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Old 25-07-2013, 20:06   #1
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Water Tank Snafu

Stainless steel tank. I removed it to inspect but it won't seat back into the threads properly to seal.
It'll go maybe 1 turn and jam.

Then when I fill the half a gallon spills out. Any suggestions beyond a sledge or welder?
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Old 25-07-2013, 20:21   #2
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Re: Water tank snafu

First, was it really hard to take apart? If so it might also be hard to put back together. But you could be crossing the threads.

Start by cleaning both parts with a fine bristle, brass brush. DO NOT use a steel brush.

Then, very carefully examine the threads, both in the plug and the hole. If they are fine threads and your eyes aren't really sharp use a strong light and magnifying glass. Make sure not a single thread is damaged, cut or bent looking. If you see any threads that aren't smooth and sharp edged get a very fine file and fix them as well as you can.

When you're certain that all the threads are good very carefully line up the pieces and turn the insert backwards, lightly and carefully, like you are trying to UNscrew it. Feel it carefully and you can feel it lined up correctly and a very slight bump when the starting thread goes by. Once you have the feel and are certain it's lined up then very slowly and carefully start screwing it in. Feel it like a safe cracker and don't force it.

By the way, water tank? Is this a hot water tank? Hard to tell.
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Old 25-07-2013, 20:44   #3
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Re: Water tank snafu

What he said.

Stainless on stainless threads gall very easily. And it may be some tiny burr that is hard to spot. From the photo, it looks like (and I am injecting some imagination here) it has a female hex... or maybe a hole to match wench handle? It also looks like six screws hold the fitting to the tank. Think about removing the whole fitting and replacing it with a plastic one. Even if you have to have one made, I wouldn't want that bad idea biting me on the butt again. But inspection ports are plenty easy to get. You should not have to have a plastic one made for you. You can even get one with a clear plug.

My water tanks came with no inspection ports. Now they both have clear threaded plugs.
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Old 25-07-2013, 20:47   #4
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Skipmac

It's a 25 gallon cold water tank. One of a pair on my 29'.

It was hard to disassemble - kind of like dry metal on dry metal.

When I reassembled and it started to bind up, I stopped. Tried again, stopped again.

Great advice!! I have the tools to follow your steps except the brass brush. I'll buy one and get started.
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Old 25-07-2013, 20:48   #5
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Thanks Minggat - that will be my backup plan.
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Old 25-07-2013, 20:53   #6
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Re: Water tank snafu

The fact that it was hard to take apart says a lot to me. You were in trouble before you started, and it only got worse.
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Old 25-07-2013, 20:59   #7
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Re: Water tank snafu

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Skipmac

It's a 25 gallon cold water tank. One of a pair on my 29'.

It was hard to disassemble - kind of like dry metal on dry metal.

When I reassembled and it started to bind up, I stopped. Tried again, stopped again.

Great advice!! I have the tools to follow your steps except the brass brush. I'll buy one and get started.
If it felt dry and hard to turn on disassembly, after cleaning and checking the threads I would lube the threads very slightly with something food safe. Maybe rub just a bit of lanolin on the threads or if that's not available a little food grade paraffin. Or maybe just a touch of vegetable oil.

Brass brush should be easy to find. Most auto parts stores, Harbour Freight, probably the big box hardware stores. Often come in a pack of three: one brass, one SS, one nylon. All handy.
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:02   #8
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Re: Water tank snafu

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The fact that it was hard to take apart says a lot to me. You were in trouble before you started, and it only got worse.
Yes indeed. But then don't things always go from bad to worse?
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:09   #9
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Re: Water tank snafu

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Yes indeed. But then don't things always go from bad to worse?
Thanks for the chuckle. I thought we were on the joke thread for a moment,

Removing a threaded plug- intended to be less than 30 seconds.

Now turned into a 1-2 day ordeal. 2-3 trips to get what you need and the $$ to reach the resolve. I'm laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside. And it's not even my project.
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:18   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks for the chuckle. I thought we were on the joke thread for a moment,

Removing a threaded plug- intended to be less than 30 seconds.

Now turned into a 1-2 day ordeal. 2-3 trips to get what you need and the $$ to reach the resolve. I'm laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside. And it's not even my project.
All sung to the refrain "why oh why did I open that port"

We are all lucky that there really is nothing better than messing about with boats.
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:19   #11
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How about using a tube of this great 5200 sealant I keep hearing about????? LOL
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:24   #12
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Re: Water tank snafu

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We are all lucky that there really is nothing better than messing about with boats.
Shhhh...

We're all going to be in trouble if that leaks out.

Just imagine, the price of "marine grade" items going up if retailers find out.
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Old 26-07-2013, 05:40   #13
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Re: Water tank snafu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minggat View Post
Thanks for the chuckle. I thought we were on the joke thread for a moment,

Removing a threaded plug- intended to be less than 30 seconds.

