Anode stuck

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Ursusj2

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Feb 25, 2024
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Raleigh NC
Hello, I am new to trailer camping. I 2024 Casita with a Suburban water heater. I emptied it about 10 days ago and tried to replace the anode. It’s about half way screwed in and now won’t budge in or out. I’ve tried taking a gamer to the socket wrench handle and it didn’t move. My guess is I’ve got it gross threaded. Any suggestions on getting it unstuck?
 
Was it difficult to turn before it jammed? I don't see any way it could suddenly get cross-threaded in the middle of unscrewing it, so maybe it was crossed from the git-go. The other possibility is that the anode portion has bent or otherwise become jammed against the sidewall or in the threads.

I have no good ideas except lots of penetrating oil and keep working it back & forth in hopes it will begin to move. I would expect that movement inward is more likely to be successful than out, but that's just an educated guess.
 
In addition to the use of penetrating oil, try working the anode back and forth, or in and out to work the penetrating oil into the threads. Hammering on the tools is a very bad idea. You could put a pipe or something on the handle of your socket wrench but just keep in mind that too much force may cause other damage.
 
The way I read his post, he emptied the tank 10 days ago so the old anode was removed.
To the Op , if you have it in 1/2 way, chances are good it is not cross threaded unless it went hard from the very 1st turn.
All I would do is put some type of handle on the ratchet and crank it out. Once out, I would also get a tap and clean up the threads. Take a close look at the threads on the plug. Good luck. Please let us know how you make out..

Oh and welcome to the forum
 
If you know someone that has an impact wrench you could try that. Put it at low setting first. The hammering action may break it loose. If the threads are bad bad an auto parts store my be able to lend a re-threadig tap. They work differently than a standard tap.
 
The threads on the anode rod are NPT (national pipe thread) so it is actually tapered as is the hole it goes into. This is so it will make a water tight seal. Did you note how far the anode was threaded in before you took it out?

It has been my experience with things like this brute force can create more problems than it solves.
 
If it's cross threaded, which is likely, your options are limited. There are no magic fixes. It's likely you're going to need to shut off the propane, vent it off, then using a propane torch with mapp gas heat the fitting. Using a cheater like Kirk described apply a steady force. It should back off now. If you haven't gaulded the female on the tank too badly you may be able to chase the thread and clean it up. If the thread on the plug is bad you may need to replace it ( any same size plug will work until you can get another anode). This time use your fingers and not a tool to to start the plug, if it won't thread up take it out and try again.
 
To the OP, do you have any idea how many turns you got before it started to turn hard. With tapered pipe threads which you have will turn two to three turns freely until it starts to turn harder.
 
If it's cross threaded, which is likely, your options are limited. There are no magic fixes. It's likely you're going to need to shut off the propane, vent it off, then using a propane torch with mapp gas heat the fitting. Using a cheater like Kirk described apply a steady force. It should back off now. If you haven't gaulded the female on the tank too badly you may be able to chase the thread and clean it up. If the thread on the plug is bad you may need to replace it ( any same size plug will work until you can get another anode). This time use your fingers and not a tool to to start the plug, if it won't thread up take it out and try again.
Sounds like a plan. The big thing the OP needs to be shure about is if he is going to install a plug that he buys one with NPT threads not tubing threads. I ran into that helping someone that had done that. Fortunately we were able to clean up the threads.
Bill
 
I re-read the original and now it's not clear to me whether he is removing the old anode or installing a new one after a successful removal. Hope the OP will come back and clear this up, cause I think it makes a difference on the best approach.
 
The threads on the anode rod are NPT (national pipe thread) so it is actually tapered as is the hole it goes into. This is so it will make a water tight seal. Did you note how far the anode was threaded in before you took it out?

It has been my experience with things like this brute force can create more problems than it solves.
Sorry for the late response. The anode was fully in the hole, no threads show, when I removed it to empty the water heater. When I tried to reinstall it, I started manually and used a socket wrench to tighten in more. It stopped going any further, leaving about 1/4 inch of the thread still showing and I couldn’t back it out.

I finally got some help getting it out for a much stronger person. They put a new one in, however it also left a bit of the thread still showing, so not all the way in as originally. I’m guessing the original was put in with an impact driver. So am leaving it as is. I’ll be using the water heater again in 2 weeks so will keep an eye on it.
 
Sorry for the late response. The anode was fully in the hole, no threads show, when I removed it to empty the water heater. When I tried to reinstall it, I started manually and used a socket wrench to tighten in more. It stopped going any further, leaving about 1/4 inch of the thread still showing and I couldn’t back it out.

I finally got some help getting it out for a much stronger person. They put a new one in, however it also left a bit of the thread still showing, so not all the way in as originally. I’m guessing the original was put in with an impact driver. So am leaving it as is. I’ll be using the water heater again in 2 weeks so will keep an eye on it.
So dodged a bullet there, glad you got it.
 
Now I’m confused. Were you trying to put the old plug back in or a new plug.
If it’s a new plug, Don’t go by how many threads were left exposed on the first plug. Because the threads are tapered, if the new plug is just a few thousands bigger than the original, it will never screw in as far as the original. You screw it in till it stops and walk away.

I would never use an impact gun especially on a tapered plug.
 
They put a new one in, however it also left a bit of the thread still showing, so not all the way in as originally.
The proper way to install the new anode is to tighten it until it stops leaking and no more. You are very lucky that you didn't cross thread the old one and damage the tank thread with your hammering. It is OK to use a small amount of thread sealant compound on the threads but not a lot as you should not prevent electrical contact with the anode.
I’m guessing the original was put in with an impact driver.
I am quite sure that it was not. That would be a good way to damage the water heater tank and possibley distroy it.
I’ll be using the water heater again in 2 weeks so will keep an eye on it.
That is the proper thing and if there is a small amount of leakage, tighten only enough to make it stop and do not use any hammers!
 
The proper way to install the new anode is to tighten it until it stops leaking and no more. You are very lucky that you didn't cross thread the old one and damage the tank thread with your hammering. It is OK to use a small amount of thread sealant compound on the threads but not a lot as you should not prevent electrical contact with the anode.

I am quite sure that it was not. That would be a good way to damage the water heater tank and possibley distroy it.

That is the proper thing and if there is a small amount of leakage, tighten only enough to make it stop and do not use any No more hammers!

The proper way to install the new anode is to tighten it until it stops leaking and no more. You are very lucky that you didn't cross thread the old one and damage the tank thread with your hammering. It is OK to use a small amount of thread sealant compound on the threads but not a lot as you should not prevent electrical contact with the anode.

I am quite sure that it was not. That would be a good way to damage the water heater tank and possibley distroy it.

That is the proper thing and if there is a small amount of leakage, tighten only enough to make it stop and do not use any hammers!
Got it, no more hammers. Thank you for your reply Kirk, you’ve been very helpful!
 
Now I’m confused. Were you trying to put the old plug back in or a new plug.
If it’s a new plug, Don’t go by how many threads were left exposed on the first plug. Because the threads are tapered, if the new plug is just a few thousands bigger than the original, it will never screw in as far as the original. You screw it in till it stops and walk away.

I would never use an impact gun especially on a tapered plug.
Thanks Rene, that’s where I left it. I’m new to this trailer/rv thing and really do appreciate your help!
 

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