|Installing a New Galley Faucet|
|In the middle of a large number of upgrade projects on Sarah during the spring of 2008, the six year old galley faucet decided it was time to spring a leak. Although I wanted to replace this faucet (it was a cheap one I purchased at Home Depot in 2002) I really didn't want to do this upgrade right now. However I no longer had a choice. This page documents the saga of that project .||Faucet Replacement in 2008
Blockage in the Fresh Water Manifold
Old Problem Not Solved
Faucet Replacement in 2011
So I purchased a much more pricey Price-Pfister faucet and expected to get this job done in a single afternoon. Replacing a faucet on Sarah should not be a major project. Most of us have done this in our homes many times, and the job is not that dis-similar on a boat. However this is boat plumbing, not home plumbing, nothing is straight-forward with boat plumbing.
Sarah's Galley Sink Before Faucet Replacement in 2008
|When I installed existing faucet (picture above) I was able to tighten the main nut under the sink counter with a standard basin wrench. This time when I slid on my back under the sink I could not loosen the nut with the same basin wrench. After repeated attempts to loosen this nut It was apparent that the basin wrench (and my laying on my back squeezed under the sink was not going to do the job. The only way to get a solid grip on that nut was to remove the sink.|
|This wasn't a big job, but it did require more working on my back unscrewing the 6 sink clips that held the sink in place.|
is one of the sink clips used by Pearson to secure the galley sink.
Fortunately the head on the screw is a standard 5/16" hex so I could
use a nut driver or a small socket to remove these clips rather than
trying to fit a slot head screw driver onto the head in a very tight
Four of the six clips were in good condition. Two were somewhat corroded (as shown in this picture) and required a little gentle persuasion to release the sink from the counter.
|I wanted to replace the corroded clips before re-installing the sink, but neither Loew's nor Tru-Value (only hardware stores in my area) carry this type of clip. So I'll just soak them in a little CRC until the sink is ready to go back in.|
The Supply Line Adapters for the Previous Faucet
|The only complication with installing a standard household faucet in Sarah is connecting it up to the 1.2"OD polyethylene hoses and the compression fittings used by Pearson for the pressure water system. I've forgotten how the original faucet was connected, but I had to use a pair of 5/8"to1/2" male-male thread adapters on the compression fitting so I could use a standard faucet 1/2" connector hose for the faucet I installed in 2002.|
|I had hoped to change this arrangement as the shortest hookup hoses available in hardware stores are about 3x the length required. I would also like to put shut-off valves on each of the water supply lines so that the galley faucet could be removed and serviced without have to de-pressurize the entire freshwater system on Sarah.|
|However, since I was trying to get this job done in a single
afternoon I decided to just replace the faucet hookup hoses in kind.
With easy access to the faucet nut under the sink counter I quickly freed up the nut using a pair of Channel Locks and removed the old faucet.
With the faucet removed I was reminded that a PO must have installed the faucet I inherited and replaced when I purchased Sarah.
Old Faucet Removed
Holes in Counter for Faucet Installation
appears the original faucet installed by Pearson may have been a
2-hole, 2-handle variety, replaced by a PO with a single -handle faucet
requiring a center hole. Whatever the faucet history of this
boat, someone screwed up cutting the center hole and had to cut it
I remember this from my earlier installation, but at that time I just fitted the new faucet in the hole and tried to secure it with the faucet nut and washer.
|This worked, but the faucet did
wobble a bit. I also didn't put any plumber's putty under the
faucet base so water seeped under the base.
For this installation I cut a piece of cleat stock wood with the correct size hole to use as a backing plate under the sink. I also sealed the new faucet plate with plumber's putty.
After a few minutes of elbow grease the counter area under the sink flange and the faucet base was reasonably clean the new faucet was ready to be installed and the sink re-installed.
