Catastrophic seacock failure!

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dwarburton
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Catastrophic seacock failure!

Last night we were closing up the boat after a week long cruise, and I tried to shut off the galley seacock. We are always diligent about closing the seacocks when we leave the boat. But no good deed goes unpunished.

I turned the handle on the Forespar Marelon seacock and it broke off in my hand. Worse, a solid stream of water began to gush from the hole where the handle fit.

This is not what I would call a "fail safe" design. I imediately pulled out the under sink drawer and put the handle back into the hole. This slowed down the water flow to a trickle, but I could not use the handle to turn the ball to the closed position.

I also couldn't sit there all night like holding the handle, so I asked my wife to get the doomsday box, complete with wooden plugs, a variety of tapes, and my new best friend, silicone Rescue Tape. It is expensive but worth every penny.

Anyway, my wife cut off one foot strips and I wrapped them around the valve, and holding the valve handle in place. The Rescue Tape stuck to itself, even under water. Absolutely amazing stuff. In a few minutes, I had the water flow slowed to a trickle, and I could think about what to do next.

I wish we had caught the whole thing on video. The unedited version of events is much more exciting...

At this point I noticed that the bilge pump was oscillating, pumping out the water, shutting off, then turning back on when the water ran back down the hose. - not useful, and now on my to-fix list, right after the broken seacock.

Fortunately, Forespar includes a little white plug in the handle of the valve for plugging the thru- hole. (Really, that is what that little white plug on the handle is for!) The plug for the galley sink was under several wraps of tape, so I borrowed one from the head seacock.

All I had to do was swim under the boat, find the tinny hole for the galley thru hull in the fading light, and place this little plug into it. (The bottom kill) Simple.

Fortunately, this was not the first time I have had to hang upside- down under the boat fix something, since I have in the past had to retighten loose zincs etc.
so I strapped my childs swim goggles to my head and with the plug in one hand and a wooden plug in the other, I swam under the boat and went looking for the thru hole.

I did eventually find it, and managed to get the plug in without dropping it, and that was it.

Once I figure out how I am going to fix the seacock, I will post what I learn. I am also going to replace all existing seacocks with something else. I will also post what I learn.

Lessons learned:

According to the Forespar website, they began supplying Catalina with Marelon seacocks in 1993. The claim to have made several improvements since then. I for one am glad to hear it.

So for all Catalina owners with early versions of this valve, be ready for a surprise if the valve handle breaks off.

Have some Rescue Tape handy. No boat owner should leave the dock without this stuff.

In retrospect, if I had had some waterproof putty of some kind, of a silly-putty like consistency, I might have been able to shove that in the hole before I taped on the valve handle. This may have stopped the leak completely. ( A top kill )

Know where the little plugs are, and be prepared to use them. have some wooden plugs as back-up if there is too much bottom paint to allow the little plug to fit. Having a few rubber corks in the doomsday box would also have been handy.

Still afloat (for now)

Dave

Dave
Ballena 1995 Mk II #1445

gmackey
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How about some of this, too?

[url]http://www.stayafloatmarine.com/[/url]

Graham Mackey
SV Nostromo
1989 C36 908
Tall Rig/Wing Keel
Toronto, Canada

windward1
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Posts: 146

This stuff seems too good to be true. Do you know where to buy it?

Richard
1994 C36 Tall Rig M1.5
Waukegan Harbor
Lake Michigan

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TomSoko
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Richard,
You can buy that stuff directly from the website. I bought a small tub of it a few months ago, but fortunately have not had to use it. A buddy of mine did, and said it worked just as advertised.

Tom Sokoloski
C36/375IA Past Commodore
Noank, CT

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Peter Taylor
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Posts: 105

This is a really interesting post Dave and I hope you sort your problem out.
I have a sea cock in the head which I can't close as I am scared of breaking it off as you have done.

While I have wooden plugs attached to all my Sea Cocks I have never had to use them and not sure how I would in the event of a hose or sea cock breaking. Not sure how I would force it into the inside opening or hammer it into the hull under water. (Particularly at night)

I do have some "Rescue Tape" in case my PSS seal fails and I am trying to source some Stay Afloat which is not available here in Australia. I almost think it should be mandatory to carry this stuff as part of an emergency kit.

