Originally Posted by shadester
I agree most atwoods don't because as you said they are aluminum. But I pulled one out of my wilderness trailer a few years ago after bought it and it wasn't pretty. I think the rod was eating itself. I thought I saw an atwood anode rod a few days ago at camping world. So what gives?
So doing a little research, it looks like Atwood (or Atwood Bowen) moved to the aluminum/zinc coated tanks in 1988. So yes, prior to that there were probably Atwood anode rods. I knew some of what I just found but the internet filled in a few details; FWIW probably 25% of the details are inaccurate.
If you pulled an anode rod from a tank at it appeared to be "eating" itself, that is a good thing. These are sacrificial rods that are meant to be consumed rather than allowing electrolysis eat the metal of the tank itself. If you pulled it from an aluminum tank, it is possibly not a great thing as it was probably attached to a metal plug, that introduced an electrolysis process that wouldn't have been there in the first place.
Note that I read care should be taken with cleaning the Atwood tanks too as this is just a cladding on a tank that I assume would be regular metal. If you were to scratch or otherwise compromise the cladding, presumably the tank would start to corrode internally at that spot and eventually leak.
Thanks @farnik78 for the link to the Camco tool. On my Amazon wish list now. Up to now I have been removing the shroud from the burner to get enough space to get pliers in there. This should make life much easier!