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WanderingStar 12-18-2009 09:14 AM

Freeing stuck valves, in water?
Seems I saw a thread a while back on this, can't find it now. Seacocks haven't been maintained, or used much, frozen in the open position. Boat winters in water. Good ideas for freeing them up without damage?

drobarge 12-18-2009 10:36 AM

I tried intently staring at them down in FL last spring and that really didn't do too much. So I can say with certainty that wont work.

tommays 12-18-2009 10:39 AM


As i have broken off a few handles DONT fix anything your not prepared to have go worst case :)

I in this far because of a small leak :)

tempest 12-18-2009 11:10 AM

I'm not aware of a way to unstick a frozen "open" seacock safely, while remaining in the water.

Somehow you need to get a rust/corrosion disolving solution into the valve, how you do this, without removing the attached hoses and clamps I don't know. Maybe someone else does?

I would haul the boat even if it's for a short time, remove the hoses, loosen the valves, remove the stems, clean, lube and replace them. While you are at it, I'd check the hoses and replace the clamps.

Stillraining 12-18-2009 11:56 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Depends on which valves you have ...If you have these just loosen the nut opposite the Handel tap the tapered cones shaft lightly and she well free right up.

christyleigh 12-18-2009 12:07 PM

If they are Maralon I wouldn't try much at all except the intense looking mentioned above :rolleyes:.... since they are very cold and brittle now.
If they are bronze... I tried when I had a similar problem ..... some WD40 which may (if the shaft is frozen) or may not do any good from the inside, a bit of heat from an electric paint stripper gun, and some light tapping. Even that only got me limited movement which I fixed at next haul by spraying WD40 up into the valve from outside.

WanderingStar 12-18-2009 12:18 PM

Derrick, they're probably stuck because you stared at them (that could freeze anything). ;)
Stillraining, thanks, one of them is exactly like that, I'll try.
Stan, they're bronze, I'll try that too.
Tom, whatever that is it looks scary. I hope it's just a box of parts in your garage.

fourdegreesc 12-18-2009 01:13 PM

1. Disconnect the hose that goes to the valve.
2. Hose clamp a piece of clear plastic hose in place and hang the other end from the overhead.
3. You can work on the valve and the water level will come up the tubing (if you ever need to know where the water line is outside this works too.
4. You may be able to remove the valve packing if it's packed (a lot of ball valves are not, which is why ball valves are insane for thru hulls). BUT if you get the valve free, you'll take water thru the valve assembly, seat, packing etc.

As for freeing valves these rules always apply:

1. Lube it.
2. Beat it.
3. Heat it.
4. Beat it while heating it.

Usually stuck valves will break free with some firm hammering on the housing, but a little propane heat goes a long way too. If the packing or seals inside are plastic (remember what I said about ball valves for thru hulls?) then heating it is a problem and contraindicated (I hate that word!).

If you take the safe route you will plug them from under the hull (or haul the boat). You can do it in snorkle gear with a standard wood plug from any chandlery (or from the glitter stores, West Marine, et. al.). No need to dive in a second time if you free it or not. A long handle screw driver or dowel down the tubing will push it out from topside.

If it's a copper-alloy fitting be careful about pouring corrosion inhibitor into it. Most are medium-strong acids and may take the copper out on the way. I'm not 100% sure of what corrosion would form on those valves anyway.

Valve exercise is one of the most important things to maintain. Despite what the AYBCWJblah blah blah says, GATE valves or other substantial valves are better for all hull penetrations. They can be maintained and lubed. Go on any Coast Guard inspected boat and try to find a ball valve on something important. It will never happen.

Be careful and good luck.


tempest 12-18-2009 02:19 PM

The OP is in long island, I don't think he's jumping in the water anytime soon.

Better have the right size hose....if you're going to pull one hose off and put another one on.....

I wouldn't be Banging on my seacock...while my boat is in the matter how solid it seems.

If it doesn't loosen up with backing off a little on the nut and some light tapping...maybe some heat from a glue gun..I'd leave well enough alone..and catch it the next time you haul out....why risk making the situation worse?

Those Bungs have a lot of surface area...if they have been neglected for a long time...they'll need some lock-eeze ..stew..tap...more lock eeze...etc..
The bungs should be removed...cleaned with a lapping compound, lubricated and reinstalled......tapping out the bung with a wood block will keep the threads from getting buggered up...

These aren't ball valves..this is a tapered bung..

Gate Valves..for no ...not on any vessel of mine....
been there done that...

MC1 12-18-2009 02:27 PM

I say, spray paint the seacock to match the interior hull color, then repress all memory of it. :)

You could ask the local boat yard if they would be willing to lift the boat up just past the thru-hull and let you work on it while suspended just above the water. A partial lift may be much less expensive than a full haul depending on the yard and whether they have their equipment readily in place.

Or . . . go to shallow water at high tide, wait for low tide so you're high and dry, work fast? Some people bottom paint their boats this way, right?

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