Forward head black water tank copper fitting replacement

Kevin Schmit

Good morning!

I got a chance to take care of an aging problem while conveniently tied to the dock this week.  

About 6 months ago I noticed a small pinhole leak in the copper hose fitting in the forward head while installing new head hoses.  I temp repaired the pin hole problem using JB weld but I knew it was a ticking time bomb.

Sure enough, last week I noted the sound of squirting water in and around the same copper fitting.  Further investigation revealed another hole on the opposite side of the fitting.  Enough was enough, I knew it was time to conduct a proper repair.

I started by removing the old copper using a set of vice grips to twist out as much of it I could with brute force.  80% of it came out with the pliers.  I then used my drill bit step tool to grind out the remaining copper, glue and gunk.  I ground out just enough until I got clean fiberglass chips coming out of the hole.

Goal was to get a clean, dry surface in which to get the West System epoxy to grab when installing the new fitting without enlarging the hole too much.  The hole is 1.5” in diameter.

Next issue was to determine what kind of fitting to use…?  I thought about replacing the copper with bronze but I like using PVC fittings (above the water line only) with black water if possible.

I found a 1.5” to 1.5” hose barb to hose barb fitting would fit nicely.  I also like the idea that the head hose now has barbs to grab into while clamping compared to the old smooth copper fitting.

I dry fit everything together first and then made some colloidal silica thickened epoxy (peanut butter consistency), epoxy coated both the hole and the new fitting mating surfaces and then tapped into place using a small hammer.  I wanted to get the new fitting sunk in at least 3/4”.  Lastly I taped the joint with some tape just to keep any epoxy from dripping out.  After 24 hrs of cure, the repair is successful!

Kevin & Kristen Schmit
SM #362
Currently in Brunswick, GA for the holiday

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