I am interested in your note about the small plugs attached to the Forespar through hull. I wasn't aware of these and will have a look when I get to the boat. Are they a standard part of the sea cock.

Can any one tell me where they are fitted. Had a look on the Forespar site but not really clear.

Peter Taylor Melbourne Australia. Altair  #2227 2005 C36 Mk11

dwarburton
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Posts: 107

Peter,
The emergency plugs on the Forespar seacocks are located at the pivot point of the handle. On my seacocks they are white, and have a small plastic ring molded into the top so that you can pull them out.

The plug does not fit tightly, which is a little disconcerting, Forespar claims that water pressure will keep it in place. (We will see if this is true when I return to the boat on Saturday!)

The hardest part of using the plug was finding the thru-hole. The galley sink is located near the centerline of the boat, and is flush.

A truly waterproof flashlight would have been handy....

Dave
Ballena 1995 Mk II #1445

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TomSoko
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Peter and Dave,
Yes, the little white plugs do work. I recently had to swap seacocks, and after talking with Forespar, and saying a few Hail Marys, I stuck the white plug into the outside of the thru hull, and it slowed the water in-flow to a trickle. From there it was easy to unscrew the four screws holding the seacock to the thru-hull mounting pad, and screw the new seacock onto the mounting pad. Connect the hose, pull the plug (literally!), and all was well again. Only thing you have to be careful of is to make sure there is not too much bottom paint built up on the inside of the thru-hull. If so, you should scrape it off with a knife.

Tom Sokoloski
C36/375IA Past Commodore
Noank, CT

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Peter Taylor
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Thanks for the response guys. This is really helpful infornmation and gives me some peace of mind.

I am sure there are many who are not aware of this feature - makes me think a small note should be tied to each sea cock.

I've also arranged with a Company to see if they can set up an agency for Stay Afloat in Australia. This together with the plugs and Rescue Tape should help contain any through hull related failures.

Peter Taylor Melbourne Australia. Altair  #2227 2005 C36 Mk11

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Phil L
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Wow, watching the video on the Stay-a-float product. Bought the stuff immediately. What a great product.

Phil L 
Southern Cross
Channel Islands, CA
C36MKI #400

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Steve Frost
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Posts: 788

Well I too watched the vidio and was impressed. Having just completed a bathroom remodel I was also hit with the fact of what this product is and what a great use for it. I have not held it in my hand but, watching the video it sure looks to be bees wax, the same thing you use to seal your toilet to the incoming pipe on the floor. They are sold at all hardware stores as "Wax rings" for about three bucks. The clue other than visual evidence was late in the video when one of the tow service guys stated that they had always carried this material aboard and now Stayafloat had packaged it so we can all use it.

I hope that someone that has purchased the product can confirm my suspicions.

Cepheus dream
C36 MK I # 825
MK I Tech Editor No Mas

windward1
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I am curious as to why these thru hulls deteriorate. I only occasionally open the valves in the head and leave the under sink valve open, but they are very stiff to open and close. The handle of the raw water thru hull broke off about 5 years ago. Fortunately, the actual valve remained in tact and no leaks occurred. My friendly dealer, Sail Place, had an extra one and replaced it in the slip (no charge). Now that replacement is starting to get stiff. I try to lubricate these from the outside when on the hard, but that only works for very short while. Are the new ones improved or are these valves just something that needs to be replaced over time?

Richard
1994 C36 Tall Rig M1.5
Waukegan Harbor
Lake Michigan

BudStreet
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[quote=TomSoko;6369]Peter and Dave,
Yes, the little white plugs do work. I recently had to swap seacocks, and after talking with Forespar, and saying a few Hail Marys, I stuck the white plug into the outside of the thru hull, and it slowed the water in-flow to a trickle. From there it was easy to unscrew the four screws holding the seacock to the thru-hull mounting pad, and screw the new seacock onto the mounting pad. Connect the hose, pull the plug (literally!), and all was well again. Only thing you have to be careful of is to make sure there is not too much bottom paint built up on the inside of the thru-hull. If so, you should scrape it off with a knife.[/quote]

So Tom does that mean that the outer part of the thru hull, the flush part outside the boat does not have a threaded inside end that screws into the seacock? I am going to have to change one after haulout this fall as well, the head sink one which also has the shower pump outlet on it is leaking at the handle. We just leave it alone and don't use it rather than risk breaking it with the attendant HOLY CRAP!!! situation that will result.

