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dacap06 10-18-2012 09:56 PM

That Darn PO!!
I suspect my sentiment is a common one. I have owned Tranquility Base for 4 years now, and I am STILL finding stuff the Previous Owner did wrong, usually as a cheap-out shortcut. The latest find is particularly aggravating.

I have had a slow potable water leak into the bilge ever since I bought the boat. Until recently I have been unable to track it down, but I had a brainwave -- what about the shutoff valve on the tank itself? Sure enough, it was loose.

The loose valve was also a cheap Ace Hardware plastic plumbing valve. Suspicious! I suppose it matches all that stiff gray house piping he/she/it used all over the place when doing a plumbing "upgrade."

I took it all apart, stripped the shreds of old plumber's tape off the valve, put on new plumber's tape, and threaded it back in (by feel -- you can't see the tank threads). As I tightened it by hand, all of a sudden it got looser. Yup, stripped thread, and not on the darn valve -- its threads are perfect.

Ugh! I think the tank must come out. The tank is in the Starboard settee. In fact, the settee looks like it was built around the tank. There is about a half inch clearance everywhere. I'll have to remove all the tank's fittings to have even a prayer of getting it out, so I am in for more contortions or else settee disassembly.

The water tank is poly and is original to the boat - a model B145 made by Ronco Plastics. I checked w/o much hope but was delighted to find they are still in business, operating out of California! I called them for advice they told me all fittings are straight thread, and the threaded part will probably be replaced. But they are spun-welded onto the tank (whatever that is). Looking at the cheap Ace valve, it appeared to have a bit of a taper to it. I tried a proper valve with marine tubing and an appropriate, plastic straight threaded nipple, but no joy. It still jumped threads while hand tightening, and it still has a slow leak (but it is even slower).

My new best friends at Ronco Plastics helpfully provided the name of a company in Rhode Island that can spin weld a new fitting, thinking that it will be cheaper to ship it there than all the way from coast to coast. They think that would be considerably cheaper than $350 plus shipping for a new tank.

So now I am in a quandary. My choices are:

1) Just replace the 28 year old tank with a new one on that is exactly like it? (Ronco still makes it)
2) Send the old tank out for repair?
3) Try to find some goop that will seal the fitting and provide some gluing factor since the fitting can't be tightened?

I am rejecting 3) out of hand. You have to be able to get the fittings off to remove the tank, and it will contact my drinking water! So what would you do -- 1) or 2)?


PS: And thanks for listening to my rant.

erps 10-18-2012 10:34 PM

Re: That Darn PO!!

I called them for advice – they told me all fittings are straight thread, and the threaded part will probably be replaced.
Straight thread, and not pipe thread? Can it be drilled out and re-tapped to the next thread size up?

Minnewaska 10-18-2012 10:56 PM

Re: That Darn PO!!
Drill and retap is probably the best idea. You could try wrapping the threads of the existing fitting with teflon tape and see if it catches better. Personally, I would have no problem using pipe thread sealant either, essentially opt 3.

SVTatia 10-18-2012 11:22 PM

Re: That Darn PO!!
I would
a) Discard 3 - you could just be extending the headache.
b) Call the Rhode Island company and ask for a quote and shipping costs.
c) Then decide on either 1 or 2 or 4.

4? 4 is -> could you plug this hole? Maybe weld it shut with a piece of poly?
If yes, plug and properly drill/tap another hole. Call your friends at Ronco and ask for instructions.

So now you could have 1,2 or 4.

erps 10-18-2012 11:42 PM

Re: That Darn PO!!
I've seen tanks with multiple fitting locations. I wonder if this tank has fittings at the other end? Plug the damaged one and re-route lines and put the fitting at the other end.

Capt Len 10-19-2012 12:13 AM

Re: That Darn PO!!
Any proper fix likely means re and the tank. Spin welding a new fitting is a simple job but you still have an old tank and all the work of reinstalling. Cost difference is the decider.Or try cutting off the first 2 threads (clean up the cut with a file) of the grey plastic NPT nipple and see if you can't get it started straight. Or junk the plastic nipple and try it with a brass nipple Install with as much push as turn while listening to good classical music.

mitiempo 10-19-2012 01:17 AM

Re: That Darn PO!!
Option 1 and 2 both require tank removal. Spinning a fitting in is easy and not expensive. My local marine store sells all poly tanks without fittings - you tell them what you want where and they install - about 5 minutes per fitting. Should cost less that $10 or $15 when you get the tank to them. Someone local to you should be able to do this.

sww914 10-19-2012 02:47 AM

Re: That Darn PO!!
Glue a round plug on the inside and the outside of the existing outlet. Drill a new hole next to the bunged up outlet. Add a new plastic through hull with a rubber washer under the head.

Ajax_MD 10-19-2012 08:16 AM

Re: That Darn PO!!
Contact Maritime Plastics in Annapolis. They do plastic welding and may be able to do the "spun welding" procedure you're talking about. You can DRIVE there. No shipping, no hassle. :)

Minnewaska 10-19-2012 08:25 AM

Re: That Darn PO!!
All reminds me that these are the type of things you really want to look for carefully in your survey. They may be small or very inexpensive to fix and either ignored or readily fixed by the seller. But, its the story of how the PO took care of your prospective new boat that really matters.

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