Engine Room Seacock

A recent commitment that I have made to myself is that I will focus on projects that will prepare the boat for the water.  I have not done a good job sticking to the plan as there are so many exciting things to work on.  However, recently I decided to tackle one of the big projects that will take the boat one step closer to seaworthy.  Longtime readers may remember a post called “Figuring Things Out” from almost exactly two years ago.  In this post I describe the 2 inch engine room seacock that drains the cockpit, side deck, and sink.  These three are connected by an old, but solid, copper fitting but there are several problems with the set up.  I won’t go into all the details again (read “Figuring things out”) but I’ve heard of boats almost sinking because of this thing.  Not ok.

Here’s a couple images of the set up as it was when we purchased the boat:

I was reminded about all of this by a new reader and new member of the Alberg 37 owners community.  He emailed in asking what I finally ended up doing and mentioned that the guy he bought the boat from wouldn’t even let him touch this particular seacock during the survey and buying process!  Totally nuts and just more confirmation that the original set up was less than ideal.  Well, the truth is, I hadn’t done anything since that last post.  Just a lot of thinking and wondering but never pulling the trigger on anything.  Until recently that is.  I figured I better get down and dirty with this issue and fix it for good.  Not only for my sake and the security of our family but also so I can update all the other owners who might be contemplating this problem.  At the very least my work will provide another option to people interested.

First step – I made the decision that the sink needs its own seacock.  I hate it and really didn’t want to drill another hole in the boat but in this case I think it is 100% the right solution.   I am going to wait to do this until after we install the new Beta engine.  This way I can better locate the seacock based on the engine clearance.

Next step – I needed to make a new fitting that did not have an inlet for the sink.  I purchased Type L copper fittings and pipe from SupplyHouse.com.  One tee fitting, one 45 degree, a length of 2 inch, and a length of 1 1/4 inch pipe.  Type L copper is much thicker walled pipe and fittings that are rated for underground and special use situations like ours.    I also purchased a Groco 45 degree pipe to hose fitting for the seacock.  One of the issues is the crazy angle that the hose has to make in such a tight spot.  The two 45 degree angles will make the hose run much more straight and that will add a lot to strength and longevity.  Once I installed the 45 degree fitting I held up the pipe fittings to try and anticipate the correct angles needed.

I then cut the pipe lengths to the correct size to join the fittings:

The pipe has to be cleaned up with some emory cloth where the solder will join the copper and on the inside to remove burs from the angle grinder:

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At this point the sweating process begins.  To sweat copper you need a decent blow torch, flux, and solder.  Once the copper is cleaned inside the fitting and on the outside of the pipe you apply flux to both surfaces.

You then heat the fitting up to the point that when you touch the solder to the joint it immediately melts.  What is really incredible is that due to some laws of physics beyond never explained to me the solder gets sucked up into the joint like magic!  You run the solder all the way around the joint, all the while keeping it hot enough for this magic sucking action and very quickly you have an excellent water and pressure tight seal.

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Here is a picture of the old fitting on the left next to the new on the right:

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Once the fitting was complete and had cooled off I installed it pretty close to the scupper drain.  I want it close to the scupper drain because I would prefer the hose running from the seacock to be as long as possible in the hopes of keeping it above sea level.  This way if something ever gets knocked loose somehow water won’t come flooding into the boat.  Thats the idea anyhow – we will have to see where our water line ends up once we are wet and fully loaded.  One thing to note:  I could not have installed the fitting this high if the sink were still in the equation – the sink would not have drained.  Yet another reason to not have the sink attached to this seacock.

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I then cut the 2 1/4″ Trident Exhaust hose to the correct length.  Believe it or not this size hose was difficult to find at first but I finally found it available at FisheriesSupply.com.

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And here is everything all hooked up:

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At this point I feel really confident that this set up will work.  Now I need to bed the seacock in place and replace the hose leading from the side deck to the new fitting.  I want to re-route this hose for a shorter run with better drainage but I will describe that in a later post.


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