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Author Topic: Stuck Water Heater Plug  (Read 4273 times)

tmccutcheon

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Stuck Water Heater Plug
« on: December 12, 2011, 09:53:49 AM »
I bought a new Voltage fifth wheel this fall and aside from a few issues with the largest slide all has worked perfectly.  I winterized last weekend but could not get the water heater plug off.  I was afraid to turn too hard out of fear of stripping the plug head.  Admittedly, I was trying to use a wrench since I did not have the correct size socket.  Anyway, had a few punch-list items so took back to dealer and they are fixing and while there I asked them to "unstick" the water heater plug.  The repair guy told me he would get me a quote and I told him it was a warranty issue since the plug must be corroded.  We'll see what happens when I pick it up but I am not going to pay for them to turn a stuck plug after I bought the rig from them 2 months ago.  Anyway, has anyone else had a hard time getting the water heater plug off? 

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 10:33:00 AM »
Nylon plug or metal? Atwood heater or Suburban?

It's not all that unusual for the plug to get fairly well stuck, but not usually on a rig as new as yours. The nylon plugs are used on the Atwoods so that they won't damage the aluminum tank. The nylon plugs themselves can be a nuisance (definitely use a socket), but it avoids more serious problems and you can always cut the old one out and scrape the tank threads clean if you have to.
Gary
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BruceinFL

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 10:40:52 AM »
Whatever happens, get a socket to fit the plug.
Bruce A.
2004 Alpenlite Valhalla 29RK 5W
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Icemaker

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2011, 11:00:24 AM »
Whatever happens, get a socket to fit the plug.

and if it's nylon a 6 point socket will work better...the 12 points tend to round off the flats..on my old trailer I used a deep socket to get past the fuel line..
You might want to consider a short nipple and a 1/4 turn ball valve if you have the room ..makes draining so much easier.
George


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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 11:42:46 AM »
Quote
You might want to consider a short nipple and a 1/4 turn ball valve if you have the room ..makes draining so much easier.

Easier to drain the water, but harder to get out the accumulated salts in the bottom of the tank.  But you may not have that problem - depends on the mineral content of the water where you travel. Some years when I flush the heater I get a ton of the white sandy stuff, and other years little or none.
Gary
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Icemaker

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 11:51:46 AM »
Gary..you think a full flow, 1/2 valve on a like size line, would restrict the drainage enough to allow a build up of deposits..???
George


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tmccutcheon

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 07:01:31 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  It's a metal plug but not sure of the make as the rig (and documents that are in it) are at the dealer.  I will definetly get the correct socket size.

denmarc

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 10:00:04 AM »
A metal plug?  That's a new one to me.
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.  It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.

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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 11:30:00 AM »
Quote
Gary..you think a full flow, 1/2 valve on a like size line, would restrict the drainage enough to allow a build up of deposits..

Yes, I do. 1/2" is much smaller than the drain opening, probably about half the cross-sectional area, plus any type of valve makes it more difficult to get a flushing tool (nozzle, extendios, whatever) inside. But that's only a concern if you get a lot of salts accumulating in the tank. And maybe not a big deal even if you do. An inch of white gritty stuff in the bottom of the tank maybe doesn't affect things a whole lot, but I prefer to flush it out if I can.
Gary
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Ops

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 02:36:10 AM »
After it's out, use a teflon base pipe dope (NOT teflon tape) and snug it just enough so it doesn't leak.  I'm a retired plumber, and I've seen a few that needed to be heated with a torch the first time..

Ops
1998 Jayco Eagle 220 behind an 01 Dodge, Cummins powered.

COMer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 06:02:28 AM »
I think you need a 1 1/16 socket.  Mine does.  And maybe an extension if there are lines in the way.
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

Robby9

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2011, 10:23:59 PM »
I think you need a 1 1/16 socket.  Mine does.  And maybe an extension if there are lines in the way.

Same here and I really had to put some muscle into getting it loose the first time.

kjansen

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2011, 07:27:38 AM »
OPS
I don't want to steal a thread, but could you expand on why it is better to use teflon dope instead of tape?
Keven Jansen
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Icemaker

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2011, 07:45:45 AM »
OPS
I don't want to steal a thread, but could you expand on why it is better to use teflon dope instead of tape?

When you use the tape you need to leave the first 2 treads of the fitting clear..often the tape gets cut by the threads and a small piece of the tape is lost to the system..it can get stuck under a valve seat and foul it..a PIA in a water system..but dangerous in a gas system, if a gas valve doesn't seat fully, remember the tape, or dope is a thread lubricant and it is the metal, or other material, threads that make the seal..there is Teflon in some pipe dopes, which is preferred for most applications, and the chance of a problem is greatly, almost nil, minimized..I use caution to only use an amount that leaves a small bead when it is fully tightened and to not allow the first threads to be excessively coated..I holler at my trainees for excessive pipe dope on a finished connection..looks unprofessional & messy.
George


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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2011, 08:08:54 AM »
There is a special variety of teflon tape made for gas lines - it is yellow instead of white and a thicker, heavier duty material. All the plumbing gurus caution against using the regular white teflon tape on a gas line - always use the yellow.

