Can't close ball valve on thru-hull - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 37 Old 12-05-2010 Thread Starter
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Can't close ball valve on thru-hull

Winterizing nightmare: the lever on the ball valve operates freely, but it doesn't feel like anything is moving, and the water flow to the strainer doesn't stop completely. Tightening the nut at the lever base doesn't do anything... because the nut turns but doesn't actually tighten.
It's a very cramped area, and difficult to see & work in. Since this is the raw water feed for a currently in-operative AC system on a recently purchased 10 year old Jeanneau, I would be satisfied with any fix that would stop the water at the thru hull-ball valve, that did not require a haul out, but that would keep the boat safe. She will be stored afloat this winter (with a bubbler) in the Chesapeake.
Any ideas, or recommendations on who to call in the Kent Narrows area?
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post #2 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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Time for a new valve. You should be able to swap it out with the boat in the water. You'll get some water in the boat, but not enough to worry about. Just in case, keep an appropriately sized pipe cap (PVC is OK for a temporary fix) and a softwood plug handy when you do the job.
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post #3 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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Ditto the above.

It's not as big a deal as you might think. You can minimise the amount of water you get in by going for a swim and stuffing a plastic bag into the thru-hull from the outside... Just remember to remove it afterwards!

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"
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post #4 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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A word of caution about trying to do it in the water. If the thru hull is not bolted thru the hull, when you try to unthread the ball valve you may turn the whole thru hull, which of course will then leak :-(( Doesn't sound like you have a lot of room to get a wrench on the thru hull.

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post #5 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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While it may be something you could do afloat, to get an idea of how little (or how much!) water will try to come in make sure you've had some practice changing your knotmeter impeller while you're in the water. There's not a lot of pressure, but a 1 1/2 inch hole is going to gush pretty good.

If you're able to cover it from below as described, of course that will slow things down... the bigger risk here, IMO is the poor access and , as jrd suggests the possibility of the whole works spinning and breaking a seal.

Ron

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post #6 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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If you're able to cover it from below as described, of course that will slow things down... the bigger risk here, IMO is the poor access and , as jrd suggests the possibility of the whole works spinning and breaking a seal.
Good point.

To the OP: If, as you say, you are happy with "any fix that would stop the water at the thru hull-ball valve, that did not require a haul out, but that would keep the boat safe" you could always shove a wooden plug into the thru-hull from the OUTSIDE.. Like a cork in a bottle..

Just cut to size, tap it in gently and haul-out later on to fix properly.

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"
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post #7 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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Unless I was feeling very confident--and I know I wouldn't in this case--I'd go the wooden plug route. Except peaceful sleep for me would require something like wiring the plug on with stainless wire so it couldn't pop.

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post #8 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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Thinking out loud here (so to speak). Can you take the hose off and cap the outlet side of the ball valve inside the boat? The concern with this would be trapped water that freezes and damages the cap or valve body. Anyway to get some antifreeze inside the cap first?

Are you going to keep some heat inside the boat over the winter?
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post #9 of 37 Old 12-05-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies... if it were August, I'd not hesitate to do the in-the-water-plug-it routine, and proceed from there. But the water temperature is in the low 40 degrees F, too cold for me. Hiring a diver is how I would approach that angle, given it is now December.
I have winterized both the speedo and depth transducers and let me tell you, it gets VERY exciting when the gusher starts... one has to work very fast! The risk of cross threading (or worse, having miss identified the correct thread size!), the water all over the interior, and the difficulty of getting tools into the space, all argue against a full blown attempt to replace the faulty valve while still afloat.
My thought was to plug the ball valve from the inside as follows: replace the existing hose (as quickly as possible!) on the ball valve's hose barb with a longer one, one that comes above the water line, then push a wad of underwater epoxy putty down the hose with a close fitting dowel, into the top of the ball valve's hose barb. That would limit the amount of sea water in the assembly to just about the same as there would be with a functioning, closed, ball valve. Finally, I would fill the hose with anti freeze, just in case the epoxy seal isn't 100%.
Your thoughts??
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post #10 of 37 Old 12-05-2010
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You could try that... I'd be tempted to pull a sheet of poly, or even a tarp under the boat in the general area, and tie the corners to the toerail while doing this. That would greatly reduce any gushers you might encounter while you change the hoses over..

With the poor access you may well have to cut the old hose off - those long standing hose attachments rarely come off easily.

Another thought.... where is the through-hull exactly, and can you careen (heel) the boat far enough to expose it?

Ron

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