Sunday, November 26, 2006

Grease Is The Word

Serviced Seacocks, 11/26/2006

The Spartan seacocks on our boat were frozen in place when we bought it. The boat was in the water almost immediately, so I couldn't disassemble them for complete service. I did just enough work to get them operational, postponing full service until haulout.

These seacocks are fairly easy to maintain. Spartan suggests annual maintenance, but word on the water has it that every two or three years is sufficient if they are operated frequently. Disassembly is straightforward: remove the lock nuts from the barrel, and slide the barrel out of the housing. Michele and I disassembled the three we have (engine intake, head intake, and head discharge), cleaned them thoroughly with paint thinner, and then gave them a light coating of waterproof grease before reassembly. We used Morey's Super Red waterproof grease (available at Napa), which came highly recommended by other Cape Dory owners. A light coating is sufficient: anything more just squeezes out during reassembly.

The only tricky part is getting the seacock adjusted properly during reassembly. The barrel is tapered, so if you tighten the nut too much, it becomes difficult or impossible to operate the seacock. I overtightened one, and we had a hard time getting it back out. Snug is best. The handle should move smoothly, but shouldn't be so loose that vibration will cause it to move.

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