

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Ten days sounds like a bit of a wait for parts. One reason to avoid Trane, their parts can be proprietary. Much like Shears and Roebuck, and the equipment they sell. Off spec parts, so you have to go back to Shears.
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The technician (maybe mechanic, I didn't ask) ordered the new control board, has not contacted me to say it's in yet. The furnace includes an electrostatic filter system that no longer works, with a power switch between the furnace and the filter system. I manually turn on the furnace both stages operate, blower, everything, but I have to manually shut it off when the house is warm enough. I've been leaving the heat off during the day, my son turns it on when he gets home from school. It seems like the board is not reading the thermostat, which makes me think it may be faulty thermostat wiring. One of the other posters suggested that it could be a bad relay on the board. Would it still make sense to replace the entire board? It's been ten days since he ordered the part, so I'm thinking it will be in this week. I can have him check the thermostat wiring first, then replace the board, to make sure I don't have the same problem again with a new board. What about cleaning the flame sensor? Could that be affecting the board?
Thank you.
Comfortspecialist wrote:

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Sounds like you may be getting snookered. Usually, a board like that will be in stock. Why dont you go down and take the model/serial # off the furnace and the model/part number off the board. Then look up a Trane Wholesaler (not contractor or dealer) in your area. Explain you situation and ask if they have the board in stock. It may take a little pleading but assure them you arent looking for a price or trying to cut someone out. You just want to know if the board is available. Next, if you are unsure its the board and think its the stat, go get a new one. Even simpler, disconnect the thermostat wires from the board. Jumper R & W and see if all works well. Disconnect the jummper and it should all shut down. If it does, your board is most likely fine and its the stat wiring or stat. Electrostatic filters are gimmicky at best. Electronic filters are relatively useless and expensive. Could the flame sensor affect things? Yes, but not what you are describing. Now, fill my paypal account since you got all this expensive advice. Bubba

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clean the flame sensor

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Will cleaning the flame sensor make the furnace shut off when the thermostat is satisfied?
Your reccomendation isn't consistent with the poster's description.
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