Removing the Galley Sinks from a Westerly Oceanranger by Mike Crummy

It’s amazing how one job leads to another on boats. The galley cold water tap has been dripping for a while so I decided to put in a new tap washer to fix it. Took it apart and found it was one of these ceramic valve types so I stripped it down, found a bit of muck in the operating area and put it all back together. Put on the water pump and found it had stopped dripping but was now a steady dribble whilst the pressure there! So I removed the valve again from the tap unit and took it to the local plumbers merchant asking for a replacement. He brought out a box with over 30 different very similar looking valves and discovered that mine didn’t match any of them and there was nothing on the valve or the tap to identify a manufacturer (figure 1).

Figure 1. The offending tap also, showing water damage beneath it.

Remembering Gerard Versluis’s Fridge Insulation article in last winter’s edition I thought this winter will be an ideal time to remove the sinks, change the leak- ing taps and see what sort of insulation there is around the ice-box/ fridge. Not wanting to break the tiles or damage the woodwork around the sinks, I contacted Gerard to see how he removed his sinks and got the following reply,

“Ginger doesn’t have tiles but a ‘plastic ‘ worktop. Removing the sinks was very easy as the sealing (I think it was a siliconen kit) was not very strong any more after 25 years. I released the sinks by pushing a utility knife under the rim. With a little bit of wobbling, they came out very nicely. I took them home for a good scrub and a bit of polishing.”

Sticking my head underneath the sinks I could see that there were no fixings to the sinks so they were just stuck in place by sealant/adhesive. The sealing on my sinks was anything but ready to part company! In the end I used an old very thin black steel, ivory handled kitchen knife which are a bit flexible and slid that very carefully under the rim of the sinks and tried to break the sealant with limited success. I then used a hot-air gun at a quite hot setting and a Stanley flexible 2” wide paint scraper/plastering tool with sharp edges to clear out more sealant.

The sinks get quite warm to the touch so there’s no danger of overheating anything. i.e. stop when its approaching too hot to touch! Undo the waste pipe and don’t forget to undo the plug chain fastening. After many minutes of struggling to get the sink to lift out I found that my chain fitting had a 2” long screw thread at the other end and there’s no way you could get it past the woodwork frames. Be also aware that this fixing has a square nut at the back of the sink which drops off and gets eaten by the bilge monster never to be seen again. The sinks are a tight fit into the woodwork.

Once out, the taps were easy to get at and replace (figure 2). I replaced like with like (very similar) from eBay at about £30.00 and was able to get at the fridge area with ease (figure 3).

Figure 2. The sinks removed; the side of Ice Box is at LHS sink and sink plug; sanded woodwork at back.

Figure 3. Removed Sink with View of Icebox. (The green underlay is just to workout depth of foam needed).

I had some 2” (50mm) expanded polystyrene block in my garage, so I glued this 2” (50mm) expanded polystyrene block to the side of the fridge and the underneath using “Sticks Like Sh*t” adhesive. I thought about using expanded foam on the two sides but decided against that because of the possible of deforming the woodwork (figure 4).

Figure 4. Side of Icebox with 50 mm insulation stuck on “Sticks Like Sh*t” got a very good write up in a PBO test recently and it’s readily available from builders merchants. The old sealant on the underside of the sinks was relatively easy to pull off in strips but at the corners it had to be prised off with screwdrivers etc. I did consider replacing the 2 sinks with a single sink but a small “large sink” was £100+ and as these sinks work perfectly well, I decided against that (figure 5).

To refit the sinks I inserted them in place, put masking tape all the way round the edge of the rim, lifted them out, turned them upside down, once again used “Sticks Like Sh*t” adhesive (not sealant) and put them back in and pushed down hard. Then with one of those blue fibreglass-kit spreader things cut away any excess and peeled off the masking tape.

Finally, to see what would happen I used 3M Marine “Heavy” Cutting Compound on one of the sinks and the result was astonishing! (figure 6)