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Old 11-04-2015, 09:09   #31
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
As you prob'ly know, the original Skipper was made by Wilcox-Crittenden and was indeed the gold standard in manual toilets (although Groco is likely to argue that point)...a bronze "throne" made to last 100 years with minimal maintenance. It used to be that you could send the pump back to W-C for a complete overhaul if it needed more than you wanted to do to it, but those days ended when Thetford bought Wilcox-Crittenden a few years ago and then discontinued the entire W-C product line because there just isn't enough profit in repair parts for toilets that rarely need any.

However, the Skipper II wasn't made by W-C, but by Thetford, only for a couple of years. It's not nearly the quality that the original Skipper was. The asking price of $200 with a repair kit thrown in is a decent deal if shipping from Canada with all the customs brokerage fees etc and international rates don't drive that up too much. The biggest downside is, no one in Thetford customer service knows a thing about any W-C branded product, even those Thetford made...so there's no tech support, no trouble-shooting help whatever. And the only parts left for any of the W-C products are rebuild kits and whatever else is left on Thetford's shelves.
Thank you. I didn't realize that the Thetford products weren't the same quality as W-C.

The W-C's come up on Ebay from time to time but perhaps a more modern design in a manual head is robust enough?
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:31   #32
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

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Originally Posted by appick View Post
So we just got a new boat. It has an old RV style recirculating toilet with built in holding tank. By some miracle it still works and doesn't leak but I'm not going to trust that will continue. I'm planning on replacing this and installing a new holding tank and head.

My question to you guys is what types brands models of heads do you like? I'm currently undecided on whether I want to go with an electric flush or stick with the KISS theory and keep a manual flush. We had a manual flush on the last boat and no issues with use for either of us. So what do you like? What lasts, and doesn't need a rebuild every year or 2months.

I'm really not interested in composting heads so that's a no go from the start. I've just never had that much of an odor issue or problems with a plain old marine head to warrant the composting ones.
The epitome of KISS is the Lavac head. It uses a bilge pump, and if you want electric, they work great with a Whale Gulper 320 pump. [You can keep the manual pump in line with the electric...] The ultimate trick is to plumb it so the manual or electric pump can also be used to empty the holding tank. [This requires a couple of extra Y valves...]

I have had them on 3 different boats over the last 30 years and never an issue sans a broken lid on one on the current boat (not the toilet's fault...)

I have also recommended them to many other boaters over the years and to this day we remain friends...

Both heads on my current boat have Lavacs [although I plan to replace 1 with a composting head to eliminate 1 holding tank...] and are rigged to flush with fresh or raw water as desired. [I have a watermaker...]

I have found fresh water flush is best in warmer climes, but in cooler climates, raw is fine... [I always lay up with vinegar in the lines anyway when away from the boat for any period of time...]

Last I knew, St. Brendan's Isle [the mail handling service in Florida] was also the only US rep for Lavac heads and parts.

Good luck with this important quest.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:34   #33
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

Having had a Raritan "you-pump-um" for years and made more than the acceptable number of rebuilds (pump cylinder eventually wore out), as well as considering the fact that pumping while rocking and rolling underway, as one tries to avoid throwing up, if they haven't already (when it is not particularly safe to barf over the side), breathing hard as you raise and lower the handle (which has broken off on occasion) and being perfumed with your nose being close to the “fragrance” in a confined area - even with the lid down, as well as other uninviting possibilities, I found it to be an unpleasant experience for taking care of a necessity. Therefore, I opted to install a TMC electric head (was outside US at the time), and found no need to ever look back. In addition, after a number of years, I haven't had to do any maintenance. However, just in case something should not be working properly as I put to sea again, I recently purchased replacement parts from TMC.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:34   #34
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

Lavac is available from Defender.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:41   #35
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Peggie wrote: "The average flush from most manual or electric toilets is .6 gallons. The average adult uses a toilet 5x/24 hrs...which would put the flush water consumption at about 3gal/day/person. This can impacted by use of the lee rail when possible..."dry flush" for urine only except for one flush a day to rinse the bowl. "

So, about 3 gallons of fresh water per day per person.

