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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
We are pretty close to the West Marine recommended system.

Everything always goes into the holding tank. We do have a vented loop between the head and holding tank as the lip of the toilet bowl is lower than the top of the holding tank. We have a Henderson diaphragm pump for discharging the holding tank as I consider it more reliable than an electric pump. The through hull is kept shut and padlocked inside the USA. Outside the USA the system allows us to choose the time and place of making an overboard discharge.

The level in the tank is monitored with a SCAD/Ferriello gauge. We have both the external tape sensor and the PVC internal pipe sensor. We are currently using the pipe sensor. We have a 4" Beckson clear deck plate in the tank top below which hangs a fishing bobber. If I can see the bobber floating, the tank is full.

The tank is full.

Bill Murdoch
1988 PSC 34
Irish Eyes
Thank you Bill. I'm very tempted to follow your example. That would remove two fittings and at least 5 feet of hose. Although it will be some time before I ever discharge overboard (I'll be on the Great Lakes for at least 5 more years), it'd be nice to be able to select the time to discharge. There is a Whale pump already in the setup to allow one to discharge from the holding tank. I can't think of any advantage to keeping the direct overboard discharge. The only problem that I have is that I'll have to remove the Y-fitting at the seacock (I'm going to bring the pipe wrenches to the boat tomorrow to assess just how difficult that is going to be). Actually, I wonder if they make a plug, that I could replace the hose barb fitting with and then not have to go to the trouble of removing the Y.

Did you do this conversion yourself Bill? I've done a lot of plumbing work on houses, however I haven't yet done any work on the bronze thru-hulls. Would one use regular teflon tape on the threaded fittings or is there a special (probably much more expensive) product that is used to help assure a waterproof seal on the threads?
 

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Did you do this conversion yourself Bill? I've done a lot of plumbing work on houses, however I haven't yet done any work on the bronze thru-hulls. Would one use regular teflon tape on the threaded fittings or is there a special (probably much more expensive) product that is used to help assure a waterproof seal on the threads?
When I bought the boat the holding tank could only be emptied by sucking it out through the deck. The hoses were old and their routing was poor. I replaced all the hoses and set the system up to match the sketch. I removed an existing vented loop that was in the sea water intake line because air was sucking into the loop when flushing the head and because Groco assured me that it was not needed with their head. I chose a Whale Henderson Mk 5 waste pump to empty the tank for reliability reasons, because the rubber diaphragm was fully enclosed, and because it matched the holes that were under the vee berth cushion.

The only one of the boat's skin fitting that I have worked on was the exhaust fitting in the lazarette. The elbow corroded through, and I replaced it and the shut off valve. I wish that job on no one except a three armed midget.

I use Teflon tape on most pipe threads and find the thicker sorts to be a little easier to use. If escaped fragments of the Teflon tape could be a problem with downstream equipment, I'll use pipe dope.

Bill Murdoch
Irish Eyes
1988 PSC 34
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
When I bought the boat the holding tank could only be emptied by sucking it out through the deck. The hoses were old and their routing was poor. I replaced all the hoses and set the system up to match the sketch. I removed an existing vented loop that was in the sea water intake line because air was sucking into the loop when flushing the head and because Groco assured me that it was not needed with their head. I chose a Whale Henderson Mk 5 waste pump to empty the tank for reliability reasons, because the rubber diaphragm was fully enclosed, and because it matched the holes that were under the vee berth cushion.

Bill Murdoch
Irish Eyes
1988 PSC 34
Mine doesn't have a vented loop on the sea water intake either. I hope that's because the Raritan PHII doesn't need one either, rather than the alternative which is that a PO just replaced the Groco and never bothered to check.

Inspired by your setup, I went to the boat today to see if I could change the mess of fittings on the overboard discharge seacock. Brawn versus bronze. And unlike most boat projects, brawn won the day! The old setup had a Y, with a 90 degree elbow on one side and a ball valve and 90 degree elbow on the other. Now, I'll only have a 90 degree elbow on top of the seacock. Even in the tight space, difficult to get a pipe wrench in there, a bit of heat from my trusty propane torch and some creative grips on the fittings with the wrench, and off the old fittings came! Further, I won't need the T that was just downhill from the vented loop. And I'll be able to reroute the line to the tank so there isn't a low spot. Even though I only removed a couple of bronze fittings from the seacock, I feel like I made a lot of progress today! Thanks for the suggestion Bill.

