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Author Topic:   Brass Drain Tubes
captbobb posted 03-09-2004 02:27 PM ET (US)   Profile for captbobb   Send Email to captbobb  

I need to replace the drain tubes on my 17 Ft.
I was thinking of replacing with the nylon tubes that
I have seen in my local Marina, however I was told that
the nylons drain tubes were not long enough for the
transom. Does anybody know differently ?

Also, my first choice was to replace with OEM Brass
drain tubes. Again the local Marina does not have the
flairing tool required and does not want to "mess with it"
I would do it myself if I could find the flairing tool.
Can anybody help with where to aquire Tool & Brass tubes.

The third option would be to have it done. I am in the
Boston area. Any ideas where to go that will not charge
an arm and leg ?

Thanks in advance.

Plotman posted 03-09-2004 02:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Buy the brass tubing from McMaster Carr - you want the .032" wall thickness. It is the exact same stuff you buy from whaler dealers, but you have to form the flange on both ends, not just one. You don't need a flaring tool - a pair of large ball peen hammers works very, very well.

I'm putting together a reference piece on drain tubes, but in the meantime, cut the brass tube about 2 inches long. Anneal the first end, hold the tube upright with the bottom resting on a block of wood. Place the ball end of the hammer in the top end of the tube (the end you just annealed) and hit it with another hammer to form the first flange. Place an o-ring (also available at McMaster for $4 per 100) over the tube, put the tube in the boat dry, mark and cut the tube about 1/4" long of flush (at an angle if necessary, as in the bow lockers of a bigger outrage, be sure to make a reference mark on the end with the flange so you can get the alingment right later).

Then anneal the end you just cut, put it back in the boat with some 5200 on each end and put the o-ring on the end you are about to form. Have a helper hold a block of wood over the pre-flanged end backed up by a big hammer (like a sledge). On the other end, place your ball peen ball in the tube end and whack away. When you think you are almost done, switch out your block of wood on the inside for the second ball-peen hammer for the final few whacks to cinch that inside flange down tight.

I got to the point that I could do a tube inside of 15 minutes.


captbobb posted 03-09-2004 05:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     

Thank you for the information.

FYI.... my local Whaler dealer quoted
"oh about $ 500 to do the job". $ 80/hr
x 5 hours..... Short season in the Northeast
guess they need to maximize every victim...
I mean sale.

I thank you for saving me about $ 475
on the job.

Any advise on removing the old tubes
would be appreciated.

Plotman posted 03-09-2004 07:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
The old tubes come out very easily. Use a screw drived, persuaded by a hammer, to collapse the flange of the tube to an outside diameter smaller than the hole in the fiberglass. Then pull it through from the other side - just grab the edge of the flange with a pliers if it wont come by sticking your finger in it.
Plotman posted 03-09-2004 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
That would be a screw driver - I'm sure my old man is spinning in his grave at my advice to whack one with a hammer - a cold chisel will wok too if you have one handy, but not needed as the brass will collapse easily with a screw driver.

It works equally well to get out your first attempt - it took me two or three tries till I got really good results. I went back and updated my earliest attempts - given that the brass tubing was $20 for a 6 foot length and I had 100 o-rings, the cost of the learning curve was pretty minimal.

captbobb posted 03-09-2004 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     
1 last question and I thank you again plotman
for all the info needed.

The boat is 100 miles away and I would
like to order the tubbing from McMaster

I am assuming 1" diameter. Can you or anybody


grandmufti posted 03-09-2004 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for grandmufti  Send Email to grandmufti     
How do you anneal the end?
ryanwhaler posted 03-09-2004 10:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for ryanwhaler  Send Email to ryanwhaler     

What was the name of the place who gave you those figures?

greyg8r posted 03-09-2004 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for greyg8r    
Having just replaced my brass tube on my Katama 3 days ago, I have a few comments about these drain tubes:

1. There are copious threads on this subject with just as many viewpoints of what the best method is. Remember: opinions are like the body part that jimh recently had probed; everyone has one and they all stink.

2. Plot, you are obviously a pro at working with raw tubing and making nice flared ends. However, you are telling Bob to make a nice, round, consistent flared end with no support, which, I think, would be very difficult for novices, like me, to accomplish because the tubing is so thin. I don't think I could make this first flare. Instead, I would recommend springing the extra bucks for the original BW brass drain tube from a BW dealer (I prefer Twin Cities) that has one flared end. Then, you only have to worry about the second flared end, but you have the hull for support when you whack on it.

3. Three, I prefer the 5200 over the o-rings, but see no. 1 above regarding opionions.

4. I'm with Ryan. Run, don't walk, away from your current BW dealer. They are astronomically outrageous. Perhaps, in their defense, they misunderstood what you were requesting. Maybe you said, "I need an estimate to replace the drain tube" and they thought you said, "I need an estimate to replace the engine". I could see how drain tube and engine could be confused.

