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Old 01-10-2018, 19:36   #1
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MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

I bought a Mac26 and tried to fill ballast today while on the trailer. Itís the base model taking up to a 10hp motor. I had pulled the plug up and tightened it fairly tight and it was leaking fairly briskly. I tightened it as hard as I could and it kept leaking. I was filling it via hose and the air hole.

I dropped the plug down and the rubber looks intact. There are a few other holes for the shorter metal piece off center to go up. Should I try to rotate the plug and see if that helps at all?

I am hoping to put it in the water next week and donít want to if leaking. I can buy a replacement for $59, is it worth trouble shooting or just buy a new one?

If it leaks is there a risk of flooding the boat? I am quite the newbie. Also sad the rod is too long to fully remove the plug without digging a hole under the trailer
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Old 01-10-2018, 19:45   #2
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking



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Old 01-10-2018, 20:10   #3
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

Hi there. I have a '91 Macgregor 26s. Don't crank down on the valve too tight.. you'll compress the top of the ballast tank and could cause damage.

Keep a tub of vasoline with the boat. Seriously. Coat the bottom of the top seal and the top of the bottom seal (in your pictures) with a fairly healthy coat. When you close the valve it will actually seal.


When lightly loaded (stock) you don't have to worry; when filling the ballast tank in the water it won't overflow. When loaded to normal (camping/cruising/daysailing/two people on board/etc) levels, you do have to seal the valve after the water level in the tank gets within a finger's length of the air vent or it will overflow. I've had my '26 in a slip for a year and a half now without a haul out, no leak from the valve with the vasoline on it. (Though I do have to keep adding some crushed chlorine tablet every few months through the vent hole to keep the hydrogen sulfide from building up due to anaerobic environment. Hint -- if you crack the air vent and it stinks, don't breathe it in. let it air out before you go back into the boat)

Anyways great little boat, lotta fun, just went out for a pre-Rosa solo sail this past Saturday in Arizona in 12-20 kts, blast.

Carry on,

Sean
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Old 01-10-2018, 20:34   #4
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

thanks for the advice. I can't imagine vaseline fixing my leak though, it was a steady stream. I was by myself, will try it again tomorrow with me under the boat and my kids tightening the nut. We'll see if that's better.
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Old 01-10-2018, 21:05   #5
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

Give it a shot. Your gasket doesn't look that bad from what I see in the pictures.

If that fails you can buy a new gasket from bwyachts CENTER VALVE GASKET SET, 26C -- $10

Truth told, though, I read about the petroleum jelly trick on one of the forums out here, I think the 'ask a macgregor owner' forum (google it..better then the macgregorsailors forum for the classics) Tried it..worked like a champ on my boat. So I know I'm not the only one and I have a lot of confidence in this solution.

Goodluck friend!

Sean,
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:46   #6
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

If the previous owner left the boat in the water there could have been growth around the seal. The growth could have then prevented resealing.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:44   #7
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

I've never owned a water ballasted vessel, so this is just my opinion. My understanding of a water ballasted boat was to keep the weight of the boat while being trailered, and that the ballast would be added after it was in the water. Once in the water, I don't think the water would try to get out like it does on a trailer, unless it is pressurized or substantially above the water line.
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Old 02-10-2018, 16:16   #8
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

I have used the vaseline trick to stop a small leak in the impeller on my diesel motor. It definitely works for a small leak.
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Old 02-10-2018, 17:19   #9
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

Query: When the tank is full, and the boat floating on her lines, where is the top of the tank relative to the water line of the boat? I bet that those levels are about the same, and if they are, then there is very little difference in pressure between inside and outside at the valve, and in turn very little cause for the valve to leak.

I suspect that you have little to worry about. Use of vaseline or silicone grease to aid the seal is easy to do and won't hurt, so go ahead with that, but go on and launch the boat and see what happens at the dock.

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Old 03-10-2018, 08:35   #10
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

Second on Texlan's advice. I also use a little petro jelly to lube the hardware

on the top. This keeps it from binding while tightening. Your hardware looks

VGC in the photos at worst get a new seal.

Best Regards,
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:51   #11
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

From the manual:

Quote:
"It is possible to test the watertightness of the lower part of the valve and its seal by pulling the boat out of the water with the tank full and valve closed. Check to see if it leaks. Do this frequently. Preferably every time you sail the boat."
I did order a new valve, should be arriving today. I have a nice tub of vaseline on the boat now too

Going to raise the mast at home today. It looks like I'm missing the female end of the turnbuckle for the forestay. Hopefully it's in a storage locker somewhere.
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Old 04-10-2018, 14:37   #12
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Re: MacGregor 26 water ballast leaking

It's funny, right about the time we went to put the old plug back in (I had dropped the threaded rod down of course) I remembered the mail probably came with a new one. Sure enough. BWYachts shipped same day and got me my part quickly!

I used a generous smear of vaseline on the rubber plug but since I had to dig a hole to get the plug out in the first place when I went to shove it back under I got dirt and rocks all stuck in the vaseline. Sigh.

When it was dry the old rubber looked really bad. I could have gotten by with just the new rubber piece but I didn't know how long these parts would be made and that seems like an integral unique part so I went ahead and bought the whole thing.
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