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Old 02-02-2011, 09:52 PM   #1
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JB weld to repair hot water tank?

I've got a crack in the weld around the middle of my hot water tank. It looks like it was half full and froze, although I'm not sure when that might have happened.

Regardless, I've got a couple options, one of which is to remove the heater and replace it. And that's not looking very attractive in this weather (tomorrow's high is forecast for 26F).

My other option is to attempt to patch the crack with JB weld, which from my checking it out online, seems feasible.

I was wondering if anyone had ever attempted anything like this before and how successful it was?

I've got the materials to rough up the area, clean it and dry it according to their recommendations. But if someone's tried this and it didn't work I won't bother, but wait for spring and make good friends with my stove top kettle.

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:01 PM   #2
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i would say give it a shot ...but i would also say every time i've tried jb weld it didn't hold
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:12 PM   #3
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I'd give it a try. But, give it a test before you head out. If it fails, put in the new tank.
I've had 50-50 luck with JB Weld-follow instructions, clean, dry, don't forget ambient temperature.
About 1975, I repaired a 1965 MGB oil cooler with epoxy I got from my HVAC repairman. I washed the radiator in the dishwasher, got it real dry, and then sucked on it to create a vacuum to get the epoxy in the hole.
I still own the car and no leaks!
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:12 PM   #4
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I've repaired cracks in cast iron water cooled oil pans (on Minneapolis-Moline 800 industrial engines) using JB Weld. I would get it really, really clean and then heat the cast iron up with a torch till it was just hot to the touch. You don't want the surface so hot that it will burn the JB Weld, just melt it a little. The hot JB Weld wicks into the crack sealing it from the inside all the way through. On a water heater I would recommend a heat gun vs a torch, though.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:33 PM   #5
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I would take the tank out and get it tig welded. JB weld will fail under pressures like a hot water tank. I have welded many hot water tanks with 100% success even with tanks that were completely torn apart by ice. Shouldn't cost more than $80. Your tank will be aluminum most likely.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cojer View Post
i would say give it a shot ...but i would also say every time i've tried jb weld it didn't hold
Quote:
Originally Posted by zedex View Post
I would take the tank out and get it tig welded. JB weld will fail under pressures like a hot water tank. I have welded many hot water tanks with 100% success even with tanks that were completely torn apart by ice. Shouldn't cost more than $80. Your tank will be aluminum most likely.
Hi, not on a water tank, but on other things and JB Weld didn't hold; I'm with the idea of removing the tank and having it welded. In my trailer, my water heater is located right under my bed, under where my head is. I certainly wouldn't want it to fail while I'm sleeping. [in other words, it's not worth someone getting hurt]
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:47 AM   #7
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Well-

I had the exact same crack in my Atwood 6 gallon hot water heater a few years ago. I replaced it.

BUT - When I called Atwood customer service - They mentioned I could use JB weld to fix it. They gave me the impression it would work. Never tried it but thought I would let you know. Not sure what make and model water heater you have.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:18 AM   #8
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Hi Doug;
IMHO it will not work for long especially on a long crack at the middle of tank. Reason for it is that aluminum expands quite a bit under heat. Each time the heat is applied to it, the aluminum will expand shearing you JB weld bit by bit. I must agree that small punctures can be successfully repaired with JB Weld. You my get lucky if you force the JB Weld into the crack first and then using a hammer lightly tap the crack shut. This will cause a crack to seal, thus stopping the water from building up corrosion in the crack which will eventually push it apart. Adding Fiberglass cloth in between layers of JB Weld will offer you better linear strength. However, in my opinion the best way to repair it is to weld it. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:41 AM   #9
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Dont JB it, it can be easily welded. You dont want to chance soaking your floor with water.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:43 AM   #10
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Remember that the water heater tank is a pressure vessel and there are a host of considerations when dealing with them.

Aluminum welding is another issue as well.

Here's some information that may help you with your decision.

Hot Water tank leaking on bottom - Airstream Forums

Aluminum Frame for a Liner? - Airstream Forums

Kevin
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:44 AM   #11
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I also agree with the concerns about the pressure. You could try the JB Weld, it doesn't cost much.

My first choice would be replacement, though.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:45 AM   #12
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In high school, the plastic-and-metal radiator on my 1986 Chrsyler Laser was made up almost entirely of JB Weld by the time I sold the car. It held just fine, it was the plastic and metal bits that kept wearing out.

I say give it a try, just keep a lot of towels handy. Probably a wet-dry shop vac too.

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:12 PM   #13
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Well, it's been an experiment!

I first sealed it with JB Weld across the area that I could see a crack. Cleaned with acetone, heated up the tank, pressed the JB into the crack, etc. Put water pressure on it and it was leaking a bit off the end of where I'd sealed it.

Drained the tank, dried it out, heated up the tank with a heat gun, degreased with aceton, etc. Fresh batch of JB Weld on the areas off the end of the area I'd sealed. Waited 24 hours again until it hardened up. Put pressure on it. Tiiiiiiiny weeping spot on the upper part of the seam I'd sealed.

Drained the tank, dried it out, roughened it up with sandpaper, heated it up, degreased, etc. Fresh patch of JB weld about 3" across the area that had leaked. Let it cure for 24 hours. Put the water pressure to it... no leak. Left the water pressure on it for 24 hours. No leak. Hope rises slightly.

This afternoon I turned on the propane and fired up the heater. 1/2 hour later, this lovely little spray of water was anointing the floor beside the water heater. <sigh> The JB had failed over the area that had gotten the first coat and was allowing the original leak to squirt.

I'm going to give it one more try, then if that doesn't work, pull it and see if a friend of mine can weld it. I really hate to go to that much work to pull it, but a new one runs $350-450 depending on the seller.

Oh, well!
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:32 PM   #14
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Have you tried Palamino RV? I thought water heaters cost about what you indicated but I was pleasantly surprised by what I paid for a 6 gal Atwood with electronic ignition.

Paul
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