gas water heater malfunction

Our 3-month old Kenmore 50 gallon water heater had a problem Thursday. After installation, I adjusted the heat so that we got 135f water, and this worked great until Thursday. Thursday morning, I ran the hot water in the sink while brushing my teeth, so that the shower would be ready. When I rinsed the toothbrush, I literally scalded my hand. My IR thermometer showed 190f water. I immediately went to the garage and turned the gas valve down to pilot. It was set where it was supposed to be, by the way.
We called Sears and they said they'd have a technician out next week. In the meantime, I left the valve on pilot. By this evening, the hot water in the tank was exhausted, so I intended to turn the valve back up and watch it closely to get another tank of hot water.
Instead, the pilot was out. By depressing the valve, I can light the pilot, but even after a couple minutes, the flame will not stay lighted when i release the button.
1) Is there any "trick" to getting the main burner lit temporarily, under manual observation and control? 2) Do you think that the overheat condition has toggled some internal safety in the gas valve? Can it be reset? 3) What might have caused the overheating in the first place? The PT valve never tripped, by the way.
Nonnymus
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Nonnymus wrote:

Don't you have to turn the knob to on position as you release the button? You can't leave in pilot position.
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Nonnymus wrote:

Good one. You have hit the nail on the head!
There is indeed a safety overheat internal to the gas control. If it senses out-of-bound water temp (or even an empty tank which has overheated) it trips the circuit to the thermocouple open. That's why you could light the pilot but it won't stay lit and the main gas valve won't open.
Once the safety has tripped, the game is over; it is a one-shot affair.
It would seem you have an iron-clad case against Sears and they should replace the entire gas control without argument (you hope). The tank needs to be drained to do this.
Jim
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lighted when i release the button.

Thanks, Jim. I'm OK at putting i a water heater, but am not that certain when it comes to the internal workings of the gas heaters.
Nonnymus
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Nonnymus wrote:
> Speedy Jim wrote:

You said it's only 3 months old, so it's got to be still under warranty from Sears. Why not call them and let them figure it out? The only disadvantage is you might really have to lean on them to get quick service.
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