My boat plumbing sucks more than yours! Maybe.

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mncruiser

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2017
Messages
360
Location
United States
Vessel Name
Phoenix
Vessel Make
Mainship 390
Howdy all. My plumbing adventure started because a friend looked at a beautiful boat recently, but a leaking shower over 15 years rotted out a bunch of stringers and stuff. Sad deal, a beautiful boat on the surface, with leaky secrets underneath the decks that killed a deal.

This spring my 2001 Mainship 390 "Phoenix" went in the water with few issues. I did notice my shower faucet assembly was leaking as I flushed antifreeze out after launch. Ahh, should just be a few rubber gaskets, right? Sure. Maybe.

Well my task today was to look into it, maybe fix it. Having touched some plumbing stuff on Phoenix before, I have 1/2" pex, but these craptacular non-crimp fittings are all over from the factory. I touch them, they leak. To be expected I guess after 23 years, right? I know I didn't buy a high end boat. Some things are just fine on this thing, others are not. I'm ok with this.

Here's the shower. Let's dig in.
shower1.jpeg


Not too bad, right? 8 or 10 screws, the whole thing kind of falls off the wall. I know I could have serviced the faucet from the front, but after fiddling with it, I wanted to see what was back there, I don't really like the faucet, maybe I'll replace it. Plus, I want to see what's back there.
shower2.jpeg

What the? Look at all those wires. Right there! There is no real "seal" on that MDF board I pulled away, a direct water hit would go right back there. What is all that? All that, is below my lower helm. Yikes. I'll have to seal that up, shield it somehow. Ok, let's look at the faucet now.
shower31.jpeg

There are those fittings! I had shut the water off, but I moved all this...I don't think anyone's been back here for 23 years. THEY LEAK! No surprise there. Well the pex goes right in there...simple, but no room to pull away. Not good. I'm going to have to redo all this. Not sure how yet, but not like this. Ok, I need to put in some shut off valves...if I don't get this done and need water, I've got a leak. Not good. Well I spent the next hour tracing hoses and looking for a great place to do this. Nothing great or easy. They obviously designed this system to be installed in 20 minutes, and touched again......well they didn't care about that!

I found the spot. In "The hole". Under the lower helm is a great storage spot. I have my spare propellor there, and my entire hardware store and tool collection lives there. I'm not a small man, I have to take EVERYTHING out of there to spend some quality time in the hole.
shower3.jpeg


I can fit down there, I really can! I don't like small spaces at all, but somehow on the boat, I can spend a lot of time down there and be ok. I put in a few shutoffs, and had to re-do a lot of the cable hanging spider web-like crap they had there. This way if I screw up, or maybe don't get it done, we can use the boat and have water elsewhere, I can turn off just the shower supply lines. Got them in!
shower4.jpeg


The faucet thingy is a 2 valve setup. I don't really like it. I think I'm going to town tomorrow and see what my options are. Thinking a newer single handle control would be great. I'll preserve the moveable shower head, that part works well. I'm going to do something behind that panel. Maybe cut the pex, terminate it NOT on that panel, then adapt it to use the supply lines that come with the new valve. I know I'm adding more connections, but what was there stinks.

More updates tomorrow when I make it to town and see what my options are.

I welcome any suggestions or even snide comments. I enjoy it all.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Interesting.
I am in the middle of re-fabbing my 48 year old trawler shower. I feel your pain.
 
Howdy all. My plumbing adventure started because a friend looked at a beautiful boat recently, but a leaking shower over 15 years rotted out a bunch of stringers and stuff. Sad deal, a beautiful boat on the surface, with leaky secrets underneath the decks that killed a deal.

This spring my 2001 Mainship 390 "Phoenix" went in the water with few issues. I did notice my shower faucet assembly was leaking as I flushed antifreeze out after launch. Ahh, should just be a few rubber gaskets, right? Sure. Maybe.

Well my task today was to look into it, maybe fix it. Having touched some plumbing stuff on Phoenix before, I have 1/2" pex, but these craptacular non-crimp fittings are all over from the factory. I touch them, they leak. To be expected I guess after 23 years, right? I know I didn't buy a high end boat. Some things are just fine on this thing, others are not. I'm ok with this.

Here's the shower. Let's dig in.
View attachment 155400

Not too bad, right? 8 or 10 screws, the whole thing kind of falls off the wall. I know I could have serviced the faucet from the front, but after fiddling with it, I wanted to see what was back there, I don't really like the faucet, maybe I'll replace it. Plus, I want to see what's back there.
View attachment 155401
What the? Look at all those wires. Right there! There is no real "seal" on that MDF board I pulled away, a direct water hit would go right back there. What is all that? All that, is below my lower helm. Yikes. I'll have to seal that up, shield it somehow. Ok, let's look at the faucet now.
View attachment 155402
There are those fittings! I had shut the water off, but I moved all this...I don't think anyone's been back here for 23 years. THEY LEAK! No surprise there. Well the pex goes right in there...simple, but no room to pull away. Not good. I'm going to have to redo all this. Not sure how yet, but not like this. Ok, I need to put in some shut off valves...if I don't get this done and need water, I've got a leak. Not good. Well I spent the next hour tracing hoses and looking for a great place to do this. Nothing great or easy. They obviously designed this system to be installed in 20 minutes, and touched again......well they didn't care about that!

