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  #1  
Old 03-20-2007
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Exclamation Rusty seacock

I just bought a 36' sailboat that I am using as a liveaboard.

I just discovered a seacock that I was unaware of. It is rusty, loose, and leaking a very small amount of water from the threads between the hull fitting and shutoff valve.

I am fairly new to boats but assume that this is a critical problem. What can I do short of a haul out to temporarily stabilize this problem? I simply don't have the cash for a haul out right now. I am afraid that at any moment the entire seacock will break loose and sink the boat.

Thanks.
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Old 03-20-2007
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As you indicate, a rusty, loose, & leaking seacock assembly represents a critical problem; which could jeopardize your entire investment.
As a (very) TEMPORARY measure, you could try encasing the problematic parts of the assembly with a polyurethane structural adhesive/sealant, such as 3M #5200 (or #4100).
Others may counsel against 5200/4100, due to it’s EXTREMELY tenacious adhesion (you’ll have difficulty getting it off).
Whatever you dam it up with, do NOT use a silicone sealant.
FWIW,
Gord www.CruisersForum.com
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Old 03-20-2007
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Additionally....I would suggest having a tapered wooden plug close at hand that can be pounded into the seacock hole if it does give way.

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Old 03-20-2007
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Rather than encasing it in adhesive sealant, I would try using silicone self-fusing tape to seal the leak. Rescue Tape or Rubbaweld are brand names for this tape. It will be easier to clean up.

I also agree you should have a tapered wooden plug, but it should be softwood, like pine, and you need to keep it in a plastic bag, so it stays dry until you need it. That way, when you pound it into the hole, it will absorb water and swell up, essentially holding itself in place...which is why you need to keep it dry.
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Old 03-20-2007
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I’m going to disagree with the experts. Rust is never a good sign and with the seacock already leaking I would guess you have major structure problems with it. I would recommend being ready for it to break but I would not seal it with anything or mess with it at all. I’m not sure if you are in a cold environment but I’m thinking that if you are then the seacock might have frozen and the reason for the leak is a crack. Any movement could cause it to fall apart turning a small problem into a major issue. Get some good plugs as everyone has suggested and have an extra pump on hand in the event that she lets loose.

Stat saving money and as soon as possible get the boat on a lift and fix the problem. This is not the kind of thing you want to leave the marina with.
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Old 03-20-2007
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If the water temperature allows you might consider taking one of the tapered wooden plugs Cam suggested and plug the thru hull from the outside. Whatever you do, do it very soon.
Tom
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Old 03-20-2007
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Since the original poster is reporting a "rusty" condition with his through-hull fittings, why is it that no one has yet questioned the use of ferric metals on a boat's hull?

I was not even aware that iron through-hull valves were used below the waterline by boat builders during the last century.
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Old 03-20-2007
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What is the sea **** for?? Engine cooling (supply/discharge)? Sea water for the sink? For Wash down water? Sewage overboard? Or Toilet flushing system?
Now can you live with out it? Need It?

Can you plug it from the outside and try to see if you can repair it by removing the old valve, chase the threads and put on a new valve?
Do you have to replace the entire through hull fitting?

But what you have described is a boat sinker if left unattended. It must be taken care of, immediately. In the mean time have a couple of plugs ready for usage.

Check all of your other through hull fittings also. To see if there are others that may need to be replace.

It could be a one or two day haul out if below the water line. Or see if a list on the boat will bring it clear of the water and repair it from a punt. But a haul out would be the best way to do it.

Oh!! Make sure your pumps can keep up with that size hole if the valve breaks off. And have an alarm system on you pumps so you know when they start up.
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patrick when you say rusty are you referring to green corrosion or actual red rust? as to the water weeping/running around the threads around the nut, is there a wood pad/glassed over under the nut. can you move the nut by hand at all? if you can try gently turning the nut down onto the pad while holding the thru-hull from turning. you don't say where you are, but if you are where the tide drop is great enough can you careen the boat against a sea wall or posts to hold her up right wait for the tide to recede and then fix the thru-hull properly
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TB-

Some ball valves are made of stainless steel, as is the case in the "Marelon" ones made by ForeSpar. The bodies of the seacock are fiberglass-reinforced nylon, but the ball itself is stainless steel. You could get rust from stainless steel.

I would definitely want to schedule a haul out to replace said throughhull and seacock as soon as feasible.
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