I put a 1 1/2" non-OEM style Forespar marelon seacock in last spring for the macerator system and it uses an exterior flush thru hull that screws into the base of the seacock. Then the whole unit is through bolted through the hull and mounting plate using 3 X 1/4" SS bolts. It sounds like the OEM units do not do this, they just are screwed to the mounting base and that's it?

Thanks.
Bud

dwarburton
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I installed the new seacock today. The boat was fine for week with the plug in, like most of these type of things they leak a little when you put them in until enough plankton sucks through and gums things up.

The hardest part was getting the hose off the tailpiece of the broken seacock.

Taking hoses off of barbed fittings is my least favorite, most knuckle busting part of working on boats.

Once the hose was off, I unscrewed the four screws, ( A little trepidation at this point, the screws were extremely tight, and I was afraid I would strip one, which would end the in-the water change-out right there)

You don't need to touch the thru-hull or the base of the seacock at all.

I installed the new seacock using the old screws, which were slightly longer, tightened them hand tight and was done. I dove under the boat, and pulled out the plug.

If I had been a little more daring, I would have shoved the plug out with a stick through the open seacock, then closed the seacock once the plug dropped free.

The new seacock is MUCH easier to open and close than the '95 vintage seacock. It is also much beefier.

I am changing out the remaining seacocks this winter. it is a relatively easy job, and in brings some piece of mind.

Dave
Ballena 1995 Mk II #1445

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TomSoko
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Bud,
The seacock I am talking about is the Forespar 93 series. It has a flush thru-hull, which is threaded into a flat donut on the inside. The body of the seacock then screws onto the donut with 4 screws. When swapping seacocks, you don't have to touch the thru-hull or the donut. Simply plug the thru-hull with the white plug, then unscrew the body of the seacock from the donut. I'm sure there are many types of thru-hulls and seacocks used by CY thru the years.

Tom Sokoloski
C36/375IA Past Commodore
Noank, CT

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LCBrandt
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Dave, any photos of the failed part that might be helpful to us to visualize the fault? Max attachment size in the Forum is about 320 kb.

Larry Brandt
S/V High Flight #2109
Pacific Northwest, PDX-based
2002 C-36 mkII SR/FK M35B
 

BudStreet
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Dave, where did you get the replacement seacock? From Catalina? Or Catalina Direct? Or elsewhere?

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jsc4484
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Hi All
Forespar has come out with a new foam Plug thind is AWESOME the thing fits in any hole aboard the boat

You can find them at WEST MARINE and DEFENDER, I bought two, better to be ready, than filling a DITCH bag with all the Admiral's belongings.

Hope that helps

FAIR WINDS & FOLLOWING SEAS

Jeff Costa

S/V KAIROS Hull #0235

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stu jackson c34
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[QUOTE=windward1;6381]I am curious as to why these thru hulls deteriorate.

Are the new ones improved or are these valves just something that needs to be replaced over time?[/QUOTE]

Reading the instructions usually helps. IIRC, Forespar recommends lubricating the ball valves (which is what these thru hull valves really are). You can do the outside when hauled but you can also do them when in the water from above; just take off the hose and lubricate them. Also, USING the valves regularly, like closing them when you leave the boat, and opening them when you get on the boat, really helps. Anyone who leaves them open and then leaves the boat for a week or more is asking for trouble. It's like the old sawhorse: "Use it or lose it." Our valves are 24 years old and still working. I've only had to replace one, the big head overboard drain valve, which was leaking slightly.

Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

windward1
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Stu,

What do you use for a lubricant? I have used Vaseline prior to launch and it works well for a while but then wears off and the valves operate very stiff again. Is there a spray that is better?

Richard
1994 C36 Tall Rig M1.5
Waukegan Harbor
Lake Michigan

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stu jackson c34
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Super Lube. Comes in a tube (solid like vaseline) or a sray can. Teflon based lubricant. White lithium grease would also work.

Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

dwarburton
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Regarding where I got the seacock.
I got the seacock part number from Catalina. They sent me a drawing with all the through hull part numbers. This is now posted in the encyclopedia section if anyone is interested.

Once I got the part number from Catalina, I purchased my valve directly from Forespar. The series 93 valves are OEM only, so they are a little hard to find from distributors.

