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Thread: Tapered Bronze Valves

  1. #1
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    Default Tapered Bronze Valves

    I got a lot of good information at the Cruiser's Forum about servicing my valves and want to hear from people's experience on this forum.
    Information ranged from using Spartan products for lapping and greasing to just cleaning the rubbing surfaces and using lanolin.
    My first attempt at servicing one of my valves didn't work out too well. It had to be tightened so much to stop leaking that it was impossible to turn the handle.
    What is your technique? Do you service your valves in place? Do you have favorite materials to use? Have you tried using lanolin and had problems or success? How long can you go between service?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I have both 50+ year old Wilcox Crittenden & Spartan seacocks. First thing is to open & close them regularly - at least weekly when in the water. Since I haul my boat every year, they each get taken apart & lightly greased in the spring before splashing.

    Lapping requires that they still be in decent shape. Grooves that are too deep mean you can't lap it far enough - as it'll sick out to far & get too tight.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post

    Lapping requires that they still be in decent shape. Grooves that are too deep mean you can't lap it far enough - as it'll sick out to far & get too tight.
    For a situation like that I may want to try the lanolin without any lapping. One person uses the lanolin without any lapping and claims good results. Lanolin rather than grease.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Not sure I understand how lanolin will work differently than grease, but it might be worth a try.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I'm really not sure either since I've never used it but I was told it works better than grease when surfaces are not perfectly mated.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    It would seem to me that properly lapped surfaces would be best - after all, that's how they finish them @ Spartan. The castings are machined to a close approximation, then the final step is lapping. You can use their compound or valve lapping compound - but it's much more easily done with the seacock out of the boat unless you have unobstructed access.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Not sure I understand how lanolin will work differently than grease, but it might be worth a try.
    Lanolin is all one stuff, a natural grease. Grease is a manufactured mix of mineral oil and soap, mixed hot then extruded at pressure to break down the soaps mechanical structure and to complete the mixing.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Lanolin is all one stuff, a natural grease. Grease is a manufactured mix of mineral oil and soap, mixed hot then extruded at pressure to break down the soaps mechanical structure and to complete the mixing.
    I understand what lanolin & grease are. What I don't understand is how lanolin is going to be better at stopping water under pressure.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I understand what lanolin & grease are. What I don't understand is how lanolin is going to be better at stopping water under pressure.
    My guess would be that lanolin might be a little more "stout" for lack of a better word.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I understand what lanolin & grease are. What I don't understand is how lanolin is going to be better at stopping water under pressure.
    I heard that lanolin has a lot of uses, one of them for coating high pressure o-rings.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I can see it might reduce drips or the like - but I can't see it making any difference in a significant flow.

    I also could be completely wrong!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Lanolin has its advocates both in the pure and organic form, and in commercially available products like "Lanocote" and "LanoGuard." It's like proponens of Boeshield versus CRC versus WD40...all have their purpose and fans of each often can't be swayed to use the others. That's the way it is with grease versus lanolin, IMO.

    As for your seacocks, I agree with Garret: disassemble, clean, lap re-assemble and make sure to work the handles weekly.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I have a directional valve for hand pumping out the bilge or switching to the bilge pump. I tried to service it wrongly and it leaks a little if you tighten it down so far the handle can't be turned. Perfect for trying out the lanolin for that. If it still leaks I'll lap it and grease with the Spartan products.
    I'm getting ready for my first haul out on this boat and I have six others to work on. I want to be prepared.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Hi, Keelhauler...

    The lubrication is not for preventing leaks. A good fit does that.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I would like to hear from those that use lanolin. What has been your experience with it? I hear it makes it harder to turn the handle than grease but the valve will not freeze up like with the grease. Not so convinced about that.

