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Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: milhan (IP Logged)
Date: October 5, 2010 10:32PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Dear friends, BCC "Mimi" (Hull 053) changed hands. I am the new and proud owner. The survey was great and there were no major issues.. However I am having some problems with the sea cocks. The screw of head discharge broke. There is a metal level at the opposite side. I don't know what is it for. Does anyone know who manifa?tured them? Do I have to replace the whole thing? Also the handles of the head and engine water intake are not working properly. Should I replace them? Any suggestions?

Mehmet
Owings MD

Attachments: ENGINE_SEAWATER_INTAKE_700.jpg (310kB)   HEAD_DISCHARGE2_700.jpg (434kB)   HEAD_DISCHARGE3_700.jpg (298kB)   HEAD_DISCHARGE_700.jpg (313kB)   HEAD_INTAKE_LEVER_700.jpg (219kB)   HEAD_SEAWATER_INTAKE2_700.jpg (206kB)   HEAD_SEAWATER_INTAKE_700.jpg (283kB)  
Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: October 6, 2010 04:13AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
Congratulations on your new purchase of Mimi! Shaula, #59, has the same head discharge seacock--it's a Groco. They are still in buisiness although I don't know if they still make that type of seacock. The little handle that you've broken off is a necessary part of it, as it squeezes the rubber inner part, which the rod handle turns. To open or close the seacock, you unscrew it enough so that you can turn the rod 90 degrees--parallel with or right angles to the thru-hull. After you've turned the rod and the hole in the rubber inner piece is aligned with the thru-hull (or is at right angles to), you screw the little handle down to stop any leaking. Your seacock is open in the picture, and I doubt if you can turn the rod and close it.

I asked Sam why he used the Grocos on the head, and he said he thought they were the best seacock on the market. I told him that it was very inconvenient on the head intake, which we always keep closed unless we're pumping the head. We keep the head discharge Groco open unless we leave the boat in the water for a month or more, so the inconvenience there isn't so important. I replaced the head intake seacock with a Wilcox-Crittenden (WC) tapered barrel (all bronze) seacock--like the engine intake, cockpit drains and galley sink. Your head intake seacock is a WC. I eventually went to a ball valve for the head intake.

During the annual haulout, I take the Groco and all the WC seacocks apart and grease them up. It looks like Mimi's previous owner neglected to tighten up the little handle after using the seacock, which allowed a slow leak and resulted in the corrosion. I guess if I were you, I'd replace your Groco with a bronze ball valve.
Dan BCC 59 (1981)



Edited 4 times. Last edit at 10/22/10 01:15AM by svshaula.

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: IDUNA (IP Logged)
Date: October 6, 2010 11:41AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

The Groco seacock with Buna-N coated plug, is probably the best seacock ever made. The Pardey's install them on their boat.

Do's and Don't:

Never grease the seacock. grease causes the Buna-N to swell,

If the seacock is left closed for a long period of time, the Buna-N flows into seacocks bore and develops a set. When the seacock is open, it will not seal,

Always loosen the T-handle before opening or closing the valve,

The Buna-N can be lightly sanded with 80 grit paper to remove hard surface rubber.

Operate the seacock once a month.

Groco, Baltimore, MD, sells all the parts to these seacocks except for the body.

I may have a new 1.5 inch Groco seacock in the basement.

BCC IDUNA
Baltimore, MD

P.S. Did the people you purchased Mimi from tell you the story about the original owner?

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: October 6, 2010 06:44PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
Your Groco will probably last forever if you repair the broken handle, and use it from time to time as Rod suggests. We haven't had a problem with using grease on the rubber plug for 29 yrs. If grease does cause swelling, it seems to be very slight. I notice the Pardeys installed a grease cup on theirs.

I guess the big advantage of the rubber tapered-plug Groco is no corrosion on the plug as happens with the WC or Spartan all bronze seacocks. Some folks like the latter and lap the plug when it gets worn or corroded enough to leak. The all bronze tapered plugs should be checked and greased during haulout. It seems that most of the seacock market has gone to ball valves, which don't require disassembly and greasing.

It looks like Mimi's head intake seacock is left open and there's a ball valve installed in the line where it's more convenient. It might be better to have replaced the WC seacock with a ball valve seacock. I enlarged the cutout to give better access to the intake seacock.

