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We left the Roadrunner BLM camp early Saturday morning.  I knew when we arrived and got set up that I would have some more maintenance to perform on the rig.  Nothing big or expensive but it could not really be postponed.  Convenience and my sanity were at stake!  If something is not right, I have to get it fixed fast or it drives me nuts.

It was Friday night, I flipped on the propane switch for the hot water heater.  After about fifteen minutes we heard a rather loud POP.  I headed out the door for a look around to see what was up.  Water was dripping from the water heater.
Oh NO!!imageFailed Pressure Relief Valve

A few quick Google searches and I was on the troubleshooting trail and diagnosed the problem as a failure of the pressure relief valve.  I confirmed the diagnosis following these steps: I flipped the control lever open and let it snap shut several times, but the leak continued. I forced air into the tank by turning off the water pump, opening the relief valve then opening the hot water faucet at the kitchen sink. This allowed air into the tank. After closing all valves I tested it again with water pressure. It still would not stop leaking.

The part is not expensive, about $17.00 but if you are in Quartzite be sure to have cash or your check book, a lot of places don’t take debit or credit cards.  I had already applied Liquid Wrench three times as the old one looked like it was not going to cooperate and spin out very easy.  Reaching it is not easy either and you must remove the heat shroud first.  image
Removing the heat shroud

Four screws hold the Shroud in place and it must be removed to gain access to the Pressure relief valve.  Even then it is a difficult thing to get to.  I tried a pair of vice grips and a pipe to get additional leverage but no dice.  The threads were seized and the valve would not budge then after three tries the brass began to break apart.

I called a local mobile RV repairman to help.  Mark of Mark’s RV came over rather quickly and he did have the tools for the job.image
It has been my experience that for many things that come up, a mobile RV repair service is your best bet.  I have always had good results and I believe better results than at a dealer when I have turned to a Mobile RV Repair service tech.  These guys really know what they are doing and they are not encumbered with the scheduling challenges of a large dealership, they are very reasonable and never as expensive as a dealer on hourly rates.  This was another resounding confirmation of that opinion and experience.  Thank you Mark.

Mark showed up pretty quick, and after trying two special sockets that just could not grip the valve due to the damage from my attempt with the vice grips…image
Two ‘special’ sockets

…he went back into his truck and came out with a basin wrench that had an telescopic handle.  It was the perfect solution and he soon had the old pressure relief valve off the water heater.image
Basin wrench with telescopic handle

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Out with the old, in with the new

With that done I paid Mark and thanked him then I finished the job.  Removed the old anode rod and flushed the tank.  This is something I had done once a year but will now do every six months in order to reduce the build up of deposits in the tank.  It is amazing how much is accumulated in a year.  The Anode rod could still have been used but was getting close so I just went ahead and changed it.image
The old anode rod and the new anode rod
Just to be sure: I guess I should say the electric and gas were turned off long before any of the work began.  The water pump was turned off and if we did connect to city water it would have been turned off also.  The anode rod is removed and after the water is drained it is time to flush out the sediment from the bottom of the tank.

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Flushing the tank

There is a copious amount of sediment that accumulates in the bottom of the  water heater.  You can greatly extend the life of your water heater by changing the anode rod and flushing the tank on a routine maintenance schedule.  I believe the sediment is what caused the pressure relief valve to fail.  Something got stuck in the valve.

When you are finished flushing and everything is back together, be sure to remember to fill the tank with water by running water from the hot as well as the cold side BEFORE you turn on either the propane or the electric.

Well that is how we spent the best part of day one in the RV park at Quartzite today.  Hopefully it is time to have uninterrupted fun for a while.

Speaking of fun, we met some friendly folks here in Q
I met a bunch of really nice folks every time I turned around everywhere I was today.  Three of our ‘neighbors’ are really nice easy to get to know RVers.  Not a lot of time planned here but who knows we may get to know them a little better in the next two days over a beer or two.

At the parts store I met a couple from way up in the north east, an area where they really know good seafood.  Roland and Suzanne suggested we consider going to Grubstake for their fish and chips.  We did and wow that was a great suggestion, thanks Roland and Suzanne, you were right, it was super as you said it would be.imageimageimage
Grubstake Social Club

The place was extremely busy.  A family of 9 from the area were gathered around a large table and there were still four open spaces at the table.  They were kind enough to allow us to join them.  We had been there about 30 minutes already.  It took another hour for our food to arrive but we had a great time joking around with these great folks that let us join them.  Did not get all the names but if you guys see this we had a super time.  Thank you.

Tomorrow it is off to the RV show and the big tent.  Stay tuned.

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Water Heater Flushing Tool