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Old 09-27-2014, 05:43 PM   #1
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Atwood GC6AA-9E Tank is leaking

Hello,

My Hot Water tank is leaking at the input. Should I do a pre-emptive 'replace the tank' or can the corroded fitting be cleaned and re-installed? A replacement tank is around $200 from various sources, but I'm not sure this repair is something I can do.

Atwood 91593 Water Heater Replacement Inner Tank Kit Camper Trailer RV

The other option would be to replace the entire water heater, but I'm trying to save money in the short run. It still heats wonderfully well on both electric and propane.

Opinions?
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:47 PM   #2
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Atwood GC6AA-9E Tank is leaking

If the leak source is in the threads or fitting I would try a replacement fitting first before spending larger sums of cash on a tank, or new water heater.


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Old 09-27-2014, 06:09 PM   #3
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Special Tools?

Do I need a special tool to take this fitting off?Click image for larger version

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ID:	222988 Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-27-2014, 06:47 PM   #4
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You'll need a Pex crimp tool to put it back on, and, the tool is rather large, so getting it in there will depend on how much clearance you have to get in there. To remove the Pex, simply cut the metal band. Or, cut the Pex tubing and then cut the band when you get the brass fitting out. The brass fitting should just unscrew from the tank...

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Old 09-27-2014, 07:31 PM   #5
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Thanks

Thanks! I'll post the results here.

Philip
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Old 09-27-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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If you are only replacing the fitting, and do not want to spend the $ for a pex crimp tool, or think the clearance is too tight to use it, you could reconnect to the cut off pex with a compression fitting like those made by Quest or Flair-it. From the tank, all you will need is a 1/2" MPT elbow.

Should the tank structure be leaking, you can replace just the tank, and it is only a little more difficult than replacing the whole unit. I just replaced the whole unit (G6A-8E) on my 1998 because I could then salvage a boat load of spare parts from the old unit.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:13 PM   #7
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The easiest fittings to use are the all brass SharkBites. Home Depot usually has a good stock of them. Simply cut your PEX and insert it all the way into the fitting. You're DONE!!

I use these almost exclusively for plumbing repairs and I have yet to be called back for a leaker........
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:53 PM   #8
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Has anyone used the Flair-It plastic fittings attached directly to the hot water outlet on the Atwood water heaters? I'm wondering if the plastic can withstand the temperature when in direct contact with the tank, as it would be if screwed into the hot water outlet.

The reason I'm curious is that I've had two tanks fail from these little pin hole leaks that develop in the tank from the inside out. I was wondering if avoiding brass fitting would help prolong the life of of the tank. Any sense to that?
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertth View Post
Has anyone used the Flair-It plastic fittings attached directly to the hot water outlet on the Atwood water heaters? I'm wondering if the plastic can withstand the temperature when in direct contact with the tank, as it would be if screwed into the hot water outlet.

The reason I'm curious is that I've had two tanks fail from these little pin hole leaks that develop in the tank from the inside out. I was wondering if avoiding brass fitting would help prolong the life of of the tank. Any sense to that?
Plastic fittings should not be indirect contact with the hot water output of the tank. They will eventually fail. You can get around this with an 18"-24" steel braided extension connected directly to the tank, then to the PEX.
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:45 AM   #10
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Thanks. That's is what I did the first time I replaced my tank. I used 18" stainless steel braided hoses from the brass fitting on the tank to the flair-it fittings that attached to the pex (or my case polybutylene). The first tank lasted from 1996 to 2009. The second only lasted until 2015 (only in filtered Tucson water). Note: the polybutylene has not leaked, so far at least, but I have always keep the pressure low and the pipes have never frozen.

I also used a Hotrod assist for some of the time on the old tank and the whole time on the new tank.

Something, either the brass fittings, the water or the hotrod, I suspect, has caused the tanks to fail. The tanks show the development of these tiny pinhole leaks. I want to avoid this in the future, either by installing a soft water system or by changing the fittings or removing the hotrod.

(It can't just be from not draining and cleaning the tank periodically can it? Although the interval between draining and rinsing the tank gradually went from 4 times per year to > 1 per year, that couldn't result in a failure within 6 years vs 13 years, could it?)

Any ideas? If you have seen forums contributions where these issues are discussed, please include links (if you know of them). Thanks.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:12 AM   #11
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I've puzzled over the brass fitting question for some time. Both to replace the factory plastic drain plug, and at the inside water in and out connections. It seems like the galvanic corrosion issue is not much of a problem in dry settings, but with moisture present, it is a concern. I now have used Qest MPT nipples at the water heater (to attach a stainless braided connector) for over 5 years with no problems. I've read reports from sailboat owners who have used them for over 15 years with no problems. Just for insurance, I do have a portable "Watchdog Water Alarm" (small, inexpensive, battery operated) below the tank.

I once repaired a pinhole leak in the aluminum weld at the tank fitting (did the brass cause this?) with J-B Weld. It lasted the life of the tank.

I should also note that replacing the tank only, is only slightly more difficult than replacing the whole unit. When I last replaced my whole unit, I saved all the attached parts. With all those parts as spares, next time I'm only going to replace the tank.

I too have noticed a similar varied tank life. I attributed it to water quality, but do not really know.

Returning to brass & aluminum and galvanic action, although not specifically for plumbing, here is one reference:

https://www.fastenal.com/content/fed...0Corrosion.pdf
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