Your picture shows the WC Headmate lever in the up position, which allows water into the head. I think this lever should always be down except when you are pumping. You should have both the intake seacock AND the head's intake lever closed at all times if you're not pumping the head. OK, I'm a belt and braces guy when it comes to stuff that can sink the boat.
Dan Shaula BCC 59
On a boat as old as yours, you should check the plywood pads under the seacocks for rot. If the seacocks have been leaking, you can get rot and also corrosion of the bolts that hold the seacock to the pad and hull. I had to replace the pad and bolts on our head intake.


Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: milhan (IP Logged)
Date: October 7, 2010 02:29PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Dear Rod and Dan,
Thank you for the advice. Even though I enjoy working on the boat, replacing the through hull fittings is beyond my technical skill. This time at least I should have the professionals do the work. I don't even know whether the boat has to be hauled out not. I have to check with the yard.
The "head" must be fixed because this "comfort" issue is a constant point of friction between me and my dear wife, who insisted that we buy the 1984 Nauticat 38 motor sailer (listed by Gratitude Yachts) instead of little BCC..
I also have to install hot water to the head for showering..
My wife demands it..

Mehmet


Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: IDUNA (IP Logged)
Date: October 7, 2010 03:01PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Ah, yes, the admiral.

Having the boatyard do the work has it's merits. If the thru-hull or seacock leak, it's their haul out not your cost. To replace the thru-hull and/or seacock the boat will have to be hauled. Most yards like to use 3M's 5200 caulking compound to install thru-hulls and seacocks. I will advise against the use of this material. I would recommend either 3m's 4200 or Boatlife Caulk, a polysulfide compound. I also recommend a written estimate from the yard for the work, including the cost of materials and type of materials. Boat yards are famous for running up costs.


Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: milhan (IP Logged)
Date: October 7, 2010 03:33PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Since it is a new boat, discovery and exploration process is still going on. Naturally most of the questions I have are about the add ons by the previous owners.
Meantime I still like to learn more about the previous (not the last) owner.. I don't even know whether the gentleman is still alive or not.
Google search didn't turn up anything.

Mehmet

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: bccodyssey (IP Logged)
Date: October 8, 2010 12:11AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
Where do you keep the boat? Maybe you could get a local BCC owner to take a look or even help with some of the fixes that will be needed no matter which boat you own
Wayne
BCC Odyssey
San Francisco

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: milhan (IP Logged)
Date: October 8, 2010 02:53AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Hi Wayne
As you might have noticed Rod and Dan already are guiding me through. I am very grateful for your support. I hope one day I can reciprocate for all the help. Meantime if you ever come to DC please let me know. It is a nice place to visit and I can accommodate guests. I mean it.
I take all the members advice and suggestions very seriously. As has been suggested I did contact Groco and asked them some questions about the sea cocks. I am confident that that will do their best.
The boat is in Galesville MD, about 40 miles south of Baltimore, 30 miles east of Washington DC. Also close to where we live which is Owings.
I envy people who had their first boat when they were 10 years old, or started sailing when they were 5. I didn't. To paraphrase Good Old Magazine I am definitely one of the "rest of us."
I will be retiring soon and Mimi is my dream boat. We had a Pearson 365 for six years and did a lot of cruising in the Chesapeake Bay.
But Mimi (Ceryan) is destined for the seven seas..
Even Bora Bora..

Mehmet

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: dwkayaks (IP Logged)
Date: October 8, 2010 03:16AM
Category: Heads and plumbing


Gee , Welcome to the Club ,,,, will try to attach a pic of what Mimi will look like in Bora Bora ,,,, just love that crystal clear water .


Douglas , BCC Calliste 072

Attachments: Calliste in Bora Bora.jpg (22kB)  
Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: Richard Cross (IP Logged)
Date: October 8, 2010 02:29PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
A small ritual to help you convince your dear wife that you have bought the right boat would be to lay alongside, when you haul out, a boat similar to the Nauticat you did not buy. You can do Mimi's bottom whilst you gently encourage your wife to go to work on the Nauticat. When lunchtime comes and you are finished and having a beer, your wife will still have a couple of days work left. Smaller is often better.

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: October 9, 2010 10:27PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
You asked at the start of this thread: "Also the handles of the head and engine water intake are not working properly. Should I replace them? Any suggestions?"

I think you can conclude that they haven't been recently taken apart, cleaned, inspected for corrosion, and regreased. When you say that the handles are not working, lets focus on the WC tapered bronze plug ones on the head and the engine intakes. The handles on our WC seacocks usually turn a bit hard, even when they have just been greased. I made several wooden handles that I bolted on to those stubby handles on the head and engine intakes that give a lot better leverage. Have you used a cresent wrench on the handles to gently test just how frozen they are?

