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  #1  
Old 02-10-2011
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Willcox-Crittenden Headmate - Fix or Float Test?

I have a Willcox-Critenden Headmate head fitted to my sailboat.

It has been a nightmare.

With poor performance, it had a full service with all service parts replaced at New York on passage down the ICW - Maine to N Carolina. At Anapolis I replaced all the hoses.

Still poor performance, so I bought a replacement head the following year after a 11 month lay-up. Given my large investment in Heatmate spares, it was another Headmate - all brand new.

After another 9 month lay-up, the new Headmate was fitted for a trans-Atlantic passage and the old pump fully serviced as a ready-to-fit spare.

On passage, the new Headmate leaked, became hard to pump and the plastic "T" broke, so a new pump was fitted.

This pump lasted a bit but eventually started to leak and had to be serviced. This was successful for a bit.

Later the second "T" handle broke. Epoxy repairs did not last long.

SInce then I have serviced the pump twice and have reverted to the original aluminium "T" handle because I have run out of plastic ones.

Other than the 3-person trans-Atlantic passage, the boat has not had much use sincce the brand new Headmate was fitted.

Does anyone have any advice on how to keep a Headmate going reliably.

Do I carry on trying to fix it or do I float test it and install a Jabsco one?
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Old 02-10-2011
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Jabsco heads are even worse than the WC Headmate 90.

What I would highly recommend you do is buy a Raritan PHII or PHC LBA kit. It is basically the entire head except for the bowl. That would effectively give you a Raritan PHC or PHII head for a good deal less money, and the Raritan PHC/PHII are the most reliable manual marine head for under $500 according to Peggie Hall.

You can get them at SBO... $220 for the PHC LBA and $290 for the PHII. I know the bowl off the Headmate fits, since this is what I did with my Headmate last season. Also, the headmate 90 was discontinued by WC about three years ago, so getting parts and such for it will just become more difficult as time goes on.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask.
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Old 02-10-2011
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I agree with Dog. I have onwed a headmate and they are trash. The PHII is a great toilet and Raritan even sells a household size oval bowl for it.

Now that I have an electric head I will probably never go back. Makes a huge difference when living aboard.
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Last edited by Tim R.; 02-11-2011 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 02-10-2011
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Yeah, but an electric head is a lot more work to install than replacing a Headmate with a Raritan LBA PHII or PHC..
Quote:
Originally Posted by treilley View Post
I agree with Dogne. I have onwed a headmate and they are trash. The PHII is a great toilet and Raritan even sells a household size oval bowl for it.

Now that I have an electric head I will probably never go back. Makes a huge difference when living aboard.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 02-10-2011
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Or install a Lavac. The most maintenance free manual head made and the first choice among offshore cruisers. Lavac Marine Toilets - Popular

No pump attached to the bowl. A diaphram pump it the only moving part and they require virtually no maintenance. Very unlikely to plug as well.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Or install a Lavac. The most maintenance free manual head made and the first choice among offshore cruisers. Lavac Marine Toilets - Popular

No pump attached to the bowl. A diaphram pump it the only moving part and they require virtually no maintenance. Very unlikely to plug as well.
The Lavacs are excellent, but they take a bit of getting used to and are twice the price of the Raritan LBA.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 02-10-2011
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True they are more expensive but add the price of a few service kits for the Raritan and you're even probably.

And no Headaches.
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Old 02-10-2011
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I have one of the old WC Imperials on Argyle.

Completely disassembled and installed all new components from a rebuild kit. Got it working but it leaked nasty from around the base of the bowl. Also leaked seawater from the pump.

Re-packed the packing gland on the pump and sealed up the base of the bowl. Still leaked from around the pump. The bowl doesn't leak anymore, but the flapper valve on the bowl doesn't close quite properly so now some "Stuff" squirts back up at you when you pump out.

Poor mans bidet, I guess.

The Lavac is on the sort list of things to buy and install.
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Old 02-11-2011
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Gee, my old WC Skipper works great.
But I'm always interested in other experiences just in case.
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Old 02-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingStar View Post
Gee, my old WC Skipper works great.
I'm pretty sure that the Skipper and Headmate are like night and day. I had a Skipper on my last boat and it is truly a beautiful thing. That's the one they used to flush a Navy Pea Coat down for demonstrations. Too bad it's discontinued. Cherish your Skipper.

Mike
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