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    Default

    Change them out to ball valves,
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    Change them out to ball valves,
    Gotta disagree with you. A good solid WC or Spartan traditional valve works beautiful if maintained. There are a lot of cheap ball valves out there - brass not bronze, plastic galore, mild steel handles that rust. No thanks.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Gotta disagree with you. A good solid WC or Spartan traditional valve works beautiful if maintained. There are a lot of cheap ball valves out there - brass not bronze, plastic galore, mild steel handles that rust. No thanks.
    My boat has seven taper valves that in today's prices would be very expensive. If I had ball valves I would keep them but I don't mind servicing the tapers that I have. I'm sure you're aware nothing on a boat is maintenance free. The balls being chrome plated on brass and sealed by teflon will work fine...until the teflon is compromised and the valve fails. Especially in a salt water environment.
    So, we're on the same page, Garret.

  19. #19
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    The big problem with tapered valves is; the way people wrench on them without loosening the core. More than one thru hull has ripped or ruptured wood or glass hulls by... someone pulling on a wrench.

    Either valve can be serviceable I'm not going to argue the plus or minus of either but there is more flow through a marine ball valve then there is through a cored valve,

    A tapered valve corewill eventually go deeper and deeper into the body from the core being tightened to a point where there are no more threads.

    Can't afford ... But what is the cost of a sinking?
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Yeah...I've seen enough to know that people feel strongly about valves one way or another and they're not going to change their minds. Right now I'm focused on servicing my taper valves. I appreciate anybody's experience on doing that. With all due respect I didn't intend this thread to be an argument about which is better.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I've got a boat full of these tapered valves. They all let a lot of water through even when closed, and are constantly at risk of seizing hard enough that I have to get a wrench to close them. I've rebuilt them several times taking lots of care, but still have issues.

    Look carefully at the cone for grooves and corrosion pitting. If bad enough, they will always have issues.

    Now I'm slowly swapping them for ball valve seacocks. (the proper ones with flanged base in bronze, not from the plumbing supply house). When closed no water comes in and they never seize up.

    The tapered valves have had a long life of corrosion and wear, and its time for them to be upgraded in my case.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by keelhauler View Post
    Yeah...I've seen enough to know that people feel strongly about valves one way or another and they're not going to change their minds. Right now I'm focused on servicing my taper valves. I appreciate anybody's experience on doing that. With all due respect I didn't intend this thread to be an argument about which is better.
    My apologies - I didn't mean to start that either.

    To wrenching on them:

    They come with a handle. By exercising them regularly & keeping them lubed, the handle turns the valve smoothly & easily. If more pressure than what you can get with the handle is needed, they are not adjusted correctly. The inner nut with the flange is the adjustment, the outer outer is a locknut.

    If there are grooves worn in the taper, they will let water through. If the grooves are only maybe 0.010 deep, they can probably be lapped - though I'd want the seacock at a workbench & use a drill to remove that much metal - as you are bringing the rest of the valve down to the same level as the bottom of the groove(s). By checking them annually, you catch the grooves before they get too deep. Of course, if the grooves are too deep, it's new seacock time.




    To flow: They are all full bore - IOW a 1" has a 1" hole:

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    If the grooves are only maybe 0.010 deep, they can probably be lapped
    I'm really surprised how shallow the grooves or scores can be to cause leakage. Have you ever used cylinder honing compound? I think it's also called cylinder grinding compound. I imagine the abrasive particles have to be somewhere around one micron.
    If this keeps up, further on I could become a valve servicing specialist...a new career, lol.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by keelhauler View Post
    I'm really surprised how shallow the grooves or scores can be to cause leakage. Have you ever used cylinder honing compound? I think it's also called cylinder grinding compound. I imagine the abrasive particles have to be somewhere around one micron.
    If this keeps up, further on I could become a valve servicing specialist...a new career, lol.
    I've mostly used valve grinding compound - as any cylinder honing I've done has been with stones & water. I've also used Spartan's (I know the guy who run's their machine shop) & saw no real difference between the 2. Most (real) auto parts stores have valve grinding compound.

    Seacocks are under higher pressure than many think - so a small groove can cause some leakage.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I've mostly used valve grinding compound - as any cylinder honing I've done has been with stones & water. I've also used Spartan's (I know the guy who run's their machine shop) & saw no real difference between the 2. Most (real) auto parts stores have valve grinding compound.