From the photo, your head intake seacock looks to me like you have leaking through the bolts. This means that during your haulout, you should remove the through-hull (unscrew it from the outside), then the bolts and the seacock, and maybe replace the backing wood if it looks like it's become soft. I suspect that you will find that the bolts are partly corroded away. I think that a 3/4" ball valve is the best choice here--it has a great handle and it's easy to use.

Whether you need to replace other WC seacocks will depend on what they look like when you get them apart. Assumming that they are as old as the boat (30 yrs?), I bet they have some corrosion on the bronze tapered plugs. This is common--Nigel Calder calls it 'hour-glassing', where bronze is lost around the plug's through-hole to a degree that allows water past the plug even when closed. You can get grinding compound and 'lap' it by coating the plug and moving the plug back and forth in the body, many times, until the hour-glass is gone. Or, you can replace the seacock. I tried lapping, and decided to replace it (with another WC for the engine intake and ball valves for the head intake and galley sink).

Do you have Calder's "Boatowner's Mech. & Elec. Manual"? The 3rd edition is much expanded. He has good drawings of the 3 types of seacocks. Although he recommends taking ball valves apart annually, I don't know anyone that does it, and that includes professionals that I've asked about it.

I would like to suggest you get directly involved with your seacock replacement. I've found that the reluctance to take on a major maintenance job is overcome by learning about how it all works, talking it over with others, and planning the work ahead of time. Sure, boat work seems to always take more time than we expect, but when it's done, you have the satisfaction of knowing how it works, and that the work was well done. Larry Pardey, when asked the most important attribute for successful cruising, said "excellent fix-it skills" (cruising tips on their website). Cruisers develope fix-it skills by being willing to dive in and take things apart, convinced that a lot of our gear is understandable and fixable. You might want to hire a professional (or get the help of an experienced friend) when you work on your first seacock, but then go ahead and do the rest of them yourself.
Dan BCC 59 (1981)



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 10/09/10 10:49PM by svshaula.

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: milhan (IP Logged)
Date: October 19, 2010 10:18PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Hi everyone..
After the second Groco seacock became unoperational, now I have total of five through-hull seacocks open and waiting to flood the boat. Groco was very generous with advice. However they don't make any parts for them anymore. Since I am having nightmares about un-operational seacocks I decided to get all of them replaced. I wish I had time to do it but I don't. If I do it and I know I can do it, it will take several weeks which I rather be sailing..
I am still thinking using Groco seacocks but the yard manager is not very warm to the idea claiming there are better ones.. I did not have time to go through the options.
I will appreciate suggestions..

Mehmet

Meantime you must have seen this clip. If you haven't it is funny..

[www.youtube.com]

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: October 21, 2010 12:16AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
I wonder what seacock type and brand your yard manager considers the best? You should go through the options. I think you're doing the smart thing in replacing ALL your seacocks. I'd be surprised if your yard manager went for anything other than the ball valve type, so probably it's just a matter of brands.

As you've seen, there are committed fans of all the various choices (and brands). Shaula's 2 ball valves are Apollo from West Marine, but I think the Groco ball valves (also sold by West Marine) are at least as good if not better. Spartan makes good bronze tapered plug seacocks that are very similar to those of WC, which I don't think are available any more. The Spartans come with a nice long bronze handle, which is an improvement on the WC's, but I think you'd be sorry if you chose anything other than ball valves. There's a very big difference in the amount of yearly (?) maintenance required between the two types. If your yard manager is a committed traditionalist and wants you to go the bronze tapered plug way, my advice would be to overrule him and go for ball valves.

I hope you will eliminate that in-line ball valve in your head intake line when you get a working seacock at the hull. Oh yeah, be sure you choose seacocks with bases that can be bolted through the hull. The cheap (much weaker) way is too screw an in-line valve (no base) directly to the thru-hull.

Dan BCC 059

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: milhan (IP Logged)
Date: October 21, 2010 12:02PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Dan,
You are right. He said that he was a traditionalist and preferred bronze tapered plug. I don't want him to know this (He is a very nice person) but your opinion and other BCC owners' in the group is more important to me.
I will insist on Groco's steel balls. I checked them and liked them.
Thanks again....

