Monday, March 27, 2017

Crappy job!

Normal, salt water flush marine toilets require maintenance.  Maintenance that nobody looks forward to.  It is a dirty, stinky job...but someone has to do it!  The problem arises when waste matter along with salt water is constantly being flushed through the system.  After a while a crust or calcifaction builds up in the pipes and fittings.  At some point the buildup is so great that it renders the system useless as nothing is able to pass through other than pure liquid.

It is a wonder that anything went through this "T" fitting.  This is after only 2 years.

One remedy is to remove the hoses and beat them on the dock or something hard which will break up the calcification and allow it to fall out of the hoses.  However, this requires complete disassembly.  The other problem is the valves, usually made out of plastic marlon or similar material and those can not be beaten into submission.  When I cleaned this system 2 years ago it took me about 3 hours to chisel out the buildup in 2 "Y" valves and one 90 degree elbow.  Not fun.

 Limited space on a boat always makes projects difficult.

 Under the sink.  Left through hull is the exit for the head.  Right through hull is the sink drain.

This is the best place I could think of for the old stinky parts.

Some say that a regular treatment of vinegar through the system will break down the calcification or at least greatly prolong it.  For the 4 years I have had the boat, I have been very diligent about treating the heads with vinegar about once a month and have found that it barely makes a nominal difference.  Certainly not worth the time and effort.  As you can see by the pics, that is 2 years worth of buildup after regular vinegar treatments.  It doesn't seem that effective, does it?

This round I chose to replace the hose from the head to the through hull with new sanitation hose.  I did have to scrape valves but it was not nearly as bad as last time.  Also part of the service was to rebuild the Jabsco toilet flushing system with all new seals and valves.  This part of the project only requires about an hour or less of your time and besides the nasty water it really is pretty easy.

The new sanitation hose.

Another time consuming part of the job was to remove the door to the head as well as the cabinet door behind which the hoses go to the hull.  Having useable space in which to work saves a lot of headache in the long run.  It does however require some time to remove and then later replace after the job is finished.

 Hose and head rebuuild complete.

 New exit hose in.

Almost done.  Still needs the flooring and doors reinstalled.

After about 5 hours sitting on the floor of the head, some 5 or 6 pairs of rubber gloves and a few scraped knuckes the job is done complete with new head parts, brand new sanitation hose and some white touch up paint around the comode.  All looks tidy!

Another project done.  What's next?  Bring it!

Bret and Marne
SV Liahona


  1. I've become a big fan of composting toilets. On Exit Strategy we had a Lavac for use at sea and a composting head for the rest of the time.

  2. I have never been on a boat that had one. Was wondering about smell.

    1. Composting toilets smell less than a regular toilet! we converted to a C-Head last summer ( it was an easy choice) and even the kids had no trouble adjusting to it! the only thing that sucks is having to empty the solid waste tank occasionally!