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Old 06-21-2010, 02:30 PM   #1
Weekend Camper
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Moab, Ut
Posts: 42

I have a 2004 Cruiser 29RK that I live in. Last week I noticed a small lake on the floor when I got up in the morning. It had followed the counter tow kick all the way around from the Atwood 6 gallon water heater to the end of the counter that sticks out on the opposite side. I figured I must have a leaky fitting but all the connections were dry so I went ahead and ordered a tank before I even found the leak. I cut the strap holding the insulation halves together and lifted the top piece to find a tiny leak on the upper left rear. I was able to catch the water in a shallow pan for a few days while I waited for the new tank. Today I went down to the local UPS sort shed and picked up the tank and got to work. This isn't a highly technical job but a little hard to get to things at the back while reaching through cabinet drawer holes and having only one hand at a time in there. I finally got the unit out and on the bench only to discover it had a tiny leak about the same size on the front side next to the pressure relief valve port. Both were running down into the lower insulator piece and into my catch pan.

The new tank came complete with heating element and it's control switch. It also came with a new relief valve, gaskets and mounting plate retainer rings. I had to use a small cutting wheel on the dremel to get the retainer rings off. Putting the new ones on was a little tricky as well. I had to find a pipe driver in order to drive them on evenly.

Now for the question. This is an all aluminum tank and they say there is no need for an anode rod and so I don't have one. Should I have one anyway and will this slow down the tank corrosion? We have hard water here so that doesn't help. I see there are aluminum ones for Suburban, magnesium for Atwood and then there are Zinc ones. I read that the zinc rods last longer. Any thoughts on this?

I wasn't expecting this thing to spring a leak like this so was completely surprised. I'm just glad I was able to get a tank only for about half the price or less of a new unit.

Front leak discovered after removing unit from trailer.

Rear leak that I saw first by looking through the drawer opening.

Lots of crud build up on the element.
Edited by: mark1974
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:31 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ontario
Posts: 508
An aluminum tank doesn't need an anode because it's aluminum and an anode will accelerate corrosion in your tank. From the looks of the heater element, you are using some pretty hard water. The hard water could be producing some dilute acid that is eating at you tank and causing the leaks in it.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:35 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 2,510
I bought the product below and use it 3 or 4 times a year on our tank. You would be surprised at how much junk will come out by flushing it. With hitting so many different water systems at RV parks I like to try and keep it as clean as I can. I don't know if it would have helped in this case but it does help keep lime, calciumand scale build up from forming in them.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:22 AM   #4
Weekend Camper
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Moab, Ut
Posts: 42
I'm curious why the conflicting information. Is it just a marketing ploy where they sell magnesium and zinc rods for the aluminum tanks? No doubt something is eating my tank. It's about 6 years old but I would expect it to go longer then that. Like I said before this kind of problem hadn't even crossed my mind being an aluminum tank.

That cleaning wand looks like a good idea. The drain is so much higher than the bottom of the tank there is no way that most of the crud will ever come out on it's own. I have tried blasting water in there before to get stuff to come and got some but there was plenty that didn't come out.

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