Wes Giles and Walter Burnett detailed the process of moving the water tank valves from under the aft cabin bed to under the galley sink, (or under the port settee near the bilge pump).
Original shutoff valves – Aft berth
Some of the more mature boats already have this plumbing arrangement. The factory location for these valves is very inconvenient and many of us have contemplated this project.
It turns out to be a very easy and quick project to complete. No more ripping up the aft cabin bed under sail to swap tanks!
If this problem plagues you as well, read on.
Walter (Selkie, #887) and I tackled this re-routing job on a Saturday. Although this little chore seemed daunting at first, it turned out to be a relatively simple job. For those that would rather have the ending first, here goes: We moved the forward and aft tank shutoff valves forward to the area inside the forward access door below the sinks in the galley.
New shutoff position
OK, we headed to my favorite toy store to buy the ‘whale’ straight connectors, having bought the ‘whale’ blue water line earlier. I bought 15 feet of water line, planning for screw-ups. We actually only used about ten feet, and at 79 cents a foot what the heck. We were planning our attack, and decided that the simplest solution would be simply move the valves and use the ‘T’ connector between them to route the water back to the water pump. We used the water line from the forward tank as the line that would carry the water from the new location back to the pump, because it was already going there from under the sink anyway.
The first step was to force a new water line through the area under the refrigerator and galley sole to the sink area, This was fun, but after a few minutes of twisting and pushing the line, it popped up under the sink as planned. Of course we had to remove the front panel and drawers under the sink to get better access. The reason for this new line, was to move the aft water line forward. We decided that the existing line would be too difficult to get to because it was routed in such a way that it entered this access channel under the refrigerator too far forward to splice into or re-route. We thought it best to leave it, and use the one connector we needed to connect the existing aft tank line to the new line we just pushed forward.
Next we disconnected the forward tank shutoff valve, the aft tank shutoff valve, and the T-connector by the water pump, and connected the forward tank line directly to the water pump input connector. We assembled the valves by placing the T-connector between the shutoff valves so they were in-line with the T positioned facing to port. Using the ninety degree elbow from the original connections under the bunk, we connected the line leading to the pump (the former fwd water line) to the T.
We next had to connect the new line we pushed through with the aft tank line. This is where we used the in-line connecter we had to buy. Since both lines are running parallel as they exit the access channel under the refrigerater, using the new line, we decided to run a loop around the pump and back, to connect to the existing aft tank line. It may look a bit funny, but it works.
Modified Aft Cabin Plumbing
Next step, add water to the tanks and try it. How ’bout them apples, it worked.
I think it took us about an hour and a half to actually move everything and put it back together (the Galley and bunk).
There is one potential issue to evaluate. When we put the front panel and shelves back in place, the aft valve is under the bottom of the shelves. It is still accessible, but may turn out to be a pain. I decided to try it and see how it works, and adjust it later if it becomes a pain to change the tanks.
We’ll tackle Walter’s next weekend. One last thing, West Marine said they were not going to stock the Whale connecters any longer. I guess we’ll have to buy them elsewhere or order them online if we need more.
For closeup pictures, visit the photo gallery for this story.
ADDENDUM: Here are some pictures of an alternate arrangement of water tank switches as now seen on Jeff Hare’s boat. Of course this effort was inspired by reading this article.
In the Photo below we’re looking towards the BOW of the boat, the the top (forward-most) valve is for the bow tank, and the lower one (aft switch) is for the Aft tank.
Viewed from the Galley with the drawers removed
In the Photo below, we’re looking AFT under the sink through the access door below the Nav Station. The the top valve in this picture is for the aft tank, and the lower one in the picture is for the Bow tank.
Showing final new location under Galley Sink
One other thing I discovered was that it was actually quite easy to feed a new water line directly from the AFT tank right to the space under the sink. The procedure I used was this:
Disconnect the hose from the aft tank under the prop shaft and pull it out. Now take a ~10′ piece of the hose and feed it under the prop shaft, through the hole and using a twisting motion, get it to feed up under the sink. If you have a plumber’s snake, that will make it a snap. I had left mine at home and even still it only took me about 5 minutes by myself to get it to appear under the sink. This saves the loopback in the compartment with the water pump and makes for a straighter shot to the valve. -Jeff Hare
(Former owner of Spring Fever C320 #790 in Marina Del Rey, CA)
Marina Del Rey