Monday, December 5, 2011

Installing Y-Valves

Drift Away has three heads.  It also has about an 80 gallon waste holding tank.  During a remodel of the boat many years ago, a PO (Previous Owner) decided to disconnect the two guest heads and dump directly overboard.  Although illegal, back then everybody dumped overboard, mainly because pump-out stations were non-existent..

We're heading south and at some point we expect guests to join us.   It was time to tackle this nasty project.

First up was the forward head for the forward stateroom, which is now my workshop/storeroom/place to put things that have no place.  Luckily, the pipes to the holding tank were still there and not removed.  I cut 2" holes through the walls from the stateoom to the head for the new waste lines with my hole saw, a more difficult thing than you'd think because of the thickness of the bulkhead (for my landlubber friends, a bulkhead is a structural wall in a boat).

This was the gate valve to the holding tank where the new hose needed to be attached.  I wonder why the PO cut the old hose instead of removing it?

The hose didn't want to come off, so I took a hot air paint removal gun to it.  It softened up and I yanked it right off.

What you are looking at is not a tapered pipe, but a flattened pipe from a side view.   The PO must have cranked down on the old hose really hard trying to get it off, and then cut it off in frustration.   I cut the pipe at the edge of the black gunk there and stuck on the new hose.

I probably should have replaced the gate valve with a ball valve, but the hardware store is a long walk away.  

I next removed the yucky old waste hose that ran from the head (toilet) to the discharge seacock (fancy nautical term for a valve), after flushing ALOT of water through it.   I installed new, odor free hose and installed this Y-valve under the sink.  Isn't new plumbing pretty?

The Y-valve allows us to flush either into the holding tank or overboard, which you can do if more than three miles from shore and on an extended voyage, which we will probably never do, but I hooked it up anyway because it's the right way to do this project.   The valve is set to dump into the holding tank, and I closed the seacock to make sure we don't dump overboard accidently if something hits the valve.

It was the same basic process for the second head, only the gate valve was broken in the shut position.  The waste line passes through a wall and into the engine room.  I checked in there and saw that it's a downhill run, so the gate valve really isn't needed.  The hose would be empty if it needed to be removed and replaced.  I hacksawed the gate valve off.   It was nasty anyway and needed to be painted or replaced.

I am now enjoying two victory beers, which the rules allow because I fixed two heads.  Which are better than one.   HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ruby is recovering nicely from her knee surgery and Pam and Ruby will be renting a car and driving here to Annapolis tomorrow.  It will be good to have our family whole again.


  1. I think you're ready to author "Boat Repair for Dummies!"

  2. Am not completely up to date on regs but believe that if you are inspected CG etc will want to see that the Y valve is secured in holding tank position. I used a small chain and a luggage lock at that time there was debate about legality of cable ties.

  3. @Bob- I think the book should be "Boat Repair for Dummies, by the King of Dummies".

    @Todd- Yes, same on Lake Champlain, they want the Y-Valve fixed, although there a zip tie was OK.

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  5. Be careful of having tension on that first Y valve from the black hose that goes up and over.

    I say this because I had the same sort of setup and the Y valve sheared off ( broke ) from the tension of the bent hose.
    This did take some years.

    Bill Kelleher

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