All The Pieces
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In Maine we get long winters, and it gives us plenty of time to do projects most others would put off until failure.
For years I have used these solid cast bronze sea strainers from Perko. Unlike many Perko products this particular item is very well designed, hefty and will last a lifetime with only the occasional rebuild consisting of three gaskets. I find it to be one of if not the best built strainers on the market today and have gone to the trouble of installing them on almost every boat I have owned. Fortunately this boat came with one already installed.
For this project I wanted to clean all the bronze pieces, polish the sight glass and replace all three gaskets. For cleaning I used brass brushes in my drill press & bench grinder and Scotch-Brite wheels on my Dremel tool. For polishing the glass I used Novus #2 & Novus #1.
Here you can see all the pieces disassembled and a new gasket kit, which is readily available from Hamilton Marine in Portland, ME.
Old Elbows & Hose Barbs
When we bought this boat I was ecstatic that it already had a bronze 1" Perko strainer but not so thrilled with the configuration of the elbows. During this rebuild I took the opportunity to replace them with proper one piece bronze sweeping elbows. I prefer as few threaded fittings in my system as possible and with this one upgrade I lost two!
Teflon Tape & Pipe Dope
This is one of the new "sweeping" elbows. I like them for two reasons.
1- They are smooth walled and have a smooth radius bend. because of this a snake can be run down through them to clear out an intake hose that has become clogged with weeds.
2- I lose an entire threaded connection.
In this photo I have wrapped the threads with Teflon tape and before insertion I coated the Teflon tape with Real-Tuff pipe dope. Good pipe fitters often use both tape and dope and by doing so you can be at less risk of developing a leak.
Install Compression Rods
I didn't photograph taking it apart but you do get the benefit of seeing how to put it all back together.
The first step is to install the four compression rods. Simply thread them into the base casting finger tight. To snug them up use two of the nuts tightened against each other on the top threads Put a wrench on the top nut and take about a half to quarter turn beyond finger tight. You don't need to over tighten them just snug them up a little.
Instal Bottom Gasket
Before installing this gasket I had cleaned the surface. To install the gasket simply set it into the base casting. The slot should be face up to accept the sight glass.
Install Sight Glass
To install the sight glass simply set it into the slot in the gasket. Be careful and be sure the sight glass has not bent or deformed the gasket in any way before proceeding.
Install Top Gasket
Installing the top gasket is as simple as installing the bottom and the slot faces the sight glass.
Install Top Casting
To install the top casting simply place it over the compression rods and set it into place. You may need to align the rods slightly, with your fingers, before it will drop into place.
Install Nuts & Washers
This is as easy as it sounds. Simply drop the washer into place then make all four nuts finger tight. Once they are all finger tight use a cross pattern to tighten and compress the strainer.
Torque each nut evenly and a little at a time but do not over tighten. It does not need to be cranked down just tight enough to compress the gaskets and make a water tight seal. Again torque the nuts evenly in a cross or star pattern similar to tightening lug nuts on a car.
Incorrect Orientation of Strainer Basket
My one and only complaint about this strainer is that the strainer basket can be inserted incorrectly.
In this orientation the handle of the strainer basket blocks and catches any weeds coming through the hose. Leaving it this way could cause a back up in the elbow or inlet instead of letting the weeds pass to the strainer basket as designed.
If you look closely you can see how the inlet hole is blocked by the handle. This is a no, no..
Correct Orientation of Strainer Basket
As you can see, in this photo, any debris getting sucked it will flow into the basket and will not be blocked by the handle of the strainer. This is the correct orientation for the strainer basket before closing the lid.
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