Cleaned Up Counter
New Faucet Installed
|In this picture the new faucet is installed and the sink back in place, but not secured with the clips. I just connected up the drains. I wanted to test the faucet before the sink was completely re-installed.|
|Hard to see behind the sink drain hoses, but I used the same type of overly-long faucet hookup hoses as before.||
Hookup Hoses for New Faucet
|After a few minutes of operation I discovered the connection to the hot water hose was leaking. This connection involves a male-to-male adapter from the 1/2" OD compression nut on the delivery hose to the 1/2" ID nut on the connection hose (picture on the left). Looks like this was one too many disconnections and re-connections, the plastic threads on the faucet end have stripped. So back to Loew's for some more plumbing parts.|
|With the hot water once more connected and not appearing to leak I hope this project is now done except re-securing the sink - NOT!|
|New Faucet Installed, but Old Problem Didn't Go Away|
|The leak was the reason I decided to replace the old faucet now
rather than later, but that wasn't the real pressure water problem I
was fighting this spring. Actually the problem started nearly
a year ago.
Shortly after we departed Madeira on the way back to the states I started to have problems with the pressure water system. The symptom has always been air in the system. Initially this problem was limited to a single tank (Starboard). I switched it to the bow tank gate valve on the manifold and the pump primed to full pressure. I replaced the gate valve when we got to Bermuda and everything was fine for a few months. Then the problem with the Starboard tank returned. This time I replaced the entire manifold using ball valves instead of gate valves. That also seemed to fix the problem, but shortly thereafter the pump starting sucking air again, but now from all tanks. At the time I thought that the water strainer I added to the manifold was the source of the leak. I removed the strainer and the pressure water system seemed to be working properly. I thought now I could forget about the pressure water system for awhile and get on with my other projects. Within a few days I discovered the faucet leak, which lead to the faucet replacement described above. However what lead me to that leak was the pump suddenly coming on (all faucets closed) and not turning off. This was similar to the previous problem of getting air into the pump. The leaking faucet would not have caused this problem, but I decided I needed to fix the faucet leak problem first because I didn't think I could isolate the air problem while the faucet was leaking.
after installing the new faucet, the pump still wouldn't shut down and
one of the connections for the new faucet was leaking. Suddenly
I realized that this was a new problem - the pressure sensor on the
pump must have failed. So I installed my backup pump and the
system pressurized normally - or at least what was normal almost a
So the faucet leak was most likely due to the pump over-pressurizing the system. I may have been lucky none of the 30-year old polyethylene hoses didn't burst. That would have been a real project.
New Jabsco Max 4 Pump
|I ran this system for a few days before I finished re-installing the sink just to be sure. I have a third pump onboard for spare parts. I believe the motor on that pump is burned out. I had planned to see if I could find a cheap motor that would drive this pump as an emergency backup. Now I hoped the pressure switch on that pump would fix the pump I just de-installed, then disassemble the rest of the pump into my parts bin and throw away the bad motor.|
Well after a few hours of operation on my backup pump, another old problem was back - air in the lines. The symptom is that the pump cycles a few times every 15 - 30 seconds. This, I believe, is due to air in the lines or in the pump. This was the very symptom that got me to switch pumps after I installed the new tank manifold. I've changed so many things in this system it is difficult to document what was happening when, but I did not have this pump "creep" with the pump I just replaced because of the faulty pressure sensor. So I thought the "creep" problem must be in this backup pump. So now I had 3 of these expensive pumps and all of them have at least one problem:
|I hoped I could use the parts from these three pumps to make one working pump. However I planned to buy another pump as my primary. The Jabsco Max 4 pump uses the same hose connectors has the Sensor Max VSD, so it would be a drop-in replacement for these VSD pumps. I'd lost all confidence in these fancy new pumps and went with the cheaper, more reliable (hopefully) technology. The VSD pump are just be a temporary backup in case of primary pump failure.|
|Well, at least now I could put the sink back in permanently.|
|Another New Pump|
New Pump Installed
expensive trip to West Marine in Solomons and I came back with a
Jabsco Max 4 pump. This looks identical to the VSD pumps and
it does have the same port types as the VSD pumps. So I didn't
have to disconnect the hoses, just pop out the port adapters from
one pump and insert them in the new one.