5. Now for a note of dubious value: I am no literary giant; I took the GRE twice and never scored over 500 on the verbal, but I was compelled to look up anneal. My dictionary defines it as referring to strenghtening and not flaring. Perhaps flaring is the better word to use.


alkar posted 03-10-2004 01:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     

I second the vote for Twin Cities if you decide to go with the brass tube replacements. Sue at Twin Cities charged me a very modest price for the tubes I needed, and they came with "O' rings of the proper diameter. (Many folks here think the O-rings are unnecessary.)

The following threads may provide some helpful information:

If I were you I would write Dick, as he has experience with the pastic tubes and he works in a marine parts department. His solution may be the best one if you don't want to stay with the original brass tubes.

Good luck,


kamie posted 03-10-2004 01:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
Anneal -
1 a : to heat and then cool (as steel or glass) usually for softening and making less brittle; also : to cool slowly usually in a furnace
b : to heat and then cool (nucleic acid) in order to separate strands and induce combination at lower temperature especially with complementary strands of a different species
From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Basically warm it up with a torch so when you wack it you flare it rather than breaking it.

dboy posted 03-10-2004 06:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for dboy  Send Email to dboy     
When we anneal in loading brass rifle cases we stand the cartridge in a pan of water, heat the neck of the casing till it just turns a little different color and tip it over in the water. It just makes the neck a little more workable to resize a few more times. They get brittle or work hardened when they are reloaded (sized) three or four times. With a new tube, I don't tink it is necessary. When I did mine, I slipped the tube in a predrilled hole in a pine board to support it for the first flare and carefully tapped it with a ball peen hammer, cut it to length, slipped on the Orings and sealant and while holding the inside with a trailer hitch ball, the same old ball pein hammer finished the outside. I had access to a flaring tool but that thing is a piece of junk compared to this system it takes twice as long and crushes the tube on the applications where the surfaces aren't parallel. I did all the ones in my 18 Outrage in about an hour with the hammer.
Plotman posted 03-10-2004 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
dboy - I like the idea of using the hitch ball as a backer - attatched to a 2" receiver that would work really well.

captbob - some boats are 1" everywhere, some are 1.25" in the transom. You need to check.

Richard - Annealing is annealing. Flaring is flaring. Annealing is not strictly necessary, but it makes forming the flares without splitting the tube much easier. I just held the tube in a glove and heated the end until it changed color, then quenched it in water. Also, I am no pro at metalworking. In making the initial flare, we're talking about whacking a piece of metal with a hammer, not some highly skilled operation. I don't mean to be flippant, but If someone can't handle making an initial flare, I think he seriously needs to consider whether or not he should be attempting this repair at all.

Alex - if you buy a 1" tube from a Whaler dealer, you get a one size (length) piece of brass tube with a flare on one end. Sue will be the first to tell you that you can usually get 2 or 3 drains out of each tube, but you are going to end up forming the initial flange on your cut-off. If that is the case, why not just buy the raw tube stock? If you buy 1.25" tube from the dealer, it isn't pre-flared - it is just a piece of raw tubing they buy from some supplier, not whaler. You can buy a 6 foot section of tube stock (enough to do all the tubes in a 22) and a box of o-rings from McMaster from what you will pay for 2 tubes and individual o-rings from a dealer. Personal preference, obviously. But if you are replacing drains in a 22 (8 drains in mine) and you want to start with a pre-formed first flange for each tube, you are going to pay well over $100 for supplies, with no extras for "goofs", versus $25 if you buy the materials instead of "parts" and have plenty left over. Plastic drains work well when the axis of the tube is perpendicular to the plane of the hull it come through. A couple things to consider is that 1) you need to enlarge the hole through the fiberglass to use them and 2) if they original brass tubes are protected on the outside by a clamshell, you will have to move the clamshell back and fill the original screw holes.


gansett posted 03-10-2004 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for gansett  Send Email to gansett     
If you are replacing the three tubes in an old 17, materials from Twin Cities will also cost out at about $25 and you'll have two flared ends to help you get started.

alkar posted 03-10-2004 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     
Good points David.

As I recall, I only bought two tubes from Sue. I got the longer ones (for a Montauk bow locker?), and that gave me a little wiggle room in case I made a mistake (which I did). However, I have only three standard drain tubes remaining on my 22', so my project was much smaller than yours. (Two drains forward, and one aft.) A second drain aft was replaced with the raw-water intake fitting, and the two drains in the whaler drive were replaced with larger nylon thru-hulls.

I bought my tubes from Sue because I trusted her to give me the correct parts (and she did). Now that I'm more comfortable with the flaring process I wouldn't hesitate to buy the tube stock as you did - as long as I had a sample of the tube/pipe and the o-rings I needed to match.

captbobb posted 03-15-2004 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     

I was out of town last week and too busy to attend
to emails properly.

Thank you all for your input. Bottom line, I took
the easy route and contacted Sue Lodel. Needless
to say, wealth of knowledge and easy to work with.

She is forwarding to me tubes and flairing tool for
easy install.

Plotman, I fear your skills dramatically exceed mine so
I elected to go the pre-flared method. I thank you
for taking the time to advise as detailed as you did.
Bottom line, the job will get done for less than
$ 100, where as my local friendly Whaler dealer
quoted "around $ 500".

Ryanwhaler, Nausett Marine to answer your query.

Thanks all, if anybody needs to borrow the flairing
tool in the future, call upon me and I will be more
than happy to forward.

Wayneman posted 03-17-2004 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Wayneman  Send Email to Wayneman     
I was advised to have my tubes tied...
mustang7nh posted 03-17-2004 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for mustang7nh  Send Email to mustang7nh     
if I were to have my tubes out again, I would give serious consideration for finding a method for sealing the foam around the sides of the tube. I read someone who epoxied the sides then put new tube in. 5200 might work but its hard to get it smeared throughout. While I squeezed a bunch of 4200 around the outer shaft of my replacement tube (no jokes please :)) I regret not having had the time to really seal it off first, then go about replacing the tube. A hurricane was coming and the trailer was a friends who obviously needed it back in a hurry. Hence, I had to do a rush job. Probably should have just left them open and let the rain drain but I was afraid to have the foam exposed to the torrents of rain. Now I think of a dozen ways to have worked around it but hindsight.... Good luck.
captbobb posted 03-17-2004 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     
Great idea aboout sealing around the tubes. I have the
time, I will do the project to the best of my ability.

Thanks for the advise.


David Jenkins posted 03-18-2004 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
David (Plotman), There are so many places to click on the McMaster-Carr website that I don't know where to begin.

Do you by chance have the URL for the specific brass tubing and o-rings that you mentioned in your post?


Plotman posted 03-18-2004 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Just type brass tubing into the search on the McMaster site. Or under the "Pipe, Tubing, Hose" section on the main page click on metal tubing and look for brass. You want the 0.035" wall thickness in either 1.00" or 1.25" OD.


David Jenkins posted 03-19-2004 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
The 1" brass tubing is item number 8950K791.

Finding the right o-ring on the McMaster-Carr website is not a simple matter as there is inside diameter, outside diameter, width, and hardness to consider. Would you happen to have the item number of the o-ring that would work best for this application?

Many thanks.


captbobb posted 03-29-2004 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     
My last word on drain tubes.

Project nearly completed however I ran into
a situation that I would pass along.

I purchased the flaring tool as well as the
pre-flared (on one end drain tubes) and
rubber o rings.

Direction provided by Twin Cities indicate to
cut tube 1/4 of an inch longer so it will stick out of transome. 1/4 of an once too long for flare. Split
the flare. 1/8th of an inch works great.

Hope this helps.

bkovak posted 03-29-2004 06:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkovak  Send Email to bkovak     
If your flairing tool is available for loaning out, I would be interested in borrowing it when you are done. I will of course pay all shipping both ways. Just found one of my drain tubes in the bow of my 18 has a split on the flaired end and the O-ring has seen better days. I better pull it and replace it before it gets any worse. Thanks, Brian
gansett posted 03-29-2004 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for gansett  Send Email to gansett     
Bob, did you grease the face of the flaring tool? I turned 1/4" flares without any cracking, but used a good gob of grease.
captbobb posted 03-29-2004 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     
Yes my flaring tool is available. Email me at and I will forward out by the end of the week. Please forward back when finished.

I did a stupid thing and I need advise.

I replaced all 4 drain tubes. The problem is I have
2 o rings left over....stupid, stupid, stupid....

The question I have. I used 5200 in liberal amounts.
The flaring is tight to the hull.

I see I have 2 options.

1. do over.

2. Trust 5200 will do the job and run a bead around

Advise please.

AC posted 03-29-2004 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for AC  Send Email to AC     
I bet I've read almost every thread on thru-hull replacement for the last 2 years, and there seems to be two popular schools of thought on O-rings: (1) leave 'em out and just use 3M 4200 or similar (many folks consider 5200 too permanent) because the O-rings will crack within a year or two anyway, or (2) use O-rings with 4200, etc. I wouldn't worry about it since you used plenty ot 3M 5200.
captbobb posted 03-29-2004 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     

My Irish catholic guilt took over. I pulled
out the tube in question.

Everytime I used the boat I would be wondering if
water was leaking into my perfectly dry transom.

Thank you for your thoughts and advise.

