Sunday, December 15, 2013

Over Torque

By Julie Rahm

My husband, John, is the king of over-tight. He over tightens everything. From pickle jars to oil filters, John will apply one last turn making most anything impossible to remove. Last week, John decided to fix a long-standing plumbing problem in our sailboat. Water pressure at the galley sink was low. The reduced flow was more of an annoyance than a problem. However, with the help of a friend, (name withheld to protect the innocent) John disconnected the water line and cleaned out some hard water scale that had clogged the connection.

It was a good fix until it was time to reconnect the line. The king of torque over tightened the connection and cracked the threaded male portion of the fitting adaptor. A gorilla would have a difficult time over tightening this adaptor to the point of failure. But, John cracked this adaptor with a few grunts and minimal effort. (impressive really) After a trip to the hardware store, a new fitting adaptor was installed. However, (déjà vu) when John tightened the stainless braided line (from the faucet) to the new fitting adaptor, the nut mysteriously cracked. John contends the nut was sub-standard Chinese metal. Maybe so, but now we needed a new braided stainless line down from the faucet. The nuts on these faucets are permanent and cannot be replaced.

And what did we learn next? The braided stainless line cannot be replaced! The lines are permanently attached to the underside of the faucet. We need a whole new faucet! And, because it is in a boat, John could not reach in behind the sink to remove the faucet. We have to enter the space through the engine compartment, which means removing part of a wall (bulkhead)! Perhaps to scare me, there was discussion about sawing through the cabinets to get at this faucet. The word calamity came to mind as the low water pressure issue was turning into major plumbing and carpentry. Anyway, the engine room the wall (and insulation) was removed allowing us access to faucet, which we promptly removed. We found a suitable replacement. After a word of caution about the torque, John installed the new faucet with only one minor hiccup.

Before tightening down the faucet, to detect any leaks, John decided to connect all the fittings. Well, there were no leaks. However, in order to install the threaded ring to the underside of the faucet, all the water lines must be run through the ring to seat it up against the underside of the sink! There was some technical language when John realized he had to disconnect all the lines in order to route them through the ring. Anyway, we can laugh about it now. So, I tell you this story to tell you this.

Do not over torque your life. Forcing too many “turns” in your relationships and finances can result in “cracks”. Instead of attacking a problem, choose the solution. And, may your Christmas season be exactly as you desire.

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