I don't see any material difference in getting stray teflon tape or stray pipe dope in a gas line. Either one is likely to clog up an orifice somewhere. One needs to be very neat about applying either to the threads in a gas fitting, avoiding an extra "slop" that might get into the lines.

A pipe sealant fluid like TFE may be the best solution. It has teflon and PTFE for a sealant and also an anti-seize ingredient and works with both water and gas lines.
http://www.sealfast.com/d_teflon_tape.html
Gary
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Icemaker

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2011, 08:27:29 AM »
Gary ..yes..I have taught & been taught this for *years*. being refrigeration primarily for my earlier years it was pounded in our heads as the compressor mfgs would void if any evidence of the tape was found in a returned compressor..I've carried that over in my pipefitting..
I agree the yellow is a relative new, to me, addition along with the SS rated tape also.. as you said, and I tried to, "One needs to be very neat about applying either to the threads in a gas fitting, avoiding an extra "slop" that might get into the lines." That says it in a nut shell.
Thank you for clarifying..
George


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ruthandken CDN

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2011, 08:55:33 PM »
Gary, where would I find the yellow silicone tape for LP fittings?  I've looked in a couple places but can't find it.
Thanks..Ruth
Ken & Ruth,
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denmarc

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2011, 11:07:57 AM »
Personally, I have found Icemaker's first suggestion to work just fine for me over the years.   A Teflon based dope on the threads.  And I don't even put the dope on the bottom couple of threads for "Just in case".

Have never had any leaks using the soapy water test.
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.  It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.

Dr. Seuss

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2011, 11:56:59 AM »
Lowes carries it - the Oatey brand. So do most Ace hardware stores. Or order it from Amazon or ebay if a store doesn't have it.

If they don't recognize "yellow" teflon tape, ask for PFTE "gas" tape.
http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/ProductDetails.aspx?SKU=4027082
Gary
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ruthandken CDN

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2011, 02:54:36 PM »
Thanks Gary, will pick some up next time out.  Merry Christmas.

Ken & Ruth
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PatrioticStabilist

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2011, 10:51:16 PM »
This is a very timely thread.  I looked at our old Silver Streak water heater and I saw where hubby had removed what was left of the plug.  I was telling him didn't see how he could put anything back in there, he said he can use a pipe plug, have to find out what that is.

But I was looking at some not so old travel trailers to buy one and put on one of our lots to rent.  to much work needs to be done yet on Silver number 2 to rent it.

So I looked at a 2009, the plug was rusty and looked difficult to remove, same on a 2007.  I ended up buying the 2007 Jayco 28 ft 5th wheel with 1 slide. It's a cute little trailer, had it rented before I bought it.  But I must say on inspecting it closely I was very disappointed in the construction.  Inside it is gorgeous but so cheaply made, no moldings, it is tape!!  Yes tape instead of moldings, underneath a very lightweight looking trailer.  It will serve its purpose and I think I got a decent buy so will use it.  But even our Winnie is much better constructed and the old Eagle and Streak puts them all to shame.  What happened to the RV industry? 

The unit is a repo, the tag had never been removed from the couch and the dealer said the packing was still in the microwave and oven.  He is a very very small dealer and a joy to work with.  But I asked about the water heaters and he said they get like that even if not very old.

I know the Eagle doesn't look like that.  I remember talking about it and read in the manuals that it is gas but had an addon electric.  I know when I posted a picture that is what you guys said, they added an electric cord that is plugged into an outlet in the closet, we thought it was jerry rigged, turns out it came that way.  I'm guessing propane was eating their lunch for a 10 gallon water heat and with a washer.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 10:56:19 PM by PatrioticStabilist »
Added 1992 American Eagle diesel pusher 38 ft

Winnie Sightseer 29 ', 2005 Class A 2 slides!  Bought 5/5/2010, Sold 1/7/2012. Added Tru Center , Trac Bar,  Air bags, Bilstein shocks Compressor for air bags, new awnings . New tires. New satellite dome, 2 flat screens
SOLD 6/17-10 Ford Aluma Lite

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2011, 09:55:18 AM »
Quote
What happened to the RV industry? 

Cheap is what happened. Far too often, Americans buy based solely on the look of the amenities plus the price.  Every RV is made to sell at a certain price point, and the components, fit and finish are a slave to that objective.

You will likely find that the wallboard in that trailer is a composite, with paper veneer simulating wood grain (or wallpaper), so taped seams is consistent with that.
Gary
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PatrioticStabilist

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2011, 10:25:26 PM »
Yes, it is a wallboard, the dealer and I talked about that before I bought it.  Very very cheaply made in my opinion.

