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Old 15-03-2010, 12:55   #31
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So what's the lifespan of a seacock? My 1984 Starwind was completely missing an above the water-line thru-hull, when I bought it, and both the cockpit drains and the waste deckplate had corroded out. I've got three seacocks, two in the galley - one for the sink drain and one for raw water. The other is under the v-berth for the holding tank. They all seem solid, but after 25 years should I replace them when I do my next bottom job?
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Old 15-03-2010, 13:12   #32
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Originally Posted by rtbates View Post
I doubt it was corrision..Maybe electrolysis...

I've been thinking that this may have been a cause. While doing the valves I found that the grounding wires were crap! The boat was plugged into shore power at least all last winter. And before someone asks; the zincs this year looked the same as last year and the boat wasn't connected to shore power at all (well for 2 weeks).
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Old 15-03-2010, 13:17   #33
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Hi Jetexas,

You would first need to define what you call a seacock. Are they flanged and through that flange bolted to the hull? Or are they really just valves?
Some seacocks (the ones with the papered "plug" inside) will outlast everything else on a boat while some valves don't last a season... and everything in between those extremes.

I would suggest to change the thru-hull fittings at least and the seacocks if they are not that tapered version (forgot the brand... don't think you can buy new ones still). For ball valves the trouble is the seal around the ball. But make sure the new ones are at least as good as the old ones!

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Old 15-03-2010, 14:18   #34
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Your thinking of Wilcox Cridations like mine ..But you can still buy full bronze tapered plug valves from Spartan...I wont replace with anything else come time.
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Old 15-03-2010, 14:36   #35
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Since we're swapping stories...

I bought my Cape Dory 28 last year in August. It was in the water when I bought it, and I took a month to get it ready and then sailed it 120 miles back to my town. I had it hauled out in November for new bottom paint. Since the old bottom paint was bubbling up (not blisters, incompatibility with the underlying barrier coat or something) the boat yard suggested I sand it off down to the barrier coat and then start with fresh paint. We knew it had a barrier coat because the paint was coming off in 6 to 12 inch flakes that exposed the barrier coat.

Well, the work was done and then it was time to put the boat back in the water. They lowered the boat into the water with the travel-lift and I went down below to open the seacock for the engine water and get everything ready. I heard a dribbling of water but figured the stuffing box must have dried out sitting on the hard for the week it took to paint it. I was checking everything and getting ready to open the seacock and start the engine, but noticed the dribbling sound was still there.

When I removed the engine compartment door (the steps on my boat) and went for the seacock I was surprised to feel cold water on my hand. I looked in there and to my surprise it looked like two water fountains shooting into the air, one on each side of the seacock!! I yelled at the guys to raise it back up because it was going to sink, which they did.

Upon inspection, it turns out long ago someone must have had a different strainer for the coolant intake, and when they changed it the bolts didn't line up so they just drilled new ones. The only problem is that they NEVER PLUGGED THE OLD HOLES!!! Apparently the only thing that had been keeping the sea out during my working on it and sailing it down to my home marina was the built up layers of bottom paint over the holes!!! When the boatyard had sanded off the old paint down to the barrier coat, it exposed the holes.

Luckily I had tipped the yard workers really well, so they patched the two holes on the spot, and then let the boat sit in the lift for an hour or two to let the new bottom paint dry which they had applied over the patches.
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Old 15-03-2010, 15:12   #36
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You’re absolutely correct. Good bronze is good bronze, wherever it made. However, If you buy a tail piece from Spartan Marine or Perko Marine (both US companies) they buy their material here in the US. The US companies they buy their bronze from guarantee that it is of a specific grade, in the case of Spartan and Perko they use virgin metal.

When the customer buys a Perko or Spartan tailpiece he/she has a high degree of certainty that they’re getting the real thing.

Groco just had to recall specific model bronze seacocks because the stainless steel balls (Chinese made) were pitting. It appears the SS material was not to the standards they specified.

For now, if it relates to those in your hull, I would recommend sticking with quality US or European name brand seacocks and fittings whenever possible.

Fair winds,

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Old 15-03-2010, 15:32   #37
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Hi Jed,

Yes, the brand name and it's reputation is the best way to determine quality without having a lab test the item. I have two Groco seacocks that are still like the day I installed them, one 6 years ago and the other 2 years ago. I am sure they will not need replacing after 15 years but that all depends on the seals, not the bronze.
In Europe I don't think they have seacocks, just valves.

How are you so sure that US companies buy their bronze from the US? China is the biggest importer of metals nowadays and I wouldn't be surprised if they buy from the same sources too. Metals is a global market. I don't really care about where they mined it or cast it as long as they did it right and the manufacturer stamps it's name on it because the product is conform their standards for quality.

We have "what's his name" on the forum who did all that testing with the flanged adapter. A CF search should bring that up and reading his website is a must when you start working on your thru-hulls and seacocks. I think his forum-id is MaineSail.

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Old 15-03-2010, 23:05   #38
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Just to back up a couple steps....sorry...when I read thru-hull.... I saw, there are no handles on thru-hulls.
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Old 16-03-2010, 02:31   #39
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For certain, stick to high-quality American made goods, as long as they weren’t made in Springfield.

From the Simpsons

“The American Way”

[Shary Bobbins]
If there's a task that must be done,
Don't turn your tail and run
Don't pout! Don't sob!
Just do a half-assed job!
If you cut every corner,
It's really not so bad.
Everybody does it,
Even Mum and Dad.
If nobody see it, then nobody gets mad!
[Bart] It's the American way!
[Shary Bobbins] The policeman on the beat needs some time to rest his feet.
[Chief Wiggum] Fighting crime is not my cup of tea!
[Shary Bobbins] And the clerk who runs the store can charge a little more for meat!
[Apu] For meat
[Shary Bobbins] And milk
[Apu] And milk!
[Shary Bobbins & Apu]
From nineteen-eighty-four!
[Shary Bobbins] If you cut every corner, you'll have more time for play!
[Shary Bobbins & the Simpsons] It's the American way!

See also The Simpsons - “Half-Ass Work Ethic”
... Lisa, if you don't like your job you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way. ~ Homer Simpson
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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