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Old 06-06-2015, 07:29 PM   #1
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weeping sacrificial anode on water heater

When my rig was winterized a year ago I let a dealer do the winterization when I was in for warranty work and they yanked the anode rod and left it out with water sitting on the threads. In the spring the threads had corroded. I could get the old rod in but a replacement Camco rod would not fit due to the rusted threads. Now the old anode rod is wearing thin and I need to replace the the rod. I checked the threads at the base of both rods and they match up. The old rod has similar deterioration which is what allows it to seat but now it has started weeping water out of the threads and must be replaced. Ideally I would like to replace the fitting that goes into the tank but that doesn't appear to be possible. Has anyone dealt with deteriorated threads for the fitting that accepts their sacrificial anode and if so what was your fix? At this point it seems like I may have to replace the water heater to fix the issue.
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:42 PM   #2
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I would try this first.

https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#h...=thread+chaser
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:59 PM   #3
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Try a small wire brush to clean threads, then when you put one back inuse some plumbers tape on new rod. We always use plumbers tape, easyiers to take put also.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:04 PM   #4
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Ironic that I was just installing a new anode in my Surban WH a couple weeks ago and I think I had your same problem. I decided to purchase a $29 tap to clean the threads from hardware store which was a 3/4-14 NPT tap. I'm not sure if there are different thread options so take your old anode with you to purchase the correct size tap. Whatever you do don't force the tap in the water heaters 3/4 pipe thread hole with a ratchet/wench. Make sure you finger start it so it won't get cross threaded and then just turn it in a little at a time. The tap I have can accept a 3/4 socket with an extension so I used it to extend past the obsticals and made it easier to turn the tap without using much force. I was able to do most of the cleaning without using the socket handle and only used the ratchet to break the tap loose when I tried to go just a little too far. The lime and calcium deposits make it look like the threads are gone but the calcium and other minerals are probably just filling the threads. The minerals that you need to remove from threads is somewhat soft so go slow and backup often to clear threads of the tap. After you're done cleaning the threads connecting to city water will allow you to flush the tank to get any unwanted minerals out of the tank.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:07 PM   #5
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It's 3/4" NPT. Borrow or buy a 3/4" pipe tap and chase the threads, just do not go too deep. Go slow and when you meet resistance, stop and back it out and look to see if the rust is gone. Also make sure you use Teflon tape on the anode.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:28 PM   #6
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Happy guy,,,,I don't want to sound like I'm talking down to you,,,,but have you simply tried wrapping the threads on the rod with teflon or plumber's crayon before you go through all this?
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:39 PM   #7
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Happy guy

On your Suburban anode rod and drain. With 40 years of working on RVs I can tell you you will hardly ever pull a rod out with out the corrosion. Anytime iron or steel are married to aluminum you get corrosion. We always have to tap the threads to get a good firm grip. You will also notice there are only a few threads that hold it in place. Tapping the threads is one of our DEwinterizing points. Or yes you will get a wheel. If you don't have a tap ( expensive ) you may try Teflon tape, BUT do not over tighten and pull the threads.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:15 PM   #8
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Happy

Please clarify your post......too much info run together!

To begin with, how old is the RV (specifically, how old is the HWH)?


If old enough, it sounds like the original plug and anode has been worn away (as intended to spare the electric element) and has begun to leak. No sense repairing that......wrapping it with nuckum putty or the like......it's used up.


Are you trying to say that the newly purchased plug and anode will not even begin to thread into the hole? Have you shown a good light into it and examined the threads (how's your eye sight? If needed grab a magnifier)

Is your goal to get a new plug and rod into a somewhat corroded (though maybe filled with percipitated iron and calcium carbonate crud) hole?




Hey fellow forum guys.....if the new plug and anode has threads that appear undamaged upon close visual inspection......should Happy begin with a round wire brush that will fit through the opening into the water heater......and use either vinegar (or muratic acid) to see if he can't clean out any deposits that may be filling in the threads? Seems like leaving tap water laying on those treads would leave some rust staining, but this should not cause enough corrosion to destroy threads!!

If the threads are a little the worse for wear.......and Happy needs to chase the threads......doesn't that mean gently and slowly turnning a 3/4 inch NPT tap, held perfectly square to the hole, so as to run it through the existing threads to remove deposits, without truly cutting away any more metal? Does this explain "chasing threads" properly?

And lastly, if Happy removes some stock (metal shavings noted) and finds the new plug and rod now thread in (perhaps even seeming a little loosey-goosey) would he be best off by generously coating the threads with liquid teflon pipe joint sealer.....or should he wrap on a generous thickness of teflon tape...applied in counter-clockwise direction?

