SailNet Community banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was silly enough to buy an O'Day 30 today.

The seller tells me he recently replaced the head pump, and converted from manual to electric. The reason given was the old pump leaked (OK), and had "too much friction" (huh?).

New system does not work because it "has too much friction".

I'm pretty ignorant of marine heads, most everything I've had before either had a porta potty, or a system that worked and needed nothing whilst I owned it. Apparently, I forgot to take a picture of the head. I think it's a Jabsco.

Does this "too much friction" thing make sense? Can someone use different works and dumb it down to 3rd grade level for me?

(Part of my purchase budget is scrapping the current system & installing a composting toilet. Still, I'd rather spend that money later if this might be a reasonably cheap fix.)

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,688 Posts
Congratulations on your new boat!! Do you think that maybe the P.O. was constipated? Sounds like you will need to try using the head yourself and see what the problem is. You might want to check to see if the holding tank is full, or if there are kinks in the hoses. That would certainly keep the pump and head from working properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,716 Posts
Can't translate. Would need a better description of what and when that means. Marine heads require some maintenance. More importantly, they need to be flushed properly to prevent odors. After you evacuate the waste, from the bowl, you must flush sufficient clear water to push all the way to the holding tank. Otherwise, it will permeate your hoses and/or settle against the joker valve and clog.

Buy Peggy Hall's book, How to eliminate boat odors. It's a good tutorial on how they work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
Might try pouring a bunch of vinegar down the head. If you can force into the obstruction it will dissolve the calcium deposits from urine. If it is an obstructed hose from calcium build up and you can't get the vinegar to work it's magic, you'll have to remove the hose and beat the crap out of it to break up the deposits. Had to do this once when we were cruising. Took the hose ashore and flailed it against rocks to break up the deposits.

In any case there is precious little friction in a head's action but a clog will build up back pressure.
 

·
Registered
1981 Endeavour 32
Joined
·
1,029 Posts
My guess would be translating “friction” as backpressure, meaning a clogged vent. Try checking where the vent exits at the hull - if there’s a screen there it could be corroded and gunked up. There could also just be solids from the tank that have clogged the vent line if it was ever overfilled, and that may require using something to snake the line to clear it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
441 Posts
My guess would be translating “friction” as backpressure, meaning a clogged vent. Try checking where the vent exits at the hull - if there’s a screen there it could be corroded and gunked up. There could also just be solids from the tank that have clogged the vent line if it was ever overfilled, and that may require using something to snake the line to clear it.
You might try loosening the deck pumpout cap a couple of turns or even removing it (I'd put an expendable old rag around it in case anything slops out) and seeing if the pumping gets easier. I'd pump very gently at first so as not to move anything up the clean-out tube. If so it's likely the vent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
Vinegar has been proven an old wives tale.


Slapping hoses on rocks works, but I'd just buy new hoses, unless stranded.
Guess I better talk to my Old Wife cause vinegar worked fine on my new to me Sabre. Head developed back pressure soon after I bought it. Dumped in a gallon of Vinegar, thankyou Costco, over a couple of days and back pressure problem went away never to return. Head was still working fine when I ditched the head and holding tank for C-head dessicating head a couple of years later.

The hose beating was necessitated by being stuck at a remote anchorage in the Marquesas with no hope of getting a new hose without sailing hundreds of miles to Papeete.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I spent the day at the boat.

Maybe the problem has something to do with the inline fuse holder that rotted to nothing, and has no fuse in it. It didn't look melty, just OLD.

Rewiring is on the ever expanding list of projects.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,239 Posts
Well the electric problem could be it LOL

Theres 2 reasons for the "friction": The pipes get clogged; Lack of lubrication in the pump.

The pipes don't last long. I live on my boat 24/7 and the head pipes are being changed in my January haulout after being changed in 2017. So 3 to 4 years is probably normal.
Theres no real way of clearing out the build-up in the pipes no matter what anyone says. You might be able to slow the build-up in new pipes by using acid (i doubt vinegar is strong enough). Muraic certainly does something but its pretty scary to use because I think its going to blow the thing to smithereens and sink the boat.

The lubrication of the pump by putting a bit of vegetable oil into the head each week, and occasionally unscrewing the top handle assembly and lubricating the shaft.

BTW I think electric heads are crazy... too many things to go wrong at sea with the result being a very unsafe alternative method.

All in all I think keeping it new.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,716 Posts
BTW I think electric heads are crazy... too many things to go wrong at sea
Failures are hard to deal with, but I have a couple of other perspectives. An electric mascerating head is all but impossible to clog, if it's flushed properly. Paper and all. Big advantage. If a boat had only one head, I'd probably be reluctant, but we have 3! Not too worried about losing one, while underway. Another alternative is to have a combination of manual and electric, if the vessel has more than one head. There is also a manufacturer out there, who makes an electric head, with a manual backup (I forget which).

All mine are electric and identical, so I keep one set of spares: mascerating pump, water intake pump, joker valves and a switch. There nothing more to it, but hose.

I've needed to replace the mascerator pumps, over the years. I think it's been woman's hair that gets in them and winds around the impeller shaft and wears them down. I've never needed to replace the intake pumps (fingers crossed). I also find the joker valves last substantially longer on mascerating heads than on manual heads. Perhaps it's because the effluent has been ground up and they are stressed less.
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
4,931 Posts
I agree with that. Except the electric head part as 11 months with 1 and 2 people full time there has been 0 maintenance needed on it. That is a lot less than my old manual one. Maybe i5 is because the new electric head is fresh water only.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,239 Posts
Electric heads are a mark of excessive wealth, conspicuous consumption and you all ought be sent for Re-Training in a Marxist gulag.

Plus, I had the displeasure of 5 days at sea on a boat with 2 heads joined to the same vacuum flushing think that stopped sucking. Hanging off the back was not for the feint of heart... and called for a cockpit audience for safety.

Made me Love my Jabsco :)
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
4,931 Posts
Electric heads are a mark of excessive wealth, conspicuous consumption and you all vought be sent for Re-Training in a Marxist gulag.[QUOTE="MarkofSeaLife, post: 2051698922, member: 182167
Spoken like a socialist crybaby wish I had :)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top