Here is the before and after of the thru-hull.

And, just for fun, a shot of the cement barge being towed down the Cuyahoga River, which is where the boatyard is located.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
My re-plumbing and head replacement project is moving along well. So far I have all the 1.5" hose replaced, new bronze Groco vented loop installed, rebedded the deck plate, rebuilt the Whale discharge pump (btw, you can get a nitrile diaphragm for the Gusher [1994 vintage] which is supposed to be more impervious than the original neoprene), cut a hole in the top of the holding tank cover for a 4" clear inspection/cleanout port, removed all the low spots in the plumbing, and removed the direct overboard discharge line.

Some before and after photos:
 

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Discussion Starter #25
A few more after photos. So much cleaner and the 'head' smell is abating. Also repainted all the interior cabinet spaces while the hoses were out. Just need to finish installing the new Groco head and the project will be complete.
 

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A few more after photos. So much cleaner and the 'head' smell is abating. Also repainted all the interior cabinet spaces while the hoses were out. Just need to finish installing the new Groco head and the project will be complete.
Bill,

Looks really neat. I'm wondering if I shouldn't do the same next time I haul. How easy was it to work with the saniflex hose? Is it a lot more flexible than the exhaust hose Pacific Seacraft installed originally? Did you wind up putting in a y-valve, or did you get rid of the holding tank bypass? Any more info on the nitrile membrane for the gusher? I noticed in the past that when I winterize the system, antifreeze seems to affect the rubber.

Thanks,
Joost
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Bill,

Looks really neat. I'm wondering if I shouldn't do the same next time I haul. How easy was it to work with the saniflex hose? Is it a lot more flexible than the exhaust hose Pacific Seacraft installed originally? Did you wind up putting in a y-valve, or did you get rid of the holding tank bypass? Any more info on the nitrile membrane for the gusher? I noticed in the past that when I winterize the system, antifreeze seems to affect the rubber.

Thanks,
Joost
Thanks Joost. The Sani-flex hose is really great. I had to cut the old Shields hose off the barbs with a Dremel and sometimes cut it in half with a Sawzall just to get it out. Of course it was probably 25 years old and very brittle. Even the new Shields that I used when I replaced my exhaust line was much more difficult to work with than the Sani-flex. I highly recommend the Sani-flex, at least for workability (only time will tell on the permeation issue).

I decided to follow what Bill Murdoch has on his PSC 34 and got rid of the holding tank bypass line. It just didn't seem like I would ever really need it (and now I've jinxed myself, and will actually need it). I rebuilt the Whale Gusher, so that is very unlikely to fail for some time, and it's a very simple, fairly foolproof design. The only online place that I could find the rebuild kit with the nitrile diaphragm was Fisheries Supply. Whale's part number is AK4419. Just plug that into Fisheries' search window (there isn't a picture nor much of a description, but I got the part number from the US distributor for Whale and the kit fit my pump perfectly).

My old diaphragm had a strange slim on the outside of it. I thought it was just permeation from the contents of the holding tank, but maybe it was because of the anti-freeze. The pump that they make specially for pumping a holding tank has a nitrile diaphragm, so maybe this will work better. I asked the support person about swapping out pumps, but she didn't think that was necessary, as long as I used the nitrile rebuild kit.

I'm looking forward to having an odor-free, or at least a less offensive odor on board this season. It hasn't been as nasty a job as I was thinking it might be. Worst part is getting into the tight spaces and removing the old stinky lines.
 

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Thanks Joost. The Sani-flex hose is really great. I had to cut the old Shields hose off the barbs with a Dremel and sometimes cut it in half with a Sawzall just to get it out. Of course it was probably 25 years old and very brittle. Even the new Shields that I used when I replaced my exhaust line was much more difficult to work with than the Sani-flex. I highly recommend the Sani-flex, at least for workability (only time will tell on the permeation issue).

