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Old 10-20-2021, 09:15 AM   #1
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Stripped Heat Water Tank Plastic Plug

In getting the plastic plug to not leak I managed to strip it. Now I can't get the danged plug unscrewed. No grip. Any suggestions? Is there a specific tool to get a good grip on the screw when it's located in such an awkward place? Many thanks, Jim

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Old 10-20-2021, 10:07 AM   #2
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Two ideas to gain tool access.

Remove the exhaust heat louvers. Look for tabs push them in and outer louver removes. Might need to remove inner louver bracket too.

Remove entire burner assy. This will add lite of tool of choice access.

Gary
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Old 10-20-2021, 11:26 AM   #3
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I would cut a notch in the side with a Dremel, then use a small chisel or punch and small hammer to peck on the side in an effort to get the plug to unscrew.
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Old 10-20-2021, 11:38 AM   #4
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You can't get a vise grip or a mini vise grip on it? If you have a straight shot at it try a universal socket. https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Soc...NrPXRydWU&th=1
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Old 10-21-2021, 10:16 AM   #5
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Universal end wrench also works as it tightens onto most surfaces. I use small Channel Lock pliers on mine. You shouldn't have to take apart the system.
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Old 10-21-2021, 10:59 AM   #6
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All good suggestions above re removal (V-Grips and universal sockets) Before I started dismantling assuming none of the above works, I'd drill a pilot hole and use a large easy out to back it out.
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Old 10-21-2021, 11:02 AM   #7
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Plastic Plug Problem

Hi

I just lived the same problem on a long trip we are on!
You need a swivel head to a extention and then a socket 7/8 !
Other then not cannot reach it correctly and will chew the Head up, mine was leaking in the dead center of the cap!
Amazon sells the Plugs And Correct Tool for This! Good Luck!
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Old 10-21-2021, 11:07 AM   #8
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PS .Please Watch Your Fingers On Them Fins, Very Sharp!
And Apply Teflon Tape On The New Cap Threads! Take Your Time! And Only When Turned Off, So You Not Get Burned!
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesbford View Post
In getting the plastic plug to not leak I managed to strip it. Now I can't get the danged plug unscrewed. No grip. Any suggestions? Is there a specific tool to get a good grip on the screw when it's located in such an awkward place? Many thanks, Jim

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Whatever You do, be careful with the existing threads. Once the job is done, put a 1/2 inch Brass plug instead of plastic (with Teflon tape). Not so tight !! It's really "Snug plus 1/8th to 1/4 turn. Then, check if it leaks. If it does, add a 1/4 turn.
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:22 PM   #10
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Replaced the plastic 8yrs ago.

Bob
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Old 10-21-2021, 11:21 PM   #11
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I just replaced mine with a brass plug that incorporates a petcock. I donít expect to need to remove it again.
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Old 10-22-2021, 02:04 AM   #12
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No offense to anyone but the plug is designed to blow out if there is a pressure problem. You should replace it with the correct plastic plug. We were told specifically not to use brass and especially not to use teflon tape.

If you are having leaking problems, replace it with a new plastic plug. Donít modify to fix the leak. No one should risk having a mini bomb in their trailer or RV because if it canít blow out through that hole, the pressure is going to go somewhere.
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:27 AM   #13
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Too Much Blow Out

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
No offense to anyone but the plug is designed to blow out if there is a pressure problem. ...
Not exactly. A drain plug is for draining fluid from the water tank (A). Some drain plugs are plastic and some brass with annode rods attached. They are threaded and are not designed to "blow out". The pressure relief valve (B) is there to relieve excessive pressure. It is non-threaded and has a manual lever with a rubber seal. Excessive pressure may blow out there.

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Old 10-22-2021, 06:56 AM   #14
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The instruction manual for many water heaters specifically says to not use a brass plug - plastic only. I have to imagine that the engineers have a good reason for this and it wouldn't be in the manual if brass was okay to use.

For those that install a brass plug, especially one which has a petcock for draining, how are you able to do proper maintenance on the water heater? Part of the annual clean-up includes flushing out the water heater to remove scale and other particles which collect in the bottom of the heater's tank, and it's impossible to do this if you can't remove the plug.

In my experience, just opening the drain itself is not enough to get out all the crud from the bottom of the tank. It's best done with one of those plastic wands inserted through the drain hole - amazing how much comes out when this is done.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:34 AM   #15
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Folks, mission accomplished with vise grip. No probem. Thanks to everybody. I'm replacing with new plastic plug.

Jim
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Old 10-22-2021, 09:02 AM   #16
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FYI - For future reference to avoid this problem get yourself a ratcheting wrench in the right size (7/8" I think). Use it one way to install and flip it over to remove. Holds all side of the plastic like a socket and works with small movements even with the shroud in place. Makes install and removal a piece of cake and no more buggered up plastic head.
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Old 10-22-2021, 11:25 AM   #17
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I just took the plug out for winterizing and found something I had totally overlooked. We didnít use our Interstate as much this year. I sanitized our water a couple of times over the summer but still had a funky smell happening. Figured out why when I took that plug out. Our water heater had grown some fun stuff. I should have thought of it earlier, but didnít have the issue the year before, so I totally overlooked the obvious. I agree, the plug should be removed once in a while and it should be flushed for this very reason. Good idea to scrub it with a little brush, I will be doing that too. Good suggestion.

I had to use a short 1Ē socket as I couldnít find my 15/16Ē, but we just use a short extension on a ratchet. Itís a little tight, but the socket can be snaked up behind the orifice tube or whatever is in the way, then I attach the extension on the socket once I get the socket on. One other bit of advice was not to over-tighten the plug either. Probably doing so makes it stretched and you have to do it more and more to stop a leak after, I would think. We were told itís also not supposed to be super tight so it can blow out if need be.
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
Our water heater had grown some fun stuff.
Eww - have not had that happen yet but now I am on the lookout. Please don't tell DW as she will find it even if it's not there. We winterize a few times a year due to climate (always air) so the plug comes out pretty often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
One other bit of advice was not to over-tighten the plug either. Probably doing so makes it stretched and you have to do it more and more to stop a leak after, I would think. We were told itís also not supposed to be super tight so it can blow out if need be.
Good advice. We do the same and never had a leak and makes it not too difficult to get out. We also replace it annually as they are pretty cheap.
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
No offense to anyone but the plug is designed to blow out if there is a pressure problem. You should replace it with the correct plastic plug. We were told specifically not to use brass and especially not to use teflon tape.

If you are having leaking problems, replace it with a new plastic plug. Donít modify to fix the leak. No one should risk having a mini bomb in their trailer or RV because if it canít blow out through that hole, the pressure is going to go somewhere.
That's the 'over pressure' valve is for...over pressure.

Bob
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POI.... I "over pressure" it every Fall to blow the scale out.
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:09 AM   #20
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If very careful..you may drill it ..
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