Thursday, May 21, 2020

Re-plumbing Catalina 34 Mk 1 - part 2

Re-plumbing the Fresh Water System on our Catalina 34 Mk 1

The Plan - Diagram of the Fresh Water Plumbing on our Catalina 34 Mk1

It turns out that despite spending hours selecting the materials for this project, I still had to make a few changes when it came to purchasing them. The 1/2" PEX Barb x 1/2" FNPT Elbow adapters were not FNPT, and I could not find the right fittings, so I had to go with Straight Adapters. Not a big deal, it just forces me to use a 1/2" PEX Barb x 1/2MNPT Adapter.

Everything is on order, and should arrive / be available for pickup at the store in the next week or two.

I'm not in a hurry to rip out all of the existing plumbing, as that will basically tie us to the dock. With our current 'Social Distancing practice, if I get the chance to take the boat out, I will! So patience is the game for now.

First item to arrive was the 3 Way Ball Valve, but it had a defect, it was only operating as a 2 way valve.
ie. The selector handle was limited to routing the central (common) valve opening to one of the 2 valve openings. To me, that's a 2 way valve. It did not allow the 3rd position that would shut off both inlets. 10 minutes with a sharpie knife and it now does act as a 3 way valve. That would be 'Aft Tank, Mid Tank and Off.

Update 4.26.2020 - The materials are gathering in my garage. So far I have a bunch of stuff from Lowes, 2 more items in the pipeline from them. And I just got an email from ACE Hardware that all of the items, 3, from them are ready for pickup. It's Sunday, so ACE will wait till Monday.

I started to put the 3 way valve system together, this part is easy but I need one of the parts that's at not arrived at Lowes yet. I've thought through the whole process, figuring out which way the pipes will run and where the challenges will be, the order in which to build / install each section as some of the joint locations will be difficult to crimp in place. I'm hoping I can make the install really neat and tidy. Ship Shape!

Saturday May 2nd.

The last piece of the puzzle arrived today - the 4 port manifold.

Sunday May 3rd.

Finished building the 3 way valve and the Manifold (Attach the 3/4" PEX Barb to 1/2" PEX Barb)

Monday May 4th.

Headed down to the boat today with the Tools, all of the Piping and Materials.
If I were being paid for doing this, I would be working at least an 8 hour day, but I'm not, and with the current restrictions imposed because of the Pandemic, I'm not in a hurry, so will probably spend no more than 4 hours each day and not every day.

Here's what we got done:
  • Drain the Tanks✔
  • Remove the Aft bulkhead in the Aft Cabin to gain access to the Aft Water Tank✔
    • Had to remove the Aft Berth Port Side bulkhead too!✔
    • All of this was a waste of time! The Aft Tank outlet connection is on the front, center underside of the tank.
    • Decided to keep the hose in place from the Aft tank to where it reaches inside the Galley Cabinet and convert from Hose to Pex at that point.
  • Drill the hole in the Galley cabinet just below the Cutlery draw for the 3 Way Valve. The laminated (Glass,Wood, Glass) galley cabinet is thicker than the max wall thickness for surface mounting the 3 way valve, so I measured the amount of the valve shaft sticking out of the cabinet and planned to trim down the handle in the morning so that the handle would not rub against the cabinet surface. The valve location seems to be just fine. Inside the cabinet it's not in the way of the Hot water tank nor the pump. It's easily reached and is hardly noticable.
Review of Monday:
As power was out on the dock, we had to setup the Generator and shore power cable in order to be able to run the Air Conditioning, Temps were expected to get up into the 90º again today. We spent most of the time figuring out where the Aft Tank Connection was located and then reinstalling the Bulkheads! Grrrr! We also spent a while reinstalling the Dry Bilge Pump which is out of the way - which means awkward to get at!
Oh, while reinstalling the Aft Cabin Port Bulkhead, I crimped my pinky finger between the wood and the small metal ring around one of the screws while using my electric screwdriver - that cut out about a 1/8" round by 1/16" deep slice of my finger tip! Luckily I have a Nurse on board! After taking care of that I wore Vinyl gloves to try and keep it clean. Thankfully, I heal pretty quick!

Tuesday May 5th.

