GROCO K-type marine head question - SailNet Community
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GROCO K-type marine head question

I've noticed that the bowl always seems to fill 1/3 - 1/2 full of water on its own, despite my pumping the bowl dry each time it is used. Over time, minerals have precipitated out onto the bowl and it just looks, well, unattractive. There is no smell to the water. I keep the water intake valve to the toilet closed, and the bowl still seems to collect water. At 1/3 - 1/2 full, it's okay... but if it gets higher than that, I don't want any spilling out if the boat is heeled over! Is there a valve somewhere that might have a worn/cracked seal that is letting water into the bowl? If it was back-up from the holding tank, I would expect it to smell bad. Any ideas?
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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

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I've noticed that the bowl always seems to fill 1/3 - 1/2 full of water on its own, despite my pumping the bowl dry each time it is used. Over time, minerals have precipitated out onto the bowl and it just looks, well, unattractive. There is no smell to the water. I keep the water intake valve to the toilet closed, and the bowl still seems to collect water. At 1/3 - 1/2 full, it's okay... but if it gets higher than that, I don't want any spilling out if the boat is heeled over! Is there a valve somewhere that might have a worn/cracked seal that is letting water into the bowl? If it was back-up from the holding tank, I would expect it to smell bad. Any ideas?
No it doesn't. Your seals are not working. I did a complete rebuild and once pumped out it is completely dry.

For water to enter the choker valve or the flapper valve below the bowl are not working.

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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

KB: Swan did the same until we rebuilt the head. Until then, after you pump it out, close the ball valve behind the head on the right to close off the intake of water. If that doesn't work, water is backing in from the head's exhaust side. If the exhaust from the head is valve diverted overboard, turn off the through hull valve on the port side under the V-berth (behind the small door). That will prevent the back up. If the exhaust is diverted to the holding tank and it's backing up into the head, you would smell it. All this assumes your 34 is plumbed like Swan's.

Hope this helps.

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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

Sounds like inlet is leaking even when closed and showing your waterline level in the bowl. Can't trust the dry bowl lever either as easy for flapper to seep there too .Don't worry if you are getting a calcium buildup it will soon smell .Removing calcium crystal from hoses and rubber parts is just part of messing with boats ( Once had a bowl level with water line and surprised me every morning. Solved it by adding a Uvent up a bulkhead .Tiny sucking air vent still allowed good flush )

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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

When we are living on the boat, especially in the Bahamas where the water is saturated in calcium carbonate / calcium bicarbonate, we have a gradual buildup of a tan to beige mineral deposit in the Groco Type K bowl especially around the discharge. I clear it by adding an acid from time to time. Originally, I used a cup or two of diluted muriatic acid (35% HCl diluted to 10% HCl) every week or so as recommended by Bruce Van Sant. More recently, I have used a 1 oz scoop of citric acid powder (which I buy from Amazon in 5 lb bags) to the water in the bowl. Both remove the scale, and in use both fizz and stink of hydrogen sulfide. Beside the scale in the bowl which I can see, they also remove the similar scale that builds up on the joker valve. My valve does not seal when there is scale on it. It also must have its slit perpendicular to the two bolts in the flange that contains it in order to seal reliably. Even with periodic cleaning, the joker valves only have a life of two years or so; then they must be replaced. When the joker valve does not seal completely, the quart or so of "water" standing in the discharge hose rising toward the anti-siphon valve after flushing leaks back into the head partially filling the bowl.

I changed to citric acid as I am more comfortable with 5 lb of it on board rather than a gallon of muriatic acid. And, I am treating my holding tank with 1 oz citric acid and 1 or 2 oz of sodium nitrate after every pump out. The citric acid removes the "lime" deposits and the nitrate seems to keep the holding tank stink under control for a few days.

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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

I just ordered the Groco rebuild kit...
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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

Oh boy are you gonna have fun!
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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

I did a total rebuild over the winter. Removed the Model K and completely dis assembled it. Cleaned everything and replaced every single rubber part, put it back together and painted it. Works a charm now.
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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

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I did a total rebuild over the winter. Removed the Model K and completely dis assembled it. Cleaned everything and replaced every single rubber part, put it back together and painted it. Works a charm now.
Wow, that looks incredible!
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Re: GROCO K-type marine head question

I have the rebuild kit on hand... oh boy. I'm probably going to follow SanderO's example and just remove the whole thing, take it completely apart, clean it, use the rebuild kit parts up, put it back together, paint it, and re-install it. Sounds like a good late autumn project.

Meanwhile, I checked it today and pumped the bowl dry, but it didn't fill back up. I opened the intake valves to pump water through but nothing came out... pretty sure the intake is fouled with marine growth, judging by how much green slimy stuff was visible just below the waterline. Great...

Even more problematic, I noticed that the electric bilge pump was not set to "auto" (it was "off") - when I switched it to "auto", I heard this weird electronic-sounding noise coming from the pump (the bilge was dry) so I turned it back to "off" because I didn't want to leave the boat with it making that noise. If it isn't one thing, it's another...
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