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Old 25-09-2011, 18:13   #16
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

If the seacocks are of the ball valve type, you can try slipping a piece of 1" PVC conduit or pipe over the handle to get a bit more leverage and also more comfortable grip. If that doesn't work, it might be best to replace them. The balls in some seacocks may, when not regularly exercised, corrode so much as to become very hard to turn. Since the ball valve seats are made of plastic (ptfe or nylon or some such), penetrating oil could make things worse. I think silicone grease or lanolin or vegetable oil would be safe, although, for example, Apollo/Conbraco does not recommend any sort of maintenance for their ball valve seacocks. When you finally get them freed up, you should exercise them regularly (perhaps every week).
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Old 25-09-2011, 18:33   #17
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try again tomorrow with a little persuasion. I will try to get a picture. These are large bronze seacocks that are set on the hull. If a little more effort doesn't help I will wait until haulout. I don't want to risk plugging it from the bottom. However, I will have a wood plug tied to each one.
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Old 21-02-2015, 23:34   #18
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

We have this problem on both head sea cocks (one is locked in the open position and has a waste tank attached the other is locked in the close position with no waste tank - useful!) and were told by the commissioning agent to "heave on it like you wanted to kill your spouse." We did (heave on the one that is open thinking an sea cock is not a good thing) with the result that the handle didn't break but the screw snapped off out of the valve - no handle, sea cock still open. New boat and all.

Lesson - don't listen to the commissioning agent.

Solution? Don't know yet - probably require a diver to block the hull and replacement from inside for both. The second head sea cock is almost inaccessible as well.

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Old 22-02-2015, 01:47   #19
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

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Originally Posted by JAGinSING View Post
We have this problem on both head sea cocks (one is locked in the open position and has a waste tank attached the other is locked in the close position with no waste tank - useful!) and were told by the commissioning agent to "heave on it like you wanted to kill your spouse." We did (heave on the one that is open thinking an sea cock is not a good thing) with the result that the handle didn't break but the screw snapped off out of the valve - no handle, sea cock still open. New boat and all.

Lesson - don't listen to the commissioning agent.

Solution? Don't know yet - probably require a diver to block the hull and replacement from inside for both. The second head sea cock is almost inaccessible as well.

Those handles are very fragile, and the bronze shafts not much stronger.

I used to think that this is poor engineering. Now I realize that if the ball valve is stuck to that extent, then you need to be replacing it in any case.

Ball valves can't really be maintained -- they are disposable. Unlike cone valves, which need to be lapped every year but which last forever.

That being said, I think ball valves are a good solution -- they are nearly maintenance free (unlike cone valves) during their lifetime. Good ones last a long time. Mine are made of real gun metal, are 14 years and going strong; I have replaced only one of them so far.
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Old 15-05-2018, 13:27   #20
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

In the interest of this thread as a future reference I want to pass on my experience of a frozen Apollo 1 1/2 inch bronze ball-type seacock. This seacock is connected to our galley sink and it stays open all summer and then I close it in the fall when the boat is pulled for winter. This spring after the boat went into the water I discovered I couldn't open it. Based on this thread and others I tried ice to cool it, a heat gun to expand it, a larger wrench on the nut that holds the regular handle and some use of a hammer on the handle to move it either way. Finally, I sprayed a lot, really a lot, of PB Blaster penetrating oil down the drain and wasn't back for 4 days. When I returned the valve opened normally. I worked it back and forth several times and intend to do that during the season and when it comes out of the water. Live and learn ... exercise those valves.
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Old 15-05-2018, 15:31   #21
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

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Originally Posted by billdre View Post
In the interest of this thread as a future reference I want to pass on my experience of a frozen Apollo 1 1/2 inch bronze ball-type seacock. This seacock is connected to our galley sink and it stays open all summer and then I close it in the fall when the boat is pulled for winter. This spring after the boat went into the water I discovered I couldn't open it. Based on this thread and others I tried ice to cool it, a heat gun to expand it, a larger wrench on the nut that holds the regular handle and some use of a hammer on the handle to move it either way. Finally, I sprayed a lot, really a lot, of PB Blaster penetrating oil down the drain and wasn't back for 4 days. When I returned the valve opened normally. I worked it back and forth several times and intend to do that during the season and when it comes out of the water. Live and learn ... exercise those valves.
Thatís interesting. Iíve always been able to break my ball valve seacocks free with brute force. They are also Apollo. I had a piece of pipe I could slip over the handle to give me some leverage. My biggest seacock was only 1-1/4Ē.