  • Removed all of the existing pipework under the Galley Counter.✔
  • Found that the Filters are not 1/2" MNPT but 3/8" MNPT. I have enough to get the Galley area done, but not enough to do the Head. Ordered more from Ace Hardware.✔
  • Removed the existing 1/2" MNPT - Hose Barbed connection on the Midships Tank.✔
  • Removed the connections on the Fresh Water Pump - They are 1/2" FNPT✔
  • I had to totally disconnect the disassemble the Drinking Water Filter System in order t attach the 3/8" MNPT Elbows✔
Review of Tuesday:
Got a late start today, but got right down to business. We used the Dry Bilge Pump to drain the bilge after disconnecting the hot water tank which put 6 gallons of fresh water into the bilge.
Most of the day was spent on demolition. It looked like a huge amount of piping to pull out. There were over 50 hose clamps 12+ Barbed Hose Connections and about 10' of hose in short lengths. The work area looks a lot clearer now.
I started to get some of the new Pipe work put together. It's a case of measure and cut all of the pieces from one connection. eg. the Filter Input, to the next, eg. 3 Way Valve output. Make as many of the joints prior to putting the piece into place in order to minimize the number of crimps to make in place. It is certainly the case that the PEX tubing running in straight lines with Elbows to redirect the next piece in the correct direction is a whole lot neater than flexible poly tube bent this way and that.  
Ordered additional 3/8" MNPT - 1/2" PEX Barb Elbows from ACE Hardware. Also figured I'll need another 50 1/2" PEX Crimp Clamps, but they are available in store at Lowes.
This brings the total cost up to $199.18  The good news is that I will be able to return some of the tubing. 

Some pics:
The Drinking water filter system.
The connections were push to fit 1/4" tubing, so I removed those and found that the filters have 3/8" fittings.
The UV lamp system is not yet reinstalled, that will come later.
 The old Tank selector Valves - Plural! are removed.
The shaggy looking foam on the right side of the pic is the additional foam the PO put around the fridge freezer.

I hope to clean up the surface of the plywood that supports the Fresh Water Pump

 The white cylinder is the 'Whole House' water filter, that too has 3/8" connections.

The UV lamp housing for the Drinking water filter system is laying on top of the Hot Water Tank.

The first piece of PEX white pipe is between the two filters. not connected yet, just sizing it up. That will go to the 3 way Tank Selector valve.

Thursday May 7th.

  • Made up white piping from Midships Tank to 3 way valve.
    • This included a 1/2" MNPT to 1/2" PEX Elbow and 3 PEX Elbows.
  • Made up White piping from Aft tank hose to 3 way valve.
    • This included a Hose Barb to 1/2" MNPT connector - a 1/2" MNPT to PEX Barb adapter.
  • Made up White piping from 3 way valve to Whole House Filter
    • This included the 3/8" MNPT to 1/2" PEX Barb Elbow that I installed yesterday and 2 1/2" PEX Barb Elbows
  • While putting the piping from the Whole House Filter to the Fresh Water Pump inlet, I found that the inlet is not NPT! Grrrr. So that put a stop to the work in the galley as I really wanted to get the Pump inlet system complete before working on the Manifold and the Hot Water Tank.
  • Dissemble the Fresh Water connections to the Head Faucet and the Shower Thermostat. Pics below. 
Review of Thursday

Everything went well today up until I found that the Pump inlet connections are not NPT, but rather than stop there, I made progress by dissembling the fresh water system in the Bathroom. The hoses run from the Sink faucet, down and aft of the engine bay, through 2 holes in the aft face of the engine bay floor support, then under the engine bay floor and forwards to inside the galley cabinet where they connect to the Pressurized Hot and Cold water supplies.

The existing system has 10 components between the Faucet and the supply hose and 6 hose clamps. The new setup will have 3 components and 4 clamp crimps. That's a reduction of 12 components and 8 clamps and does not use any hose clamps. 

It will also run much neater under the cabinet. I'm hoping I can put some sort of chafe protection where the PEX piping passes through the holes at the back of the engine bay.

It will be fun trying to get the piping to run through those holes and up to the galley cabinet, there is not a lot of room and the PEX Clamp crimps will need to be made up prior to running the piping.

It was much cooler today, so we didn't need to run the Air Conditioning.

Here's the Midships Water Tank supply outlet.
That's a 1/2" MNPT fitting with pipe thread tape and a PEX Elbow where the pipe turns aft.

One surprise was that while tightening up the fitting, the tank shifted! It looks like there's nothing holding the tank down besides gravity, I think I'll remedy that! Some wooden bars at the ends to hold it down, not that I ever intend to be out on water where we might turn turtle. But!!!!!

