Freeing up our seized Blakes seacock

Freeing up our seized Blakes seacock

Everyone that owns a boat, should regularly check and service their seacocks by turning the regularly and regreasing them when out of the water. We try to make a habit of turning all of our seacocks a few times each month and noticed one of our Blakes seacocks was getting progressively harder to turn.

Somewhere around Cadiz we could no longer turn this seacock. We had no plan of getting out of the water any time soon, but would really rather be able to close it if needed.

We seacock in question is photographed below after servicing it. It’s in the engine bay under the waterline. This seacock is attached to some drainage holes in the cockpit floor. Nice and easy to access and work around!

The seacock after being serviced

After some online research of others with Blakes seacocks saying anything from “careful heating of the outer body” to “hitting as hard as I dared” we came up with a plan to tackle servicing this seacock from inside the boat while in a marina.

Getting it moving again

First, we took the cover plate off the seacock which can easily be removed but loosening and then removing the two bolts on either side of the handle.

The seacock with cover plate removed

We put a spanner around the square part of the seacock at the base of the handle to apply some turning pressure while gently and repeatedly knocking the end of the handle with a hammer.

It would have been nice to put a bar over the end of the handle to be able to apply some more turning force, but we didn’t have anything readily available that fit. A spanner seemed to do the job.

After quite a while of trying to turn and knocking gently in all directions, we thought it wasn’t going to budge, but finally, it started moving.

It was moving, but still very stiff, we wanted to take the whole thing out, give it a clean and regrease before putting it back together again.

Covering plate, spanner, bungs, rags, hammer etc.

Getting it out

With some plastic sheeting covering the engine, and wooden bungs at the ready, we attempted the old switcharoo, replacing the seacock with a hand, and then a bung.

The water sprayed quite high, so we were thankful for the plastic sheet. But we managed to get it out and replace it with a wooden bung with only a Litre or so of water making its way into the engine bay.

The parts & service

All of the parts needed a good cleaning.

We cleaned all of the parts with Swarfaga and wire wool, removing all of the old grease and any built-up gunge acquired from the sea.

All of the parts were then thoroughly greased with K99 Morris water-resistant grease. Primarily the outside surface of the centre of the seacock and bolts.

Getting it back in

Putting it back together was just the reverse of the getting-it-out process, so just as splashy, if not more!

Once the main body is in we bolted the covering plate back on top (not too tight).

After everything was done and dried up it moved with ease without letting any water in at all.

They say you should be able to move your Blakes seacock with your little finger, and here is proof that can easily be achieved, even with the oldest of seacocks.

Links & Reading

We did some other reading, and you might find these links useful.

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