Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

We have a slow drip in one of our seacocks. Over the course of ten minutes it had one drip approximately every 90 seconds - 2 minutes. They are Spartan seacocks and the prior owner seemed to take great care of them. He re-greased them each year and they turn like butter. O.k., not so much now that we've tried to tighten it to stop the drip, but I digress...

The drip is coming from the two round washer-looking things to the right of the tightening bolt and locking nut. We think it's actually been doing this since we launched at the beginning of May, but ignorance was bliss.

Do you think this can wait until the end of the season, or should we haul the boat and fix it now? We are down there every weekend so we would certainly keep an eye on it, and we wouldn't open it for the rest of the season to try to keep from making it worse. It's the hose that leads from the sink, but we can live without the sink if necessary.

Thoughts?




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post #2 of 16 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

Should have a grease fitting (or a small plug on the valve body where a grease fitting can be installed). Grease it.

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post #3 of 16 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

Sink drain seacock?
does it leak when the valve is closed?
If it does not leak when closed then just leave it closed when not draining the sink.

If it does leak when closed then keep an eye on it. Try greasing it as suggested.

If grease doesn't work I might try a few thin threads of Butyl tape in there.

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post #4 of 16 Old 06-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

We will definitely try more grease first. Boy, I really hope it's that simple.

If that doesn't work, however, how do we put the butyl tape in it when the boat's in the water? Sorry for the total newbie question!

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post #5 of 16 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

In my opinion, if you have been able to verify that the leak is coming from the shaft of the seacock (and not say, from the hose to seacock joint), there is little or no risk of catastrophic failure.

What's happened is probably that the surface of either the rotating shaft, or the tube it sits in, is not smooth or is unevenly worn.

As long as it moves OK the likely scenario is that it continues to drip.

I changed one because the drip was soaking the teak cabin sole.

Where does your leak go?

I'm afraid that leaking of the taper-type seacock is rather common.

If it were my boat I would be comfortable with your plan to service it at the end of season. In fact I have done exactly that.

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post #6 of 16 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

Disclaimer: I would want to personally look at it before giving any definitive suggestions.

However, I'd do the checks suggested by Mark et al. Snug the locking bolt, grease it, and keep an eye on it.

Every boat is sinking. It just depends on how fast. Assuming you have a decent bilge, and reasonable pumps, one drop a minute is nothing. 10 drops a minute is nothing. 60 a minute, I'm aware of, and will check occasionally. 600 drops per minute (a flow), I'll get concerned.

Do the maintentance. Keep an eye one it. Plan for a full investigation at the end of the season when you haul. Go sailing now.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

I'd not put allot of torque on the nut could break the stud. Try to get some grease in there then re-tighten, but with a clamp. also while working the core back and forth. Warning! Do not let the valve and pipe rock as you work the valve core!

By the way, a band clamp can save the day in the case of a broken stud on a sea valve by holding the core in the valve body. Also, it appears to be the old style with a tapered core, not a ball type.

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

I would be happier with a slightly leaky seacock that is moveable, than one where you have adjusted it so tight that it won't move properly, and doesn't leak.

I would re-adjust it so it moves OK and put up with the leak until the next haulout, provided it is indeed only a drip or two a minute.

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post #9 of 16 Old 07-01-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. This is a great site when you're a newbie - I was actually able to sleep last night instead of worrying about the boat being on the bottom of the Sound when we see it again.

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post

I changed one because the drip was soaking the teak cabin sole.

Where does your leak go?
Mark, our drip is going to the same place. Judging from the condition of the sole in that area, I suspect it's been happening for some years now.

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post #10 of 16 Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Slow drip in seacock - to haul or not

Few things on a boat are as critical to its safe operation and not sinking than a seacock. i had a drip........drip coming from the stuffing box. It caused my boat to mold amd mildew out runing books, hts and lots of other things while making a foul odor. I would not haul for that alone but next time you need to do some work i would just buy a new marlon seacock and replace it. I replaced all six seacocks on my boat with marlon and they have been fantastic in every way. Just open and close them once every few months and back them with starboard. You will need a second set of hands for when you push the new seacock threough and someone else pushes the outside piece up into a fat glob of 5200.a
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