I need to replcace the 110v electric element on my water heater the previous owner told me it was bad when I got the camper and i double checked it to make sure and it is bad. it's a suburban sw6pe i got a new element ordered through a local rv dealer and its supposed to be here today.
the problem is this old element is frozen solid. there is signs of rust/corrosion around the nut and I cant get it to budge I have a water heater element wrench thin wall 1-1/2" which is really just a piece of pipe with the 1-1/2" hex stamped into it and i'm not sure how much torque that thin wrench will take. i thought about taking a cheap northern or harbor freight 1-1/2" socket and grinding it down thin enough to fit in the recess so I could put a long 1/2" ratchet on it, but i also thought maybe that would be way too much torque and I could either round it off or strip the threads in the water heater rendering it useless and having to but a new heater.
I'm going camping in a couple of weeks for my first trip I would like to be able to use the electric side and save my LP but I dont want to disable my water heater or have to buy a new one before I go I've been soaking it with PB Blaster for a couple of days now too have any of you had this problem before or any sugestions.
Get a good 1 1-2" deep socket, soak the threads with WD40, then apply gradual pressure with 4' breaker bar.
When you install the new ones, use the liquid teflon thread sealant, it'll prevent the unit from freezing in place again.
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Almost had the same issue as you. I ended up borrowing a socket from a friend. I believe it was a 16 point socket that provided extra grip. Got it out and made sure I applied some pipe thread sealant to it before installing. You really dont have many options.
Would running the heater on lp for a bit to heat up the tank make a difference? Would the expansion help or hurt the cause, I don't know.
Don't risk having no hot water for your trip and save this project for when you get back. We use hot water a couple times a day and just run the heater on gas for 30 minutes at a time as we need. It won't use a lot of gas.
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thanks for all the suggestions guys, I've considered all these options especially thought about running the l.p. to heat the water tank up and maybe the heat will, help expand the threads enough to release it don't know if it would work or not but the l.p. plumbing has to be removed to gain access to the electric element.
I think I'll wait til we return from our first trip and see what else goes wrong that I need to fix when we get home as well hahaha