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Water Heater Drain Plug


cbr046
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First symptom - water pump cycling about once / hour.  Can't find a leak under any of the faucets, toilet, outside shower, etc.  No problem, just turn on the pump when I need it.  That didn't last long. 

Second symptom - water dripping from the hot water heater drain plug.  OK, just tighten it a little (still dripping) . . . tighten a little more (dripping more) . . . . tighten a little more (now dripping a lot and getting easier to tighten).  Ooops. 

Not a problem.  Pickup new drain plug.  Unscrew old drain plug and plug head separates from threads still in the drain plug hole.  Still not a problem, just unscrew the nylon threads from the hole . . . .

Houston, we have a problem.  I first tried a flat head file, which fit nicely into the nylon and gave me 4 biting edges.  Nope.  Even with a screw extractor, which gets really tight, the nylon threads won't separate from the aluminum threads.  I'm at the point of buying a pipe tap and re-threading the nylon out of the aluminum.  I'm also thinking that's a bad idea.

Anyone have a better method of getting the nylon threads out?  Heat on the aluminum with the extractor maybe?

- bob

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Did you not have Teflon tape on the nylon plug? On my Atwood I need to use a lot of Teflon tape to get it to seal. Anyway, can you use a sharp pick to remove the pieces? I don't think I would be too concerned about using heat if you need to. Depending on how much of it is remaining you may be able to use a lot of heat and then pry the remainder up and grab it with needle nose pliers or some such. 

Btw, a picture is often worth a thousand words 😉

Edited by Bob Jones
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Take a hacksaw blade and cut the nylon down to the top of the aluminum threads. Use the tip of a good knife to pry one side of the nylon threads up.

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15 minutes ago, Ivylog said:

Take a hacksaw blade and cut the nylon down to the top of the aluminum threads. Use the tip of a good knife to pry one side of the nylon threads up.

That might be what it will take.  The extractor is basically a LH drill bit.  It gets in there pretty tight but won't move the nylon.  

- bob

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6 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Take a hacksaw blade and cut the nylon down to the top of the aluminum threads. Use the tip of a good knife to pry one side of the nylon threads up.

My plug broke in exactly the same way (I over-tightened it trying to stop it from leaking).  Used a hack saw blade, like Ivylog said, in 3-4 places, then pried with a small flat blade screw driver and the plug easily deformed and I was able to grab with a needle nose pliers.  Plug remains came out surprisingly easily.  Use lots of Teflon when installing new plug.  Gene M

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Way to go! 

When you put the new one in, use a LOT of Teflon tape and less force. If it still leaks, take it back out, remove the Teflon tape, and put even more on. I have found it always takes more than I thought and I've done it so many times now that I just wrap it until you almost can't see the threads anymore. 

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