Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 

Date: 12 January 2022. Temporary Thru-Hull Fix (part 2)

janice142


INFORMATION FOUND: Perhaps a decade ago I remember reading the results of a Mechanical Engineers review. They wanted to ascertain what best separated corroded metals. Various products tested including WD-40, PB Blaster, among many others. The winner was a simple 50/50 (half and half) formula containing ATF (Automobile Transmission Fluid) and Acetone. Thank you to Island Time, Rob and Cap'n Mike for letting me know that Acetone was the other half of the formula.
 

This boater's nightmare became a multi-part series. This is part 2. If you prefer everything on one page like me, the Thru-Hull Leak Series contains all articles published regarding the leaking thru-hull fiasco.

Side Note: If I am able to return to the sailboat in question, I will update. For now, this is everything I know. Thank you.

 


The THRU-HULL is shooting water into the bilge.
 

To recap, a sailboat a couple canals over from me had a thru-hull cap failure. Thanks to that trite term "thinking outside the (wine) box" the problem with the leaking thru-hull was temporarily resolved. Definite emphasis should be placed on the word "TEMPORARILY" as this is in no way a solution, however...!
 

A quick trip back to Seaweed ensued. I picked up a spare roll of Rescue Tape:

 

 

For the first time in over a decade, my Rescue Tape failed me. Although I tried I could not get the tape to stick to itself and entirely seal off the leak.
 


RESCUE TAPE Self-Fusing Silicone Tape (1", Clear)

I have used the tape successfully to
seal a large intake hose on a workboat.


 

Affiliate link

 


In the meantime, like all "interesting" boat projects, the bilge pump failed while we were pumping out the vessel. Yes, it was that kind of day. Fortunately the owner was sharp. He had a spare Johnson 2k bilge pump in his arsenal of spare parts.
 

 

Johnson bilge pumps, the orange ones, are rated at either 2000 or 2200 gallons per hour. They come with a five year warranty. I had one fail on me at the six year mark. The other failed at 13 years. All in all, I am impressed. These are good "serious" bilge pumps.
 

Aboard my 23' long boat, I have two Johnson's plus one 800gph SeaSense bilge pump. The SeaSense is my primary.


Johnson Pump Heavy Duty Bilge Pump
 

(affiliate links provided: SeaSense and Johnson)

 


I replaced the Johnson. We still had a steady stream of water coming from the thru-hull.


At some point during the fiasco I attempted to seal the end with wax, then the Rescue Tape. That failed too. There is a lot of water pressure 4' (120 cm) deep, which is where this thru-hull intake is located.


We needed to seal off an oddly shaped pipe fitting. At this point we dared not wrench off that cap/cover  for fear of breaking the thru-hull. After pondering I came up with a solution. A quick trip back over to my Seaweed ensued so I could pick up a wine bottle cap/cover.
 

A couple years back I bought one blue silicone cap from eBay. I had intended to use
it for a project. The Project List aboard Seaweed would be impressive if it were not so scary!


These covers/caps are silicone, approximately 1/8" (3mm) thick. Mine appeared sturdy enough to be utilized as a temporary solution. First I stretched the silicone cover up and over the nipple. Then I added a hose clamp and tightened it.
 

I did not exert super-human strength. Over-tightening might damage the threads and/or break something.  All due care must be employed so the final repair can be seamless, and easy. Hopefully!
 


The wine bottle BOTTLE CAP is secured to the thru-hull fitting with a hose clamp.
The boys are calling it a thru-hull condom. Older boatmen are a hoot. They have no filter.


Most important of all, the leak has been stopped. We have bought time with the
simple use of a silicone wine bottle cap.  This is definitely a temporary solution.
 

 

Lessons Learned:

 
  • #1. Check your bilges regularly. In this case had the owner not caught the problem in the initial stages of failure this could have been catastrophic.
     

  • #2. Check if the bilge water is fresh or salty. A quick taste test can determine if the water in the bilges is coming from the water tanks, or outside the boat. This presumes your vessel is in salt water.
     

  • #3. Obviously STOP the water. Though we could not get off the galvanized part immediately, we were able to prevent more water from coming into the boat. The unconventional (silicone wine bottle cap) solution is, at best, TEMPORARY. It will need to be carefully monitored until the real repair is completed.

 

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, remember that temporary fixes are just that: an interim measure to buy time. They will fail. That snafu definitely will not be at a convenient stress free time.

 


The sailboat owner was smart. He checked his bilges regularly. Because of that he recognized there was a problem before it became more serious. Additionally, he had boating friends nearby. Together we were able to temporarily find a solution until that galvanized fitting can be removed and replaced with something suitable.


INFORMATION FOUND: Perhaps a decade ago I remember reading the results of a Mechanical Engineers review. They wanted to ascertain what best separated corroded metals. Various products tested including WD-40, PB Blaster, among many others. The winner was a simple 50/50 (half and half) formula containing ATF (Automobile Transmission Fluid) and Acetone. Thank you to Island Time, Rob and Cap'n Mike for letting me know that Acetone was the other half of the formula.
 

 

That is life in bilges. If I may be so bold, you might consider purchasing a silicone bottle cap for your boat too. Fortunately mine was in my silverware drawer, and thus easy to locate. I paid $1 for one from eBay a couple years back.

Side Note: Before anyone reminds me of the wooden plugs for thru-hulls, please remember those will not work in all circumstances. This time the threaded part of the galvanized cap was firmly stuck. Only a stream of water 3/16" (5mm) was coming out of the middle so a plug would be much too large.

 

For full details on how to get the best prices on eBay, you might wish to read the Screening My Hatch (eBay advice) article. Or search eBay for "Silicone bottle caps cover." Once the results load, chose the option "Sort by Price plus Shipping, Lowest First" ... Good luck.

 


So that is life on the west coast. If the owner calls my neighbor/me back, I will follow-up with the permanent resolution. In the meantime, remember that Galvanized stuff rusts. It really is awful in a salty environment.


Do not use galvanized gear on your boat.
Signed, an opinionated Stainless Steel gal. :)


Thank you for reading.
 

Does anyone recall the formula mentioned containing ATF and ???
I'd love to learn your tricks for removing a galvanized cap from a bronze thru-hull.
 

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

  • Before you type in each block be sure to hit the backspace key. Coding inserts a space in every box. Your email address will come back as malformed unless you remove that space. (You don't have to include your email address.)

  • The capcha is case sensitive.


COMMENTS:
 

2022

Categories: Gear, In the Bilges,

Finding the Leak (part 1) ~ Previous Post ...    ... Next Post ~ Declutter by Donation

Archive

The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  Everything is temporary but love. Love outlives us all. R. Queen.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
via
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!


I am also an Amazon Affiliate.

  

Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |