Good evening or morning;
Blue Moon is out of the water for Hurricane Sally repair, and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to get some other ‘out of the water’ maintenance performed. Thinking I knew what I was doing, I started lubricating the ball valve seacocks. Wrongly. I thought the bronze plugs in the body of the valves were lubrication points, so I proceeded to attach zerq fittings and squeeze corrosion block grease into the valve body cavities. Well I learned tonight that ball valves don’t require this type of lubrication, and these bronze plugs are, in fact, for valve body drainage during periods of winter storage to prevent ice damage to the valves. I don’t suppose I’ve done anything damaging. I hope.
But on to my questions:
1) Apparently it is useful to lubricate the ‘ball’ portion of the valve from the exterior. That is, applying lubricant to the seacock ball from the thru hull, and perhaps also from the top…by disconnecting the hose and spraying the lubricant inside the valve, presumably getting some of the lubricant on the ball itself. So what type of lubricant to use? I understand my Perko valves contain some plastic and maybe rubber parts that could be damaged by inappropriate materials. I also understand Wurth HHS2000 is recommended by some. I have on hand; T9 boeshing, spray silicone lubricant, and lubriplate 105 engine assembly grease. Wondering if anyone has any experience in this area. I understand WD40 is not recommended due to its properties.
2) In the process of removing the winterizing plugs, on one of the seacocks the corrosion was apparently pretty bad and the plug simply broke off. Naturally, it is in a difficult position to access. Would it be heresy to clean the hole out best I can with acetone, then fill the hole with thickened epoxy? The other drain plug is intact, and is on the ‘downhill’ side of the valve. Any future draining could occur from this side.
As always, and thoughts appreciated!
Blue Moon, #189
Hello David, I am in Ontario Ca, and routinely haul every year so seacock lubrication is done annually. (probably overkill) I don’t go to the extent of removing hoses however and rely mostly on exercising the valve and hope some lubrication gets transferred onto enough of the ball surfaces to be effective. The process I use is to climb aboard and close all seacocks (8 total if memory serves) then go under the boat with a tube of Dow Corning 111 valve sealant lubricant and a small metal parts cleaning brush, I squeeze the very thick grease onto the brush and poke up inside the thruhull and onto the surface of the ball swab it around hope to coat the entire surface. I have I presume original brass seacocks in all hull locations with the two on the keel having been changed out to the marelon version. I did not check lubricant compatibility before embarking on this process 8 years ago when we purchased #125, however all the seacocks have become very smooth and trouble free to operate.
Good luck, Jim Sanger SV Idyll Ours
Thanks Jim. Sounds like your process works and is what most folks do for their ball valves. I went into this thing pretty ignorant…didn’t do any reading beforehand. I was able to find a reference from Steve D’Antonio (well known surveyor) where he describes installing grease (basically water resistant marine trailer bearing grease) through zerqs temporarily installed in place of the drain plugs. But the predominance of learned opinion seems to be to use a proper grease to coat the ball best you can from the bottom. A process is also described of coating the accessible side of the ball from the bottom, then opening the ball half way and sliding a brush or something to the top side of the ball and scraping some grease off on the top side too. Maybe I’ll try that.
I think I’m leaning towards using an epoxy filler to fill the cavity left by the broken valve body drain plug. I think that’ll do it, and if it doesn’t it won’t sink the boat. Just a nasty seep of sea water that might or might not require specially hauling the boat. Frankly, I believe it’s already been doing that based on evidence of green stuff around that opening. The ‘fix’ should resolve that.
I’m off to the boat yard. Thanks again Jim