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post #1 of 11 Old 10-11-2013 Thread Starter
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Macerator pump maintenance

This is a first for me, but I am going to have to pull the macerator pump and see what is going wrong with it. It runs, but with only a soft whirr, not the high pitched whine it usually does. Of course, it is also not pumping the tank dry As far as I can determine, the pump is a typical Jacobsen installed about 1999. I see that there is a maintenance kit for these, which raises my real quesion. Is there some sort of routine maintenance schedule that others use with these pumps? Or do most do it like me and just wait until it doesn't work right. My guess right now is that the original impeller has disintegrated, although it has had really minimal use over the 15 years or more it has been in there. Is there a typical time based life expectancy for the impellers like for water pumps (they appear very similar in pictures)? Fortunately for me, the tank is really pretty empty and I am just getting it ready for winter storage, not trying to empty a full tank of "stuff" . Thanks for any advice

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post #2 of 11 Old 10-11-2013
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

We use them quite a bit year round, and the motors usually fail before the pump so it may be worth replacing the whole pump so you won't be revisiting this area any sooner then necessary.

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Last edited by capttb; 10-11-2013 at 10:55 PM.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-12-2013
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

No routine that I'm aware of. I keep a spare macerating pump for the holding tank aboard, vacuum packed in a food saver bag. Could you imagine going through all that maintenance and then having the motor die after you get it all back together? For me, at least, it would be a half day of tearing down the salon just to get to it.

I rebuilt a macerator on one of the heads a couple of years back. I will just replace the entire head next time! Seriously. Nightmare to get back together and made little to no difference. At the least, I would just replace the entire pump.


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post #4 of 11 Old 10-12-2013
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

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We use them quite a bit year round, and the motors usually fail before the pump so it may be worth replacing the whole pump so you won't be revisiting this area any sooner then necessary.
I've never had a pump fail, other than having it get jammed up with something that shouldn't have gone through it. I have had the motors give out, too, though.

If the shaft is spinning though, the other possibility is just some kind of blockage.

On the northern Gulf of Mexico.


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post #5 of 11 Old 10-12-2013
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

I have on for the RV and it lost the impeller once. I put vegetable oil in it when in storage. Not sure the boat ones are the same.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

Thanks for the inputs. I sounds as if the right move is to pull pump and replace whole thing unless the problem is just a stoppage. Once I pull the old, the real answer is probably to just put in a new one since the old one is around 15 years old and hard to access. I plan to pull it this comign weekend, but boat now on hard so no rush to get it back in action. Thanks for saving me the bother of the rebuild kit.

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

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.....since the old one is around 15 years old and hard to access.
Good call. With that info and the fact that it is acting up, I would not want to take my chances of going back in. I hate plumbing work in the first place. Especially used plumbing.

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I plan to pull it this comign weekend, but boat now on hard so no rush to get it back in action.
Seeing that you are in the Boston area and temps are cooling, you may want to get a heat gun to soften the hoses on each side of the pump. After 15 years, they could be pretty set onto the barbs. Also helps with re-install, particularly if there isn't a lot of play or slack in the waste lines.


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post #8 of 11 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

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Also helps with re-install, particularly if there isn't a lot of play or slack in the waste lines.
And stick the ends of the hose in a bucket of the hottest water possible before starting. Speaking of which, if your system is of the black rubber hose, it is sometimes expedient to replace with the newer white sanitation hose. The hoses get "arteriosclerosis" a build up of calcium or something rocklike on the inside that makes it difficult to work. It can be easier to install the pump using new hoses than fitting it to the old ones.

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

Great tips. Everything from head into tank is fairly recent white hose, but I think the hoses to macerator and out to thru-hull are black. I am already a huge fan of a heat gun, or hot water, for anything to do with hoses. For about 10 of the past 15 years, the boat has been in a harbor with free pump-out service at the mooring (federal dollars at work). The prior owner never used the macerator, just called the pump operator at the end of every weekend and they came during teh week on their own. I have had it for 4 years now, and no easy pump-out access, but i don't use the pump more than 4-5 times a year when I am well out. That is why my first thought was just a dried out impellor rather than a worn out pump. However, for the price difference between kit and pump, not worth the risk of having to unearth the thing twice. With a 22' boat loaded with big boat stuff, the penalty is that everything is shoehorned in.

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post #10 of 11 Old 10-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Macerator pump maintenance

just a quick follow-up. I pulled the pump and opened it up. There were no ears at all left on the impeller. One was still in the pump cavity, broken off, while the rest of them had gone overboard. This is a pump with really little use, but close to 15 years of age. Suggests a routine impellor change like a water pump, except for the folks who said that getting the whole thing back together right was a pain. In any case, if I get another 10 years from this one, it will be just fine.

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