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Old 03-17-2019, 09:59 PM   #1
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Anode Rod for Hot Water Tank Issue

Hey everyone, I was having an issue with my hot water tank on my new/used camper and was hoping I could get some feedback. I recently purchased a used 2011 Coachmen Catalina.

Today I was de-winterizing and sanitizing my fresh water tank and lines. When I went to reinstall the anode rod (rod is in slightly used condition, but magnesium is still solidly on the stem) into the hot water tank I noticed the rod’s threading wouldn’t catch after I initially tried tightening it with a wrench and then breaker bar.

I then tried to put Teflon on the threading and put it on but the rod wouldn’t catch.

My concern is did I strip the threading on the anode rod or worse hot water tank when I tried tightening it with a breaker bar? I wasn’t overly exerting too much pressure on the bar.

My plan from here is to order a new anode rod and see how that works. If that doesn’t work my neighbor said he has a thread chaser we can use to clean out the threads and run a new threading should we need it. He’s been a long time RV’er and I trust his judgment, but wanted to see what anyone else’s opinions are! Thank you in advance!
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:54 PM   #2
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You shouldn’t need a breaker bar to tighten the anode rod. If your neighbor has the tool to chase the brakes threads, he probably knows what he’s doing. I’d run a tap (3/4” NPT) into the tank before trying to install the new anode. They can be hard to get started sometimes and are easily cross threaded.

Have your neighbor look at it. Hopefully the threads in the tank aren’t stripped.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:02 AM   #3
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absolutely agree with what andymil said. you don't need a breaker bar! get your friend to clean up the threads with the thread chaser. then try a new anode with new threads. use your fingers to get the threads started. use a socket only at the end to snug it. you don't have to torque it down more than snug and not leaking. use teflon tape.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:15 AM   #4
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Installing an anode rod in a Suburban WH can be a little tricky as the weight of the rod itself tends to cause the threads to cross thread. This is especially true if you try to start the rod with a tool. The best way to install an anode rod is start the treads by hand while using the free hand to keep the head of the threaded portion perpendicular to the WH. Once you get a turn or so using only fingers you can use a tool to hand tighten. I do not recommend a breaker bar or long handled wrench for tightening and always add a wrap of two of Teflon tape.
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:24 PM   #5
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There is a little trick to starting threads. With the weight of the anode rod, it is difficult to align the threads. First make sure the male and female align parallel to each other. The threads are clockwise, but slowly turn the anode counter clockwise until it gently mates with the staring thread, slowly start threading it clockwise until you know the threads are mating and not cross threading. If it starts to cross thread, back out, realign the threads and repeat. As other have said, use Mylar tape on the male threads.

Also, if you have the room, a set of vice grip clamped straight out from the hex helps counter balance the weight of the anode and will help start the threads.
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:58 PM   #6
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I had to run a tap in mine because some one who originally installed it crossed it. that was how I found it because it was dripping. After straightened the threads it starts good and doesn't leak after snugging it up. just remember to not over tighten it as you can cause issues. I usually put it back with Teflon tape finger start it and just snug it then I pressurize the tank and if it leaks I snug until it stops.
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:48 PM   #7
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Another trick for installing the anode.

Put 2 wraps of teflon tape on the anode threads. Use a 1-1/16 6 point socket and a 6 inch extension. Put a small piece of paper or paper towel around the head of the anode so it fits snugly in the socket. Using the extension as a handle, turn the anode slowly counter clockwise until you feel it set into the threads of the tank then turn it clockwise until snug. Fill the water heater and using a ratchet or breaker bar to tighten, usually 1/2 to 1 full turn until leaking stops.

I have been doing it this way for years and never have problems. The paper on the nut of the anode prevents it from wobbling in the socket. I'm surprised others have not mentioned this before as many forum members do the same.
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:05 PM   #8
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Use Rector seal, some patience, 1/2 ratchet and snug only.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:24 AM   #9
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After 10 plus years of dealing with water in TN that’s comes with an abundance of lime, a critical step in replacing anode is to FIRST clean threads with a 3/4 inch tap. Picked one up off Amazon for under $20. Much cheaper than HW replacement.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satdog01 View Post
After 10 plus years of dealing with water in TN that’s comes with an abundance of lime, a critical step in replacing anode is to FIRST clean threads with a 3/4 inch tap. Picked one up off Amazon for under $20. Much cheaper than HW replacement.

Use of rector seal instead of tape or dope may eliminate the need to ream.
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