Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > MH-General Discussions & Problems
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-20-2009, 12:08 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
RickO's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Litchfield Park, Arizona
Posts: 10,528
Is my corroded water heat salvageable???

My coach (Itasca Ellipse 40FD) is now 30 months old. I have been pretty good about maintenance but for some reason, the water heater completely escaped my list and now I have a problem.

Upon delivery, my dealer sold me a annode plug to replace the drain plug. I installed it but never even checked it again until last week.

After quite a bit of work, I was able to get out the drain plug and the rod the annode used to be attached to but there was nearly solid corrosion blocking the drain. I have chipped out much of it and the tank drains now but there is still too much corrosion remaining for the new annode plug to be installed. I've spent a bit of time chipping away with an awl but wanted to ask if anyone had an eaiser solution for this mess. Am I looking at needing a new water heater? Can just the tank be replaced? I believe I have an Atwood.

An ounce of prevention I guess.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
RickO is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-20-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
Senior Member
UFO Pilot's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Posts: 4,033
I was told that Atwood's don't use an anode so I have never installed one. I wonder if that is true now? I do drain my water heater every year about this time.

Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
08 Winnebago Destination 39W Gas UFO Workhorse Chassis
Making the Journey in our Destination

UFO Pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2009, 02:02 PM   #3
Senior Member
JC2's Avatar
Newmar Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Spartan Chassis
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Mo
Posts: 2,896
As stated Suburban WH's have an Anode rod, Atwoods do not. One thing you might try to possibly dissolve the corrosion is to remove the pressure relief valve on the top of the wh. I would buy 1-2 gallons of generic white vinegar and a turkey baster. Try and put the vinegar, at least a gal into the wh throught the pressure relief hole and let sit for 12-24 hours. If the blockage is going to dissolve, it will do so by then. If it does, then use one of these to clean out the inside of the tank. Water Heater Flushing Tool - 88-8710. At least 1-2 times each year, I clean our wh tank by adding 1 gal of white vinegar per 15 gal of water and let it sit for 4-6 hrs then flush good with clean water.
04 Newmar DSDP 4015-Cummins ISL 370hp-Spartan MM Chassis-2013 Chev Equinox AWD Towed-Ready Brute Elite Towing System-FMCA 402879-SKP 120487
JC2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
Senior Member
Jackm's Avatar
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 627
In all probability, you have a Suburban heater since Atwood uses a different design. All water heaters are particularly problematic in areas that have hard water. I also flush out our water tank 2 to 3 times a year. However, we still ended up replacing our 6-gallon tank when it began leaking in several locations last year. I think JC2's suggestion is a good one. Let us know how things work out.

Jackm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2009, 06:47 PM   #5
Community Moderator
"007"'s Avatar

Nor'easters Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
iRV2 No Limits Club
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 24,487
You maybe able to clear out threads with a correct size thread tap. May save your WH since it has been working. The flush tool mentioned is a handy item also.
98KSCA, 99MACA, 03 KSCA-3740- 8.1 Chev-- ALLISON Trans, now in good hands
"007" is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2009, 03:47 PM   #6
Senior Member
AFChap's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Spartan Chassis
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: ...hopefully on the road!
Posts: 4,433
You can put an anode rod in an Atwood, but I believe it may void the warranty. Atwood tanks should not have an anode in them. I believe your coach should have an Atwood.

Yes, it is possible to replace just the tank rather than the whole WH, but I would not recommend it as you may spend as much or more as you would for a new one due to the labor cost involved. But if you provide the labor, it might save a few dollars.

As others mention, I drain and flush my WH tank 3 or 4 times a year while fulltiming -- before fulltiming I did it at least once or twice a year. And also as indicated, since your WH has been working, I would flush it the best I could --using vinegar should help --put the original type nylon plug in the drain, and press on until the WH fails. I definitely would NOT put an anode in it UNLESS it is a Surburban rather than Atwood.
Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
'03 Winnebago UA 40e / '05 Honda Odyssey toad
AFChap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2009, 03:48 PM   #7
Senior Member
tmitchell's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Punta Gorda, Fl.
Posts: 578
You need to make sure you have a Suburban water heater, before using an anode rod, The Atwood doesn't use one.
Tom, Pat and Buster (the Boston terrier)

2004 DSDP 3807, 370HP Spartan
tmitchell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2009, 06:51 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
RickO's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Litchfield Park, Arizona
Posts: 10,528
Thanks to all for the great insights. I'm still a little confused but need to do a bit more digging. I've confirmed I have an Atwood model GCH10A-4E. It came with my new coach which I took delivery of 5/07. On delivery day, the dealer took me around the parts department and loaded me up with all the things I "had to have". Included in that pile was the annode for my water heater. Hmmm....

