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Old 09-30-2020, 04:34 PM   #1
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Handy stuck zinc removal tool

Hi All,


Full disclosure, this is not my idea, I learned from a TF member about ten years ago, but I thought I would pass it on as some may not have seen it and it is so useful.


There is not much clearance above the pencil zinc on the heat exchanger on my Kohler generator, which makes getting to the zinc a bit of an issue. I usually get the zinc out ok, but occasionally the cap unscrews and leaves the zinc itself stuck in the hole. No problem on my main engines, I just tap it through, but on the genset there is no room to do that. I have about two inches between the zinc hole and the bottom of the water pump. Usually when this happens there is not enough of the zinc left to pull it out from inside the HE. The stuck piece of zinc prevents the installation of a new zinc, so it's an issue. The only other way I can think of to get it out is to remove the entire HE (oh boy).



So I made this little bugger. You just screw in the cap, then tighten the bolt. It pushes the piece of zinc through into the HE. I don't have to use it often, but when I do it's a life saver.


It's easy to make, easier if you have a drill press. Hope this helps somebody.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:19 PM   #2
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Smart idea! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:54 PM   #3
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Greetings,
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:04 PM   #4
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Greetings,
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LOL. Your gif game is top notch.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:26 PM   #5
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Bwahahaha.....
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:23 PM   #6
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Doug
If the zinc anode unscrews from the cap i'd rather remove it than push it in.
I have made a slightly different removal tool from an old cap by grinding the OD threads down so the cap will screw onto the zinc without engaging the cooler housing.
Screw it on and continue to tighten the cap to spin the zinc and free it up then grab it with pliers / vise grips to pull out the broken anode.
It has saved me a few times.
Access on my Kohler is limited and I did have had to pull the Ht exchanger once.
Easier to remove on other Ht Xchgrs with more access room.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:49 PM   #7
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Doug
If the zinc anode unscrews from the cap i'd rather remove it than push it in.
I have made a slightly different removal tool from an old cap by grinding the OD threads down so the cap will screw onto the zinc without engaging the cooler housing.
Screw it on and continue to tighten the cap to spin the zinc and free it up then grab it with pliers / vise grips to pull out the broken anode.
It has saved me a few times.
Access on my Kohler is limited and I did have had to pull the Ht exchanger once.
Easier to remove on other Ht Xchgrs with more access room.
+1

I would not want to push too many expended zincs into the HE. Good way to get a blockage.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:55 PM   #8
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+1

I would not want to push too many expended zincs into the HE. Good way to get a blockage.

The alternative is having no zinc in place at all.



When it happens to me (twice now in the 7 years I've owned this boat) the threads twist off inside the old cap, there is not enough of a stub left to grab or pull out. It breaks off flush.


Agreed on not leaving anything in the HE. I take the cap off the end of the HE and pull out the piece of zink with curved nosed needle nose pliers.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:09 PM   #9
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The alternative is having no zinc in place at all.



When it happens to me (twice now in the 7 years I've owned this boat) the threads twist off inside the old cap, there is not enough of a stub left to grab or pull out. It breaks off flush.


Agreed on not leaving anything in the HE. I take the cap off the end of the HE and pull out the piece of zink with curved nosed needle nose pliers.
I replace the one zinc on the FL and one zinc on the generator quarterly. While the zinc is still semi solid and easily removed whole.

They are less than 50 cents each when purchased in bulk.
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Old 10-01-2020, 06:26 AM   #10
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I have considered an alternative. I end up pulling the pencil anodes (aluminum) once a year and some times having the same problem as they are mostly still good. Was considering going from 1/2" to 3/8" and using a bushing. Then removing the bushing to inspect or replace the anode. Wished I had thought about it when I was cleaning the heat exchanger. Probably could have drilled and tapped the end caps to 3/4" and used the 1/2" anodes.

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Old 10-01-2020, 06:53 AM   #11
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I have switched to PerformanceMetals.com alum pencil anodes as I'm in fresh water and had much better success pulling anodes. They have a steel wire core and hold together better. I now have one broken in my oil cooler that I need to work on to try to get out... drilling... EZ out... etc or will end up losing it into the ht xchgr.
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:37 AM   #12
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Zincs are on my maintenance rotation as well. It's funny, I never have them break off on the main engines it always seems to happen to the genset. Maybe it's because the zinc there is small and there is only one, I'm not really sure.


I reuse the caps when possible. When the elements break off in the caps I've tried boiling them in acid but in the end decided it's not worth the trouble.


Our boat sits in brackish water, sometimes it is pretty salty, sometimes almost 100 percent fresh, it just depends on the water flow from lake O. We use it in salt though, so I use zinc rather than aluminum.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
I have switched to PerformanceMetals.com alum pencil anodes as I'm in fresh water and had much better success pulling anodes. They have a steel wire core and hold together better. I now have one broken in my oil cooler that I need to work on to try to get out... drilling... EZ out... etc or will end up losing it into the ht xchgr.
I have been using Performance Metals also. Bought a bunch in 2016, but having trouble buying them last year. Where are you getting them from?

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Old 10-01-2020, 09:22 AM   #14
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I have been using Performance Metals also. Bought a bunch in 2016, but having trouble buying them last year. Where are you getting them from?

Ted
I went direct and they shipped to me as no dealer in my area... worth a call.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:25 AM   #15
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I have had some success painting a band around the anode just past the cap. My thought where clearance is very small and sticking likely it slows / prevents the "corrosion" in that area that jams it. So far it seems to help. I've though about putting one in a lathe a turning it down just a bit in that same area for relief? Haven't tried that yet. Easiest is to just pull & clean them more frequently.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:42 AM   #16
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I have had some success painting a band around the anode just past the cap. My thought where clearance is very small and sticking likely it slows / prevents the "corrosion" in that area that jams it. So far it seems to help. I've though about putting one in a lathe a turning it down just a bit in that same area for relief? Haven't tried that yet. Easiest is to just pull & clean them more frequently.

Yeah, I think the tolerance on the HE for my genset is tighter than it is on my engines. Maybe I could try opening it up with a dremel, but I'd have to pull the HE to do that.



I just changed the coolant yesterday on my generator. It's a messy job as there is no clearance below the drain on the HE to get any sort of funnel or anything under it. I catch as much of it as I can in a cut open milk jug, but a lot still spills all over the lazerette. There is about 2 inches of clearance above the fill neck, so I have to use a funnel with a rubber tube attached to it to get the new coolant in. Then it airlocks (every time) and overheats, so I have to burp the coolant hoses like crazy and try to pour more coolant in through the funnel contraption as the genset is running. More mess. I get it done eventually, but I don't want to pull that HE if I don't have to. Much easier to fish the stub of zinc out of the tube as needed.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:47 AM   #17
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I have switched to PerformanceMetals.com alum pencil anodes as I'm in fresh water and had much better success pulling anodes. They have a steel wire core and hold together better. I now have one broken in my oil cooler that I need to work on to try to get out... drilling... EZ out... etc or will end up losing it into the ht xchgr.
+1
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:17 PM   #18
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You aren't leaving the old zinc in the HE with that too are you?
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:37 PM   #19
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You aren't leaving the old zinc in the HE with that too are you?
No. I take the end cap off of the HE and fish out the broken zinc. It would be idiotic to leave it in there.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:47 PM   #20
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with some size zincs a threaded rod connector nut can be screwed onto the zinc in order to pull it out.
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