Water Wars – VICTORY!!!

I’ve been amazed through this whole process of repairing the leaking water tank, at how difficult it has been to get to the point of being “done”. Someone likened it to pulling a loose thread…the more you pull, the more the thing unravels.

At last though, I think I can declare it finished. There is still a bit of cleanup to do, and some minor final fitting of access panels, but this weekend I reached the finish line as far as major operations go.

So what took so long? I mean, I’ve been working on this project since May.

Six months to fix a leaky tank?

This whole exercise started when it dawned on me that we might have a leak in the fresh water tank. I described in an earlier post how I came to this realization, and the beginning of my attempt to solve the problem.

It took some time to get to the bottom of the situation, and as I got further into it, following the thread analogy, the more I found that needed to be addressed.

After wrestling with the water tanks for a while, I finally managed to get them out, and found that the damage was a bit more extensive than I’d expected.

What made it a bit more challenging is the parsing of time I had to endure. If I could have hired someone to do the work, it probably would have been completed months ago. Two things wrong with that: first, I wanted to do it my way, so I’d know how it was done and be completely happy with it, and second, I didn’t want to let go of the extra Boat Buck* or two that it would take to have it done by someone else.

(* Boat Buck is a convenient nautical term for the smallest unit of monetary outlay normally encountered in a boat project. Generally agreed to be $1,000 in landlubber units.)

My time was limited by the fact that I’m still employed. I am my own boss though, so I have given myself the perk of Fridays off to go work on the boat.

Each Friday, I ought to get right to work on the water tanks then, right? Well, not exactly. We have three cats, and they love to spend the morning out in the backyard exploring and sniffing everything the raccoons, possums and other neighborhood cats left the previous night inside our fence. So, I usually give them some extra sniffing time on Friday morning, and don’t get out of the house until 11:00 or so. Then it’s an hour’s drive to the marina, and by the time I grab some lunch and get tools set up, it’s mid-afternoon before I really start getting anything accomplished.

And then there are the Whaaaat?’s…those are the things that pop up when you least expect them, but which must be addressed right away, instead of working on the water tanks.

For instance, this last weekend, I took a casual peek into the forward bilge and found not the bone-dry bilge I’ve grown accustomed to, but a bilge with about six inches of water sloshing around.

I said Whaaaat? (and a few other things, I’ll admit) and dropped down into the bilge to see why the bilge pump didn’t do it’s thing. The arm of the float switch was standing straight up, so the problem seemed obvious. I opened the terminal box and shorted across the pump terminals, and the pump worked fine.

Diagnosis: Faulty float switch.

Time to replace float switch and reconnect all heat-shrunk connections: 1.5 hours.

Anywho, half a day Friday and most of Saturday has been my recurring work window. A lot of the time, I’ve had to wait for epoxy to set up, or for the glue to set on some of the wooden framework, and there has been a LOT of head-scratching time trying to figure out just exactly how I was going to get tab A to fit into slot B, and that’s pretty much why, six months later, I’m just now declaring victory.

Once the old tanks were out and the floor underneath was rebuilt, it looked like this.

New plywood floor epoxied into place.

Then a rubber shower pan liner went down, and the tanks went back into the box. First the small tank,

Small tank with hose connections installed.

then the large tank.

The larger tank. The green straps will stay so the next poor schmuck who has to take this out will have something to lift it with.

Now it was time to start connecting the hoses again.

The hose at the bottom connects the two tanks, and the others are the fill, withdrawal and vent hoses.

Then, the framework to hold the tanks in place and support the mattress platform was built. I made it so I had access to all the clean-out ports and all the hose connections. If anything springs a leak (except the tank itself) I’ll be able to lift a couple of panels to get my hands on it and repair/replace without taking the whole bed apart again.

Nothing is quite square, so every piece had to follow the “Measure twice, cut once” rule.

The mattress platform lays on this framework, and a set of removable panels is needed to get to all the stuff hidden under the mattress.

One panel lifts to give me access to the port rudder shaft.

The hoses will get zip-tied up to the panel above so they don’t rub on the rudder post or rudder tie bar.

Another will give access to the smaller tank,

Access hatch up,

and down.

and the third panel will lift to reveal the larger tank.

A little final trimming of the panels so they all snuggle up together nicely, (Remember, this is a boat…I think there’s some sort of international treaty forbidding right angles on boats) and a coat of paint, and the mattress will go back on, and the master stateroom will be back in business.

Now it’s on to the next project, which will be finishing the installation of the new Garmin chartplotter and VHF radio. I started this a couple month’s ago, but it’s been so dang hot on the flybridge I just didn’t want to mess with it. Now that the weather is a bit more comfortable, I should be able to make some headway and maybe get one more project crossed off the list.

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About TwoCaptains

The TwoCaptains are Jim and Janet, both US Coast Guard licensed boat captains home-ported in Daytona Beach. We recently sold our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56' CPMY "Magic Carpet", and now we're in the hunt for a replacement.
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One Response to Water Wars – VICTORY!!!

  1. Janet says:

    This is a GREAT summary of a very tedious project! And I will feel much better when we take off that we have two water tanks that actually work together! 🙂

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