My wh manual makes no statement about an annode one way or the other and the wty states that "modifications" may void it. What's surprising to me (maybe naively so) is that CW sells annodes for Atwood heaters. Here's the text from their web site:

"Anode Rods attract corrosive elements in water, so they attack the anode rod rather than the interior of your water heater's tank. Simply remove the plastic drain plug and insert the anode rod. Atwood Anode Rod is made of magnesium; Suburban Anode Rod is made of aluminum. When replacement is necessary, unscrew the old one and insert the new one. Anode Rods are easily replaced and should be checked every three months.

Atwood Anode rod is .5" dia. and 4-1/2" long Suburban Anode Rod is .75" dia. and 9-1/2" long. "

So, having said all of that, I've picked up the jugs of white vinegar and I'm going to clean it out as well as I can and then I think I'll call Atwood to see what they say. If they claim an annode should have never been installed, I'm headed back to my dealer. Otherwise, I'll use it until it fails and rely on my extended wty. I found my EZCare wty is really pretty good.

Thanks again.
Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
RickO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2009, 07:37 PM   #9
Senior Member
ernieh's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,047
"After quite a bit of work, I was able to get out the drain plug and the rod the annode used to be attached to but there was nearly solid corrosion blocking the drain. "

Attwood heaters have an aluminum tank and use a plastic plug for a reason. Now you too know why.

The mfg. recommends against ANY anode rods.

Good luck on repairing the tank.
2012 Phaeton 36QSH
2007 Wrangler Toad
ernieh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2009, 08:27 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
RickO's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Litchfield Park, Arizona
Posts: 10,528
Thanks for your insights ernieh. From the mess I have on my hands you are clearly correct. However, if it really is as simple as "don't replace a nylon plug with a metal one (dummy)" I'm really surprised at three things:

1) My dealer specifically told me I needed this and sold it to me as a part of the new coach delivery process. Yeah, maybe they were trying to sell the newbie a line of bull but they had to know this would come back to bite them.
2) Camping World advertises annodes specifically FOR Atwood heaters. I'm not sure why there hasn't been a realy liability problem for them.
3) Atwood makes no mention pro or con regarding annodes in their owners manual. Their website seem next to useless when it comes to technical or support content. It this manufacturer recommends against annodes of any kind... they sure don't do much to share that recommendation with people who buy their products.

Believe me, I'm not trying to make any sort of case for putting annodes anywhere they are not supposed to be...before posting this thread I didn't know enough to flush my water heater regularly... but, just from what I've learned from the responses it still seems pretty odd and inconsistent.
Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
RickO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2009, 09:05 PM   #11
VI Roamers's Avatar
Triple E Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 48
One thing you might consider if you have an air compressor is putting a wand extension on the end of your connection. Once you take the plug off the bottom of your HWT push the wand extension into the water flowing out and put on the air. This will help stir up any deposits in the bottom of the tank and drain it out more completely.

Once the wand is in, then flip the handle on the pressure release valve, and stand aside. Six or ten gallons of water coming out suddenly is quite a torrent of water. Any deposits on the bottom will come out with the addition of a bit of air to stir them up.
VI Roamers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2009, 10:29 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Oakton, Va
Posts: 1,135
If your Atwood manual doesn't mention an anode then surely you should not use one. It appears that the anode you installed plated its metal in the wrong places and hopefully did no other damage. It is hard to say which metal got "sacrificed". If necessary you could re-thread the drain and it may be necessary to do so. I would spring for the tool to do that instead of buying a new water heater. Interesting about CW advertising anodes for Atwoods. A call to Atwood should be very illuminating. My Atwood is aluminum and has no anode. In fact I have an electric Hott Rod in my drain and it works fine. I remove it once a year to winterize and no problems.

Jim Walker
N Virginia
2014 Palazzo 33.2
Cummins 6.7 ISB, Allison 2100 6 Speed
J Walker is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Oasis Hydronic heat & Hot water? Raca-roni Newmar Owner's Forum 9 10-10-2009 09:27 AM
Fresh water questions Daveo0o Monaco Owner's Forum 3 09-16-2009 10:18 AM
KIT Kamper Projects - Project #15, Auxillary Water Tank RedneckExpress Vintage RV's 0 02-22-2009 02:17 AM
Water Pump don springhetti MH-General Discussions & Problems 8 10-16-2008 04:03 PM
A Collection of Poultry Recipes Kebamo RV Gourmet 1 07-03-2006 06:11 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:19 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.