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Old 25-12-2009, 10:49   #1
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'Checking' Hoses - When to Replace?

How does one `check' a hose to see if it needs replacing? In particular, I have various hoses on my boat that are older hoses with no ABYC rating on them. They are heavy duty hoses, some with fabric reinforcing, but have varying amount of cracking on the exterior. Are there any standards for inspecting hoses? Is `some' cracking okay? If so, how much? Are there guidelines that marine surveyors use? Of course, what purpose these different hoses are serving (above waterline, below waterline, exhaust, cockpit draining, lazarette draining, etc.) certainly is a factor. But I have been unable to find any guides on how to inspect and `check' a hose, only general recommendations to `check' hoses and replace if needed. And I am well aware that the cost of replacing a hose is usually much cheaper than the cost of a leak or failure and allows one to sleep better at night. BUT, still, how does one inspect a hose?? I have replaced cracked hoses before but have been surprised that, despite considerable cracking on the exterior, the interior seemed quite pliable and appeared to have a lot of life left to it.


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Old 25-12-2009, 11:03   #2
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There are few standards for boating. Aviation hoses do not have a life limit but properly do have a date of manufacture stamp. There is no life limit for hoses mandated by the FAA but AC43.13 (sort of a standard practice guide) generally recommends 5 years as a service life.\

With little else available I use this as a standard practice...

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Old 25-12-2009, 11:44   #3
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I don't think there is a fixed amount of time. It depends on the service, environment and the quality of the hose.

One certain sign is any cracking of the material. One thing to do occasionally is to grab a hose and try to pull it off by hand. Check your clamps for any excessive oxidation, especially around the worm screw.

Personally, I would not keep any hose for more that ten years which has the potential of flooding the boat. Some hoses will need to be changed out sooner than that.

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Old 25-12-2009, 12:23   #4
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Cracking up...

I would not accept any cracking of any mission critical (below the waterline, fuel) hose.

In my opinion they should be replaced as soon as possible, together with any clamps holding them on. The through hulls and seacocks should be carefully checked at the same time.

Any cracking of any item on a boat (maybe not the top of a freshly baked cake) is a sign of damage and needs to be attended to promptly.
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Old 25-12-2009, 12:26   #5
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Certainly any sign of external failure is cause to replacement. If you intend to keep the boat for a long time set up a rotating schedule. That means you are checking on them regularly.
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Old 25-12-2009, 12:44   #6
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As a surveyor I will write up any hose with cracking or that has become hard. I also look for splitting at the ends usually under the clamps. I check clamps as well. One hose that is often overlooked is the stuffing box hose. I would say change this anytime the shaft is out and at least once every 10 years or less. The manufactures of fuel hose recommend they be replaced every 5 years although it is hardly done that often. I like to grab the hose and see how easily it flexes this gives a clue to its condition. Exhaust hoses should be replaced every 10 years as well. Like most things it comes down to commen sense, the more damage a failure can cause the more often you should check them.

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Old 25-12-2009, 15:44   #7
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Yep, gotta agree with all the above.

Check by feel if the old hose is hard, soft, spongy, brittle; by sight if surface cracked, split ends, surface contaminated (say by oil etc); flex it and yank it. It helps if you have some new equivalent hose to compare to.

Then assess the consequences of the particular hose failing when you are not on board or during rough weather.
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Old 26-12-2009, 03:23   #8
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Check all hoses as part of regular scheduled maintenance programme and give them a once over every time you are looking at them. NOT every 10 years! Come on !! nothing is for ever !!!
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Old 26-12-2009, 05:27   #9
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Hmmm I was not suggesting you only CHECK them every 10 years but rather that would be the maximum life span. Sorry if I was misunderstood. Of course it should be at least once a year if not more often to check general condition. I have seen boats built in the 70's with original hoses but that does not mean I would recommend that. Like I say common sense.

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Old 26-12-2009, 16:08   #10
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I change hoses and clamps on motor and fuel system as described above, that is when they feel, look or reasonable service time has passed. Also keep the old servicable hoses
on board if ever needed, as I know they are the right size
and bend...they will and have made for short work when needed.

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