I carried parts for Apollo valves in my store. We sold a few replacement stems for the 2-1/2Ē seacock but never any for the smaller sizes. Nobody seemed to break the smaller sizes.

I had always been told by both Groco and Apollo to not put a grease fitting in the winter drain hole but I see Groco seacocks now come with one. Maybe thatís a good way to get a little grease on the ball without taking off the hose.

I wonder what it is that sticks? The polished ball rides on Teflon like rings with very little contact area. The stem rides on lubricated packing. I donít think there is any metal to metal contact.
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Old 16-05-2018, 12:09   #22
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

Hopcar,
as long as you brought up more detail I'll flesh out another element of this particular instance. As mentioned my boat was already in the water and I had "closed" the valve in the fall. At least I thought it was closed. The pointer end of the handle was slightly short of the stop on housing. When I went to open it, as mentioned, it wouldn't move with serious force applied. However, in filling my water tank I'd run water through both faucets and only realized later that the galley sink hand not overflowed it's drain. So I ran more water into the sink and realized that the valve must be slightly open since the water level dropped slowly after filling. That valve had been "closed" to the same degree the year before. Now I knew it hadn't been actually closed in 2 years. At which point I didn't know if the valve was above the water line or not so I didn't want to take off the hose and I simply sprayed the penetrating oil down the drain and figured if it was still stuck when I came back I would deal with in the fall after haul out. I don't know what was preventing the value from closing all the way. But once it opened with the penetrating oil it regained full range of motion. I suspect some chemically soluble item was wedged into the opening and the penetrating oil worked on that. I know they don't recommend lubrication but I wanted to try something.
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Old 16-05-2018, 12:25   #23
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

Whether is right or wrong, I remove the 1/8" NPT fitting on my ball valves and thread in the end of my grease gun whip, which also happens to be 1/8" NPT. Couple quick pumps of waterproof grease and it works perfectly. I do exercise them regularly though.
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Old 16-05-2018, 15:18   #24
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

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Originally Posted by billdre View Post
Hopcar,
as long as you brought up more detail I'll flesh out another element of this particular instance. As mentioned my boat was already in the water and I had "closed" the valve in the fall. At least I thought it was closed. The pointer end of the handle was slightly short of the stop on housing. When I went to open it, as mentioned, it wouldn't move with serious force applied. However, in filling my water tank I'd run water through both faucets and only realized later that the galley sink hand not overflowed it's drain. So I ran more water into the sink and realized that the valve must be slightly open since the water level dropped slowly after filling. That valve had been "closed" to the same degree the year before. Now I knew it hadn't been actually closed in 2 years. At which point I didn't know if the valve was above the water line or not so I didn't want to take off the hose and I simply sprayed the penetrating oil down the drain and figured if it was still stuck when I came back I would deal with in the fall after haul out. I don't know what was preventing the value from closing all the way. But once it opened with the penetrating oil it regained full range of motion. I suspect some chemically soluble item was wedged into the opening and the penetrating oil worked on that. I know they don't recommend lubrication but I wanted to try something.
That makes sense. Maybe penetrating oil makes barnacleslet go?
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Old 16-05-2018, 15:32   #25
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

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Whether is right or wrong, I remove the 1/8" NPT fitting on my ball valves and thread in the end of my grease gun whip, which also happens to be 1/8" NPT. Couple quick pumps of waterproof grease and it works perfectly. I do exercise them regularly though.
The problem with pumping grease in through the drain hole is that you can create enough pressure to blow the seals out. I read the Groco instructions on how to do it safely. Groco seacocks come with two drain holes. One has a pipe plug, the other a zerk fitting. You are instructed to open the seacock, remove the plug, and pump grease into the zerk fitting until grease comes out the other hole.

Unfortunately Apollo Seacocks only have one drain hole. Iíd try closing the seacock enough that the lip of the hole was past the seal and there was a small opening from the outside of the ball to the hole in the ball. Then pump grease in through the drain hole. You really need to remove the hose and look into the seacock to make this work.

Neither of these methods will work if the seacock is closed. Youíll just pump grease into the hole through the ball.
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Old 16-05-2018, 17:11   #26
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

Just to add a little more to an old thread... One of my ancient bronze valves was stuck in the open position the other day. I made a pot of hot water and dribbled it down in there (luckily it was the sink drain.) In about 5 minutes it closed just fine.
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Old 16-05-2018, 17:38   #27
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Re: Help! How to Free Stuck Seacocks ?

If your frozen ball valve is of the type that is made of two parts
threaded together, loosening them up a bit will free the ball.
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