Projects: Faulty Parts

There's a reason you don't use certain metals in a saltwater environment.  
Bronze and stainless steel are the 2 main metals you'll find in a marine environment.  And while they can be subject to deterioration, they hold up relatively well and so have become the standard.  So what happens when your boat builder or a previous owner either chooses not to use bronze or stainless - or are perhaps is in an exotic location and can only find brass or iron?  Well, these pics are what happens.
Rudder stop - we think this was original to the boat.
Double Whammy!
The above "T" shaped dealy is a double whammy of wrong.  That should be a bronze thru-hull/seacock.  A seacock is something that goes through your hull, and has a shut off valve.  What's wrong with the above pic?  That's just a connector - the shut off valves are actually further up the line. So what happens if the T valve corrodes and breaks due to being made of an inferior product  - or maybe from an aggressive collision?  It snaps - and the ocean is now pouring into your vessel.  Not cool.  You can see the corrosion in the pics.  The green patina is not that awful, if it's a bronze fitting.  But that pink?  That pink color is actually a clue that it's brass.  And it corrodes from the inside out.  Thankfully, we were inspecting these while we were in the yard a few weeks ago.  As soon an Mark took a wrench to it (and a few others) it shattered.  Pretty scary stuff.
Brass elbow
The above elbow was the type of part we had the most problem finding.  I don't imagine they are original, as this was a charter boat when it was born.  And from my research, the Moorings is in the habit of replacing through hulls < every 5 years.  So maybe the people that owned this boat before us were in an exotic bronze-less location?  Or didn't realize these were brass?  We don't know.  We'll likely never know.  But there were 4 (I think) of these elbows in various sizes. Regardless, I imagine whoever replaced these with brass fittings ran into the same problem we did:  it's hard to find bronze elbows.  We eventually had to bite the bullet and order them from West Marine - who is notoriously over-priced.  Sure, they will match any price you can find (which is often 60% less...) but you still have to do the leg work to find the parts cheaper.  If I find the parts cheaper, I'm going to buy them from the people that are not so blatantly trying to rip me off.  But maybe that's just me...  

So here are the shiny new, BRONZE parts:
Ok, so this isn't bronze.
Here's Mark building a new, corrosion-free rudder stop.

Looky there - we can actually turn off the water at the hull!  Whew. 

While it meant another week on the hard (translation: the boat is not in the water, but in the yard, having work done), it was well worth it.  We can both sleep/sail more soundly knowing all of our seacocks are solid.  While we checked all of them, only 4 needed replacement.  Oddly, 3 of them were the sinks.  Makes us wonder if the previous owners used some particularly harsh chemicals that corroded those parts faster...?  The 4th seacock was the A/C - and it was just in need of replacement.  The handle had been falling off since we bought the boat - and you can't just replace it when it's in the water.  So it waited until we hauled her out.

So that's it.  That's the thru-hull/seacock project.  I know it's been quiet around here - but that's because we did so many projects over the last 6 weeks in the yard!  Posts are coming.  In the meantime, we're chugging right along on our quest to be ready to set sail for the long term.  Homes are on the market, major projects are done and we're planning a weekend sailing escape so that we can enjoy our boat again!  It was a long six weeks.

1 comment:

  1. The standard metals for the marine environment are surely Bronze and stainless steel. I always thought that any metal is applicable, but now I know what to use. Furthermore, I need to use a metal that can relatively withstand deterioration and save me on the cost of purchasing inferior products. I am very thankful for the tips and will consider bronze or stainless steel fittings.

    Brandi Bradley @ Rotax Metals


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