Now turned into a 1-2 day ordeal. 2-3 trips to get what you need and the $$ to reach the resolve. I'm laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside. And it's not even my project.
Well here's my tale of woe, involving my water tank. Started overhauling the plumbing in my 25 year old boat. Was installing a new pump and looked at the hoses and realized they were original and coated with grunge so decided to replace all the hoses as well. Got to the tank which has a fitting glassed into the top with hose barbs inside and out. Could reach the inside hose barb through the 6" inspection plate and by the Braille system was able to remove the hose clamp and, with a little verbal persuasion and ripped the old, hardened hose off the barb. "Ah" says I, "that wasn't too hard. Almost done." Then I pulled on the end of the hose and it wouldn't come out of the tank. "#%&!!!" says I, "how come?"

So dropped a light in the 6" hole and peered in to see the hose was run under small loops of fiberglass attached to the bottom of the tank with a fitting on the far end that would not go through the last loop (later determined to be a check valve). The last loop was about 6' down and back from the hole and about 3" from the wall of the tank. So I couldn't reach the loop and couldn't push the hose through the other way.

Next step, and always the first idea for a manly sailor type, try brute force! The hose was slick and slimy (which is why I wanted it out in the first place) so with my arm in the 6" hole, I wrapped a towel around the hose to get traction and pulled......... and pulled and jerked and wiggled and yanked and pulled. No joy.

Next step, bruter force (yes I made up that word). Obviously I am not pulling hard enough laying on the cabin sole with my arm in a hole so let's get a better grip on the problem. So tied a rolling hitch around the hose (one handed by touch through the hole inside the tank, which took a bit of doing and a little more verbal persuasion), led the rope out the inspection hole, grabbed with both hands and pulled..... and pulled and jerked and wiggled and, well you get the point. Still no joy. I had another polite discussion with the hose, the rope and a few comments about boat maintenance in general and plumbing specifically. By this time I had wasted most of the day so called it quits.

Day 2

Since force wasn't working then the obvious answer is........... even more force!!
So next plan. Rigged a block in the cabin and ran the line from the hose around the block, back up through the companionway, around another block and to the sheet winch. Now I've got some real pull. So started cranking on the winch and pulled......... and pulled and, well you know the rest. I am marveling at the strength of this system. May be some interest in the military for something like this.

By now I've wasted another half day. So stopped for lunch and brainstorming. The obvious conclusion, I'm applying force in the wrong way. Time to go to the root of the problem and apply force directly to the little loops holding the hose in. There are two loops that appear to be a little archway of fiberglass, glassed on the bottom of the tank, both out of reach. So go home and get a 4' crow bar. That will certainly do the trick.

Back to the boat, feed the crow bar through the hole, lay down on the sole and by feel try to find the first loop. I can kind of guide the crow bar along the hose and feel it clink when it reaches the loop. Back up and slam the crow bar towards the loop and miss which almost wrenches my shoulder out of joint. Try again and feels like a glancing blow. I keep this up for about 45 minutes, scoring an occasional direct blow but the loop isn't budging. Rest a bit, try again. By now I'm getting the technique down and I'm hitting the loop about 50% of the time. Go at it off and on for another hour or so but it's like pounding on hardened steel with a piece of foam rubber. That little loop hasn't moved. I really need to notify the army about this stuff. Could find use in reinforcing armored vehicles. Time for another plan. By now I've wasted most of another day.

Day 3. What if I can get the tip of the crowbar under the loop and use some leverage? Even more force so that's got to work. Try that for an hour or so but just no room for the tip of the crowbar so just beat on it a little more. I know it's not doing anything but it does make me feel better.

Next idea, maybe I can get the hose out from under the first loop to get a better pull on the second loop. Manage to hook the crowbar under the hose between the two loops and start pulling again. You can guess how that went. Tied a rolling hitch on the crowbar to get a good pull, got two of us on the rope and JOY!!, we got........ half a hose. It snapped between the two loops leaving the end stuck under the last loop and out of reach so can no longer get a line on the last piece of hose. Give up, go home and try again the next weekend.

By now I'm running out of ideas so focus on other projects that actually yield some results for my efforts but when I get bored occasionally take the crowbar and whack the back loop a few times. Occasionally bring some new tool from home that I poke into the hole to see if I can remove the last piece of hose. Even got a tree pruning saw to try to cut the loop but wouldn't fit in the hole. Managed to lasso the the check valve and tried to pull the hose out backwards but still not enough clearance between the loop and the back wall of the tank. By now I've spent another 8-10 hours messing with the last half of the hose.

And then, one day a few weeks later, while wandering through the garden section at Home Depot I see a small limb pruner on an extendable pole with an articulating head. I stop, look, think and it's like the monkeys in 2001 looking at the monolith. I see lights and hear celestial music. I purchase the magical tool and immediately drive to the boat. I tilted the head and angled the tool to fit through the hole into the tank with 1/2" clearance. By now I know every inch of the tank by touch so within seconds I reach behind the loop and just in front of the check valve, cut the hose, catch the last piece of the hose with the pruner and pull it out followed by the check valve that was still tied to the lasso.

With the offending hose removed it was just a matter of 10-15 minutes to install the new hose, slide the bottom end under the loop (without the $#!$ check valve) and clamp it to the hose barb.

I estimate I spent a cumulative total of at least 40-50 hours just to remove a 6' piece of hose from my water tank. If I ever meet the idiot misguided soul at Pearson that put it in I will very politely explain what trouble he or she caused me before I......
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