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Marelon vs. Bronze
Marelon has a lot going for it. After all, it will not seize as readily as bronze sea-cocks, is usually cheaper, and doesn''t require grounding like bronze. If you''re not planning on doing a lot of maintenance, it may be the better option. Lastly, Marelon is not attacked by some substances like blackwater waste the same way as Bronze. Furthermore, it doesn''t interact galvanically if you were to attach it to a stainless tank.
Bronze sea-cocks are usually more solid and tougher than their marelon cousins. Reinforced plastic only goes so far. But "Marelon" is not only a brand name, it also assures some modicum of quality. The same cannot be said for a lot of "bronze" fittings which the layperson cannot distinguish from those actually fit for ocean service. Good Alloys cost money, and much of the stuff sold in discount stores is simply adapted from home use and sourced from the cheapest supplier they could find. Caveat Emptor!
Furthermore, bronze sea-cocks require monthly openenings and closings or they will seize hard and fast. Ideally, they should be taken apart and regreased yearly. That keeps corrosion to a minimum. In this sense, the bronze sea-cocks are no different from your average folding propeller which also usually needs a yearly greasing, cleaning, excercise, etc.
Having worked on the entire sanitation system in our boat, I see a role for both systems. Our stainless holding tank had no proper nipples to interface with hose - just a flat tube weldment which leaked invariably. A Marelon fitting might have been more appropriate because it has the barbs that keep the waste where it belongs. On the other hand, that presupposes access to the interior of the tank, etc.
I prefer bronze systems all around, but I''ve also had to deal with seized sea-cocks. They are no fun. One more reason to create a monthly/annual check-list for preventative maintenance. You either do it now or pay for it later. If interested, have a look at <a href=http://www.vonwentzel.net/Prout/>www.vonwentzel.net/Prout/</a> for more info on what we did to make our holding tank system work.