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Kismet36 19-10-2015 21:24

Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
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Hello fellow forum users,
I have a 1984 Westerly, which is a British boat. The brass valve assembly which controls the seawater coming into the head is closed and won't budge. I certainly don't want to force it too much. It can be taken apart easily, but I don't plan on pulling the boat. Short of going in to the cold Chesapeake to put a plug in the thru hull, and then removing the valve to clean and regrease it, does anyone have a good idea on how to get that to move again. Any advice, besides "use WD40", is greatly appreciated.

ozskipper 19-10-2015 22:42

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
You could try blocking the through-hull from the outside (perhaps from a tender??), then from the inside, filling the assembly with canola or similar "natural" oil.

In other words you would be allowing the Valve to soak in the canola while still in situ.

HopCar 19-10-2015 23:04

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
It looks like a tapered cone type valve. Have you tried loosening those two big bolts on either side of the handle? That may loosen the cone enough for you to move it.

If I was sure it was a tapered cone and didn't have any rubber or plastic parts inside I'd suggest heating it.

damir s 19-10-2015 23:04

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
The first attempt to loosen the two screw on the side below the gland packing but not removed them. Move shaft by hand or lightly hit with a weapon of wood, rubber or plastic hammer normally must be free after the valve (learn that before leaving the ship close all valves) except output of automatic bilge pump.:thumb:

Kismet36 20-10-2015 07:02

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
Thanks Ozskipper, Hopcar and Damir S. I will see what I can do. I did loosen the bolts somewhat.

Tailwheel 20-10-2015 09:28

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
If it is a tapered cone, then I would identify the side with the narrower diameter, loosen the screw on that side that is used to tighten it, then tap that same side (as previously mentioned) with a wooden mallet, or wooden spacer + metal hammer.

I've found PB-Blaster to be an excellent penetrating/loosening oil.

Heating the exterior with a butane torch is another option to loosen things, but some of these tapered plugs have rubber components which would be adversely affected by the heat, so I'd avoid that. Any opinions, fellow cruisers?

Good luck


Tailwheel 20-10-2015 09:41

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
Sorry about the confusion but - looking again at your photo - this is not the kind of tapered cone I was thinking about. Please disregard what I said about tapping; try this instead:

loosen both bolts
gently twist back and forth on the top flange (with a large wrench or pipe wrench)
periodically squirt PB Blaster in between top and bottom flange
continue twisting back and forth
try operating valve, if no movement, then:
tap gently with hammer and
repeat above mentioned steps until valve moves.


mike d. 20-10-2015 09:54

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
If the bolts feel seized heat both flanges where the thread body goes through. Not hot, but uncomfortable to touch. Spray on PB blaster. the heat will draw the blaster into the threads. Leave for a couple hours, do it again. When the bolts move loosen them up, and heat up the side of the valve body, just warm. Do this quickly. Immediately try to move the handle. You don't want to much heat, as this will expand the housing to much, and seize up the valve more. A little heat will cause the metal to expand, and pull the housing away from the valve. I would also try to push a piece of plastic under water to the intake, on a piece of closed cell foam (floats), then go and do what's needed. Don't hit the top of the valve as you will only seat it further.

msrcal36 20-10-2015 09:56

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
It looks like a Blake: I had them on my last boat (also English built). Most were frozen and would not budge. At haul out a smart haul out neighbor gave me the answer: soak overnight in carburetor cleaner: Berryman Chem-Dip Carburetor and Parts Cleaner - They are tapered cones and need to lubed once a year. Even after soaking over night it took 1/2 hour + "tapping" (carefully) with a 4 lb. hammer to free them. These are VERY high quality sea cocks and worth saving. My suggestion is to keep a plug nearby, replace hose and wait till your next haulout to remove and service.

msrcal36 20-10-2015 10:01

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
Hmmm...... let me try again. There is an excellent cut away diagram of the Blake seacock: Blakes Seacock 1.5 inch - Complete (inc UK del)

Cheechako 20-10-2015 10:06

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
Loosen the two bolts a bit, rap the end good with a hammer a few times. (the end with the handle on it) Sometimes jarring it like that will break loose the calcium, cuprous oxide or whatever has it frozen.
Next time you haul take them apart, clean, and relube them with Lanolin, they will never freeze up that way, but will be more slow turning.

four winds 20-10-2015 10:17

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
I notice it has a built in grease fitting.

That could be removed possibly and provide a good place to apply some PB Blaster. Spray and tap to promote penetration.

sailormed 20-10-2015 10:18

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
You could try with a Seabung stopper.
The guy in the below video replaces a seacock while in the water. But he had no froozen seacock
Anyway, a clever tool when I saw it at the METS show in Amsterdam

divezonescuba 20-10-2015 17:34

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
You lucky guy.

If you only have one blake valve that is frozen, you should buy a lottery ticket. Ours had 4, I could only free three and had to replace one of the 1.5s.

Put a vice grip on the head part not the handle and start pounding. Stanley also makes a combination adjustable wrench / vice grip which is even better. The head is quite robust and should begin to move minutely. Work it back and forth with the liberal application of some penetrating oil. I have actually also pounded on the handle itself which is also roboust, but not so much as the square head on the top.

Always exercise the Blakes whenever you are on the boat. I didn't follow my own advice this last year and had to refree my own this last fall.

Kismet36 20-10-2015 17:54

Re: Freeing a Frozen Seacock Valve
Thanks for all the help. No lottery ticket Divezone, they are all frozen. Just starting with this one. I just bought the PB Blaster as Tailwheel and Mscal suggested. I'll give it a try with the vice grip.

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