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Old 28-10-2009, 16:25   #1
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Groco vs Conbraco Valves...

Hi All! Getting ready to install all new seacocks. I just noticed a difference between brands: Groco has BRASS balls with chrome vs. Conbraco Apollo, which uses BROZE balls with chrome...Do you think this makes ANY difference at all? I know Groco has a good reputation, and was my first choice. I'll be using their tri-flange adapters, somebodies ball valves and Groco mushroom fittings and hose fittings...
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Old 28-10-2009, 16:49   #2
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If the chrome gets pitted it'll leak anyway. I don't think there'll be much difference what the interior of the ball is made of in this application. ( I have both and they work fine
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Old 28-10-2009, 16:56   #3
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Have you checked Spartan seacocks...solid bronze

Spartan Marine Hardware Catalog
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Old 28-10-2009, 17:37   #4
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Chris: make sure the threads match with the fitting/flange adapter/hose-barb-adapter. I would go for the Groco flanged seacocks instead of the flanged adapter... dunno why.

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Old 28-10-2009, 17:40   #5
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DO NOT USE BRASS!!!!! Bronze only for metal seacocks. Hard to imagine that they even are made in brass. However, that might be something to confirm with them.
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Old 28-10-2009, 18:34   #6
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I would go for the Groco flanged seacocks instead of the flanged adapter... dunno why.
I like the adapter because you can change valves by simply unscrewing them. Other than that, they are pretty much just like their seacock line... Groco Bronze Tri-Flange Adapter Base

I think it's neat not having to remove the mushroom... as for the BRASS stuff, it's coated in chrome, but still wigs me out...

BTW, and this deserves it's own thread, the hole you drill through the hull to install all seacocks is often not listed anywhere on the manufacturers pages and brochures. The will often list the thru-hulls NPS thread measurement at best. This is the best I have come up with without actually having the thru-hulls in hand:

3/4" seacock: 1.050"
1" seacock: 1.315"
1 1/4" seacock: 1.660"
1 1/2" seacock: 1.900"
2" seacock: 2.335"
These are the NPS pipe O.D.s...You wont find hole saws these sizes!
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Old 28-10-2009, 18:35   #7
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DO NOT USE BRASS!!!!! Bronze only for metal seacocks. Hard to imagine that they even are made in brass. However, that might be something to confirm with them.
According to their tech rep the balls in Groco's are actually red brass balls not the cheap yellow brass that home centers sell.

While red brass is slightly different in composition than the 85-5-5-5 bronze used in the bodies red brass & 85-three-5 bronze are very close galvanically speaking. I'd be very surprised if the balls in the Apollo's are actually 85-three-5 bronze. There are many forms of brass, red brass and bronze all referred to as bronze. Call Conbraco/Apollo and ask specifically what the "bronze" ball composition is.

I have yet to have one of my Groco's show any signs of corrosion. I actually had one off last year that was 8 years old and the ball looked brand new and was un-pitted.. I'll try to find the photo...
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Old 28-10-2009, 18:44   #8
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I have yet to have one of my Groco's show any signs of corrosion. I actually had one off last year that was 8 years old and the ball looked brand new and was un-pitted.
So Maine Sail, I guess we can say that you are happy with your brass balls?
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Old 28-10-2009, 21:06   #9
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So Maine Sail, I guess we can say that you are happy with your brass balls?
Happy as a clam...

Either 7 or 8 years old I can't recall from the log when this one was exactly replaced. The PO installed it while in the Carib. Of course the next one he replaced was with a HD special and it dissolved in less than two seasons to a point of near critical failure.

Groco Ball 7-8 years use:

And open:




The photo's below are of a one year old yellow brass Home Depot ball valve installed by the previous owner. It was installed on the same boat as the Groco BV pictured above during the same time period. When I asked this seasoned boating veteran why he used a ball valve from Home Depot he said; "it was only in a pinch while coming up the ICW but after it was installed I forgot to replace it with bronze one".

This "Home Depot" valve was in use for about 8 months, of total in water time, and the ball, inside the valve, is completely GONE as in NOT THERE & CORRODED AWAY! This valve was literally weeks away from catastrophic failure of the boat sinking type. It was seriously dezincifying as noted by the pinkish coppery color both inside and out.

Home Depot Special:

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Old 28-10-2009, 22:03   #10
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I've made up my mind. Maine Sail says his brass balls do not freeze. They do not pit, and they last and last. That's good enough for me! I'm going Groco all the way!
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Old 28-10-2009, 22:52   #11
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Those are some scary pictures Main Sail. Thanks for providing them.
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Old 28-10-2009, 23:11   #12
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I like the adapter because you can change valves by simply unscrewing them.
True, but do you really think that a quality seacock like Groco will fail earlier than the thru-hull fitting??? I doubt that very much, so the first time it's gonna need to come off, it's the fitting that needs to come off (too).

Also, you can just screw the sea-cock off, why not? It's a 2-person job but I did that no problem at all (to check if they replaced the core with solid... they did ;-)

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Old 29-10-2009, 05:58   #13
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Also, you can just screw the sea-cock off, why not?
Well, for starters, there are 3 bolts goin' through the hull that have been faired on the outside! As far as the valve going bad before the rest of the body...good point. My old seacocks just kinda froze up, but the bronze looked fine. Maine Sail has had to change out seacocks because of valve stuff too...

BTW, my boat was layed up in 1974. What is this thing you call "coring"?
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Old 29-10-2009, 06:21   #14
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I went with Conbraco Apollo flanged three hole valves and thru hulls...wanted to go with the flanged adapter plate which is NPS,but all the ball valves i found were NPT. I cut epoxy fiberglass phenolic backing plates an inch bigger than the valve base, shaped them to the hull and 5200 was applied to all surfaces....nice to get rid of thoes huge conical sea cocks on my 30 year old CSY.....wanted to go with Marelon but Forespar didn't make thru hulls long enough for the thick glass hull on the CSY's (2 1/2 '').........Ed
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Old 29-10-2009, 08:26   #15
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My boat is all Grocco, however this is when they had the rubber cones, IMHO superior to what Grocco or Apollo is currently doing at this time.. If I would have to replace one I would second the opinion regarding Spartan's product line, all components are bronze with no disimilar metals issues. I have Broken down, cleaned and repacked many on a customers 30+ year old sailboat that where basicly as good as new. A plus is that the bronze cones can be lapped to re-establish performance if ever required, try doing that with a ball type valve. Spartans products are expensive, however the old addage you get what you pay for applies here.
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