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Dumbass Designs that Look Clever


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#1 B.J. Porter

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:47 PM

I'd like to add my first entry to this thread, by nominating the Groco ARG Series seawater strainers.
Posted Image
On there surface it's a clever looking thing - a hand tightened clear cap with magnification so you can see the crap in it better. A little cock at the bottom so you can drank it out easily. The mounting hardware is pretty easy to put in place.

The problem: The $3.79 wingnut that closes the drain. First time I drained this for cleaning (a couple of weeks after installing before we left VA), I closed it and it was dripping. OK, pull it our, try again - never forcing it because I knew it was plastic.

Well, it stripped anyway. This was around 12:30 in the afternoon at the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, an a Saturday. Do you think ANYONE stocks just the $4 wing nut here in the islands? No, they do not though I could buy a whole new filter if I hopped a ferry to Tortola and made it there in time.

It seems to me that if these things strip that easily (and they DO), Groco might be nice enough to include an extra one in the box. There's only about three revolutions of thread on this thing (if that) and an O-Ring. Lose a few MM of thread on that nut and it simply will not go back in.

So...nice setup ultimately compromised by a cheap and stupid plastic nut with an O-ring. Put some quick curing epoxy patch over the whole so I didn't lose everything in my refrigerator & freezer. Guess I will be draining it the old fashioned way, though I am planning to replace it when we get to St. Martin.

----------------------------------

Any other nominations for "Things That Impress You When They Come Our of the Box, But Really Aren't That Good?"

#2 Bob Perry

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:14 PM

Broke down in Virgin Gorda.
Life's a bitch.

#3 Ajax

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:17 PM

Broke down in Virgin Gorda.
Life's a bitch.


I laughed out loud at that.

BJ- Can't you go to an ordinary hardware store and buy a stainless wingnut, and trim off any excess length? Why the hell does it have to be plastic? Buying a new strainer of the same model will only put you at risk of the same failure later.

#4 SailAR

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:23 PM

I'd like to add my first entry to this thread, by nominating the Groco ARG Series seawater strainers.
I could buy a whole new filter if I hopped a ferry to Tortola and made it there in time.


Yeah, and the roundtrip ferry ride on the North Sound Express is what $60-70? Not to mention the cab ride when you get to Beef Island...

#5 El Crapitano

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:24 PM

If you use a metal replacement the plastic body may strip instead of the hardware.

#6 Joli

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:34 PM

Through bolt it and be done with it.

#7 Ishmael

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

So take the base off, spray the hole with Pam, and cast an epoxy putty screw in place. Done.

#8 steele

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:51 PM

I have the same strainer and instead of stripping the drain plug I broke it off flush, which meant a steady flow of seawater dripping out since I could not tighten or remove it. I had to remove the strainer from the boat to get to it enough to drill out the plug, but luckily I did not damage the threads. My local store had the part in stock to replace it. I agree it is a very weak link in an important system.

Keep in mind it is a low pressure system so a few wraps of waterproof tape might have held it over for a while, when running it is under vacum and even less likely to leak.

I am concerned about the new plastic top on these things. Mine is the same metal as the body. This might make it more likely to jam, but it should be hard to strip or break and if needed you can use tools to get it off.

#9 New Morning

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:52 PM

The wingnut is the least of the problems with that design. The real problem is that you'll eventually strip the plastic top, the plastic is very soft and the bronze threads are very sharp.

While you're buying parts, you should buy the bronze caps which Groco sells because when you strip the plastic top you will have much worse problems than you have with the wingnut.

#10 Gatekeeper

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

A strip of rubber and a gear clamp should get you going...and it may actually be an improvement on the original.

I agree. Stupid design.

#11 SemiSalt

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:50 PM

Broke down in Virgin Gorda.
Life's a bitch.


Paging Jimmy Buffet....

