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Old 04-23-2021, 10:31 AM   #1
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Atwood water heater drain plug

Hi, the drain plug on my Atwood 10 gallon hot water heat won't brake loose the last owner used some bad sealant
I need some ideas to break it loose , I put so much presure to I broke part of it off I can still get a pipe wrench on the iron plug but need some ideas on how to break the bad sealant I have tried soaking it some break loose fluid, what about hitting with my torch , any good ideas are welcome
THanks Brad
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradc344 View Post
Hi, the drain plug on my Atwood 10 gallon hot water heat won't brake loose the last owner used some bad sealant
I need some ideas to break it loose , I put so much presure to I broke part of it off I can still get a pipe wrench on the iron plug but need some ideas on how to break the bad sealant I have tried soaking it some break loose fluid, what about hitting with my torch , any good ideas are welcome
THanks Brad

First problem, the PO used the wrong plug on the Atwood, not bad sealer. The tank is aluminum, and uses a nylon drain plug. On of the worst thing to use would be a carbon steel or cast iron plug as the electrolysis between the two dissimilar metals will weld the plug into the hole.

You can try heating/cooling but be careful not to overheat the aluminum. If you succeed in removing the old plug, clean the female threads and use a nylon, aluminum or magnesium plug for a replacement.
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:45 AM   #3
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Unless you get the water out, the torch wont be much help. So you will have to drill it and snake in some tubing. Or you can pull off the T&P relief valve and snake some tubing into there to suck out the water. Just don't smoke your wiring. Good luck and let us know how it goes!!!
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:49 AM   #4
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First problem, the PO used the wrong plug on the Atwood, not bad sealer. The tank is aluminum, and uses a nylon drain plug. On of the worst thing to use would be a carbon steel or cast iron plug as the electrolysis between the two dissimilar metals will weld the plug into the hole.

You can try heating/cooling but be careful not to overheat the aluminum. If you succeed in removing the old plug, clean the female threads and use a nylon, aluminum or magnesium plug for a replacement.
Thought these tanks were made up from SS so as to be corrosion free, and not need any sacrificial anode.
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:05 PM   #5
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Thought these tanks were made up from SS so as to be corrosion free, and not need any sacrificial anode.
Atwood has always used an aluminum tank and that is the reason for no anode but it does require the use of a nylon or pvc drain plug. I believe that a brass plug is also available for it but it shouldn't be used.

Suburban uses a steel tank that is glass lined but needs a sacrificial anode to prevent tank corrosion. I have never seen an RV water heater that has a stainless steel tank.
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Unless you get the water out, the torch wont be much help.
This is a good point. I think that if you open the low point drain for your hot water lines you can probably drain most of the water by opening the relief valve and then close it and use compressed air to get as much water as possible. In the worst case you will need to replace the water tank. You can get one from Amazon for $150 if it is 6 gallon.
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:20 PM   #6
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I would drill a 1/4" hole thru the current plug and let the water drain. Heating the plug will fail due to the heater being full of water acting as a heat sink.

Then follow up with another drill and so on until you can break it away.

Not sure if you we be successful with this though.....if it's corroded on badly, you will end up damaging the tank.

Best of luck with this!
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:21 PM   #7
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Right you are. My Atwood HWH in the 08 View is aluminum. It has a brass drain valve. I am sure brass is more noble than aluminum so I can expect the tank to rot out down the road somewhere. What say you?
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Atwood has always used an aluminum tank and that is the reason for no anode but it does require the use of a nylon or pvc drain plug. I believe that a brass plug is also available for it.