The picture on the left shows the new pump installed (looks familiar, huh?).
|This is a picture of one of three defective Sensor Max VSD pumps I now have on board.||
Sarah's Galley Sink Back in Operation
ran the Max 4 pump for several minutes and waited many more to see
if I would here that old pump creep - SILENCE!
With that I re-secured the sink after running a bead of Plumbers Putty all around under the sink flange. Once more on my back to install the sink clips, and the installation was done.
Another few minutes of cleaning up the mess on the counter and putting all the cleaning stuff back under the sink and I could take the pictures on the left and below.
|Never thought replacing a faucet would be a 4-day event.||
Galley Faucet Replacement Project Complete
|Problems Solved - NOT!|
|Clearly the pump I replaced was defective and the new pump
solved at least one of my problems. However after a few days
of operation I was back to the old problem of the pump not being
able to draw water from the Starboard tank. I switched to the
Port tank while I tried to figure out where I go from here, but the
pump could not draw from that tank as well. So I was back to
square one and completely baffled. When I disconnected the
hoses from the tanks from the manifold, water flowed freely, so the
problem had to be in the manifold or the pump. I had no
intention of buying another pump, so I was on the verge of ripping
out the manifold and replacing the whole thing with PVC components
as other 424 owners have done.
Before heading off to Loew's once again, I tested the manifold by blowing into connections to the tank hoses. This is something I had done every time I re-installed the manifold to insure there was no blockage in the valves or tubing. This time I could blow very little air from any of the hose connections through the manifold. Clearly there was some sort of blockage.
By manipulating the valves I determined that the blockage had to be in the upper part of the manifold - an elbow that connected to the hose going to the pump.
So once more I took the manifold to the marina workshop and disassembled the upper part. Inside the elbow I discovered a small self-tapping screw! With the screw removed and manifold reassembled, the blockage was removed. I re-installed the manifold and the pump drew water from all tanks. After another 2 weeks of operation I was finally convinced that my freshwater system is back to normal. The only question is how did that screw get into the manifold.
I know there was no blockage in the manifold the previous time I re-installed it. My only guess is that one of the times I removed the manifold, one of the screws that I used to hold it to the bulkhead may have dropped into one of the delivery hoses from the tanks (mostly likely the starboard tank). Those hoses stand vertical on the bulkhead. The hoses are old vinyl and nearly opaque so I would not have noticed the screw if were inside the hose. I do vaguely remember not being able to find one of the screws during one of the re-installations.
Later when I re-installed the manifold and started the pump, the screw could have been sucked up into the tubing. That would explain why the problem was mostly with the Starboard tank. Eventually the screw could have worked it's way through the manifold to the top elbow, where it was lodged. It is possible that sometimes it was lodged sideways in the tubing and only partially blocking water flow. Whenever I de-pressurized the system fooling with the pumps and then re-pressurized, the orientation of the screw in the tubing could have changed. That would explain why it always initially appeared that my changes to the system had fixed the problem. After a few dozen pump cycles that screw may have re-oriented itself to effectively block the water flow.
No matter how that screw got there (it might have fallen into one of the tanks and been sucked through the hoses) I believed things were working again. I do need to add a filter in the hose going to the pump. I threw away the one I originally installed thinking it was defective. I have another, but I decided to enjoy a few more weeks of flawless operation before I made any more changes to this system.
|Another Faucet Replacement in 2011|
|I assumed the
Price Pfister faucet installed in 2008 would last
for many years. Turns out that faucet had a service life of a
little over 3 years. Just before I left Jacksonville the
faucet control arm started wobble when used. Before we arrived
in the Chesapeake Bay it had to be jiggled to turn off the water.
As soon as I arrived at my friends' dock off the Patuxent River,
replacing that faucet became a primary task. This time I
purchased a medium-priced Moen faucet at Lowe's.
