Difficult through-hull valve

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ploschiavo

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
11
Location
USA
Vessel Name
Pelican
Vessel Make
2018 Helmsman 38E
The valve on our main water intake is very difficult to open and close. As it’s located low in the bilge, it’s even harder. Is there any way to loosen it without sinking the boat?
IMG_6951.jpeg
 
Looks like a ball valve. Remove the hose with the valve closed, then squirt some WD40 or similar down into the ball seat. Reattach the hose and work the handle back and forth.

If it loosens up, remove the hose and squirt some light grease into the seat. Reattach the hose and work it open and closed some more.

David
 
Some thru hulls have zerk fittings on them. You can inject grease there, it they have zerks. If not then try the above advice.
 
Greetings,
Mr. p. Yes, lubricate, for now, but I would schedule a sea-cock replacement on your next haul-out. Ball valves work well but require removal and complete disassembly to service properly IMO.

I much prefer a tapered cone type sea-cock which are much easier to service and therefore more frequently serviced.

Edit: Mr. C. Aw snap. I forgot about Zerks. Perhaps a ball valve with Zerks similar to: GROCO BALL VALVE SEACOCK FLANGED FULL FLOW would be the penultimate solution.
 
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I'm not too sure about WD40. It's not really a lubricant. I've found white lithium grease works well, and it comes in spray cans just like WD. You might find you need something like PB Blaster or Kroil first, which are more aggressive against corrosion, then lubricate. Very hard to do in the water, because the real fix is to exercise the valve repeatedly to work the lubricant all around the ball.
 
If a true seacock vs just a ball valve... they should haveva drain plug to drain the closed cavity... perfect place to inject some lube before operating the valve.
 
I would use a waterproof grease. If you can’t get any in from inside maybe dive and stick some up inside the through hull and then exercise it a lot to distribute the grease around.
 
The valve on our main water intake is very difficult to open and close. As it’s located low in the bilge, it’s even harder. Is there any way to loosen it without sinking the boat?

Timely question. I was thinking the same thing today. I haven't been able to use the boat much for the past few years. Normally, I open and close the through hull every time I return to the dock as I do a fresh water flush. However, since I haven't left the dock much over the past couple years, it hasn't gotten exercised.

From your photo, it appears you and I have the same through hull fitting. We both have boats built in Chinese yards. My through hull doesn't have a zerk fitting and I doubt that yours does as well. While it is a lot of work, I think I will try removing the hose and lubricating the fitting from the inside as was suggested. Those hoses are dang hard to remove so it isn't something I'm eager to do, but I will be taking apart my sea strainer shortly anyway, so more crawling around the bilge.
 
Groco makes at lease 2 flavours.

Their BV-1000 (a 1" fitting) which might be called a full blown seacock as it's made from C84400 Bronze and has a Stainless Ball and Stem, plus it can be can be rebuilt in place, but will cost you about $200.00.

For those on a budget, their FBV-1000 made from C83600 Bronze (would you know the difference?) with a Chrome Plated Brass Ball and Stem, that cannot be rebuilt in place (you replace it) but will cost you only about $65.00.

Both offer a drain plug and a 2nd location that if you want you can add a zerk fitting to inject your preferred lube. Both are flanged to allow mounting on a reinforcing fiberglass plate, as to try to satisfy ABCY's requirements.

Are either of them true Seacocks or are they both just Ball Valves? BV- or FBV-?

 
Mine looks very similar, when I bought the boat, I had the same issue, Sprayed penetrating oil on it, let it sit overnight, and I made a PVC pipe about 2 1/2 feet long that I keep in the bilge that gave me just enough leverage to move it.....moved it a little, sprayed it heavily again, moved it back and forth, and bingo, like new. I now run it up and down once a month. PVC fit's over the handle.
 
I had assumed mine didn't have a zerk fitting, but now I'm going to have to look more closely.
 
Mine looks very similar, when I bought the boat, I had the same issue, Sprayed penetrating oil on it, let it sit overnight, and I made a PVC pipe about 2 1/2 feet long that I keep in the bilge that gave me just enough leverage to move it.....moved it a little, sprayed it heavily again, moved it back and forth, and bingo, like new. I now run it up and down once a month. PVC fit's over the handle.
I am not sure that PVC pipe would be strong enough at 2 1/2 feet. I also use a PVC pipe to slip over the handle, but it is primarily just to make it easier on the hands. I was looking at it today thinking how long a piece of PVC might work.
 
A little bit of PVC (or iron) pipe can make a big difference. Just don't go too long with it. I got too much leverage on a handle once and broke it off. Those things aren't cheap or easy to replace.
 
That's a very common Asian-made valve, seen on many vessels made in Taiwan and China. Not bad per se, and they are flanged, however, they can get stiff, and the handles can, if the nut loosens, strip. These do not have drain plugs, so a zerk fitting cannot be added.

There is a specific procedure for adding grease via a zerk fitting btw, it's detailed here Ulube Grease - Accessories - Valves & Seacocks - Products

My personal preference for grease is Lubrimatic Marine Corrosion Control grease, it is especially viscous and adheres to metal well. 11402

The previous advice to use penetrating oil and a handle extension (make sure the handle nut is tight) and work the ball is spot on, however, you need to be hauled out to do that.

More here Seacock Selection, Service, and Avoiding the Pitfalls | Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting
 
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