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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-06-2011 12:02 AM
DSneade The first place I would start would be to rebuild the head. As previous posts indicate, some are better to rebuild than others are. My head is a Raritan (original equipment, 1984). I have rebuilt it five or six times since we bought the boat new in '84. In fact, I always keep a rebuild kit on board - you never know! As to the hoses, I replaced them all about 5 years ago along with the 'Y' diverter. Hoses get permeated with the odor you don't want in you cabin.
03-27-2011 11:45 PM
exitstrategy1972 24 hours later my boat has never smelled so good... I assumed that the foul odor was just part of being in the marina. Wow! Thanks again...
03-27-2011 12:43 AM
exitstrategy1972 @Sailingdog

I wanted to thank you for this post. About two weeks ago I read this post because I was having problems with waste water leaking back into the bowl. I had no knowledge of the previous owner's maintenance of the Jabsco, and I hadn't done any work in the year that I had my boat, so I decided to try your advice and order Peggie Hall's book on Boat Odors and the Raritan PHC from sailboatowners.

After waiting a week for the package this Saturday it was just a few hours of easy work to replace the whole pumping unit. Now my toilet flushes with authority and nothing comes back. Excellent! Thank you very much for solid actionable advice. And now I know a lot more about head maintenance!


Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
It would probably help if you said what make/model head you had. Some are notorious for having pump issues, like the Jabsco units.

Some heads, like the inexpensive Jabsco units, are generally not worth re-building. Others, like the Raritan PHC or PHII units are very reliable and quite worthy of being re-built. If you have a unit like the Jabsco or even a slightly more reliable unit, like the WC Headmate 90 which has been discontinued, it might be worthwhile to upgrade your head instead of rebuilding it.

Raritan offers a PHC LBA or PHII LBA unit, which is basically the entire head minus the bowl and seat. You basically take one of these and swap the bowl and seat onto it, and voila, you have effectively a brand new Raritan PHC/PHII head for a lot less money, since the bowl is one of the heavier and more expensive elements in a new head. Think of it as recycling. SBO has the LBA units for sale.

BTW, I'd point out that Peggie Hall considers the Raritan PHC/PHII to be one of the best low-priced manual heads for boats. She's basically the doyenne of the marine sanitation industry...
03-24-2011 08:30 PM
mitiempo Yes, there has to be an anti siphon on the intake line for a Lavac to work properly.
03-24-2011 04:15 PM
head doesnt flush

Two or three times a year my intake thru hull gets clogged with biomass. I take my hose, from my dock, into the boat. Then I connect a special purpose , mickey mouse, homemade, home depot connector to the intake thru hull and blast it back out from the inside. I also lean over the side of the dock and scrape the outside of the thru hull with something soft, like a paint stirrer, until I feel a free flow of water from the inside out. Usually does the trick.

As an aside my ant siphon is between the intake and the head and prevents a siphon from starting that would overflow the lavac and not stop until something made it stop.

Good luck
03-22-2011 07:29 PM
hellosailor "The line from the head to the tank was 70% plugged with "scale". "
Yeah, that's what happens when urine and salt water mix and sit. I was taught to "pump ten times" in order to get the line flushed out, but of course that's gonna fill the holding tank much faster.
A urinal with an illegal direct discharge valve comes to mind. If boarded, SWEAR IT IS A BIDET.
03-22-2011 06:26 PM
LittleWingCA Latest update:

Bought the head rebuild kit. In the meantime I had the head hoses replaced. The vent line was completely plugged solid. I had to have it cut out. The line from the head to the tank was 70% plugged with "scale". All lines have now been replaced. Will rebuild the head once testing is done and the rest of the refit tasks are finished enough to get in there.
03-14-2011 01:56 PM
Wolcox Crittenden Head - Leaking

I've got what I beleive to be a Wilcox Crittenden Head Mate as described/discussed in the aforementioned threads.

The bowl fills with water (in a scary short period of time - less than half hour or so) if (and only if) I leave the red knob in the up (flush?) position.
I put a neat little sign next to the Head which reads;
"Caution - Don't leave the head with your knob standing up"
Which I thought would work for awhile - It didn't.

Anybody have thoughts on which part(s) I should replace, or should I just go with the standard rebuild kit and keep my fingers crossed?
09-16-2010 11:25 PM
Sapperwhite Also,
After some snooping around, it looks like Thetford supports the headmate now (including parts support).


also more investigation turned up full repair kits for as low as $50.
09-16-2010 11:03 PM
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
I just fixed my WC HeadMate last week. I bought the rebuild kit, but the only parts I needed from it turned out to the be the intake flap valves. The metal components had rusted away completely. All in all, it took about 10-15 minutes of work to replace. I took the entire pump assembly apart anyway for inspection and the rest of it was in great shape. I just used some Super Lube on the piston and packing and it put it back together. In the future, I'm going to see if I can just get that one piece.

A new Lavac head sounds great, but is a lot more work and money than just doing the simple rebuild I did on the WC Headmate.
Thats my whole point. Why replace the head mate just because one component may need replaced.

West has the flap valve assembly for $34. Its the forth item down the list PO195-96
Repair Kit for Headmate Head
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