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* Do NOT plumb directly to potable water. Bugs can swim upstream into the rest of the water system. This is why all home toilets have an air gap or other backflow prevention mechanism. You can use the sink drain or use the shower sprayer to fill the bowl.

* You can buy the pump as a unit, making for a very easy replacement with a long life. This is a popular option, since it is easier than replacing the head and contains all of the moving parts. The rebuild kit is not a good deal. You should be expecting to replace the joker valve on any head every 1-3 years.

* The little bit of leakage you describe probably does not harm function and can simply be ignored.

* Seawater flush sailors have trouble with scale build-up, but not brackish, if they flush enough. Depends on how brackish. But if the boat survived 20 years, I'm guessing not too bad.

* The stink is only the first flush or 2, when you've been away for a while (anaerobic bacteria convert the sulfate in seawater to sulfide). On extended trips it is not a problem. Whether freshwater flush makes sense depends significantly on whether you have trouble with running out of freshwater; if you are stopping in marinas a lot or have big tanks, freshwater works well. If you stay on the hook a lot, shower, and have smaller tanks, not so much.
 
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