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Old 09-19-2012, 01:15 PM   #1
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Rusted anode threads etc (Solved)

I started to just post a question at this thread:
Removing anode rod to drain hot water heater.

But decided maybe rules say I should start a new thread so as not to hijack, so here goes:

Reading these last posts in that thread has me feeling a little worried. Out of ignorance, when I did my usual winterizing my 2002 ( bought used a few years ago) FR Flagstaff DS 26 UL last November, I left the anode out after draining the water heater. ( I'll have to pull the paper work out to find the brand of water heater, I don't see it written on the heater)

I probably did that on purpose, for whatever reason, being ignorant and all! Or maybe I just forgot to put it back in. Due to various reasons, we did not get to go camping this summer. So now that the cooler weather is getting here, we decided it is time to go before winter gets here again. So I go to replace the anode and I discover that the threads on the heater are major rusted. Enough that it seems to be interfering with getting the anode threaded back in, not that that was ever easy for me any way.

So now I need some tips on getting rid of that rust, at least enough to get the anode started. Hopefully there is a way to do it, or else it is time for a repair bill. Any suggestions?

And I'm thinking if I buy a 1 1/16 socket, it will make it easier to thread this thing, because maybe I can hold it straighter? As it is, trying to thread it by hand(even before the rust problem), the end of the anode, inside the water tank, tends to pull it down making it real hard to get threads lined up. You guys think that using a socket/ratchet idea will help any keeping things straight?

But even if I get the rust removed from the threads, after reading the above threads I'm afraid there might also now be major rust inside the water tank. Since it was stored last winter and this summer with that heater anode hole unplugged. Any way to test for this? some sort of tank flush maybe?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/ideas!


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Old 09-19-2012, 01:34 PM   #2
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Is it rusted or scale ?

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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if rust, perhaps a thread chaser to clean threads and then a good flush? even if scale, i would think it would work then too as long as it was followed by a good rinsing and perhaps one of those little magnetic nut/bolt retreivers sold at napa/autozone etc etc
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
Is it rusted or scale ?
On the water heater threads, it looks like rust. It's brown!
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #5
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Looks like the anode was left out in a very wet are for extended period of time.
Hopefully the threads aren't destroyed or you may have to replace the water heater.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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Here's my suggestions--
Yes get a socket to fit. Harbor freight is your cheapest bet but
you might get lucky at dollar general or Big Lots or some such.
Sears and auto stores will have it but they're gonna be more
I put a wad of paper in the rear of my socket so the anode rod just
sits "out front" in the socket. That seems to help me. YMMV.

While you're shopping for that socket look for a round wire brush.
One you can stick in a drill motor would be excellent. Wire brush the
heck out of the threads.
If you get to where it will start then be sure and apply plenty of
Oatey great white pipe dope with teflon. You can get this at Home Depot, Lowes
and most any well stocked hardware store. I say use pipe dope because
it will coat the threads and give you a little more protection than just
dry teflon tape. You can get the oatey in a little can with a brush in
the cap. Not very expensive.

IF all that fails you might be able to borrow or rent a pipe tap.
That is your last resort. A good plumber will probably have one but
you might be able to rent one from a rent all place.
They cost in the $35 range so you don't want to buy one!

Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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what i would do is go to home depot or loews and buy a 3/4" pipe tap. chase the threads to clean them up. should solve your problem. if you are near a harbor freight,i would also try there. probably cheaper
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #8
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Thanks every one, I will get on those suggestions and let you know how it comes out.

What about using white vinegar or some sort of rust remover on those threads when brushing them? Worth the bother?

What about the inside of the tank? Should I worry about it? Would it make much difference to the rusting of the inside of a tank if it was stored empty with the anode out vs anode in? Maybe wishful thinking, but I'm thinking if I had put the anode back in, it would have have still been plenty damp in there, and I don't think the anode would have made much difference in an empty tank, but that's just a wild guess.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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A stainless steel brush, or a rotary brush in a Dremel tool, will take care of most of the rust. Follow that with some PB Blaster, applied with a Q-tip and wiped clean with paper towels. Then vacuum and/or use a magnet to remove as much crud as possible. Finally, rinse the tank well using something like this. Some water and crud will still remain in the bottom of the tank. Use your ingenuity to remove as much as possible; an old washcloth, cut into strips, and a coat hanger work for me. Clean up the anode rod and reassemble, using Teflon tape. Turn on your water, fill the tank, etc, and test for function and leaks.
Happy Camping! ///// Richard D.
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One very patient wife and one furry child who travels with us. Forty-two years of trailering and camping, and I still have a blast.

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Old 09-19-2012, 03:04 PM   #10
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suggest home depot/lowes/ace over harbor freight. the price may look appealing, and it usually is. however, why risk breaking the tap to save a buck or 2. most harbor freight stuff is cheap on price for a reason.

what about using clr after cleaning? anybody else know if thats a good/bad/indifferent idea?

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anode, rust, water heater

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