    Seacocks are under higher pressure than many think - so a small groove can cause some leakage.
    I went into a couple auto parts stores asking for that and they said..."no we don't sell it". So, I was wondering if it was something special. It isn't really as you know. I was about to go to a engine rebuild shop when I came onto the Spartan's and just ordered that. Should be here soon as well as the lanolin I ordered.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    My tapered valves don't leak - but I'm having a helluva time getting them out of the boat.
    They have a grease nipple on the sides and everytime i service the motor i inject some marine grease until it all moves smooth. They stiffen up pretty quick though and i worry that in an emergency they'd be tough to close off.

    I'm looking at these; https://trudesignplastics-com.s3.ama...1f6c2f4700.pdf
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    My tapered valves don't leak - but I'm having a helluva time getting them out of the boat.
    They have a grease nipple on the sides and everytime i service the motor i inject some marine grease until it all moves smooth. They stiffen up pretty quick though and i worry that in an emergency they'd be tough to close off.

    I'm looking at these; https://trudesignplastics-com.s3.ama...1f6c2f4700.pdf
    Maybe try a different grease? I open & close mine a couple of times once a week & don't notice stiffness.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I have an anecdotal story about lanolin.
    I did a run of several hundred lathe turned tubing parts on a precision tapered mandrel. Had to start the cut at the little end and finish at the big end because it expanded with heat and drove further onto the mandrel. The tolerances were tight .0002" total. We couldn't figure out how to remove the parts from the mandrel. Well, lanolin was the winner, hands down. The part slipped right off. Everything else froze up solid. I used two buckets of water, one hot and one cool to size the mandrel before and after each cut. parts were about 6" long, 1" dia, .030 wall thickness. One of the few jobs I made money on, lanolin!

    Proper lapping and adjustment of a tapered seat valve is a good way to go. They will never sink your boat when you are not looking. Lanolin maight be a good choice right there. But it won't fix an adjustment or fit problem. The real beauty is you just back off the adjustment a little and tap it loose. It only has to move a tiny bit to be loose.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Lapping requires that they still be in decent shape. Grooves that are too deep mean you can't lap it far enough - as it'll sick out to far & get too tight.
    Now that I have a little more information I took apart my valve and took a look. It is only mating 25% of its length. The 25% is only at the widest part of the taper. No wonder it leaked.
    When I get the lapping compound delivered probably by the weekend I will try it out. Should be interesting how much action it will take or if it is just too worn to reach uniformity along the length of the barrel. But, I think it will work out.
    Also, I do not think any grease or the lanolin would have stopped this valve from leaking in its present condition.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    When lapping, be sure to go about a 1/4 turn back and forth, not round and round. Round and round will make continuous scoring following the high spot all the way round.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    When lapping, be sure to go about a 1/4 turn back and forth, not round and round. Round and round will make continuous scoring following the high spot all the way round.
    Hmmmm....There always seems to be personal preferences on how to do things:

    IMPORTANT: The instructions from Spartan are very misleading for lap fitting. Folks often assume they want you to use the handle in a simple back and forth motion to lap fit. This is not the case and can result in ridges and uneven lapping. Spartan is aware that they need to change their instructions to be more clear and Paul had asked me to override their instructions here for anyone who might read them.
    Lap fitting should always be done in a full 360 degree circular fashion and not a 180 degree back and forth manner…



  32. #32
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    I'm also wondering how tight to make the flange nut while lapping. I suppose I'll just tighten enough to turn with a little effort.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    When lapping, be sure to go about a 1/4 turn back and forth, not round and round. Round and round will make continuous scoring following the high spot all the way round.
    I've checked 'em in a drill. IOW3,467 turns... I do go both directions though.

    Different strokes?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Quote Originally Posted by keelhauler View Post
    I'm also wondering how tight to make the flange nut while lapping. I suppose I'll just tighten enough to turn with a little effort.
    You actually don't want it tight at all - you want room for the compound to work. I don't ever put the nut on when lapping.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Tapered Bronze Valves

    Earlier today I was watching a guy in England on Youtube for re-silvering clock faces. He said "You do it however you want. I've been doing it this way for 40 years and that's just how I'm always going to do it". LOL!!!!
    Anyway, I'm going to use all this good information. Can't have too many tools.

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