HELP HELP anyone out there? Unions leaking on new hot water heater

I just connected my new hot water heater, and the hot/cold brass unions are leaking no matter how tight I tighten them. What could I have done wrong? All my solder is holding (so far). I'm afraid I'm going to twist the pipes right off if I tighten these things anymore. The last time I installed a hot water heater I used solid copper unions, which seem more flexible and forgiving. HELP I am about to cry.
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I've never done a new water heater install but did you use Teflon tape or a thread sealant?
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/plumbing/msg0513323410541.html
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ConnetiCat wrote:

They are leaking between the 2 halves right? Not at the threaded joints. If thats so, then make sure the seating surfaces of each half is clean, shiney and no scores or dings. You're after a metal to metal seal here, so dont put any pipe dope or anything like that on them. sometimes a little (very little) smear of cooking oil or vasoline on the surfaces can help. If you way overtightened it you probably damaged the mating surfaces and its time for a new union. On a new one, tighten till snug, thats close enough. I find most people way over tighten every thing from bolts to pipes to oil filters. Eric
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And make sure the alignment is perfect. If they are off line, it can cause leaks although with copper there is some fiddle room.
Harry K
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Yep, and I've been guilty of both compression fittings and oil filters.
What seems to work for me:
Oil filters for 3/4 turn past contact - Mark it at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock. Contact then tighten 9 hrs ahead no matter how "loose" it may seem. Never leaks. Always comes off easy.
Compression fittings on water      - If pkg says 1/2 turn past contact, that's it. No more      no matter how "loose" it may seem. If it leaks      (rare occurance) you can always give it another 1/16th turn.      - for unspecified tightening, contact then just a very      little more so it DOES leak. Tighten till it stops.
         Like cutting lumber, you can always make it shorter.               
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For many installs, you don't even need unions, which are just an additional source or trouble. In many cases, with some ability to move the pipes a bit, you can just use solder type couplings.
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On Jun 18, 8:39am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Looks like the union itself is all schmugged up...there are big pits on one half from the manufacturing/casting. Bought a new union, will see how that works.
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