Here's the inside of the 3 way valve, the pipe on the right in the pic is the Aft Tank Connection. The Left Pipe is the Midships Tank Connection and the Center pipe is output of the valve that connects to the Whole House Filter before connecting to the Fresh Water Pump input.

Here's the sunny side of the 3 way valve. The Cutlery draw is currently removed as is the Galley counter cabinet draw set removed. I'll put labels to indicate the 3 positions Aft - Mid - Off.

Back at home I took a trip to Lowes and found a suitable connection for the Fresh Water Pump it's a 1/2" PEX Barb to 1/2" FNP rather than a 1/2" FNPT. I grabbed two of them but will look to see if I can find them in and Elbow format. I found them online at Lowes and ordered them, should arrive by the date that the additional 3/8" connectors arrive at ACE Hardware.

So, today was not as productive as I had hoped , I'm forever the optimist. But what progress I did make was good work and I'm very pleased with the way it's turning out, very neat, very clean and a huge reduction in failure points.

Friday May 8th

There's more demo to do in the bathroom:- Remove the hoses from the Thermostat and to the Shower head control valve. That will take about a 1/2 hour. I should be able to re-plumb the Shower Control valve to the Thermostat and that will take about an hour, it involves removing the cabinet over the shower seat, the Control valve and the Thermostat in order to connect the PEX fittings. Definitely going to be a challenge wiggling around in the cramped area of the bathroom.

I went down to the boat today while Peggy stayed at home to practice her Guitar lessons. My intent was to start on the bathroom demo and review the galley and bathroom plumbing plans. I'm really into visualizing a project, it helps make the decisions on what and how to do things. Today was an eye opener.

When I was planning this project, I focused on the schematics and the types of fittings needed. Then I focused on each part of the project as I begun them, figuring out which route the pipes would follow and the order in which each connection needed to be made. Today I was focused on how to run the pipes from the galley to the bathroom. My initial thought was to use the existing pipes as messengers for the long connection between the two cabinets. I had thought that the hot and cold pipes ran from in front of the hot water tank, beneath the flooring, under the engine and out of the rear of the engine compartment. Turns out they took a detour coming up through the floor on the port side of the engine bay before continuing aft and through the engine bay's aft bulkhead. PEX piping would not bend sufficiently to follow that route, at least, not the Red and Blue PEX piping, they do make a white pipe that is more flexible, but I really wanted to be able to identify the pipes by their coloring.

So, plan B.

I have two choices:
a) Use the existing 33 year old poly pipes between the galley and the bathroom with adapters on each end to change from hose barbs to PEX fittings.
b) Use PEX piping but run it on a straight line, under the floor, from the Galley to the Bathroom - the same route that the Bilge Pump Hoses follow.

I ran a test pipe under the floor as per choice #2 and it was easy to get the pipe in place. It will be a bit of a challenge to get the PEX fittings on to the ends of those long pipes, but I can see how to do it. It will maintain the pipe color coding and consistency of fitting types (PEX) and not use any Hose clamps.

So, my choice is to go the straight route using PEX. I'll put Swivel connections on the end so that it's easier to make the end connections.

While at the boat I looked at what was needed to refinish the Fresh Water Pump mounting shelf. I removed the pump, 4 screws, to examine the shelf. It just needs a quick surface prep, sand and prime then follow that with a coat, or two, of some high gloss white paint.

I also looked at the plumbing for the Bathroom Sink and Shower Sump discharge. Ideally the through hull stop valves would be rotated slightly in order to make them easier to operate, but that's a job when the boat is out of the water - I made a note for the December Haul Out. The Shower Sump and Head salt water supply hoses were both on the same thru hull stop valve, but we don't use salt water to flush the head, so that is being disconnected along with the T joint so that Thru Hull will only act as the Shower Sump drain, making more room in the under sink cabinet.

In the Pic the Clean White tube down by the shower sump pump is the Test PEX piping that is routed from the aft most bilge access by the Hot Water Tank. Plan is to run the pipe upwards close to the shower seat bulkhead 

Back home I received an email from ACE Hardware that my latest order (3/8" MNPT to 1/2" PEX Barb fittings) had arrived. A quick trip and I had the fittings and a small can of primer and high gloss white paint for the Fresh Water Pump Shelf.

Next trip to the boat is planned for Tuesday May 12th. Hopefully the new Swivel joints will have arrived. 
I hope to get the shelf prepped, primed and 1st coat of high gloss. While waiting for primer to dry I'll start the pipe runs from the Galley to the Bathroom and perhaps some of the bathroom fittings.

