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Old 06-07-2013
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Crisis! Head is clogged!

I moved onto a 1972 Hallberg-Rassy last month. The girlfriend, new to the boat and the rules, has been using TP in the head. This morning, the toilet bowl was full and the pump , and there was a half-emptied bottle of Drano in the sink with a very sweet note that simply said "sorry". She's now gone for the summer on a canoe trip. Here are the symptoms: as I said, bowl full of brown and sudsy water. There pump has very significant resistance and is now leaking around the where the pump handle connects to the head. What do I do short of tearing the whole thing out and replacing it
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

First thing is to start writing the ad for a new girlfriend.

The take your tool box and remove the outlet hose from the toilet and work back towards the seacock. Remember as the closer you get to the seacock the deeper underwater you are and at somestage you could get a jet blast of water (and blockage).

I wear surgical gloves and have been known to put my snorkeling mask on..
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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 06-07-2013 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

pump out the holding tank?
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

I'm with Denise on this. If you can get to a pump out start there. Might even solve your problem without further intervention needed. If pumping out doesn't do it there isn't much alternative but to do the nasty as Mark says. Gloves, mask, bucket, lots of soapy water afterwards, good ventilation during. Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

And people wonder why I have a porta potti.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

Rip it out and put in a composting head! End of worries
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

Holy $hit. (seemed appropriate)

I'm wondering what Draino will have done to the joker valve and where in the world it came from. If you have a holding tank, I'm hoping it is as simple as pumping and freeing space. You may still need to remove the plumbing to see if the draino did any damage afterward. Otherwise, you're in a tough spot, as you do not want to get that on your skin or, even more critically, in your eyes. Removing clogged hoses can cause a somewhat high pressure gush. Too bad she's gone, its important for offenders to see what they caused. It often cures them for life.

There is no reason for TP itself to clog a head. It must simply be used in as small a quantity as possible and flushed thoroughly. Most boaters flush little more than what is necessary to stop seeing it in the bowl. They think, like in the house, it will just disappear. In a boat, it must first be pumped up a few feet to an anti-siphon loop and then to a tank or overboard. You need to pump a lot of clean water to clear it out. If you don't get the TP out of the hose, it will probably settle back down near the joker valve and wait to accumulate with the next flush. Then the next, until you are where you are now.

I've had guest clog a head, but have never clogged one myself. There is no need for the adage "those who have and those who will" like in grounding your keel (yes, I have done that). You just need to flush correctly and many do not.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

Steps toward the soultion:
  1. others have already advised - pump out the holding tank.
  2. rinse the holding tank and pump again.
  3. buy a CHEAP (sacrificial) Shop Vac.
  4. don the rubber gloves, and mask & snorkle...
  5. vacuum out the head, and try to vacuum out the lines by pumping the head with the vacuum inserted in the drain.
  6. after everything has been vacuumed dry, toss the shop vac (sell it on eBay?)
  7. REPLACE the joker valve, and any other rubber components, 'cause they will soon be toast after the draino eats its way through them.
  8. send former GF a note saying simply "sorry..."
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

I'm with the crowd -- try pump out first. You may get lucky, and the suction from the pump out with draw the blockage through the plumbing.

If not, take a whack at it with a plunger. You could even try this before (and/or during) the pump out.

If that still doesn't work, resign yourself to doing the least glamorous job on a boat -- rebuilding your head. Depending on the make/model of your head, rebuild kits should be pretty easy to score.

If it comes to that, you probably want to take full advantage of your temporary misery. Take a look at the bore of the hose that runs from the pump up to the anti-siphon loop -- if there's any calcium build-up (which could also be a contributing cause of your current woes), either clean it out or better yet replace the hose. Double check to make sure the one-way valve on your anti-siphon loop is clean and operating. Make sure your vent lines are clear. Etc, etc. Basically, if it can be cleaned, clean it. If anything looks dodgy, replace it.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Crisis! Head is clogged!

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
pump out the holding tank?
Ding! Ding!

The OP symptoms describe exactly how my former boat would manifest a full holding tank.
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