I decided to follow what Bill Murdoch has on his PSC 34 and got rid of the holding tank bypass line. It just didn't seem like I would ever really need it (and now I've jinxed myself, and will actually need it). I rebuilt the Whale Gusher, so that is very unlikely to fail for some time, and it's a very simple, fairly foolproof design. The only online place that I could find the rebuild kit with the nitrile diaphragm was Fisheries Supply. Whale's part number is AK4419. Just plug that into Fisheries' search window (there isn't a picture nor much of a description, but I got the part number from the US distributor for Whale and the kit fit my pump perfectly).

My old diaphragm had a strange slim on the outside of it. I thought it was just permeation from the contents of the holding tank, but maybe it was because of the anti-freeze. The pump that they make specially for pumping a holding tank has a nitrile diaphragm, so maybe this will work better. I asked the support person about swapping out pumps, but she didn't think that was necessary, as long as I used the nitrile rebuild kit.

I'm looking forward to having an odor-free, or at least a less offensive odor on board this season. It hasn't been as nasty a job as I was thinking it might be. Worst part is getting into the tight spaces and removing the old stinky lines.
You're motivating me to do the same on my boat. At the very least I need to rebuild the pump - I've noticed it weeping whenever I winterize the system and I can only imagine what would happen if it tore while pumping. I've been putting off replacing the sanitation hose as I didn't want to deal with the stiff Trident hose, but it sounds like the sani-flex is the thing to use.

Joost
 

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Bill, most likely I'll be replacing the sanitation hoses in my boat this spring. I noticed some of the old hoses are cracked and the small is noticeably stronger than before.

How is the sani-flex working for you? Are you still happy with it? A few more questions if you don't mind. What is the inner diameter of the hose you used? Is it 1.25 or 1.5 inch? How much hose did you need? And how much time should I budget for this? I think you used a dremel tool to remove the hoses from their fixture - how did you prevent scoring the fixtures?

Thanks!
Joost
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Bill, most likely I'll be replacing the sanitation hoses in my boat this spring. I noticed some of the old hoses are cracked and the small is noticeably stronger than before.

How is the sani-flex working for you? Are you still happy with it? A few more questions if you don't mind. What is the inner diameter of the hose you used? Is it 1.25 or 1.5 inch? How much hose did you need? And how much time should I budget for this? I think you used a dremel tool to remove the hoses from their fixture - how did you prevent scoring the fixtures?

Thanks!
Joost
To date I'm very happy with the Sani-flex. Still an odor-free head. Mine was (and I assume yours is too) 1.5 inch ID (503529HID112 is the part number from Defender). As to the length, I'm not sure what I actually used, I'll measure next time I'm on the boat (should be sometime later this week). I ordered 30 feet, but that is much more than I ended up using, especially since I removed the 'direct overboard' option from mine.

As to time, I have no idea. I did so much beyond just changing out the hoses (isn't that always the way with boat projects), so it's difficult to say. Disinfected, cleaned, sanded and painted the interior of the compartments where I removed the hose (even the cabinet surfaces had a rather 'heady' smell). I removed all the doors, sanded and varnished with six or seven layers of high gloss (Epifanes). Changed the head itself and rebedded the deck plate. I'm guessing that if you worked at it, one could remove all the old hoses in a day or less. Then a day or two to cut and reinstall? Just a guess. However, if your hoses hadn't been changed in some time, like mine, just doing the hoses won't get rid of the smell, and you may as well at least clean and repaint the interiors of the cabinets while the hose is out.

With the Dremel and a thin diamond wheel, it was quite easy to control and I didn't go all the way through, just most of the way, then the hose easily yielded. I also cut the hose into smaller pieces to make removal easier. That old hose gets pretty stiff and there was no point in fighting it when it was going in the dumpster anyway.

Best of luck on your project. I am very glad that I did mine, it's so nice not to have to apologize for the 'boat smell' when I have guests on board.

I'll check the lengths next time I'm at the boatyard.
 