The gloss requires 6 hours between coats, so 2nd coat will have to be Wednesday.

I'll look into re-routing the bilge pump hoses while I'm in there, the current layout is nasty to say the least.

Tuesday May 12 (we took a day off for our Wedding Anniversary)

Got to that boat around 10:15am and set to prime the Fresh Water Pump Shelf - a quick sanding and the primer job was done in less than 20 minutes.

Then on to the Bathroom Plumbing; First I removed the Shower Thermostat in order to determine if I should replace the ploy hose with PEX or adapt. I chose adapt.

I made up hot and cold water setup.
In the image one can see the Hose barb connections on the left and the Faucet connections pointing down in this pic. The long PEX tube will be positioned downwards when the setup is installed. The lower end of that tube will have a Swivel fitting and attach to a 1/2" PEX to 1/2" MNPT adapter. That will allow for the future removal of that setup if ever needed.

  • Before we left, I applied the 1st coat of Hi-Gloss white to the shelf. It's looking good but will add a 2nd coat Wednesday.
  • This now shows where the Fresh Water Pump will be relocated further forward of the cut out that allows access to the Galley Sink Drain Thru hull. It should be a lot easier to open/close.

  • The pic also shows the final position of the (Blue) Water Tank Selector valve handle. And there is enough room behind the new location of the water pump to allow change of the Whole House Water Filter (White) 
I'll sort out the electrical cabling as I finish up in this area. The Water Manifold will be located forward and above the Hot Water Tank. That will allow future removal of the Hot Water Tank without having to disconnect any of the Manifold connections.

Wednesday May 13th.

Just a quick trip down to the boat today. 2nd coat of High Gloss on the pump shelf. Test run of PEX pipe from below the galley to the bathroom cabinet under the flooring. Clean up the electrical spaghetti just forward of the hot water tank and then home.

The electrics have been updated many times during he 33 year lifespan of Eximius. This is a typical view of the electrics, in fact it's not so bad compared to the disaster behind the electrical control panel. There's one heavy duty cable, no markings, not even a wire size among that wad of cables. It is not connected to anything and, I found out by opening all of those wire ties, it runs down the inside of the cabinet and then under the flooring via a glassed in conduit and into the aft end of the holding tank locker.    I was able to locate where it arrived inside that locker and started to ease it out of the tube, but it's really jammed in there and is not that easy to reach down and get a decent purchase. It can wait till another day, I did cut it off so that when I re-organize the bunch of cables it will not be included.

Thursday May 14th.

Made great progress today:
  • Fixed the Fresh Water Pump in place on the newly finished shelf
  • Connected the Pump intake piping from the Whole House Filter
  • Connected the Pump output to the Manifold
  • Connected the Manifold to the Drinking water filtration system.
  • Connected the Manifold to the Galley Faucet Cold water.
  • Ran the pipe from the Manifold to the Hot Water tank's Cold Water input fitting location (still waiting on the final fittings from Lowes.
  • Ran the pipe from the Manifold to bilge area where the elbow where the pipe turns aft to go under the floor to the bathroom
  • Ran the Hot water pipe from bilge area to the bathroom
I also cut the piping needed to connect the Hot Water from the tank to the galley faucet. I ran out of Elbow's and clamp crimps. 

When I arrived home, I realized that I had configured the pipes for the hot water outlet of the hot water tank the wrong way around (they were configured to the cold, input for the tank)

Luckily, I did not crimp the clamps! So when I go down to the boat again, I simply need to reconfigure them, about 10 minutes of work. Even better good news is that the new configuration will be even neater.

Picked up the 1/2" PEX Swivel adapters from Lowes, but the 1/2" x 12" MNPT adapters have not arrived yet and they are crucial for the connections on the hot water tank.

If the final parts arrive today, I should finish the system on Saturday, we'll wait and see.


Peggy asked why I was being so detailed when writing this post. I have promised the editor of the Catalina Mainsheet, C34 association that I would supply an article on this for the next edition. I'll use these posts to compile that article.

Friday May 15th - Nothing, poured with rain all day - did some baking.

Saturday May 16th. - Still waiting for the 1/2" MNPT x 1/2" MNPT adapters for the Hot Water Tank. 

Monday May 18th. 

Stopped by Lowes over the weekend to get stuff for another project, while there I picked up a few more items that I knew I needed for this one.

