Water Heater, I may be in big trouble

I may be in real trouble but I'm not sure.
I'm not sure I can make a good connection from the water heater to the pipes, or that the WH itself isn't going to leak.
I'm installing a replacement water heater in the basement, and when I opened the box, I saw that the flat top of WH as crushed in about 4 to 7/16". It was like a stadium sloped at the sides and flat in the middle.
I did a bunch of measurements, and composed a long post for you guys, asking what to do. But from the measurements and observation, and the use of a level, I decided I could answer the question myself and it was OK. So I didn't sent the post.
The water heater already had cold and hot nipples screwed in at the factory. I had just cut the pipes to the previous heater and planned to splice the two pipes with connectors.
So I put the WH in place, and screwed in the new screw-on to sweat joint, plus 5 inches of 3/4" copper pipe, for both cold and hot, and that's when I saw that thos short pipes are not parallel. One is straight up, but the cold is off a quarter inch at the top of the 5" pipe from the WH.
The cold water pipe above it that it is supposed to connect to goes up two feet before it reaches the ceiling, where there is a T (to the powder room sink on the first floor) and and the middle of the T goes 8 inches to another T, and then 15 feet.
I can easily pull the cold water pipe a quarter inch to the right 5" above the WH and get it in the connector. Is there a risk that eventually the pipe the pipe will crack somewhere because of the stress this will cause????
Should I move the WH an eighth inch to the right to spread the stress onto both the cold and hot pipes?
I know this sounds like a trivial amount, but in college, I twisted a sink faucet about 10 degrees that was connected to a copper pipe (1/2 inch?), and 3 months later, it started leaking. Went almost to a small stream within a day or so. So I'm leak shy.
Also, there is a small but visible angle at the connector. Do you think that means there is less strain on the pipes?? And does that mean I'm not likely to get a good solder joint when I solder??
ALSO2, Do you think it likely the tank itself will leak at the top, now or later?? The cold water inlet is bent a little and both nipples seem to be 7/16" lower than they originally were. I didn't damage anything. I would have paid for delivery, but Sears would not deliver the tank unless they installed it too, so I think if I want to return the tank now, I'll have to bring it back myself and take the new one home myself, or find someone to do that. My convertible top is broken now (for the first time in 40 years), so I can't do it myself.
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I'm not sure but something is telling me that the water heater is lined with porcelain. If the pipes were bent the porcelain is damaged.
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On Jan 22, 3:00 pm, snipped-for-privacy@mucks.net wrote:

Take it back, if you move the tank around you should hear loose stuff, it is a glass lined tank, right.
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On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:11:09 -0800 (PST), ransley

Well, I didn't hear anything when I was moving the WH a lot taking it home and down the stairs etc. I cut open the previous one, and the lining seems almost nothing like glass to me. It's light brown, 1/16 inch thick, and the consistency of a plastic place mat for the breakfast, but stiffer because it's thicker.
So there is no way the liner ould break, and I don't think the tank dome could be crushed either, because it's semi-spherical, but apparently the threaded hole where the nipple goes could be bent**. But I don't think one bend could cause a leak in the metal, 1/16" steel.
I can't see in the owner's manual that it is called "glass lined". I don't have the patience right now to read it thoroughly, but maybe they don't consider that vinyl-looking sheet to be glass.
I've only disected the top foot of the previous tank. Looking at it, I was able to peel off the lining, and its strong. No way could anyone tear it to get it off the where the upper element or the T&P valve go. I had to use Wizz compound tinsnips.
Then, suprisingly, it was wet underneath in parts, and in other parts there were black spots almost the size of a penny. It wasn't brown like rust, but it still seemed like it was starting to rust or something. But no evidence of this on the outside of the tank. I'm going to tear apart the bottom more thoroughly, to find where the tank leak in the old one was, but haven't done that yet.
The old one, although twelve years old, is almost identical to the new one. The owners manual, (the text, the graphics, and everything), the electric wiring, the arrangement of everything, the distance between hot and cold, and the store (Sears) are all the same. I think they are made by A.O.Smith, like my original WH, but AOSmith doesn't sell retail afaict.
** -- I just remembered that that is where the diptube is attached. If the pipe going up is 1/4 inch off at 5 inches, at 50 or 55 inches going down, it will be 2 1/2 inches off or a little more. And the tube makes a big circle at the bottowm for what they call Roto-Swirl, which is supposed to stir the sediment around, although I can't remember what the purpose of that is. Of course I barely have any sediment.
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You are right, so its got a few dents in it, the pipe is bent, and who cares about a warranty, put it in, its your heater and returning it is alot of work, go for it.
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wrote:

last summer i encountered an artist who cuts up old w/hs and uses them to make planters. she said in many years of working on them, she's never encountered glass internals. i doubt they've made them that way for a long time, but once did so.
regards, charlie cave creek, az
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If you are trying to convince *us* that the dented WH is OK based on your disection of the old one, you're seriously wasting more time than you already have.
If you're trying to convince *yourself*, well, you really don't need to do that in this newsgroup.
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Just return it and get an undamaged one. If Sears gives you any problem about replacing it, just complain to the credit card issuer and you'll be all set. You did use a credit card for the purchase, right?
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wrote:

My best guess would be that you need to put all your tools down and slowly.............................. "step back (an 1/8 inch), away from the heater." You obviously seem WAY over your head on this one. Bubba
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