Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Papaw2812, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. Papaw2812

    Papaw2812 Junior Member

    Has anyone ever ran into this problem? The owner before me over tighten the plastic drain plug on the hot water heater, how do you get the threaded part out of the drain hole? I talked to a dealer and he said it was a pain to get out, anyone with a trick for this?
     
  2. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    If you are saying the hex head of the plug broke off and the threads are left in the water heater, it will be tricky. Since the plug is hollow behind the head you should be able to VERY carefully take a hack saw blade and stick it through the plug. Cut the plastic out to the threads in the water heater. DO NOT cut into the water heater. Do this 3 or 4 times around the plug. You should have weakened the plug enough to take a pick and break out what is left in the threads. Take your time and you should be able to get it. If you start getting frustrated, take a walk and try again later.
     
  3. Papaw2812

    Papaw2812 Junior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    Thanks, that's just what happen the head of of plug broke off with the hollow part or threads in hole, I will try this and take my time.
     
  4. jpwelte

    jpwelte New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    You could use an easy out to get the drain plug out. This will keep you from possibly cutting into the water heater threads. Drill the center of the plug out, and get an easy out from a hardware store or home building center that will match the drilled hole. Insert the easy out and it will grab the plastic when you turn it out. Hope this helps.

    Jeff Welte
    Rockford, IL
     
  5. kitfoxjh

    kitfoxjh New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    Once you have removed the old nylon, replace it with brass. I have always done this with the new units I,ve bought to avoid this problem.
     
  6. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    I too, thought of an easy-out. But since the plug is hollow, it would take a large one and I did not know what size or if the wall is thick enough. Being plastic, the easy-out will dig in.
     
  7. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    Grandview
    Have you ever run across the brass plug that Atwood has with a T handle on it? I was just told about it by a friend who bought one and it is in an Atwood package. I would think that it would be a big imporvement over the hollow plastic ones?


    Papaw2812,
    I just had that same problem with mine about a month ago. I got is out in exactly the way that Grandview suggests, excpet that once I had a slot in each side I found a putty knife with a rounded end that would fit tightly into the slotted plug and managed to turn it in that way. I got most of it and then picked out the rest. I talked with a tech at Stinnette RV in Louisville and he says I should use a new plug each year when I drain and flush it.
     
  8. kitfoxjh

    kitfoxjh New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    Grandview, What I do is when I replace it with brass, I start with a brass bushing and then put in an auto radiator petcock and it makes it easy to drain. Also if you get the petcock with the little tube extention, you can put a plastic hose over the end to drain it clear of the RV.
     
  9. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    I have seen a lot with the radiator petcocks, but I will look into the part from Atwood. I have not seen that.
     
  10. bldrbob

    bldrbob New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    I bought a trailer that the previous owner had replaced the plug with a ball valve.The problem is the aluminum Atwood tank reacted with the dissimilar metal and galvanic corrosion made some holes in the tank.I had them welded and replaced the metal valve with a cpvc adapter and cpvc ball valve.
    BOB
     
  11. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    Yes, that is why Suburban uses an Anode Rod. That is a rod that attracts the chemicals that would attack the aluminum tank. You replace this rod usually each year. There is a rod for Atwood, but it is only aftermarket.

    Was your ball valve brass? I would not think brass would cause a problem.
     
  12. bldrbob

    bldrbob New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    The nipple and valve were stainless.Rather than take a chance I used cpvc which is potable water grade.It is also rated for hot water.I don't know where brass and aluminum are on the galvanic scale but iny difference can eventually be a problem.
    BOB
     
  13. bldrbob

    bldrbob New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    I just went to google and typed in galvanic scale.Aluminum is at the low end just after zinc and brass is at the other end just past stainless.That means when water is added the brass starts eating at the aluminum.That is not a good thing. :disapprove:
    BOB
     
  14. kitfoxjh

    kitfoxjh New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    So far, I have not had any problems with the dissimilar metals, but hearing that I may change mine. No sense in tempting fate. Thanks....
     
  15. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    I am surprised at your findings. Most fittings in an RV are, if not plastic, brass. That includes the brass nipple at the water heater where everybody runs the plastic pipes to. I have installed lots of by-pass kits and all those valves are brass. Having worked in a machine shop for 20 years, I know about dissimilar metals, but I have not seen a problem with brass at the water heater.
     
  16. bldrbob

    bldrbob New Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    It's possible that brass is OK.It is also possible something else caused the holes in my tank.The trailer was used and I don't know how long the valve was in.I do know there were leaks in the weld holding the adapter that the nipple was threaded into.I didn't reinstall the stainless fittings.
    BOB
     
  17. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    I was told in a seminar that brass is OK with the aluminum tank of an Atwood water heater, but not to use an anode in one. Suburban uses a steel tank and that is the reason for the anode use with it. Atwood says that the anodes will make corrosion worse on their aluminum tank but that they do not need any anode as long as you use the plastic drain plugs or, brass ones.

    I has a water heater that had one of the brass petcocks installed in it and it was OK for draining when we were week-enders, but it was a pain to remove when it was time to flush out the water heater. I would not use one now that we are fulltime because I only remove the drain plug when it is time to flush. I don't think that the petcock would allow the minerals to drain out, and I also use a white vinigar flush once each year as well as one of the flush wands that you put into the water heater through the drain hole. It is amazing what all you get out by doing that, at least when fulltime!

    On the brass plug with handle, I sent an email to Atwood via the "contact us" on the website, but it has been more than a month and no response!
     
  18. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Broken plastic drain plug on water heater

    Kirk, sorry about the delay on the brass plug. We have been busy (thankfully) and I have not had time to check it out. I will be going to the Louisville RV dealer show next week and Suburban and Atwood will have displays and I can get the lowdown. I can get back to you then. You are absolutely right to flush and rinse with vinager once a year.
     

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