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Old 02-09-2007, 12:56   #1
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Installing head

Hi guys! You've all helped me out in the past, now I have a slight dilemma that requires some of your vast combined experience.

I am installing a new head in a boat that has had it's thru hulls filled for 3 years (not sure what with, the guy who cleaned my bottom said it looked like lead or something). Anyway, the outlet for the head looks frozen up. What's a good way to loosen this thing? My fear is, I get it loose and....something breaks and I have a hole in the boat while in the water. I'd like to avoid this.

the seacock looks old, and there's some blueish coloring on it.

Any advice?
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Old 02-09-2007, 16:26   #2
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This may not be the advice you wanna hear, but here goes...

I dislike holes in the boat as a matter of common sense. Holes in the boat below the waterline I like even less. Rather than lose sleep worrying over whether or not your through hulls are ok, I would advise that you haul the boat out of the water, remove the existing through hull fittings and seacocks and fit brand new ones. That way you can have 100% confidence in the safety and functionality of these important pieces of gear. It should only require 24 hours out of the water, so it isn't a big exercise.
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Old 02-09-2007, 17:11   #3
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I agree with you, of course. The issue is, i don't have the ability at this time to do that (no lift at my marina -- i could haul her over with a line to the mast, but..). These thruhulls haven't leaked the 5 years they have been in. It's the connection to the the seacock that worries me.
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Old 02-09-2007, 18:29   #4
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Could you put on a wetsuit and jump into the water with an appropriate sized plug? Bang in the plug to seal the thru hull, then havea go at removing the seacock?
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:45   #5
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Oh, yea, it's only about 4 or 5 feet deep at low tide here. temp is 90 degrees. That's not a problem, i can plug it if there's a problem. I just wanted to AVOID the problem as much as possible. Finding something to loosen that seacock up a bit so i don't just overpower it and snap it.

Also, what do you think is the best way to clear the plugged hole? From the outside, in. Or from the inside, out?

thanks!!
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:32   #6
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Are these bronze throughhulls? With proper seacocks on them? Or ball or gate valves?

It is possible someone did pour lead/solder into them to make a permanent seal, or used some kind of epoxy compound. I think you'd want to take a gouge and dig some out from the outside, to see what it is. If it IS lead/solder...that blueish discoloration could be heat damage from someone's torch. At that point it becomes easier to replace than to start spending time investigating what it might be and what damage there might be.

Depending on how the throughhulls were installed, they can be easy or difficult to remove. If they were bedded with 5200 or another "permanent" adhesive, sometimes you need to unplg them, then cut them laterally with a Sawzall (or hand blade) and "implode" them into the hole to get them off the hull. If they were put in with a proper bedding compound, you should be able to put a water pump pliers or other large grip on the interior hex nut, stick a "pickle fork" into the fitting (there's a bar across the middle of it, or was, before it was plugged) and unscrew it from the hull.

No easy way to be sure.

Exploring your options in the water doesn't have to be frightening. Damage control plugs work--especially if tapped in from the outside. And, a large ball of cheap beeswax (toilet bowl seating ring) will plug them very nicely, too. From the outside.

Overall, replacing it probably is the most reliable and expedient option. If you find a nearby yard with a lift, you can often get a break on just an overnight lift--they haul you, back up, and leave it in the sling overnight. You work fast before sunset and they launch it again in the morning, and charge you less because it was just up-and-down without having to stow the boat someplace. Or course, you still should have two people (one inside one outside) and tools of destruction in case it just won't go.
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Old 14-09-2007, 00:53   #7
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Thru Hulls

Should your investigations prove that the existing plugged thru hulls are both unserviceable and permanently sealed, and you can feel that there is no chance of these leaking, it may be easier, quicker and less hassle to install new holes. That is of course unless you have a ferro hull .

Good luck and fair winds

Steve

PS I have a ferro hull, and have put additional thru hulls; it just ain't fun
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Old 14-09-2007, 12:51   #8
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Hellosailor outlines the issues with the through hull replacement well. Posting some pictures wouldn't hurt. We love pictures . If you have no problems then of course all this is not important, but if you do you'll be forced to do something quickly. That risk is better out of the water. It may be impossible to replace the through hull in the water. It sure would be nice if it didn't break trying to find out.
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