My 2005 Winnebago is extremely well constructed compared to this.  I was not pleasantly surprised.  I'm beginning to think getting old ones and fixing them may be better then the newer ones.  And the dealer told me the prices for these things new, absolutely outrageous. 
Added 1992 American Eagle diesel pusher 38 ft

Winnie Sightseer 29 ', 2005 Class A 2 slides!  Bought 5/5/2010, Sold 1/7/2012. Added Tru Center , Trac Bar,  Air bags, Bilstein shocks Compressor for air bags, new awnings . New tires. New satellite dome, 2 flat screens
SOLD 6/17-10 Ford Aluma Lite

tmccutcheon

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2011, 10:10:37 AM »
Ok, just heard from the dealer where my 5'er is and the water heater plug was cross-threaded, so they had to recap the water heater.

Peanutman

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2011, 02:55:33 PM »
A while back i was working on some propane lines and while picking up some fittings i looked for the yellow gas tape and could not find it so i went ahead and bought the Teflon pipe dope.

I was later told by my next door neighbor a RV tech, never use Teflon tape on any type of gas or refrigerant fittings because it could stop up jets or regulators. He also told me there is little difference in the yellow or white Teflon tape. The yellow is a little thicker and is yellow in color to be used on gas fittings.

I was curious and googled it and sure enough it says they are no different other than color.

I know the yellow tape is more expensive than the white???
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2011, 09:22:58 PM »
I think you should Google it again and check some more reliable sources. The yellow tape is thicker and chemically able to withstand use with natural gas, LPG, and other hydrocarbon fuels. It conforms to a different material spec than the white tape.

I'm not championing the use of the tape vs pipe dope - just trying to avoid misinformation.
Gary
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Peanutman

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2011, 08:05:47 AM »
I think you should Google it again and check some more reliable sources. The yellow tape is thicker and chemically able to withstand use with natural gas, LPG, and other hydrocarbon fuels. It conforms to a different material spec than the white tape.

I'm not championing the use of the tape vs pipe dope - just trying to avoid misinformation.
Gary i am in no way an authority on this subject. I got my info from Wikipedia under thread seal tape. Seems info is all over the place. Every place i look the info is slightly different. Wikipedia seems to show a source that states back in 1970 some governing counsel decided there should be different colors and thicknesses of thread tape. White for plumbing, yellow for gas and green for oxygen as it is oil free.

 Each has a different thickness. Nowhere can i find that each contains different compounds to withstand the recommended application.

I am like most, i think that thread tape, or as i have always called it friction tape is just that, it allows fittings to screw together without binding due to burrs in the metal or binding in the plastic. The ability for it to seal a leak is just a matter of making the fitting joint a tighter seal.

After what i have learned i would probably use the color recommend for the application or the right pipe dope which also comes in different colors.

After what everyone has said about thread tape in general possibly stopping up a gas orifice or regulator i will stick to Teflon tape on water connections and use the appropriate pipe dope on everything else.

Just my 2 cents and i was not trying to misinform anyone.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 08:29:32 AM by Peanutman »
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Icemaker

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2011, 09:08:32 AM »
Sorry i quoted myself. ???

I too do that...often I'm told ...LOL...
As for our post I have been a refer tech for close to 40 years..we don't use tape on refrigeration fittings because compressor mfg's will void any warranty claim if they find it inside the compressor. Also it has caused issues w/gas ,hydrocarbon or other, due to not being used correctly and pieces being cut-off and traveling through the piping  interfering with control valves and plugging orifices. That being said, most pipefitters use it on most applications just insuring the first 2 threads are bare to prevent the chance of tape getting into the line. Some overkill and also use Teflon dope too, sparingly.
I've always called friction tape the electrical tape that is used to over-wrap a splice to give it more protection. It is rubbery and is stretched as applied and is a pia to remove..but gives the connection better resistance to the elements.
George


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95 F-150 4X4 4.9
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Fresno, Ohio most of the time

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2011, 09:19:27 AM »
Quote
I am like most, i think that thread tape, or as i have always called it friction tape is just that,
??  Friction tape is something altogether different than teflon or pipe thread tape.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friction_tape
Gary
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Peanutman

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Re: Stuck Water Heater Plug
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2011, 09:56:09 AM »
??  Friction tape is something altogether different than teflon or pipe thread tape.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friction_tape
Yes, in today's lingo they mean the same. Go to Home Depot and ask for friction tape and they will give you pipe thread or Teflon tape. I have always called it friction tape until i was corrected by an old timer in a real hardware store some time back.

I don't know if i have ever seen real friction tape and i am 47. Not saying you are an old timer, but it does seem to be a generational term used incorrectly. Friction tape that is. Maybe if i was a plumber or electrician i would know the correct term.

The point i was making earlier is are there proper codes for what color thread tape to use on what application? All that i read is the thickness of each color is different and it does point out that the green tape is oil free for use on oxygen applications.

Not wanting to argue here, just wondering what is code, is there a code and where does it say each color has a different chemical compound for it's application. I am just asking and learning as we converse.
2011 Heartland Greystone 32RE, Chevy Crew 2500 HD 4X4 Duramax 6-speed Allison.