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Bill, thanks - this is very helpful. The smell isn't too bad yet, but seems worse than in previous years. Not a job I'm looking forward to...

Joost
 

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Bill, most likely I'll be replacing the sanitation hoses in my boat this spring. I noticed some of the old hoses are cracked and the small is noticeably stronger than before.

How is the sani-flex working for you? Are you still happy with it? A few more questions if you don't mind. What is the inner diameter of the hose you used? Is it 1.25 or 1.5 inch? How much hose did you need? And how much time should I budget for this? I think you used a dremel tool to remove the hoses from their fixture - how did you prevent scoring the fixtures?

Thanks!
Joost
I prefer the trident green stripe hose. 12 years since the replace and still no smell. The trick is fresh water rinse, leave no effluent in the line, and we have 2 vents for the tank.

https://www.downwindmarine.com/Marine-Sanitation-Hose-Trident-101-102-Sani-Shield-p-90891025.html
 

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Discussion Starter #34
I prefer the trident green stripe hose. 12 years since the replace and still no smell. The trick is fresh water rinse, leave no effluent in the line, and we have 2 vents for the tank.

https://www.downwindmarine.com/Marine-Sanitation-Hose-Trident-101-102-Sani-Shield-p-90891025.html
Looks like nice hose too. How is it to work with?

I agree, fresh water rinse and lines that don't have any low spots are essential. Despite that, there are always spots, for instance the hose that goes up to the deck plate, where there will be effluent sitting in the hose. Then it simply comes down to how long before it penetrates the hose wall.
 

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TQUIG: We installed an Air Head because of its slightly smaller size. It fills up the head compartment but works OK as far as size. It does not smell. After some usage we quit adding toilet paper and it seems to work better. Was did smell for about 1.5 years was left over smells from the previous head. Smells lingered even after removing all hoses, cleaning and sealing the inside of the holding tank.
regards charlie
PSC-34
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Discussion Starter #38
Bill, most likely I'll be replacing the sanitation hoses in my boat this spring. I noticed some of the old hoses are cracked and the small is noticeably stronger than before.

How is the sani-flex working for you? Are you still happy with it? A few more questions if you don't mind. What is the inner diameter of the hose you used? Is it 1.25 or 1.5 inch? How much hose did you need? And how much time should I budget for this? I think you used a dremel tool to remove the hoses from their fixture - how did you prevent scoring the fixtures?

Thanks!
Joost
Finally got some measurements for you on lengths. I'd say that 25 feet would take care of you, if you don't include the direct overboard discharge (I got rid of that line, following Bill Murdoch's suggestion). Seven feet from the head to the vented loop, 5 feet from the vented loop to the tank, another 5 feet from the bottom of the tank to the cleanup, and then 3 feet on the tank side of the pump and 4 feet from the pump to the discharge thru hull. All of those are rather generous measurements so you'll have a little left over more than likely.
 

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Hi Bill,

Thanks so much for the measurements - 25 feet is exactly how much hose I got. I'm actually in the middle of the project right now. I decided to keep the direct discharge line, mainly as a backup system, but am installing a Y-valve instead of that T-fitting. That way the direct discharge is always closed off except when we need to use it for some reason. Removing the old hoses was a pain...

Thanks,
Joost
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Hi Bill,

Thanks so much for the measurements - 25 feet is exactly how much hose I got. I'm actually in the middle of the project right now. I decided to keep the direct discharge line, mainly as a backup system, but am installing a Y-valve instead of that T-fitting. That way the direct discharge is always closed off except when we need to use it for some reason. Removing the old hoses was a pain...

Thanks,
Joost
I think that you'll be glad that you made the change. It's so much nicer to open up the boat and not smell or have to apologize to a guest for the 'boat smell.' Make sure that you use some sort of bleach or disinfectant (I used Odoban) and wipe down all the interior spaces under the sink and the vee-bunk. Mine were pretty saturated with odor.

One other think you might consider, while you're at it. I didn't have any way of knowing whether the holding tank was full. I installed a clear, 4" inspection port in the lid of the tank. Seal it VERY well though.
 
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