PFSQUAN posted 03-30-2004 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for PFSQUAN  Send Email to PFSQUAN     
I picked up the new Yamaha 90 two-stroke on Saturday along with a new transom drain tube. The new motor went on in no time and weather permitting I will have the job completed by next weekend.

But, when I yanked out the brass drain tube from inside the sump, I was not surprised to find pin holes in the tube, nor some moisture in the transom. The hole is air drying now, but I have no way of knowing how long saltwater had access to the plywood core.

I am just going to let it dry as much as it can and then smear a dab of 5200 on the ends and install it. Next fall, I'll put the boat in a garage for the winter and try to dry it more.

My Montauk is an 1985 and spends summers and falls in the water. If your Whaler sits in the water for extended periods of time, I suggest you check the brass tube every season. Replacing it every five years might not be a bad idea either.

Performance report to follow. Love that Whaler.

Kurt Gett posted 04-20-2005 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kurt Gett  Send Email to Kurt Gett     
In regard to the annealing process... As indicated, the process is to reduce the risk of cracking the end of the tube while flaring. In lieu of, and in addition to the thermal treatment, one should also take the time to deburr the tube end very carefully as cracks are more likely to begin from a rough surface. Hit the cut tube end with a file , a finer file, and then some emery cloth. You should be able to run your finger nail over the edge and not feel anything offering resistance or hanging up on it. Of course you would have to deburr one end after the tube has already been installed and the other end flared as the unflared end would have been held against a mass and likely be damaged.
Secondly, Plotman, are curlers considered athletes?

Regards, Kurt

Plotman posted 04-21-2005 10:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Good point about the deburring. The reason you cut the piece of tubing a couple inches long to start is so that you can cut off any damage to the end opposite the first flare that occurs as you are making that first flare.

There was a great interview on NBC of a guy on the 2002 US Olympic curling team that I have met a couple times. He was being asked about his "Olympic experience" from the perspective of one of the older athletes in the games (he was about 45 at the time, somewhat portly, and a tradesman in real life). His comment was how amazing it was to be in the Olympic Village, surrounded by all these young kids, phenomenal athletes all, only to realize that he, too, was an elite Olympic athlete. The whole time he was on camera, he had a beer in his hand.

Is it a sport? Most certainly. Does it require years of experience to become proficient? Absolutely. Is it physically demanding. Not really - about on line with golf. You end up traveling about 2 miles up and down the sheet of ice during a game over 2 hours. You probably drink more curling though...

c_mccann posted 04-21-2005 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for c_mccann  Send Email to c_mccann     
I have 6 new brass tubes in my garage with O-rings if you want to buy them from me. I have no need for them as I have replaced my thru-hull tubes with PVC custom ones. They are brand new, Whaler issue and I'll ship them to you. I paid about 9 bucks apice with the O-rings, and I'll sell them to you for 8 bucks apice. Spring cleaning!
Vince posted 04-21-2005 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Vince  Send Email to Vince     
Wow! I thought I was "detail perfect". We do drain tubes all the time. It's one of those things many boaters overlook year after year. Drain tubes are basically a generic item used by almost every manufacturer. I knock the old tube out, reinstall the new tube w/5200 and cinch the tube tight with the flaring tool. We then clean and polish the installation with paint thinner, which gives you a beautiful bead on the 5200 that squeezes out. I'll be more than happy to overnight my flaring tool to you (providing you overnight it back)if you want. No offense to the previous advice here, but using a ball peen or a 2" trailer ball seems counterproductive to me. Again,I guess we all have different methods, but we are still one of those "old" boatyards with a big commitment to quality.
Plotman posted 04-26-2005 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     

Using a ball peen hammer may seem counterproductive to you, but how, pray tell, do you get your flaring tool to work when the tube is not perpendicular to the the axis of the tube - like on an anchor locker at the front of a revenge or outrage. The flaring tool isn't going to do any good in that situation, and a hammer is the only to get the job done that I know of.

I really love how people say "I've never tried it, but that sounds stupid, my way is better." Well, I've done it both ways, and I found the hammer method to be the only way to work in some situations, and to work equally well as the flaring tool in the others I tried.

acseatsri posted 04-29-2005 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
Well, I just did my transom drain tubes another way. I was tired of having the stern well fill up and then splash into the inside of the boat due to the drain tubes being too small, so I opted to use 1 5/8 diameter PVC tubes (1 1/4" schedule 40 unions). I removed the old drain tubes- also pitted with holes, then made a plug with Bondo about 1/2 way through the existing holes to drill into to give me a pilot hole for a 2" hole saw.
I was surprised at how dry and solid the plywood is. I sanded around the edges of the holes, both inside and out, then completely coated the inside of the holes with 5200. For good measure, I also sanded the PVC and also coated them with a thin coat of 5200 prior to installation. Last thing to do was to put a nice bead of 5200 around the ends of the tubes.

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