On my 2003 Bavaria 32 the heads outlet was fitted just aft of the heads compartment and was very, very difficult to reach by hand through the opening in the wardrobe. It was always a bit stiff and one day the handle broke off in my hand. There was no possibility of a repair without a haul-out. It was impossible to unscrew the big ball-valve, chiefly because it was impossible to get a spanner on it. So I ground away at the skin-fitting’s ‘lip’ from the outside until it was all gone. I was then able to pull the valve and the thread from the skin fitting into the boat, with some effort.

    As I was doing this the brass elbow at the top of the skin-fitting just crumbled in my hands. It was very thin and had clearly been de-zincified (more likely where a hose is clipped as salt water can touch the metal from both sides). The ball-valve itself was in fair condition but was unrepairable, due to the broken handle. The theaded part of the skin-fitting was in excellent condition and there was plenty of metal left. It may have been bronze – I’m not sure.

    I replaced the skin fitting with a marine bronze one and the ball-valve with a TruDesign plastic one. Based on my experience, when this year I fitted a proper vented loop on the inlet for my sea toilet, I replaced the inlet ball-valve for the toilet with a TruDesign plastic one too, but I did not replace the skin fitting as it too was in good condition.

    The TruDesign valves are beautifully engineered and work very well. I am very pleased with them.

    Bear in mind … the TruDesign valves are MUCH bigger than the brass/bronze ones. Make sure you have space. In the case of the heads inlet, there is space in the cupboard for the plastic valve and elbow, but only just.

    I will replace my other brass ball-valves with TruDesign ones – space permitting – when I get round to it but I will leave the skin fittings.

    Use Sika 291i on the skin fittings and valves. Fit the pieces together with the handles as you want them and leave to harden.

    You do not need to buy the special tool that is recommended for the TruDesign ones. I wasted my money on that.

    Based on miserable experience of trying to get the cheap white plastic hose to onto fittings, I would urge anyone to use the more expensive butyl hose and not the white plastic. The butyl is a joy to work with by comparison and I no longer get the horrible smell of rotten eggs when the heads has not been used for a while.