Since we have been in a holding pattern waiting on some more parts, we haven’t really been doing much at the boat for the past couple of days.   We finally got bored sitting around and decided to go put in a few hours working on the seacocks and the head.

I had found only one truly seized seacock.  It was the outlet seacock for the head.  Our seacocks are the old style Groco cones.  They look like this.

Its essentially just a valve.  The way it works is this…  The yellow handle opens and closes the valve.  However before you can open and close it you must loosen the little T screw on the left hand side, then you turn the valve handle, then you re-tighten the T screw.   The screw serves to hold the valve in place by squeezing the internal part of the valve which is just a big rubber cylinder.

The seized seacock I found is the one on the left of this photo.  It simply would not budge.  Forcing these things is not good.  It could destroy the rubber internals or shear off the handle leaving it inoperable.

Two screws hold the “face” of the seacock on.  Its just a metal plate with a hole in it that the handle passes through.  I unscrewed them and removed the plate.

With the face plate out of the way you are able to work the handle to remove the innards of the seacock itself.   This is what the internal part looks like.  A rubber cylinder attached to the handle.

The rubber is not in the best of shape and I’d love to replace it but they don’t produce these anymore.  So we did the best we could to make this one work.  I cleaned the inside of the housing and the rubber cone as well.  I thought of using a lapping compound in the housing but the existing rubber is grooved badly in places and I don’t want to upset the fit.

Instead I used some silicone spray to lubricate it.

After lubricating the rubber and the inside of the housing I gently tapped and rotated it back into its housing.  Then I made sure I could turn it.  It is still pretty hard to turn but I can open and shut it now. 

I replaced the face and called it good.  I’ll put some lubricant in the others but decided against pulling them apart after seeing the condition of the rubber in this one.  Hopefully the rest will remain alright until we can actually replace them on phase 2 or phase 3 of our refit.  For now, at least they all open and close freely.

Since we didn’t dive into pulling all of them apart, I decided to use my remaining time to start tearing up the head.  The head or “toilet” is bolted down to a pedestal.  I tried to turn the bolts holding it down but they just spun.  Of course it would be thru bolted.

So I tore out the microscopic access board that let me get under the pedestal only to find the bolts were backed by wing nuts.  Makes sense since it was a nightmare to get a wrench to some of the bolts from underneath.  Of course the wing nuts were corroded onto the bolts.

I had to individually grab each wingnut with a pair of pliers and then break it free to back the bolts out.  These things were very very hard to extract.  It took me an hour and half to get the four of them off.  The first bolt I literally sheared in two.  The wing nut had solidified to the bolt such that the bolt gave before the nut would turn.  The only pliers I could get on it in the very confined space were not ideal for this job and with very little clearance and holding I couldn’t use a cheater bar.  It was shear strength.

After a whole lot of grunting and cursing I pulled all of them out and was able to pull the head off of its pedestal.

Before:

After:

Next I’ll rip out all of the old plumbing and the old pumps.  That job can wait though.  I think tomorrow we’ll have the rest of our parts to continue in the engine room.

And that’s how we lost our head.