In order to connect the Blue Pex Pipe to the 3/8" MNPT Elbow on the Drinking Water Filter System, I had to remove the filter system (easy, just lift it off the holding screws. Must remember to secure it back in place after testing). But it wasn't sufficient, so I crimped a new piece of pipe to the elbow and will join that with the piece already in place using one of these.

$9.98 pack of 5

I also purchased a pack of these (10), I'll replace the nails with SS screws to secure the pipes in place in several areas.

For certain, at least one will be used to support the piping near the Manifold as that has 5 pipes attached to it.

Another will be used to secure each of the PEX Pipe ends where they connect to the Faucet flexible pipes.
Lowes(Link)  $2.68 pack of 10

In addition to those two items, I also picked up another 20 PEX Clamp Crimps and a 5 pack of PEX 1/2" x 1/2" Barbed Elbows, I have used up nearly all that I purchased originally.

When the 1/2" MNPT x 1/2" MNPT PEX Adapters arrive, I'll also pickup the new Filters as now would be a great time to replace them. I may have mentioned that earlier.

Monday May 18th.

At last, the 1/2" MNPT to 1/2" MNPT adapters arrived at Lowes. While at the store I picked up 4 new Water filter inserts and two new Water Filters for our house. The filters for our current home under sink drinking water system are $35 each and are the type that are encased in a heavy plastic tube, they are changed out by just turning the water off, twisting the filter units and releasing them, the new are as easy to replace. However, I really don't like that I have to toss out a big chunk of plastic that will last 4E4 and even then will not decompose. 
The new filters are the same as used in the boat. So to change the, the filter housing has to be unscrewed (water pressure off), removed and the old filter extracted, new inserted and the filter housing screwed back in place. It may take 5 minutes more to change the filter, but the new filters have far less plastic and are $15.99 a pair!!! that's 25% of the price. On the plus side is also the fact that I now only have to maintain one type of filter for both the boat and the house.  
Oh! The dual filter systems available typically cost about $150 to a lot more, but they really are only a pair of the simple single filter units attached together in series and attached to a metal or plastic 
mounting piece. The two single filters have all the bits needed to connect them and each has it's own mounting plate. The single filter units are $36, so only $72 a pair. No brainer!

Tuesday May 19th.

House work day. Installing the new kitchen sink drinking water system and doing some yard work, a couple of banana trees have fallen due to the heavy rain over the past few days and they are laden with about 40lb of bananas each. And tomorrow is a big day! Due to being pretty well stuck at home except for trips to the boat and the store where I wear my facemask, tomorrow is big garbage day! Must be Wednesday. Sad, we note what day it is by the events that happen every week.

Thursday May 21st.

Installation Complete!
We were down at the boat by 9:30am and quickly got on with the remainder of the installation work.
Completed the Hot Water Tank - Hot and Cold piping connections including the Checkvalve in the Cold water line to the Hot water tank.

Completed the plumbing in the bathroom, it took some creative effort to get too much of my torso inside the bathroom cabinet (with the door frame removed). 

I had to detach the 3rd bilge pump hoses in order to be able to make the connections of the hot and cold water pipes, however, the access inside the bathroom cabinet is already much better and when I re-route the bilge pump hoses the access to the thru hulls will be much cleaner. I could not connect the shower cold water supply hose without getting a kink in the hose, so I'll have to install and barb elbow joint where the kink is.

So the plumbing install is complete and ready for a leak test tomorrow, Friday. At that time I'll also reinstall the 3rd bilge pump hoses, the Shower Sump pump hose to the thru hull, organize and secure the electrical wiring in the area of the forward midships corner of the hot water tank.

The replacement fan for the bathroom arrived, so we'll install that as well, assuming that no leaks eat up our work time on Friday.

So Friday plan:-
  • Fill the midships water tank
  • Pressure test the system
  • Flush the pipes out (should be clean, but better to flush them)
  • Fit pipe holders to secure the bathroom piping and the galley under sink piping.
  • Reinstall the Bilge pump hoses
  • Reinstall the Shower Sump Pump hose to the thru hull
  • Dry up the bilge. 
  • Oh! And take loads of pictures to include in the wrap up post.
It was a hot and humid day, by the time we got back home it began the afternoon pour down. Temp got to 92ºF on the boat. But we got it done.

That's it for this post. It should provide plenty of material for the article in the MainSheet magazine.

We could be out on the boat as early as Saturday! WoHooooo!

See you there - just stay 50' away  :)