#12 Innocent Bystander

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:00 PM

I'd like to add my first entry to this thread, by nominating the Groco ARG Series seawater strainers.
Posted Image
On there surface it's a clever looking thing - a hand tightened clear cap with magnification so you can see the crap in it better. A little cock at the bottom so you can drank it out easily. The mounting hardware is pretty easy to put in place.

The problem: The $3.79 wingnut that closes the drain. First time I drained this for cleaning (a couple of weeks after installing before we left VA), I closed it and it was dripping. OK, pull it our, try again - never forcing it because I knew it was plastic.

Well, it stripped anyway. This was around 12:30 in the afternoon at the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, an a Saturday. Do you think ANYONE stocks just the $4 wing nut here in the islands? No, they do not though I could buy a whole new filter if I hopped a ferry to Tortola and made it there in time.

It seems to me that if these things strip that easily (and they DO), Groco might be nice enough to include an extra one in the box. There's only about three revolutions of thread on this thing (if that) and an O-Ring. Lose a few MM of thread on that nut and it simply will not go back in.

So...nice setup ultimately compromised by a cheap and stupid plastic nut with an O-ring. Put some quick curing epoxy patch over the whole so I didn't lose everything in my refrigerator & freezer. Guess I will be draining it the old fashioned way, though I am planning to replace it when we get to St. Martin.

----------------------------------

Any other nominations for "Things That Impress You When They Come Our of the Box, But Really Aren't That Good?"


So how much water does it hold and why do you need to drain it? Make the temp fix permanant and use a handi pump if you really need to drain it.

#13 El Crapitano

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:10 PM

You drain it before cleaning the screen.

#14 SailAR

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:24 PM

Buy the top loading strainer and you don't have to worry about draining. Close the thru-hull, pick up the basket and drop it in a bucket and go to sink or dock to clean out any debris. If you want, there is a plug for winter draining. The only moving parts are metal on metal.

Posted Image

#15 olaf hart

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:25 PM

I have never had a boat that had a water strainer.

I have one of those POS plastic drain plugs in the fuel filter.
Head sheared off, so I can't use it.
At least the body is stuck inside the glass, doesn't leak.
Just replace the whole unit next filter change.

#16 DrewR

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:40 PM

Buy the top loading strainer and you don't have to worry about draining. Close the thru-hull, pick up the basket and drop it in a bucket and go to sink or dock to clean out any debris. If you want, there is a plug for winter draining. The only moving parts are metal on metal.

Posted Image


That's the very one I replaced with the very one BJ now has last winter. I replace the one picture above because after 25 years where the wingnuts attach to the body via a a small rolled pin (stainless) corroded and broke and it of course leaked like hell. I made a spanish windlass out of some Kev-cord to the bottom of the strainer and made it home. This is after one of the ears on the top corroded and I had brazed and filed a new slot. So I went with the Groco plastic top model and have had no problems removing the bottom drain plug, but I was hyper careful. I have only had it one season, but I've had to empty it at least 5 times, so the top has come right off each time. I think they also recommend using some grease on it, and the last time I had it off, I smeared a little Lewmar grease on it because it was in my toolbox. Now I'll probably find that grease will kill the plastic...

#17 Brodie

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:46 PM

Posted ImageBob Perry, on 28 November 2012 - 10:14 AM, said:

Broke down in Virgin Gorda.
Life's a bitch.

I laughed out loud at that.


I had the exact same reaction. Man I'd love to be stuck at Bitter End, I don't care what the problem was.

But yes, very stupid design.

Not a product design issue, but an installation issue - when I took the stanchions and lifelines off my boat this fall in preparation for shrinkwrap and to replace them, I discovered that 2 of the 6 stanchions had the set screw on the outboard side of the stanchion base - right up against the toerail so it was essentially impossible to get a screwdriver in there to loosen the set screw. The bases have holes on both sides - duh, use the inboard hole!

#18 B.J. Porter

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:05 PM

If you use a metal replacement the plastic body may strip instead of the hardware.


What he said...