I lubricated the seacocks yearly with Lanocote, the lubricant recommended by Forespar. You have be very careful lubricating Polymer parts, some will absorb hydrocarbon oils and swell, excacerbating a stiff valve problem.

Similarly, Maralon/Nylon absorbs water and will swell a few percent. That is one reason why the valves turn easily in the spring, and stiffen up over the season.

Regarding the failure of the valve, I attribute poor design of the crica 1995 valves.
The handle on the seacock engages a spline inside the valve. The handle is held on by a tiny sheet metal screw. The o-ring seal for the valve is on the handle, not the internal ball.

I must have put some side force on the valve, the sheet metal screw pulled out of the spline, and the valve handle popped out.

The next problem was the valve was open, so the water pressure caused the ball to shift in its seat, so that the spline was no longer in the center of the hole where the valve handle fit. Thus the handle would not go back on.

Had I been able to see what was happening, I could have re-centerd the spline with a screwdriver, and then slipped the valve handle back in place to close the valve.

Knowing what I do now about how the valves work, a big wad of marine epoxy stuffed in the held hole, and held in by rescue tape, would have stopped the leak without preventing me from replacing the valve later.

Dave

Dave
Ballena 1995 Mk II #1445

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stu jackson c34
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Dave, your point is well taken about those valves, but not all of them as you say.

I've posted this here before when people question the Marelon valves, the link is in our "Critical Upgrades" topic on our Message Board, see reply #18 and click the link there: [url]http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5078.15.html[/url]

BTW, our Critical Upgrades should be pretty identical for your boats, too, except for the under the galley heater hose to the hw tanks.

Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

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ssteakley
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I just replaced the Forespar Marelon raw water seacock for the engine sinice our boat was hauled out for a bottom job and the handle was leaking a few drops each time I opened or closed. The seacock is probably the original on our 98MII and was getting hard to turn. Here is the link to the OEM Seacocks on the Forespar site: https://www.forespar.com/pdf/techTips/ball-valve-93-series-sail-boat.pdf  . The seacocks and the individual modular parts are available directly from Forespare, Some chandelry's carry the OEM Forespare Seacocks but probably not the individual modular parts. For instance you can buy just the center section that has the handle and ball valve directly from Forespare. I bought the entire seacock part # 931154 includes thru hull and base from Fisheries Supply here in Seattle. I only used the top three sections since I was not replacing the through hull and so also did not need the base.This link is the installation instructions for replacing the top sections of the seacock when using the old thru hull and base: https://www.deckhardware.com.au/assets/files/Forespar/Forespar%20Marelon...
my steps: 
1. removed the 4 screws, I had to use a pair of pliers on the medium phillips head screw driver to break the screws lose but they all came out easy enough.
2. The instructions say you must lubricate the both sides of the two rubber gaskets and I used the Marelon synthetic grease pictured.
3. I cleaned the old base and removed the O-ring from the base as per instructions see pictures
4. I used the old screws since the new screws were shorter the the original, as per instructions
5.The instuctions say to hand tighten the screws only and to NOT OVERTIGHTEN.
And then I used the MareLube Reach tool which comes preloaded with grease to lubricate from above and below all of the other seacocks to make sure I do not have to do this again. The package says it contains enough grease to lube 20 seacocks
 .

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

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Haro
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Thank you, Steve for taking time to photograph and post this critical and valuable post.
Can you describe, and if you can post a photo - where is the removable plug supposed to be inserted incase of a broken valve.
Does it go on the inside of the hull or is supposed to be inserted from the outside of the hull.
Thanks for your help.
Haro.

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bakerha
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Steve - this is a very old posting BUT your update is the kind of thing that makes this website worth while.  Your pictures and story may be a great candidate for a tech article for the next Mainsheet release.  I will have our Mk1 tech editor look and see if that is ok with you!
My 1989 still has the original Marelon valves and I struggle every Spring to get them greased properly.  That greaser should improve my issue and the original post may convince me to update all my valves.
Thanks

_____________
Harold Baker
S/V Lucky Duck
Duncan Bay Boat Club
Cheboygan Michigan - Lake Huron
1989 C-36 mkI TR/WK M25XP

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ssteakley
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OK Harold, 
thanks⛵️

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

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LeslieTroyer
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One thing not mentioned here is the loop on the white plug can be used to tie string onto so you can pull it out of the thre hull without diving on it again.

Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 

Commodore

 

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TomR
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This discussion on seacocks has been fascinating. Made me realize where the big risks can be. In have a 2000 C36MII #1998. I tried looking in the C encyclopedia for the part numbers of the seacocks for the head, sink drain and water intake for the heat exchanger. Difficult to find. Would anyone have  Forespar #s? My seacocks are hard to turn and I plan to lube. One doesn't leak but I always felt unconfortable turing & I may need to relace while on the hard.
 
Thanks,
Tom R, ObLaDi ObLada

Tom Runiewicz
ObLaDi ObLaDa
Catalina 36 MkII, Wing Keel, Tall Rig
Hull #1998
North East, MD
 

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ssteakley
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TomR, 
All of your Seacocks are part of the OEM 93 series, you can find the correct part number here,
https://www.forespar.com/OEM-Valves.shtml  . For some reason the link I posted in my previous post to the PDF is not working on the Forespar site, but this l k has the same info. You can order direct from Forespare, just call them. The part numbers are related to the size of thruhull. Which are in many cases the same size as the as the hose barb connected to the seacock. 
Steve
i just corrected the link to the parts PDF: https://www.forespar.com/pdf/techTips/ball-valve-93-series-sail-boat.pdf

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

two-rocks
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stay afloat = $0.99 wax toilet bowel ring at any hardware store 
canned spray foam will reinforce wet things - PITA to clean, but easier than sinking.
15$ foam plug = nerf football

 

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ssteakley
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Haro, 
in the attached pictures you will see the white plug that is easy to locate in the handle of each seacock, Just pull out the little white ring. The plug is inserted through the outside of the hull, the circle or loop is for a string to be tied to so you can just pull out the plug without having to dive twice. One thing to note is that the exterior hole will have some bottom paint so you may need to scrape or clean out the through hull so you can insert the plug. Also if the thru hull is old it may have some barnicle or slim growth and the plug may not seat firmly so you could have some minor leakage when you are doing the repair or replacement in the water. 

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

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Roger
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How can I tell if I have the version of seacock that may create the problem described. My boat is a 1996 with the original seacocks. Do all Catalina 36 s of this age have that particular seacock. The one for the head sink has just started to have a very small amount of leakage. Will replace that one, but should  I replace all now as well?

1996 C36 Mk II, #1545
Frankfort, MI

Oomfh
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Newbie here, so I am not sure if this website has been shared:

Several excellent articles on seacocks

https://marinehowto.com/

larryr
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I had the same issue on my 1994 Mark I  with a failed sink drain Marelon valve in 1995. Please refer to attachments for details. I do not want to go thru that again.

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larryr
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Will try phjotos again

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Roger
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This is a concern. The galley sink valve is in a tough position to get the proper hold of the handle. I have always tried to be careful with this valve, particularly closing it. What are others thoughts on this value design, if the new ones are not much better than the older ones.

1996 C36 Mk II, #1545
Frankfort, MI

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ssteakley
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I just replaced our raw water seacock on 98’ so it was 20 yrs old, if the replacement last that long that would be just fine. The seacock under the sink should be no problem to replace as well.

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

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ssteakley
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Also, you can easily change the orientation of the handle, you have 4 choices so perhaps placing the handle on a different side may be more convienent 

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

Roger
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My handle in the head sink seacock only drips a few drops when open, nothing when closed. Thinking since I have never lubricated the vales(Forespar early recommendation) , I would try that first. I contacted Catalina Yachts parts and they said the replacement is 932553. My yard guy said to replace the thru hull and valve with bronze, would like to avoid that. Any suggestions.

1996 C36 Mk II, #1545
Frankfort, MI

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ssteakley
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Roger, 
the fix is to just replace the part that is leaking, unless the thruhull is failing. Every yard I have experience with reccomend replacing the entire unit since that is just another work order for them to profit by. You can do the job yourself, really no big deal, just read the post above and you will have all you need to proceed.Call Forespar for the nearest dealer and order the part you need. 
Steve Steakley

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

Roger
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Steve, talked with Forespar. The tech said the leak is a problem with the O Ring. He said just remove the handle and replace the O Ring. He is sending a new O Ring free of charge. Not sure this is the best course, maybe I should just replace the entire value (it is 23 years old).

