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Old 01-11-2013
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Installing a traditional head from scratch

My boat currently has a porta potti that must go! I have done my research on both traditional and composting heads so I'm not looking for a which is better debate. What I'm curious about is if anyone here has installed a traditional, manual head from scratch. How difficult a job was it, and what was the total cost of the project. Thanks for your help!
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Old 01-11-2013
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

I just replaced my whole head system except for the through-hull. I replaced the head, all lines, the holding tank, and re-routed the holding tank vent.

It was a solid day of work and cost a little bit less than $1000. The two big expenses were the head (about $250 for a Raritan PHC) and holding tank (about $350 for a 18 gallon Sealand with custom fittings and two dip tubes). The rest went to high quality waste hoses (>$10/foot) and fittings. On my boat the run from the head to the holding tank is quite direct (the holding tank is in a lazarette just aft of the head) so installation was simple. The overall size of the lazarette made it easy for me to choose the shape and dimensions of the tank without having to get anything too complex. Those two factors could greatly influence the cost of installation.

I suggest reading the articles from Peggy Hall on ventilating holding tanks before designing the layout inside your boat.

If the boat wasn't designed for a holding tank at a minimum you'll need to T an existing through hull for water or add one to the boat. You'll also need a dump through-hull if you want the ability to dump when offshore.
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Old 01-11-2013
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

Biggest challenge won't be installing it, but developing a secure base to fit it on and locating space for holding tank. Intake thru-hull, overboard vent from holding tank, holding tank pump out fitting on deck, and likely a few holes to run the hoses through. Normally the base is elevated to allow for comfort & ergonomics. You can build the base out of marine plywood and laminate it in place, when elevated you will be able to access underneath to install the nuts. Alternately you can build a temporary mold to create a fiberglass base (smooth surface means it is pretty as well as easier to keep clean). I'd finalize the location and build a mockup out of cardboard or masonite, then get to building the actual base.

Cost - depends, but don't cut corners using incorrect hose & fittings.

Some photos of your target location would help.
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Old 01-11-2013
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

Toliet- $200
Hoses- $200- trident green stripe 101 or 102
Holding tank $300- Ronco has many shapes capacities- I owuld go 24 gallons
Thru hull and ball valve-$140
Deck Plate and pump out- $150
I would put a "y" valve and mascerator in case you go in the ocean.- $150

Good recommendations for glassing head platform. Also tank must be secured and held in by framing so it doesnt shift or move at all./
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

Thank you all for your responses. There is already a platform. I will take pictures tomorrow when I'm at my boat, I agree it would be helpful. there is a locker in the head that a holding tank could fit into. I could also fit it under the v-berth.
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

My cal has a vetus bladder holding tank that worried me a first, I have learned to kind of like it now,easy to see how full / empty it is , and relative easy to remove. ... When placing your tank concider what the added weight will do to your water line....Dale
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Old 01-11-2013
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

Alex W,
Spot on post. Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2013
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

Good advice above. Here's a couple of things to keep in mind.

Get the absolute largest holding tank you can possible jam in. A critical method to prevent odor is to flush sufficient clean water (salt or fresh), after you empty the bowl. That can take a total of 2 or more gallons per flush!! 90% of boaters fail to do this and 90% of marine heads smell.

Secondly, be sure there are no dips in the waste lines that will hold effluent. Keep in mind that the hose will weigh more with water in it, so be sure it wont' dip after you run it. Bracing can help.

Never ever put anything in your tank that you didn't eat.

Run a large vent line, minimum 1 inch. Two is a great idea, but not mandatory.
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

I have attached three photos of the head. You can see that there is a platform and there are previous screw holes. The hanging locker behind is approximately 4'x3' and about a foot deep and tapers to about 6".
Attached Thumbnails
Installing a traditional head from scratch-head1.jpg   Installing a traditional head from scratch-head2.jpg   Installing a traditional head from scratch-photo-1-.jpg  
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Re: Installing a traditional head from scratch

Are you planning to put the holding tank in the hanging locker and pumping up to it? That has the advantage of not needing a pump to dump at sea, but needs good technique to keep the waste line that rises to it clean.
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