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Old 26-09-2020, 06:17   #1
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Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

I have a Beta Marine 16HP when I inspected the pencil anode on the heat exchanger cap the anode detached from the plug. I unbolted the heat exchanger caps and inspected the heat exchanger, which looked great.



I go to replace the pencil anode, that I purchased from Beta Marine for my engine, in the end cap. As you can see in this photo it does not screw in all the way like the old pencil anode. The old enode plug easily screws in sll the way. I tried cleaning out the threads in the end caps. The number of threads in both old and new anode are the same. I saw a video that demonstrated anode replacement and the video also did not screw the anode in all the way.



Is it normal for new pencil anode to not screw in all the way?

Are these pipe threads that tighten up to prevent leaks?
What is the the probability the new pencil anode will leak ?
I have high heat Permatex high heat thread sealant but that will not conduct electricity. I read that thread sealant should not be used because the pencil anode needs to conduct electricity.



I can't be the only one with this problem.



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Old 26-09-2020, 06:47   #2
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

I’ve had this happen before. I wouldn’t leave it as is. Try to cut it down if you can so it screws in all the way.
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Old 26-09-2020, 07:04   #3
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

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Originally Posted by Creedence View Post
I’ve had this happen before. I wouldn’t leave it as is. Try to cut it down if you can so it screws in all the way.
I just checked again, the end of the anode is not the problem. The anode is completely free from touching any part of the end cap housing. Reducing the length of the anode will not solve the problem. Thanks for the reply. There must be another answer.
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Old 26-09-2020, 07:35   #4
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

Might it be the thickness toward the end? Perhaps trimming it down laterally a bit?
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Old 26-09-2020, 07:39   #5
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

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Originally Posted by upstateny View Post
I just checked again, the end of the anode is not the problem. The anode is completely free from touching any part of the end cap housing. Reducing the length of the anode will not solve the problem. Thanks for the reply. There must be another answer.
Did you buy the right anode?

If the anode is not interfering, and you bought the right one (so the threads are also a match) I suspect you are just witnessing how tapered pipe thread works. With tapered pipe thread there are no mating surfaces other than the threads themselves that make it watertight. There is no ‘all the way’, really, you tighten until it’s watertight.
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Old 26-09-2020, 08:05   #6
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

Mine doesnít screw in completely either and there is no leakage.
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Old 26-09-2020, 08:51   #7
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

The anodes are pipe thread (NPT) and self seal. It's not unusual for them to not go in all the way since they tighten up as they go in. That's so you don't use any sealant that would impair conductivity. Actually if they did go all the way in they might not truly seal.
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Old 26-09-2020, 09:01   #8
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

No teflon tape?
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Old 26-09-2020, 09:13   #9
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

Absolutely NO Teflon tape or any other sealant! Clean the threads and tighten the nut. If it leaks it's not tight so tighten some more.
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Old 26-09-2020, 09:13   #10
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

Not unusual for NPT to not screw all the way in. It shouldn't leak but if it weeps, put some teflon tape or pipe dope on the threads. It's been conclusively demonstrated that teflon, pipe dope, etc. will not impair conductivity. For many folks to believe this, they have to actually test it themselves with a multi-meter.
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Old 26-09-2020, 09:53   #11
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

That's the way it's suppose to be. Don't try to tighten more than you should. Pipe threads have a taper and form a water tight seal. Your good the way it is.
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Old 26-09-2020, 10:05   #12
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

I love the Beta engines, had a Beta on my previous boat, repowered my current boat with Beta, and we also have a Beta generator. All use the same zinc and your photo looks normal to me. The threads are tapered and you just need to screw it in tight enough to not leak, do not over tighten.

The tiny 3/4 inch pencil zinc drives me crazy but forces me to check it regularly and change it more often than a longer zinc, which is probably a good thing.

Here's what I do:

- Order a supply of pencil zincs (zinc only). I get mine from Boatzincs.com, and the item # is E-0BZ, a 3/4 inch zinc, 3/8 wide, with 5/16-18 threads, currently selling for $2.24 each and usually order 10 at a time, which will last me 5 years or more for both my engine and generator. Or you can skip the hassle of re-using the nut and get the assembled unit from Beta Marine for $7.50 each.

- When replacing a zinc I have an assembled one ready to go, and recycle the nut by removing the old zinc and replacing it will the above.

- If the old zinc doesn't come out easily (it usually doesn't) I use a dremel to bore out most of it (it's brittle and easy to do) and use a 5/16-18 tap to clean out the threads. If you don't have a tap, letting it soak in vinegar or some such and brushing/scraping the little bits out is easy, but a bit more time consuming.

- Screw in a new zinc and you're ready for next time!

- Alternatively you can make your own pencil zincs from 3/8 zinc rods, cut them up and thread them with a 5/16-18 die, but I'm too lazy for that.
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Old 26-09-2020, 10:55   #13
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

Brass shouldn't need a sealer. It's used because brass is a good conductor, a soft metal, and distorts to make a tight seal.
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Old 26-09-2020, 12:19   #14
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

I use teflon tape all the time. The threads cut the tape to make electrical contact just fine. I test for continuity using a multimeter and have never has a dud. Just confirm you have conductivity and they will work fine.
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Old 26-09-2020, 12:23   #15
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Re: Pencil Anode Does Not Screw in All the Way

We have a Beta 16 as well, and the supplied anodes were to long, grab a backsaw and cut them down, no big deal really

Fair winds,
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