Another brief update (been offline for a week, save for a little intermittent browsing on our iPad. Finally got our office and my computer put back together this morning, as everything was packed away during our flooring renovation):
After my last post, and to Morty's post above, I did deploy some plumber's tape on the threads of the ball valve and barb, hooked everything up (did get an extra turn or more for both the ball valve and barb, I'm assuming due to the plumber's tape; both seemed pretty stable), and did an overnight leak test w/ room-temp water.
Next morning, no leaks. Cool. Then, I did a several-hour long leak test w/ 120° water (the hottest our water heater is programmed to heat to). The verdict? No leaks. Also cool.
I'm hoping to get a pre-Turkey Day brew session in, hopefully on Wednesday, and take a dive off the deep end and see if this thing will leak or not at mash temps.
I plan on pre-heating the thing w/ 170° water, let it sit 10-15 minutes, and see if any leaks develop. If not, I think it's worth a chance to put this tun through its paces and see how it does.
If any leaks develop prior to mashin, brewday will be aborted and I will exhaust all options w/ SS Brewtech to get this resolved.
Here goes nothing.