#19 B.J. Porter

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:09 PM


I'd like to add my first entry to this thread, by nominating the Groco ARG Series seawater strainers.
I could buy a whole new filter if I hopped a ferry to Tortola and made it there in time.


Yeah, and the roundtrip ferry ride on the North Sound Express is what $60-70? Not to mention the cab ride when you get to Beef Island...


It's only $30 round trip on Speedy's, however I'd have to cab from North Sound to Spanish Town to catch it. Then hoof it (or cab it, but I am cheap about cabs) from the ferry dock over to the chandlery on the other side of the harbor where the Moorings are. I had about two hours to do this before the chandler was closing for the weekend, which seemed...unlikely.

#20 B.J. Porter

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:11 PM


Broke down in Virgin Gorda.
Life's a bitch.


I laughed out loud at that.

BJ- Can't you go to an ordinary hardware store and buy a stainless wingnut, and trim off any excess length? Why the hell does it have to be plastic? Buying a new strainer of the same model will only put you at risk of the same failure later.


It's a funky thread and I might make it worse. And it needs that O-ring.

Probably won't go with the same model again...so far by spot epoxy patch seems to be holding.

#21 Timo42's sockpuppet

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:33 AM

How about retapping the plastic for a petcock?, might drain slower, but as it has been pointed out, there are worse places to be sitting waiting for the water to drain. B)

#22 Innocent Bystander

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:58 AM

You drain it before cleaning the screen.


Again,

How much water are we talking about? I have a top loader and the screen comes out the top. If it needs draining, I suck it out with a PAR utility pump. No stupid drain plug to strip or break.

#23 Figment

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:27 PM

Why does it need to drain in order to clean the screen? I had the same unit for years, cleaned it 3-4 times per year, never drained it once.

#24 sailSAK

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:14 AM

Buy the top loading strainer and you don't have to worry about draining. Close the thru-hull, pick up the basket and drop it in a bucket and go to sink or dock to clean out any debris. If you want, there is a plug for winter draining. The only moving parts are metal on metal.

Posted Image


This is the one that came with my boat. Replaced the gasket once but otherwise no issues over the last 8 years, and I suspect it is much older than that.
Looking at the design however there is one major flaw that would leave you up shit creek: The T-bolts. They are broze and only 1/4" It takes a fair amount of torque to seal the top. I am constantly worried that one day they will just snap (hopefully during servicing and not at random). If this happens in middle of BFNW how and the hell are you supposed to fix them> Even with a spare it would take some careful punch and hammer work, not likely in the engine compartment of a cramped, rolling sailboat. If this thing ever goed I think I am going to replace it with a common Y-body strainer that is common on higher pressure systems. They are drop dead simple, available in bronze with monel or 316 SS baskets, and if you replace the plug with a valve you can "blow down" the basket and clean it to a certaint extent without removing the basket..
Posted Image

No window, but oh well. Never really needed to clean mine anyway due to any sort of sudden blockage, so never realized any advantage from the glass. Just clean it on a schedule (i.e. with oil changes) and your golden.

#25 steele

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:40 AM

Slow, it is hard to tell from your picture, but the problem seems to be that the surface area of the basket in the Y-body is very small compared to the basket in a dedicated strainer. Unless I am missing something, a small piece of crud that would not slow down flow in a groco strainer would shut off flow in your fitting. This can happen all at once, like when my dad ran the boat aground, gunned the motor to get off the bottom with a dropping tide, and half filled the strainer with sand and goo.

#26 sailSAK

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:05 AM

Slow, it is hard to tell from your picture, but the problem seems to be that the surface area of the basket in the Y-body is very small compared to the basket in a dedicated strainer. Unless I am missing something, a small piece of crud that would not slow down flow in a groco strainer would shut off flow in your fitting. This can happen all at once, like when my dad ran the boat aground, gunned the motor to get off the bottom with a dropping tide, and half filled the strainer with sand and goo.

