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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Changing Atwood water heater plug to brass

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Chum lee

Albuquerque, NM

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Posted: 12/30/19 01:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMO, the biggest issue with using dissimilar metals is KNOWING when the plug is "tight" enough. Generally, the plug is tight enough just about 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn past the point where it stops leaking. No more. Using teflon tape for sealing is fine but it can facilitate tightening the plug too much. Remember, pipe threads are tapered and they exert a lot of force on the threads/hole/tank with very little effort and they are easily damaged, especially if you use a large wrench for the initial torque. If the used/reused plug leaks, just buy a new one (whatever material your choose) and don't keep tightening it.

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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 12/30/19 02:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MrWizard wrote:

I am considering a brass plug, as my plastic plug and delicate Alu threads are leaking, even with Teflon tape on the plastic plug

Going to follow this thread

Maybe some pipe dope on a new plastic plug ?

I do drain once a year , and would prefer for it to be removable


Buy a new Nylon plug when they start to seep/leak.

New Nylon plugs are cheap, new water heater, not so much.

Seeping or leaking means the Nylon PLUG is worn out and time to replace.

Teflon in this case just makes things leak worse, no need or reason to use it on the proper Nylon plugs. Teflon reduces the friction which allows one to continue tightening pipe.

As mentioned, pipe threads are tapered meaning the diameter is smaller on one end and increases on the male end (outside thread).

Female end (inside thread)the outside is larger and the further the pipe goes in the smaller it is.

Tapered pipe thread when done properly can actually seal without any need for Teflon or pipe dope.

I have a 110 yr old auto engine which uses spark plugs with tapered pipe threads, no Teflon or pipe dope and it still seals!

I do kind of like that brass pipe extension someone did. However with the cost of brass pipe, fittings and cap it couldn't be cheap.

Camco 2 pack of Nylon plugs $4.56 HERE

My water heater is going on 12 yrs with the original plug, I should buy a replacement soon since it is now worn enough that the plug is almost out of threads (remember, it IS tapered so as the plug wears down it will screw in further until you run out of threads).

I use a socket wrench with a short extension to tighten mine, start threading plug by hand then switch to socket wrench and only tighten enough to stop the seeping and no more.

bguy

The Rock

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Posted: 12/30/19 04:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dissimilar? But the blow off is brass?


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DFord

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Posted: 12/30/19 04:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ksg5000 wrote:

DFord wrote:

My Solution:
[image]
Works great for me. No tools required. I can still slip a plastic tube through the pipe to siphon out the water always left in the bottom of the water heater and often get some of the calcium flakes that end up on the bottom of the tank.


Nice. What metal is the pipe?


I used brass pipe. Everything is available from Ace Hdw, Lowes or HD. The 1/2" IPT adapter to male garden hose is a little hard to find but with a little searching you should be able to find one. The pipe is 1/2" brass. You'll need to measure the length you need for your water heater. The nipples are measured by total length. You lose about 3/8" to 1/2" on each end as you screw it into the fittings.


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dougrainer

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Posted: 12/30/19 05:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DFORD pic looked plastic. You can get a Plastic type extension and do the same thing DFORD has done without using metal. Doug

TurnThePage

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Posted: 12/30/19 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dougrainer wrote:

DFORD pic looked plastic. You can get a Plastic type extension and do the same thing DFORD has done without using metal. Doug
Would that plastic be rated for the heat?


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larry cad

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Posted: 12/31/19 05:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TurnThePage wrote:

dougrainer wrote:

DFORD pic looked plastic. You can get a Plastic type extension and do the same thing DFORD has done without using metal. Doug
Would that plastic be rated for the heat?


PVC pipe is used frequently in hot water systems.


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Dusty R

Charlotte Michigan 48813

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Posted: 12/31/19 06:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

larry cad wrote:

TurnThePage wrote:

dougrainer wrote:

DFORD pic looked plastic. You can get a Plastic type extension and do the same thing DFORD has done without using metal. Doug
Would that plastic be rated for the heat?


PVC pipe is used frequently in hot water systems.


NOT PVC but CPVC is rated for both hot and cold water.

Dusty

TurnThePage

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Posted: 12/31/19 08:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did a little reading. CPVC is rated to 200F.

This sounds like a great winter project. Off to the hardware store.

opnspaces

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Posted: 12/31/19 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At the risk of Murphy or some other mythical rule maker biting me in the butt for admitting this. I'm am still using the original 15 year old nylon plug in my Atwood and I remove it often. The key is don't overtighten it.
Most people overtighten fasteners and in the case of the nylon plug it's easy to do.

Try it my way and I guarantee no leaks and you will stop cursing the nylon plug.

How to remove the plug:
  • Get the socket that fits the plug and a 6 inch extension.
  • Using your fingers slide the socket only up onto the plug.
  • Now hold the socket on the plug with one finger while you use your other hand to snap the extension into the socket.
  • Use a ratchet handle to loosen the plug.
  • Remove the ratchet handle and use your fingers on the 6 inch extension to unscrew the plug.


How to install the plug:
  • Using your fingers start the plug
  • Slide the socket only up onto the plug.
  • Now hold the socket on the plug with one finger while you use your other hand to snap the extension into the socket.
  • Tighten the plug with just your fingers on the extension until it's snug.
  • Put the ratchen handle in the extension.
  • Now tighten only about a 12th of a turn.(like from 12 -1 on a clock face).


That's it, it really doesn't have to be any tighter than that.


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