1996 C36 Mk II, #1545
Frankfort, MI

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ssteakley
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Roger, 
others have solved the leak at the handle by replacing the O-ring, and in at least one case I read a post where they simply tightened the screw on the handle. However, if the handle is not turning easy it may be time to replace if lubricating the ball valve does not help. In my case the handle was tough to turn and since I had the seacock removed I could easily inspect the surface on the ball valve. It was scratched or scored so I replaced the seacock. So how did the ball valve get the scratches, well either from years of neglect by previous owner or in some waters it is common to get barnacles or hard growth on everything under the water line so that may have been the case. I had to buy the whole seacock since Fisheries Supply did not sell the individual parts, I could have ordered the individual part from Forespar but I needed it right away. 

Steve Steakley
SNOWBALL
​1998 C36 #1711
Seattle,WA
https://svwandrinstar.blogspot.com

Roger
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Posts: 24

Thanks Steve, will try just replacing the O Roing

1996 C36 Mk II, #1545
Frankfort, MI

Splendid Isolation
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Joined: 9/13/20
Posts: 4

Hey guys, Hope it's okay to post here, I realize this is an old thread.

Today while closing the galley drain seacock, I noticed a small leak where the white plug is in the handle. I managed to close the seacock properly without incident.

Having read several posts where that small leak indicates the need for a new o ring or replacing the entire upper part of the seacock, I'd like to do this next time I'm at the boat, with it in the water, without risking opening the seacock again and having the handle break off.

Before I unscrew the four stainless steel screws that hold the handle assembly side to the base of the thru hull, I'd like to confirm that since the seacock is in the closed position, disassembling the handle side won't result in water flooding into the boat.

Can someone who has done it confirm that if the seacock is already closed, the topside handle assembly can be removed while the boat is in the water without seawater rushing inside?

Or is the ball valve that is connected to the handle the only thing between the inside of my boat and the Bay? 

I'd rather not dive to put the white plug into the thru hull from the outside if it can be avoided.

Joe Bousquin
SYLBO
1994 C36 MK1.5
M35-AC
Sausalito, CA, SF Bay

Splendid Isolation
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Joined: 9/13/20
Posts: 4

Hi again everyone, 

So I did a little boat surgery this weekend, and wanted to update this post to what I see as the "latest" state of the Forespar Marelon seacocks. I was, on balance, pleasantly surprised and feel much better about these seacocks, and their overall seaworthiness. 

But first, a little background. When I bought our 1994 Mk 1.5 C36 (hull 1307) just over a year ago, reading this thread and others really made me worry about the seacocks on my boat. I asked the surveyor (who was excellent, btw, for anyone in SF Bay/Sausalito area) about it, and he said that Marelon were actually really good, and in many cases better than bronze, because they didn't typically seize up. As everything else he told us about the boat has proven to be spot on so far, this one detail -- coupled with the horror stories I've read about these valves -- kept niggling me every time I used them, which for me is every time I leave the boat. 

I kept on dreading the day when, needing to close up the boat and being in a rush to leave (I live 3 hours away), the handle would pop off in my hand, water would rush in, and I would either have to dive to put the plastic cap in the outside of the hull, or try to get to the haul out and have them pull the boat before my bilge pump failed.

I made a couple discoveries in my research process and during the replacement of one of these valves that eased my mind tremendously. I want to share these here. 

First is a tool called the Seabung. It is a rubber stick with a thin, floppy silicone mushroom head on the end. When inserted into a thru hull from the top -- i.e. from the inside of the boat -- it collapses on itself so it can be stuffed through the tube to the outside of the hull. Once free of the confines of the thru hull tube, it regains its convex mushroom shape. You then pull on the rubber stick from above, and combined with the water pressure coming into the boat, that mushroom head gets sucked onto the bottom of your hull, and the flow into your bilge pretty much completely stops.

It's not cheap for what it is -- $50 on Amazon for a flimsy rubber umbrella on a stick -- but man, after using it and not having to worry about diving in SF Bay to put a plug in my hull from the outside of the boat, it was money happily spent. Plus, it's way cheaper than an emergency haul out.