Not at all. The crud flows inside of the basket. True, if you put a 1/2" or 3/4" strainer there will be a lot less surface area, but no reason you can't put a 1 1/2" or 2" pipe size strainer with some bushings, in which case the sa would be the same or more than a "marine" labeled 3/4" strainer. The strainers marketed to pleasure boaters have never impressed me much. You go to all this work using the highest quality bronze, 316 stainless doubled up hose clamps, best hose money can buy, etc etc and then go put a plastic piece of shit right in the middle of the works. Just saying.

#27 Dog

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:12 PM

You guys got me thinking, there is no strainer on my boat so I'm thinking I should get one. Is there a slick way to rig it so I can connect a garden hose for running the engine on the hard or is that a bad idea?

#28 sailglobal

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

I've used both Groco and Perko as well as an Italian stainless steel doohickey, however the strainer which I prefer is made of Marelon by Forespar and has worked well in several applications, including 5 units on Van Diemen. Only problem was a rusted metal screen which was replaced by the manufacturer along with a spare. Regular inspection and cleaning when necessary is simple and quick and no soft plastic parts to fail.


Posted Image

#29 B.J. Porter

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:14 PM

You guys got me thinking, there is no strainer on my boat so I'm thinking I should get one. Is there a slick way to rig it so I can connect a garden hose for running the engine on the hard or is that a bad idea?

You guys got me thinking, there is no strainer on my boat so I'm thinking I should get one. Is there a slick way to rig it so I can connect a garden hose for running the engine on the hard or is that a bad idea?


Groco has a unit...http://www.groco.net/SVC-MAN-07/Sec4/PDF/SSC.pdf

Apparently lets you tap in and flush the engine after your seacock. I've got a similar setup with a valve that I can redirect the engine intake to a hose that I stick in a bucket for flushing and winterization.

Not that I winterize any more...

#30 Jim in Halifax

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:46 PM


Buy the top loading strainer and you don't have to worry about draining. Close the thru-hull, pick up the basket and drop it in a bucket and go to sink or dock to clean out any debris. If you want, there is a plug for winter draining. The only moving parts are metal on metal.

Posted Image


This is the one that came with my boat. Replaced the gasket once but otherwise no issues over the last 8 years, and I suspect it is much older than that.
Looking at the design however there is one major flaw that would leave you up shit creek: The T-bolts. They are broze and only 1/4" It takes a fair amount of torque to seal the top. I am constantly worried that one day they will just snap (hopefully during servicing and not at random). If this happens in middle of BFNW how and the hell are you supposed to fix them> Even with a spare it would take some careful punch and hammer work, not likely in the engine compartment of a cramped, rolling sailboat. If this thing ever goed I think I am going to replace it with a common Y-body strainer that is common on higher pressure systems. They are drop dead simple, available in bronze with monel or 316 SS baskets, and if you replace the plug with a valve you can "blow down" the basket and clean it to a certaint extent without removing the basket..
Posted Image

No window, but oh well. Never really needed to clean mine anyway due to any sort of sudden blockage, so never realized any advantage from the glass. Just clean it on a schedule (i.e. with oil changes) and your golden.


You may be able to find Y strainers in 316 SS, but the one in the picture is almost certainly brass. Hard to find bronze ones.

#31 Dog

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:33 PM


You guys got me thinking, there is no strainer on my boat so I'm thinking I should get one. Is there a slick way to rig it so I can connect a garden hose for running the engine on the hard or is that a bad idea?

You guys got me thinking, there is no strainer on my boat so I'm thinking I should get one. Is there a slick way to rig it so I can connect a garden hose for running the engine on the hard or is that a bad idea?


Groco has a unit...http://www.groco.net/SVC-MAN-07/Sec4/PDF/SSC.pdf

Apparently lets you tap in and flush the engine after your seacock. I've got a similar setup with a valve that I can redirect the engine intake to a hose that I stick in a bucket for flushing and winterization.

Not that I winterize any more...

Perfect! Thanks BJ




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