Mehmet

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: svshaula (IP Logged)
Date: October 22, 2010 05:22AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Mehmet,
You can check out the various ball valve seacocks available, on the internet. It's interesting to note that the Grocos have brass balls, whereas the Apollos have bronze balls, both chrome plated. Hmmm. Next time you talk to the Groco folks, you might ask them about why they use brass? The Apollo balls are bronze.

You could probably re-use some or all of the through-hulls (presumably WC except for the Groco head outlet). If I were you, I'd buy new through-hulls of the same brand as the seacocks. Bronzes are not all the same, and hopefully seacocks and thru-hulls from the same manufacturer will be made of the same bronze. Thru-hulls aren't that expensive, and after 30 (?) yrs, ....? You should ask the yard to use silicon-bronze (flat-head) bolts on the seacocks, which is what Sam used. You better check the wood pads for softness and alert the yard if you find any.
Dan

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: IDUNA (IP Logged)
Date: October 22, 2010 11:50AM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Apollo ball valves are are made from leaded red brass and semi-leaded red brass. I asked Conbraco, the manufacturer of Apollo valves, "What are the allow numbers for the metals in their valves?" The alloy numbers are for leaded red brass and semi-leaded red brass. Most "marine" hardware, including Groco valves, is manufactured from these alloys. The exception is hardware and fittings manufactured by Davey & Company, Ltd in England. They use gunmetal unless noted otherwise in their catalog. Gunmetal is composed of 85% copper, 5% tin, 5% lead and 5% zinc. Also known as C85555. The reason these allows are referred to as bronze is because there is no legal definition for bronze.

Leaded brass works very well in a marine environment. Most of IDUNA's seacocks were installed over 25 years ago and are still very serviceable. Brass, an allow of copper and zinc is not suitable for service in a marine environment. In a saltwater environment, the zinc in the brass becomes an anode and is leaches out as zinc ions. The action weakens the brass and it eventually fails.

More information about alloy numbers may be found at [www.anchorbronze.com] . Properties of brass allows may be found at [www.azom.com] .

IDUNA seacocks are tradition plug valves with bases and are thru-bolted through the hull with three 1/4" silicon bronze flat head machine screws. Ball valves screwed on the end of a thru-hull are not seacocks. Proper seacocks have bases and are thru-bolted - ABYC standard. By-the-by, IDUNA's seacocks are fitted with grease cups and can be lubricated in place - [www.essexbrass.com] . The grease cups are not cheap but IDUNA's seacocks always work and very seldom leak.

Tradition seacocks may be purchased from Spartan Marine - [spartanmarine.com]
Davey & Company Ltd (importer) [www.rwrope.com] .

Rod
BCC IDUNA

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: Itchen (IP Logged)
Date: October 22, 2010 01:17PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

I'll second Rod on the advantages of the old tapered-plug bronze seacocks. Simple, robust and firmly through-bolted to the hull. Unlikely to be dislodged if struck by something heavy such as an errant toolbox during a knockdown. If regreased annually they never seize up. If they do seize they can be freed with hammer blows which do them no harm. When over time they inevitably erode and "hourglass" they can be lapped back into shape with some oil and valve grinding compound. Some of the modern plastic or stainless ball seacocks are toys in comparison and if stuck closed or open are next-to-impossible to move without breaking off the lever.

I don't have enough experience with the full variety of modern ballcocks to speak to which are relatively free of the flimsy handle and sticky ball problems I've experienced on modern boats -- I'm sure they must exist. I suspect one reason for the rarity of traditional tapered seacocks in modern production boats is the expense of all that bronze, and the need for periodic maintenance. They also are more prone to minor seepage then the modern ball-types if not kept greased and properly snugged-up. But I like them.



Scott Odell
(Itchen - BCC #73)

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: IDUNA (IP Logged)
Date: October 22, 2010 01:31PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Regardless of which seacock type is installed in a boat, it should be rotated once a month. Most boat owners don't do this simple maintenance procedure, hence the valve sticks or leaks. As noted by Scott, the plug valve can be freed easily, greased or lapped, whereas if a ball valve fails, it must be replaced at considerable $$$$$.

Cheers,

Rod

Re: Thru-Hull fittings
Posted by: David (IP Logged)
Date: October 22, 2010 01:44PM
Category: Heads and plumbing

Rod,
I could not find a seacock on the R&W or Davey websites?

Thanks
David

David
Rose Hull 76

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