Rebuild head, or replace, and with what? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-24-2013
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Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?




We have a Groco head in our boat (not sure of the exact model), and at the very least, it needs to be rebuilt. The innards are easily 3 years old, and I don't know what they were exposed to in the interim. Before I let my wife and kids aboard, I'd really like to know that I have a working head. So, I'm now left with the conundrum of rebuilding or replacing. I've done enough household plumbing to know that I REALLY don't like doing plumbing work. I have a strong stomach, but still, I'd rather not be anywhere near those odors or the contents of the holding tank. Thus, I'm leaning toward replacing the head (which I understand is typically the cleaner and faster job), but I'm open to rebuilding it if that's really the better bet. If replacing is the better option, what are the better "budget buys"? We're already spending enough on other stuff that I'd rather not put $400-500 into a toilet.

I saw some reviews online, but most seem to be several years old, and I can't find anything more recent. Any pointers are greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

Replace the pump only. You can rebuild it, but replacing is much easier and cleaner.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

Check which model of Groco it is. My Catalina 25 came with a GE and upgrading the parts to a use their modern pump was close to the price of a new head.

I put a Raritan PHC in my Catalina and again in my Pearson. They have a great reputation and have worked well for me so far. They are in the $200-$250 price range.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

I think you'll find that most rebuild kits cost almost as much as a new head, add your time to do the rebuild and the $130.00 for a new manual head is looking pretty good
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Old 04-24-2013
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Wink Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by poopdeckpappy View Post
I think you'll find that most rebuild kits cost almost as much as a new head, add your time to do the rebuild and the $130.00 for a new manual head is looking pretty good
I made the well intentioned mistake of trying to rebuild the head on our Islander when it was failing. Old nylon parts and seals cracking... I failed. It wasn't after spending considerable time and the money for parts. We now have a new Lavac. A bit tricky to fit the pump but it was a good choice. The pump is under the counter now and out of the way. There is little enough space in our head. Replace it.

With a Y valve and a pickup hose running into the bilge it provides a second manual emergency bilge pump too!

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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

I contemplated rebuilding but ended up replacing mine with a Raritan.
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

I rebuilt 3 heads last year and will never ever do it again. Buy new.

If you're interested, an electric macerating head is only a little more and much more like a home toilet. (not exactly)

Advantage: Easier for novices to use. Even the seasoned user won't often manually pump what they really should to clear the lines. Much less likely to get a clog, as all contents are macerated at the bowl.

Disadvantage: Need electricity. Must flush substantially more water than a manual head, so they take up holding tank capacity faster.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

Which one did you get, Minne?
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

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Originally Posted by jimgo View Post



We have a Groco head in our boat (not sure of the exact model), and at the very least, it needs to be rebuilt. The innards are easily 3 years old, and I don't know what they were exposed to in the interim. Before I let my wife and kids aboard, I'd really like to know that I have a working head. So, I'm now left with the conundrum of rebuilding or replacing. I've done enough household plumbing to know that I REALLY don't like doing plumbing work. I have a strong stomach, but still, I'd rather not be anywhere near those odors or the contents of the holding tank. Thus, I'm leaning toward replacing the head (which I understand is typically the cleaner and faster job), but I'm open to rebuilding it if that's really the better bet. If replacing is the better option, what are the better "budget buys"? We're already spending enough on other stuff that I'd rather not put $400-500 into a toilet.

I saw some reviews online, but most seem to be several years old, and I can't find anything more recent. Any pointers are greatly appreciated!

Check the base of the head. If it is plastic definitely replace. If it is bronze painted white its a newer model and you could probably be ok with a new pump or rebuild kit. My original Groco had the plastic base so i replaced the whole unit. The bolt pattern on bronze base is slightly different so you will likely need two new holes (of the four) for the base.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Rebuild head, or replace, and with what?

A friend of mine has that exact toilet, and he has had to rebuild his pump every two years. He actually keeps a spare, and just swaps them. I think the Groco toilet is terrible.

You can buy a Jabsco for pretty cheap, rebuild kits are cheap and simple, and they typically last longer than two years.

A Lavac vacu-flush toilet on the other hand, costs a little more, but uses much less flushing water, which nearly doubles the amount of time between pump-outs. The Lavac doesn't require electricity, you can pump manually to achieve the vacuum necessary to flush the toilet.
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