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Old 10-22-2006, 05:34 AM   #1
Seasoned Camper
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Salina
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M.O.C. #6043
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Cleaning Anode Rod

Hi: I have a couple of questions, concerning the anode rod in the Suburban water heater. I hope someone can give me some advise. Does anyone know the best way to clean off the buildup on the anode rod and also is it possible to purchase a rod with a brass plug that would not rust, like the iron plug that is standard with the unit. Any advise would be appreciated.

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Old 10-22-2006, 06:32 AM   #2
indy roadrunner
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I believe the Surburban water heater man at the rally stated that it was best to just wipe off with a dry rag. He referenced it as being a sacrifical rod that is designed to deterate to protect the tank. I guess there are aluminum rods as replacement but he advised against it saying the mag rod was best to use. And let it deterate all the way down to a nubbin before replacing.

I am still trying to find my notes from the seminar as I took notes on his presentation. I do remember he said it took a 1 1/16 socket, breaker bar (snicker snicker and a cheater bar) to break it loose.
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:33 AM   #3
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I'm not sure what you are considering as build-up on the anode rod.

When new the rod is about 1/2" in diameter and electrolysis in the water makes the rod deteriorate. The material on the Suburban rod is aluminum and on the Atwood's it is magnesium. When completely used up there is nothing left of the rod but the small center metal wire that was hold the material to the rod.

If the rod has only the center wire left, corrosion has started to attacking the walls on the heater and eventually a hole will appear somewhere in the heater and it will have to be replaced.
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:12 PM   #4
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Just replace it every couple of years.
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Old 10-22-2006, 03:48 PM   #5
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I always just wirebrushed some of the crud off the rod although I understand that's not really necessary. My dealer showed me an anode rod with about half the center core showing. He said when about half of it shows it's time to replace the rod.

At the seminar Indy Roadrunner mentioned, we were told the rods you buy at Camping World are made of a substance that is not ideal. I forgot which materials are good and which are bad as my notes are also buried but maybe someone recalls and will post that info. I think he said the good ones are available at rv dealers. I think.
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:57 AM   #6
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What you may think is build-up on the rod is actually part of the rod that hasn't been eaten away by the stuff in the water. I never worry about wiping mine off. I carry a spare and if it looks like my rod in use has gotten down quite a way, I change it.

I flush my water heater annually and check the rod at that time. This has worked for me.

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Old 10-23-2006, 11:36 AM   #7
Bill and Ann
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The magnesium rod is the one we should use. It has a weld spot on the end of the bolt. I changed mine yesterday. About 3" of the rod was bare. Hard to believe it looked like the new one at one time.
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Old 10-24-2006, 01:19 PM   #8
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The recommende rods are magnesium. The universal ones sold at CW are Zinc and according to the Factory rep work too slowly so there is a chance of tank damage. On that note, anybody intersted in a new Zinc rod? I have one cheap
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