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Old 10-02-2015, 02:37 PM   #1
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Water Heater Plug

I have followed the forum for 6 or so years and have seen all kinds of problems addressing W/H malfunctions. I don't remember seeing one of this nature. My W/H Atwood 6 gal DSI blew the head off the drain plug today. The threads are still intact in the W/H drain line. The W/H is Jun 2008 vintage and has been removed and re-tighten quit a few times over the years. The water has seemed to be very hot lately, i.e, will burn your hand hot. Wonder if that could have had a impact on the incident. Would not the pressure relief valve popped before enough pressure built to blow the head off the drain plug? Don't see any way to adjust the thermostat. Called Atwood Tech Services. They were very friendly and tried to be helpful. They suggested using a small saw to weaken the threads in a couple of places and try to collapse them and also maybe glue a dowl rod inside and try to back the threads out.

Anyone have any experience along this line?
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Old 10-02-2015, 02:42 PM   #2
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I`m with you, that is a new one on me too. You should be able to get that out though with a bit of patience.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:06 PM   #3
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I have a pipe plug extractor and a tool that is tapered and fluted like the pipe extractor I bought at an irrigation store. Suggest you spray P B.Penetrant and then try to remove. The pressure relief valve needs to be exercised at least once a year that will not make it last longer it it only tells you it can open.Antidotally I can't count how many pressure relief valves have failed upon test or within the next few days of being opened.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:10 PM   #4
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I have not seen it before on a TT, but have seen similar issues in other applications. what are you using for a plug? Standard plastic or have you upgraded to another plug, such as PVC, brass or something else?

I would assume you were using the standard OEM plastic plug that came with the WH. I replaced mine after a number of times of use, as the threads appeared to be weakening, and I could see the head twisting. I suspect you over torqued the plug a few times and the plastic fatigued and weekend below the pressure relief set point. I have brass , some say do not use brass. But I spoke with the metallurgist at work, and he said in this application it was just fine.

As for removing the threads; if you can get in there I would try one of the following; a left handed drill bit (hard to find) a bit larger than the plug opening size, a left handed tap, or a tool called an "Easy-Out". The Easy-Out would be the best option, and fairly cheap. All three should be able to grip the plastic plug housing and un thread it.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:17 PM   #5
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My opinion is, get rid of that plastic plug and buy a expandable neoprene plug. They last longer and work fantastic! Shaw plugs.. Turn-Tite makes them.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:19 PM   #6
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And to get the old plug out, use a damaged screw remover. Available at Lowes, Home Depot, Etc..
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWP723 View Post
My opinion is, get rid of that plastic plug and buy a expandable neoprene plug. They last longer and work fantastic! Shaw plugs.. Turn-Tite makes them.
Do you have a part number or plug size?
Thanks in advance
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:50 PM   #8
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Those nylon plugs do wear out. I used one too long and tightened it too much and the head came off. To get the remaining plug out, I used a hacksaw very carefully - remember the metal threads in the tank are aluminum - and sawed several slots, or almost slots, in the plastic threads. I used a small screwdriver to push the plastic threads in, and made a deformed area in the remaining plastic threads I could grab onto with a pair of needle nosed pliers and twisted and pulled the remaining plastic threads out. There was a slight roughening of the aluminum threads in the water heater tank; I carefully screwed a steel 1/2" pipe nipple into the tank drain outlet and that straightened up the threads. This repair is not hard, it takes longer to explain than to do. But do be careful with the hacksaw!

I learned not to use a nylon plug too long; when the cap of the plug gets close to the tank, replace the plug.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:13 PM   #9
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This is a double post.
It also appears under Travel Trailers with several more responses.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:54 PM   #10
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I had one blow out on a Atwood years ago. I did the same thing rvhiker did. Cut it down to just before the threads, pulled it out with a small screwdriver and needle nose pliers
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