Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's A Poopy Job…

and someone has to do it. It is time to replace the holding tanks. The old aluminum tanks have been previously repaired and we've also discovered that the internal pipes have holes which prevent the tanks from being emptied at a pumpout station. Gravity overboard drains are typically used in the Islands, but not in the Chesapeake. So we need tanks that will allow us to effectively perform pumpouts.

We ordered our tanks from Triple-M Plastics in Maine. A number of other Leopard owners have purchased tanks from them, so we decided that we should use them as well. The tanks are PVC and nicely done. We had modified the original Leopard 40 drawings to show that the drain connection as 1.5 inches instead of 2 inches, so that we can use sanitary hose for that fitting. That also matched the existing hose size to the gravity drain seacock. The result is that we didn't have to do any strange plumbing fittings or adapters.
The tanks arrived and the only problem I could see is that they were missing the mounting tab at the top through which a U-bolt was screwed. The U-bolt holds strapping that helps keep the tank from moving around in its locker.

Katrin at Triple-M sent us PVC L-bars that I was able to cut to fit around the inspection port on each tank. I also had to file down the welds on the top so that the L-bar would nicely mate with the top of the tank. The glue was standard PVC glue like you'd find in any hardware store plumbing department.

The old tanks were removed by cutting the hoses to free the tank. It is obvious from the hose that ran from the toilet to the tank that it was time to replace them. The effective ID was probably around 3/4 inch, due to the years of calcium deposits on the inside of the hose. It also made the hoses very stiff.
Ed on Esprit de Mer recommended removing the deck fittings and rebedding them. One of the fittings took some persuasion to remove, requiring heat, putty knives, wedges, and finally, twisting with the winch handle. The other fitting came right out. There was little evidence of any caulk on it. That is probably why there was so much mildew in that locker when I removed the tank, as well as regular collection of water in the bilge on that side.

We dug out the balsa core and filled with epoxy thickened with high density filler.
Dry-rotted balsa to be removed
Epoxy filler after removing balsa

The new holding tanks were mounted, hoses connected, and the deck fittings rebedded. We used BoatLife Life Caulk as the bedding compound so that we can remove them in the future, if necessary. (Hopefully not.)

While we were at it, we rebuilt each of the heads, removing calcium buildup, replacing gaskets, valves, and O-rings. Lubrication with Super Lube has made them work much more smoothly than before.



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