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post #1 of 5 Old 07-28-2002 Thread Starter
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toilet replacement

I''m looking for as much information as possible on finding the best type of toilet.
I''ve been trying to find out about the vac u flush system, and where to buy. If there is anyone that has a better type to recommend please do so!

thanks for all input
Rich
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-28-2002
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toilet replacement

Richard, I''ve not used a Vacu-Flush altho'', if we''re talking about the same head, I''ve heard cruising sailors complain about the need for frequent seat seal replacement (so the vacuum can be maintained), the initial cost and, in some cases, the need to use fresh water (more of an issue when boats with smaller tankage can''t run their watermakers and perhaps have larger crews).

As one alternative, I''d suggest you look at the Raritan PHII head. I''ve heard it praised by many users, it''s inexpensive, repair kits are widely available, it can be converted to an electric model (not my recommendation) if the crew requires it, and it''s relatively robust given its weight, size & cost. Perhaps its best feature (here comes the opinion of the guy who has to fix things...) is that you can buy an entire spare pump assembly for the cost of several repair kits. What this means is that, should the head pump fail while crew are aboard and ''in need'', putting the head back in action is a simple unbolt/rebolt affair taking a few minutes. You can carry the failed pump assembly home and rebuild it at your leisure after the boat returns to the dock. Especially if you find yourself underway for a period of time with crew that aren''t excited about using the ship''s bucket, this sure beats trying to rebuild the pump while all the little parts roll around the cockpit.

If this head is mounted athwartships, I think it has a structural weakness - like many other heads, the seat is attached with plastic hinges and can fail & come adrift in a seaway. A simple solution is to screw on small wooden cleats on the underside of the seat, one on each side, where they will rest up against the china bowl. The seat will be unable to slide and the hinges won''t feel the strain of the weight they would otherwise be carrying.

Good luck!

Jack
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-28-2002
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toilet replacement

I think you may be thinking of a Lavac which is a very popular head with distance cruisers because of its simplicity. I am not a fan of the lavac having used one on a boat that I raced on for many years.

The Raratan II is a good quality toilet for coastal cruising. I have one on my present boat and it seems to be reliable and easy to work on as well as having a reasonably priced rebuild kit [at least comapred to other manufacturers. I also really like the design of Raratan Cricket which uses a diapham type pump and so does not have the usual pump shaft seal maintenance problems.

For serious offshore stuff, the Wilcox Critenden Skipper (while extremely expensive) is very highly regarded. The Blake and Baby Blake are also considered to be top notch for the rigors of offshore work.

Jeff
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-29-2002 Thread Starter
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toilet replacement

Jeff, what did you not like about the Lavac? I''m building this boat for the past 3.5 years and expect a spring splash. I just completed the fairing and ready to start the pluming & electrical. This boat is intended for off shore cruising. The more input I get, the better I can plan for each step.

Agian, thanks for all input.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-29-2002
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toilet replacement

I know that there are a lot of people who consider the Lavac to be a very good head and others who consider them to be as good as a hed can be, but my experiences with them have left me pretty unimpressed. For close to 8 years in the late 1980''s and early 1990''s I raced on a pair of Contessa 33''s equipped with Lavacs. The Lavac depends on a seal between the seat and the bowl. (actually two seals if I remember correctly, one on the seat and one on the lid.) When you flushed you put both the seat and the lid down and pumped creating a vacuum in the bowl and that vacuum sucked in water from outside the hull. You pumped for some predetermined number of strokes, waited 30 seconds or so and then lifted the lid to pump the bowl dry.

My biggest problem was with the seals which did not want to stay in place so you were constantly having to carefully reseat them in the groove. If the seal came out you could not flush. When you broke the seal there was a tendancy to spray the seat and lid with effluent making this an unsavory job. The some of my other problems with the Lavac centered on the fact that you were pumping blind and so could not tell if you had too much or not enough flushing. The Lavac also does not seem to have the same degree of ''wash down'' as some of the other heads that I have used. maybe this is just me but I just want to go and...well.. go. And I found the whole elaborate production involved in using the Lavac just too much.

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