How old should the HWH be for him to call it "quits" and buy a new one....or should he get advice on over tapping the hole size and using some sort of thread repair sleeve?
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:34 PM   #9
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Happy guy

Your problem is Galvonic corrosion. Look it up on the net. It's the corrosion caused by the reaction of molecular movement of the steel being different than the movement of the aluminum. I know it sounds weird but it really is what causes the threads in the aluminum tank to get heavily corroded. Tap the threads gently and use a corrosion preventing paste when re inserting the rod. This is why you see plastic plugs in the other brand of RV water heater. Customers who have used pipe plugs in their tanks have ripped the threads right out.
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:37 PM   #10
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Picked up tap off Amazon around $20. Pull anode for the winter, clean threads with tap, back flush good with back flush tool. Let air dry a day or so, then put anode back in with Telfon tape. This part of the rig is ready to go, do not have to deal with rusty threads. Just have to fill and test before turning on electric.
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:53 PM   #11
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What you really need to do is become a full time RV'er. That'll take care of the problem.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:41 PM   #12
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Go to Your fav home store and buy round brush, probably in the Dremel stuff, that will fit into the drain hole of your wh. Carefully use this brush in your power drill to clean the threads and use Teflon tape on your new rod. Also buy a wh flusher to fit on your water hose. You will be shocked to see what you can flush out.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:55 PM   #13
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I was able to run a tap down it and clean it out. I was using plumbers tape when I installed the new rod but the rod was getting hung up going in and the old rods threads were too corroded to thread back in even with the tape. I keep a spare roll of PT in the tool box next to the electrical tape and super glue. The new anode rod installed cleanly with no weeping. The RV is only a 2013 so it's not that old. I believe that the dealers practice of leaving the anode rod out of the hole accelerated the wear much faster than it would have had the tech put the rod back in after blowing out the pipes. I'm just glad I'll be able to get at least 2 more years out of the water heater before I have to think about replacing the rod again because at that point I may be looking at a new heater and I hate doing plumbing.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:28 PM   #14
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Happy guy,,,,,I wouldn't let that anode sit in there for all that time,,,,galvanic corrosion could just about weld the anode to the tank threads....then you're in doo doo. Take it out twice a year and flush the tank,,,,,re-teflon the threads and zip it back in. If not teflon,,,used plumber's crayon. Either one works well for what you're doing.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:33 PM   #15
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If you're worried about rust with the anode installed during the winter, just make sure the threads are dry and coat with Danco silicone paste and then tape or dope the threads of the new anode and install.

I clean the tank, dry the threads, coat them with Danco and roll a paper towel and plug the hole with the paper towel and leave the anode out during the winter.
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:10 PM   #16
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Now there's some good advice

Congrats Happy on gettin er done.....

Old coots advice sounds like the best yet.

As Happy sez...leaving the plug out....and in contact with the other metal...may just allow ionic shift to continue....old coots' advice sounds like the best way to halt the process from attacking the threads.


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Old 06-09-2015, 04:28 PM   #17
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Old coots got good advice there or you could get a "BRASS" 3/4 inch pipe plug to install for the winter storage. The brass won't react with threads on tank.
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyGuy View Post
I was able to run a tap down it and clean it out. I was using plumbers tape when I installed the new rod but the rod was getting hung up going in and the old rods threads were too corroded to thread back in even with the tape. I keep a spare roll of PT in the tool box next to the electrical tape and super glue. The new anode rod installed cleanly with no weeping. The RV is only a 2013 so it's not that old. I believe that the dealers practice of leaving the anode rod out of the hole accelerated the wear much faster than it would have had the tech put the rod back in after blowing out the pipes. I'm just glad I'll be able to get at least 2 more years out of the water heater before I have to think about replacing the rod again because at that point I may be looking at a new heater and I hate doing plumbing.
You could get a case of upgradeitus before then....
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:31 PM   #19
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My process:

Remove anode when winterizing, chase threads, flush tank, install plastic plug hand tight.

As part of the dewinterizing process remove plastic plug, install new anode rod with teflon tape on threads. Camp and forget about it till fall,then back to step 1.

Anode rods are very inexpensive I replace mine every other year.

I also made a flush tool that consists of a 3/4 PVC pipe fitting attached to a 8" PVC pipe. I screw that into the anode hole and insert the flush rod through it. The PVC pipe keeps the crud that comes out from running down the side of the RV.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:04 AM   #20
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TFE Plumbers Putty

TFE Plumbers Putty is what plumbers use for gas lines. It will seal almost anything. You might have to thread chase, but if I understood you, the threads are gone, not filled in. My son always uses teflon tape and the putty.
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