I found the spot. In "The hole". Under the lower helm is a great storage spot. I have my spare propellor there, and my entire hardware store and tool collection lives there. I'm not a small man, I have to take EVERYTHING out of there to spend some quality time in the hole.
View attachment 155403

I can fit down there, I really can! I don't like small spaces at all, but somehow on the boat, I can spend a lot of time down there and be ok. I put in a few shutoffs, and had to re-do a lot of the cable hanging spider web-like crap they had there. This way if I screw up, or maybe don't get it done, we can use the boat and have water and not leaking here. Got them in!
View attachment 155404

The faucet thingy is a 2 valve setup. I don't really like it. I think I'm going to town tomorrow and see what my options are. Thinking a newer single handle control would be great. I'll preserve the moveable shower head, that part works well. I'm going to do something behind that panel. Maybe cut the pex, terminate it NOT on that panel, then adapt it to use the supply lines that come with the new valve. I know I'm adding more connections, but what was there stinks.

More updates tomorrow when I make it to town and see what my options are.

I welcome any suggestions or even snide comments. I enjoy it all.

Thanks!
I was fed up with the same shower controls you have and a metric hose connection on the wand. Ended up replacing it with a Moen single hand control and was able to get the surface mount hose connection from Defender. Really liked the hand held shower wand from Waterpik. The mod worked out very well and the Waterpik wand saved water with a better spray pattern.

Ted
 

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Search for this, I am looking forward to replace the hot/cold knobs.​

Bathroom Thermostatic Shower Mixer Wall Mount Hot Cold Water Showering Faucet Temperature Control Valve

 
I absolutely hate doing plumbing. No matter how carefully I do it, it always leaks. We used to have a 46’ trawler about 12 boats ago. It had all copper plumbing and whenever I would even look at it it would start leaking. I finally decided to replumb the whole boat. I used SeaTeck stuff I believe. I ordered the 10’ sticks of tube because if you took the stuff they had in stock at WMP on the roll you couldn’t get it to lay out straight. It actually wasn’t roo bad a job with the new fittings and tube. Now they have even better and easier stuff to work with. And it didn’t leak!
 
1/2" PEX is an advantage vs 14mm that many boats have... more fittings available locally.
If redoing the system I would go with crimp fittings vs the plastic O'ring style. You should be able to find PEX valves that eliminates extra adapter fittings.
 

Search for this, I am looking forward to replace the hot/cold knobs.​

Bathroom Thermostatic Shower Mixer Wall Mount Hot Cold Water Showering Faucet Temperature Control Valve

Looks like a great option! Thanks
 
1/2" PEX is an advantage vs 14mm that many boats have... more fittings available locally.
If redoing the system I would go with crimp fittings vs the plastic O'ring style. You should be able to find PEX valves that eliminates extra adapter fittings.
Agreed. Using the crimp fittings on everything I do.
 
I was fed up with the same shower controls you have and a metric hose connection on the wand. Ended up replacing it with a Moen single hand control and was able to get the surface mount hose connection from Defender. Really liked the hand held shower wand from Waterpik. The mod worked out very well and the Waterpik wand saved water with a better spray pattern.

Ted
That's a nice setup for sure. Might work for me with a little cutting. Have to figure out how much depth I have behind the panel. Thanks!
 
There are those fittings! I had shut the water off, but I moved all this...I don't think anyone's been back here for 23 years. THEY LEAK! No surprise there. Well the pex goes right in there...simple, but no room to pull away. Not good. I'm going to have to redo all this. Not sure how yet, but not like this.

Look like Flair-It fittings for PEX tubing. Common on all Luhrs Group boats, probably other US-built moderately-priced boat brands, and on RVs. Often available off the shelf at RV places, and there's a Flair-It tool that helps. They might well leak, after 23 years or so, but I'd guess they must be reasonably cost-effective in the grand scheme of things. (Unless installed in unreachable places.)

Some buds have said they often prefer brass SharkBite fittings, though I've not ever worked with those...

-Chris
 
Look like Flair-It fittings for PEX tubing. Common on all Luhrs Group boats, probably other US-built moderately-priced boat brands, and on RVs. Often available off the shelf at RV places, and there's a Flair-It tool that helps. They might well leak, after 23 years or so, but I'd guess they must be reasonably cost-effective in the grand scheme of things. (Unless installed in unreachable places.)

Some buds have said they often prefer brass SharkBite fittings, though I've not ever worked with those...

-Chris
Thanks for the detail. I am finding that the plastic degrades on the fittings, move it even slightly, they leak. I find them and replace them with pex crimp style fittings whenever I can.
 
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