You'd think after replacing the faucet twice before, this would be a straight-forward task, but my experience installing the Price Pfister told me this would not be the case. Finally the old faucet was giving out signs of complete failure and I had to start the replacement.
Once again I found it easier to remove the sink rather than work on my back from below. It took a lot of jiggling and shaking to get the sink clamp brackets to clear the cut-out, but finally it came out and I could begin to remove the old faucet. This was relatively easy and soon I was installing the new faucet. Everything went quickly until I was ready to hook up the faucet hoses to my water lines. On the water lines I have 2" OD compression nuts that are fitted into adapters from a male compression fitting to a male 1/2" MPT. The adaption between 1/2" MPT was a standard supply line connection between the 1/2" MPT fittings on the Price Pfister faucet pipe and the fittings on the water lines. The Moen faucet came with long supply hoses with 3/8" FIP fittings. So I needed an adapter between the 1/2" MPT fitting on the water hose and the faucete supply hoses.
|I decided to use a cut-off valve as the adapter. So, on
my first visit of the day to Lowe's, I purchased two cut-off valves
from the bin that said 1/2" to 3/8" valves. It looked like I
was on the road to an early completion. I should have known
The first water line I decided to hook up was the cold water supply with the old plastic adapter the was original equipment on Sarah. I found the threads on this adapter too chewed up to be re-used. Back to Lowe's for an adapter like the one I used on the hot water line in 2008.
Two trips to Lowe's and the installation was almost complete. Who was I kidding?
Cut-off Valves Installed on the Supply Lines (Lines have not been secured to the bulkhead)
|Now I was able to hook up the cut-off valves. I noticed
that the female connectors on the valves could wobble even after the
1/2" MPT adapter was fully threaded into the valve. When I
turned on the water pressure, with the valves closed there was a
small fountain at each of these wobbling connectors. My friend
Dick Juppenlatz looked at the installation and concluded the valves
must have not have the correct connection for 1/2" MPT. So
back to Lowe's. I found the correct valves in the same bin in
which I found the ones that didn't work. A couple of Lowe's
employees confirmed the contents of any of the bins is random.
Now I had the final piece of the puzzle and only three trips to Lowe's. What a breeze.
|Once again, I connected up the water lines to the cut-off valves. I turned on the water presssure and watched steady dripping from both water lines. I attempted to tighten the connections, but the leaks persisted. Finally I asked Dick to once again look at my installation. He suggested more teflon tape on the pipe thread connections, with which he assisted me. Then when I turned on the pressure there were no leaks. Once more on the down hill portion of the installation.|
|Before I opened the valves and tested the faucet, I decided to
re-install the sink so I didn't need to use of bucket under the
faucet. Then I discovered the sink would not go back in the
cutout with the faucet in place. Bummer.
So I removed the faucet head and the pull-out hose, loosed the nut holding the faucet in place and turned it so it would not interfer with the sink. After a few moments of jigging and tapping the sink it fell into place and I re-installed the faucet and the drain. Now I was ready to test the whole system.
When I opened the cut-off valves I watched water cascading to the cabin sole under the sink. I didn't have the energy to pursue this leak. I turned of the valves. I still had pressure in the water system and I could take a shower before dinner.
Finishing the faucet installation could wait until tomorrow.
|The next morning I tested the faucet again and this time noticed that the water was coming from within the body of the faucet, not from any of my connections. I really did not want this problem to be a defective faucet. I pulled out the faucet head and noticed the leak was coming from the connection between the pull-out hose and the faucet head. I checked the installation plans and noticed a seal ring that was supposed to go between the pull-out hose and the head. There was no such seal in the connection. I pulled the Moen box out of the trash and found the seal down in a corner of the box. With the seal in place everything worked as it should.||
Moen Faucet Installed and Operational
|I must be getting better at this stuff. This installation took less than 24 hours, and only three trips to Lowe's. The previous installation took 4 days.|