Suburban uses a steel tank that is glass lined but needs a sacrificial anode to prevent tank corrosion. I have never seen an RV water heater that has a stainless steel tank.
This is a good point. I think that if you open the low point drain for your hot water lines you can probably drain most of the water by opening the relief valve and then close it and use compressed air to get as much water as possible. In the worst case you will need to replace the water tank. You can get one from Amazon for $150 if it is 6 gallon.
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:36 PM   #8
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Right you are. My Atwood HWH in the 08 View is aluminum. It has a brass drain valve. I am sure brass is more noble than aluminum so I can expect the tank to rot out down the road somewhere. What say you?
Brass is a problem, according to a marine site that I found this on.
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You are quite correct, aluminum and brass should never be in direct contact with one another in the marine environment. The mix is a guaranteed prescription for corrosion, and in the case of fuel fittings, probable breakage of either the tank or the fitting when you attempt to disassemble the connection.
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:45 PM   #9
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Brass is a problem, according to a marine site that I found this on.

Here's a link to a chart that gives the risk potential of using dissimilar metals in galvanic situations.


Brass/aluminum is a high risk combination for aluminum corrosion. Note the instructions for reading the chart, left hand column is metal at risk of galvanic corrosion.



https://www.grabberman.com/Media/TechnicalData/127.pdf
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:56 PM   #10
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So my first bad is/was an incorrect assumption about HWH tank metals. Thank God for IRV2 or I would still be a dummy about that.
So in trying to assist an IRV2 peer I now recognize I have my own problem to get fixed. That is, to get that brass valve out of my aluminum HWH tank. Thanks IRV2!!!
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Old 04-23-2021, 01:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bradc344 View Post
Hi, the drain plug on my Atwood 10 gallon hot water heat won't brake loose the last owner used some bad sealant
I need some ideas to break it loose , I put so much presure to I broke part of it off I can still get a pipe wrench on the iron plug but need some ideas on how to break the bad sealant I have tried soaking it some break loose fluid, what about hitting with my torch , any good ideas are welcome
THanks Brad
I had similar issues with my new to me 06 DP. The previous owner had however drilled a hole in the drain plug, and used a small rubber plug to fill and drain. I think you are past this part, but there is a special wrench to remove the drain plug without removing the gas valve and line. It really is in the way and hard to get at the plug. I ended up drilling and using an easy out. It takes a big one. Be sure when you start drilling you are in the exact center of the steel plug. You'll probably have to drill most of the steel plug before an easy out will work. Once you get the water out, and the largest whole you can drill in the steel plug without damaging the aluminum threads, some mild heat from a lp torch or a high temp heat gun might help. Aluminum expands about twice as much as steel when heated. That means the threaded hole on your aluminum tank should "grow" faster than the steel plug. Expansion and contraction will also help break the corrosion bond.

Take your time, and go slow with it. And before you do anything else, get on Amazon and order the nylon plug. Camping world had 1 on a blister pack for $15. I bought a dozen on Amazon for $7. You'll make your friends happy when they un-winterize theirs and can't find the nylon plug, (like your previous owner did) and you have the nylon one for them.

And there is debate about using Teflon tape in the plug. I never have and have never had a leak. But at $7 a dozen, if the corners even start to round off, I'll throw the plug and put a new one in.
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Old 04-23-2021, 01:03 PM   #12
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So my first bad is/was an incorrect assumption about HWH tank metals. Thank God for IRV2 or I would still be a dummy about that.
So in trying to assist an IRV2 peer I now recognize I have my own problem to get fixed. That is, to get that brass valve out of my aluminum HWH tank. Thanks IRV2!!!
You are correct. And while your at it, order a dozen nylon plugs from Amazon for $7. At the first sign of rounding the corners or striped threads toss it and put a new one in.

This is what happens when someone says "I lost the plug, but this will work"
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Old 04-23-2021, 01:06 PM   #13
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Thanks for the link!!!
Done 7.55 goes 8.00 even with tax. Thanks again!!!
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Old 04-23-2021, 02:12 PM   #14
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The Atwood Aluminum tank drain bung is 1/2" NPT

So do not use a drill larger then 3/8" maybe 13/32"
**Work up to that size
Then use an easy-out

Clean up drain hole threads
*short 1/2" NPT brass nipple with 4 slots cut across the threads to act as cutters/cleanouts
Screw nipple back/forth a little at a time

After cleaned up USE a NYLON Drain plug
The NYLON are temp/pressure rated (higher then PVC/CPVC) for use in the water heater
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