Lavac marine toilet - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 31 Old 08-21-2009 Thread Starter
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Lavac marine toilet

The "Popular" model Lavac marine toilet looks like a winner. Does anyone have any experience with it?

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post #2 of 31 Old 08-21-2009
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I've used one a fair bit and think it's a great unit. It was very reliable and simple to use. But pricey.

Another Sailnet member, Valiente, has somewhat recently installed one on his boat. Hopefully he'll chime in.

The only downside I remember with that toilet was that in extremely heavy weather, it was not really possible to use it. Because you have to first close the lid and then pump up the suction before it flushes, you couldn't keep the bowl pumped dry while using it. If you've ever been in a serious seaway, then you understand how this could be a problem.


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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

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post #3 of 31 Old 08-21-2009
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I have a Lavac Popular and they are the best marine heads I've used. Virtually plug proof. The previously mentioned downside doesn't exist. The head comes with two different sized air bleed plugs, one of which is installed at the top of the intake loop. The size of the hole determines the amount of water left in the bowl - the larger one leaves less water. To completely clear the bowl just open the lid and pump a stroke or two.
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post #4 of 31 Old 08-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
... The previously mentioned downside doesn't exist. ...
I was referring to clearing the bowl while using it.

Maybe the installation and size of the bowl has changed since the one I used extensively 20+ years ago. But the unit I used had a warning not to pump while seated on the toilet due to risk of creating a potentially dangerous vacuum beneath one's posterior.


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post #5 of 31 Old 08-21-2009
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Sounds like a great way to cut down on the amount of time spent in the head.
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post #6 of 31 Old 08-22-2009
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I guess you should stand up before you pump...
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post #7 of 31 Old 08-22-2009
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Gentlemen not only sit, but they luff to pump! Seriously, nature calls, but I don't like my "anatomy" soaked by porcelain whitecaps, and so I will make every attempt to ease the boat's motion for both the execution and remediation phases of head use.

And mitiempo is correct: you can vary significantly the amount of "ambient water" in the bowl.

I didn't install the Lavac...it came with the boat, and its presence led to my wife's decision to approve our joint purchase of it.

Not only is it a sturdy and sensible way to move byproducts, it's the only toilet that can be used as a powerful manual bilge pump via a simple diverter valve. Not that I ever want to do this, but it's an added element in the waste-disposal equation.

While the "not cheap" claim is true, heads are an ongoing bane of cruisers, and the price difference is worth me avoiding the rebuildings and uncloggings that seemingly plague lesser heads. The point of my habit of rarely buying retail is to save enough money to pay for things that cost more because they are better: No cheap sextants, no cheap windvanes, no cheap heads. DVD players, coffee mugs and paperbacks? Craigslist!

Can't sleep? Read my countdown to voyaging blog @
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post #8 of 31 Old 08-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I guess you should stand up before you pump...
Brian


True enough, but as Val points out, and I mentioned in my first post, there are rare times when the seastate is such that you want to keep the bowl level as low as possible while still seated.... Not really an issue for most coastal sailors who will be ensconced in safe harbour each night.

This is admittedly a minor quibble and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Lavac. It's a nice piece of hardware.


Val,

I knew you had one but for some reason thought you'd installed it yourself -- must have been someone else.

My experience with the Lavac only runs to several hundreds of flushes. But while I was aboard I can recall only a single instances where the unit plugged up (and that was due to our failure to properly brief some young Dutch gals about what can and cannot be put into a marine head. )


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post #9 of 31 Old 08-24-2009
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I put one in my Pearson 33 and found two negatives (one is just the way it is and the other could have been the quality of the install, my install). The Admiral didn't like that one had to wait to open it after use. Something about making sure everything went down. The second is we sometimes found some backflow which I called "the brown smoothie" back in the bowl. Bottom line, this unit was not popular with the Admiral, again, it could have been the quality of my work but I even checked with the distributor and could find no flaw in my work, just the results.

Hope this helps.
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post #10 of 31 Old 08-24-2009
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I have just installed my second Lavac......

(on different boats) and will soon be installing a third one. The best heads available, bar none.

The Incredible Hull Heads

BTW for the initial poster my first Lavac was on a Downeaster 38.



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