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Old 10-22-2021, 05:07 PM   #1
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Recurring drain plug failure

Every time we go out in our AS, we seem to experience failure in the drain plug on our water heater. AS dealer said they couldn’t find anything wrong with our water heater but we are frustrated that the problem continues to recur. It’s a pain to keep replacing these plugs only to have them fail on the next trip. Doesn’t seem to matter if we are heating with electric or propane. Anyone else have a similar issue or possible solution?
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:20 PM   #2
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I am curious, how much torque are you applying while installing it? Could be it is too much.

Is the mode is failure the same each time?
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:32 PM   #3
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Yes, the thing is hard to get to but we’ve tried tape, no tape, tight, loose (but snug). Nothing seems to hold up for more than a day or two. Using the camco plastic plugs.
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisarhr View Post
... camco plastic plugs.
Try one from Airstream, let us know how that works. Maybe the thread pitch on the Camcos is a bit off.
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:16 PM   #5
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Plug This!

Buy a bag of plastic plugs and/or metal plug. Keep on hand. Use anti-sieze compound on the threads of the plastic plugs or pipe thread compound on the metal plugs. Hand tighten them then use socket 1/4 turn. Check for leaks.These were found at Amazon.

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Old 10-22-2021, 06:51 PM   #6
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I use the Camco plugs. I put white thread sealant on them, then put them in finger tight, plus about half a turn. I fill the tank and check for leaks. If I get a drip, I snug a 1/4 of a turn at a time until it stops. I doubt if I have ever turned one a full turn before it sealed. I usually put a new plug in at the start of the season and leave it all season.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:05 PM   #7
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When I bought my 1994 Excella last spring there was a replacement drain plug in the junk drawer left by the original owner. It was an Atwood branded plug, and I immediately noticed that there is a difference between the actual Atwood plug and the ones being sold today.

The Atwood plug had a longer threaded area and a more noticeable taper to the threaded area. No doubt that the current ones don't seal as well. I've had a few bottom out before they got even remotely tight. I tried to find some like the Atwood plug, but no luck so far.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:55 PM   #8
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No to metal plugs and tape. They are a safety feature designed to blow out if pressure builds in the water heater. Use plastic only.

You might explain “fail” better. Has anyone checked your water heater for proper performance? If they are leaking, you might have a pressure problem and something might not be operating correctly. Just a thought. I’d have it checked out by a professional.
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:10 PM   #9
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We have used the same brass plug with Teflon tape for many years. It has never failed. We snug the plug up to finger tight, and then another 1/4 quarter turn. Over tightening, i guess, may result in premature failure. Never had a problem.
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
No to metal plugs and tape. They are a safety feature designed to blow out if pressure builds in the water heater. Use plastic only.
I don't think that is correct, that's the job of the TPR valve. Someone may have told you that but it wasn't correct. If it were true why bother to install a TPR? My thoughts on the plastic plugs, they are used because people can't possibly strip out the aluminum threads with plastic like they could if they over tightened a brass one. The manufacturer knows DIY people will be removing and installing those plugs and some DIY people feel the need to over tighten everything and aluminum threads will fail easily. Plus the plastic ones are cheaper for the manufacturer.
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:55 AM   #11
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Yes,I had the AS dealer looked at it and they couldn’t find anything wrong with the heater. I’m guessing that we’re tightening the plugs too much. Will try a softer touch and a large package of plugs. I did find Atwood plugs on Amazon.
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:32 AM   #12
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The plugs are a tapered pipe thread. Tighten then too much and you will deform them. Just tighten then to firm, then a tad more.

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Old 10-23-2021, 10:34 AM   #13
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Those plugs hardly need to be tightened at all. I wrap the plugs with teflon plumbing tape a couple times then twist on with my fingers. Use a crescent wrench a quarter or half turn after that. All you want is the minimum tightness to stay watertight.
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:34 AM   #14
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Similar topic

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ug-228734.html

Inc discussion re relief valve.

Imo, they use plastic since with the tough access, it would be easy to X thread with a brass plug.

i use a deep socket with a 6" extension by hand so i can accurately control the approach then the ratchet the last few threads. Also I use the tube of teflon sealant with camco plastic. My spare is gathering a lot of dust in the spare parts box.
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:44 AM   #15
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Hi

Like it or not, you *can* damage the threads on something like this. My guess is that a 2016 trailer hasn't been failing every two days since 2016. Something happened and now there's a problem. With a location like this, getting eyeballs on the threads is near impossible without pulling the water heater ( yuck ) or getting an inspection 'scope. (which is still a bit iffy .....).

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Old 10-23-2021, 10:44 AM   #16
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You mentioned getting Atwood plugs from Amazon it’s possible you got an inferior copy from a 3rd party seller.
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Old 10-23-2021, 11:33 AM   #17
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Recurring drain plug failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOZ View Post
Buy a bag of plastic plugs and/or metal plug. Keep on hand. Use anti-sieze compound on the threads of the plastic plugs or pipe thread compound on the metal plugs. Hand tighten them then use socket 1/4 turn. Check for leaks.These were found at Amazon.

zoz


I’m sure Teflon pipe thread is better, but if anti seize is used, make sure it is rated as Food Grade.
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Old 10-23-2021, 12:22 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=DonRich7878;2549420]I’m sure Teflon pipe thread is better, but if anti seize is used, make sure it is rated as
*Food Grade*

Who drinks hot water.

Bob
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Old 10-23-2021, 12:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisarhr View Post
Yes, the thing is hard to get to but we’ve tried tape, no tape, tight, loose (but snug). Nothing seems to hold up for more than a day or two. Using the camco plastic plugs.
…I use permeates thread sealer…..a liquid white small plastic container..with brush…even works on model A head bolts…non hardening
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Old 10-23-2021, 12:41 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=ROBERT CROSS;2549434]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonRich7878 View Post
I’m sure Teflon pipe thread is better, but if anti seize is used, make sure it is rated as
*Food Grade*

Who drinks hot water.

Bob
🇺🇸
Some people use hot water for cooking, also the cold water often comes out of the same faucet as the hot water.
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