Check out a video of it here: https://youtu.be/f-P49Y-o6Y8   

Okay, so that was discovery one. Two of these now live on my boat and will be there for future (emergency) use if water starts coming in from the outside, along with the required toilet wax ring and foam and cork plugs. 

Discovery number two is what I'll call at least the third modification Forespar has made on the handle assembly on these valves. The first iteration, which is what my circa 1993 valve had, was literally a short wood screw that went through the plastic handle and seated, via self-tapping, into the side of the plastic valve. It has the splines inside it, as Steve's pictures show above, that insert into the side of the valve and provide the real connection and ability to torque the handle. 

It seems that after Forespar received complaints about this design (see Larry's attached narrative from 2015 above describing this), they modified it so that instead of that wood screw self tapping into the valve body, it would seat in an acorn nut, which would then be held in the middle of the female splines on the valve body side. As Larry's pic shows, that acorn nut easily pulled free of the valve body itself, and did not stay seated in place if it was pulled directly way from the valve body, and not side to side via the motion of opening and closing the ball valve. 

That, to me, seems to be at least the second iteration of this design. 

The third, based on the one I installed this past weekend, is a much better combination of the first two. Instead of the wood screw, and instead of the acorn nut, the seacock I ordered from Catalina Direct for my galley thru hull (Part #: Z4870, roughly $100 bucks) had a machine screw that goes through the handle into a metal sleeve that is seated inside the body of the valve itself. Since it's a machine screw going into its own sleeve, it bottoms out and won't strip like the original wood screw did. It also won't just pull out, as the acorn nut backing did. In essence, it is now a reasonably reliable mechanical connection that should be able to handle some lateral force that's not in the direction the handle turns without falling apart. 

After following Steve's (and Forespar's) directions above, with the use of the Seabung to save me from diving, I was able to replace the galley thru hull without much drama at all, from the inside of the boat. And now that I know what I know, I'm not going to worry about that handle anymore, especially now that I have the Seabung on my boat. Should the handle snap, I can take the seacock apart fairly quickly, insert the Seabung and then either put a new handle on (I have a spare on order now) or put the original seacock, which is still functioning, back in place. But I don't think with this new design that I'll need to do either. 

Now, instead, I will simply order a new seacock for my head sink drain (part #Z3747 on Catalina Direct, or cheaper on Amazon) and swap it out, using the Seabung to do so easily from the inside. 

It is one of  the three seacocks that I open and close regularly on my boat, including the galley and the raw water intake of the engine. Since the previous owner replaced the engine raw water intake with bronze (perhaps indicating he went through the same thing years ago and maybe an argument to follow his lead, though my wallet and Marelon's anti-corrosion properties argue otherwise), there are really just two of these seacocks on my boat for me to no longer really worry about. The seacock on my holding tank macerator stays closed (we pump out regularly at our marina through the deck opening), as does the inlet and outlet on my head, since it was plumbed to use fresh water from the vberth water tank to avoid seawater organisms from smelling up the toilet, and empties into the holding tank.

Bottom line is, you can easily replace these seacocks yourself, at not an exorbitant cost, without the added expense of hauling your boat or the lost sleep of thinking you'll sink her in the slip doing the job. By the way, I did have a Plan B, with my rash guard, goggles and helmet to avoid hitting my head on the bottom of the boat at the ready so I could put the plug in from the outside, should the Seabung not work. I also made sure the Admiral was standing by in case I needed to leave the boat to get a part with the seacock removed. But none of that came to pass, I didn't need to go over the side and the Admiral was duly impressed with my boat fixing skills. :-) 

Since this experience exorcised a lot of the demons I assume other owners share on this topic, I wanted to write it up here so others can stop worrying, too, by taking the following steps:

1. Get the Seabung (or something similar) for your boat.      
2. Order replacement seacocks for the ones you use regularly from Catalina Direct or Amazon. The Series 93 OEMs are now widely available to consumers, a change from when this issue first came up in the late 90s/early 00s. You could argue for switching over to bronze and being done with it, but remember, the Forespar Marelons easily bolt right onto the existing plastic base that's already in your boat. It is an easy swap out. 
3. Change out your old seacocks of this era (1993-2012 or longer?) or just replace them as they begin to fail with the signature weeping at the handle pivot point.
4. Relax and know you have one less thing (relatively) to worry about. I know I sure do. Thanks to everyone who has written on this topic before that helped me get to this point. 
 

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