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I'm working on this gas water heater with 3" hood almost attached to an elbow that reduces from a 4" exhaust flue. This was only attached by a lot of aluminum tape. The problem is that the ends of both sides are exactly the same size. What parts do I need to do this properly?

Here is a picture of the current situation

bad fitting exhaust duct

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There are 3" coupling made for this. They are available at home stores and heating ans AC supply stores. enter image description here

You'll probably need a few sheet metal screws or go back to some aluminum tape.

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It may not be pretty but there isn't anything wrong with using aluminum tape on this. However, there are other options.
There are a number of reducers and elbows that will fit:
enter image description here
This is a 3" to 4" adaptor that should get you started and can be combined with a flexible elbow:

enter image description here
These are American Metal Products available at HD. You may have to do some adjusting - ductwork is as much art as science. If these particular items don't work for you there are others out there.

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