For a couple on a boat, that is about 6 gallons on average per day just to flush.


While I can see that would not be a problem for a boat that goes daysailing or is used for only a few nights away from a marina, or for a boat with a daily use of the water maker or for a boat with many hundreds of gallons of fresh water tankage….

It might be too much for a smaller "long distance voyaging" boat that does not want to run a generator every day or may not have a water maker and most likely has smaller tanks. Six (6) gallons of water (for flushing alone) per day is another Jerry Jug that might need to be hauled to the boat and lifted and decanted into the tank.

So, I like the idea of having the Fresh Water Flushing Head, but I think I would want to have the option to use the salt water as possible or when needed.

Peggie mentioned the use of a gallon bottle of salt water to flush when on a passage, if the boat is on fresh water restrictions. I like that practical solution too.

We use a VacuFlush. The brochure says it uses only 1 pint per flush. More if you have solid waste to get rid of but still very little water. I think that is quite a bit less than other fresh water electric flush heads. It is not a KISS or cheap system though.


S/V B'Shert
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:56   #36
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

Raritan ph II
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:01   #37
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

I take a different approach.

NEVER ever use the head.

At the dock I run to the shore heads.
At anchor, I go for a dip.
Under way, I pee over the side, or hang precariously over the stern.
I always offer the ladies a bucket and some privacy.

I haven't used the head on my boat in over 2 years. Don't plan to start anytime soon.

Also, I don't get a lot friends/family nagging me to take them out sailing anymore...which is a bonus.

Enjoy.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:39   #38
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

I have a nice PH-II for sale for $50 if you're interested, plus shipping. In Santa Cruz, CA.

Chuck
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:02   #39
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

On my lake boat, I used the Pura San and was very happy with it. On the salt water boat, I installed the Electro Scan and am very pleased with it as well.

The holding tank is required in only a few places, but be sure to check before you purchase.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 11-04-2015, 13:24   #40
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

Peggy,
Whereon the product do you suggest lubricating on the PH-II? I'm on my third one over 15 years. I like the PH-II, but I've found them easier to toss after 5 year cycles, compared to the trudge of re-building. Our boat was in charter over those years, so the heads got a lot of use. I'd like to service the new one, now that we are on board more frequently..Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2015, 13:59   #41
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Hey, I've got a Skipper II head that I replaced with a composter (one of the best upgrades IMO ). It was working fine when we pulled it off the boat a few years ago, although it has been sitting in an unheated garage ever since. Might need some valve changes, but I'm sure it's still fine. It's a great head, but I have no use for it anymore.



Shipping would be a PITA, and kinda costly, but it retailed for over $1000, so I'd be happy to let it go for $200 + shipping costs from Thunder Bay, Ontario.



I even have a repair kit and some valve parts somewhere....



http://www.usna.edu/Sailing/document...headrepair.pdf

If the OP doesn't take you up on your offer, I'd be interested in the spare parts/rebuild kit. Feel free to PM. Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
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Old 11-04-2015, 15:29   #42
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

I switched to a Lavac and have rarely had to do anything to it (actually, I have done nothing to the toilet itself but I did rebuild the pump once or twice - in nearly 20 years of liveaboard use). This product is so good that the SSCA established a special honor for it in their product evaluations. For keeping maintenance low it is simply unbeatable. It is also very compact.

I have not put an electric pump in-line, although that is quite possible. I would be reluctant to have an electric pump without a manual backup.

The idea of using 6 gallons a day of fresh water for a couple to just flush the head is obscenely wasteful. I do have a low capacity RO unit (PowerSurvivor40) but I still wouldn't want to run it to provide flushing water. I'm not sure what the point is; a well-designed and maintained head shouldn't be smelly. Just make sure to use sanitation-grade hose, and flush all material out of the boat (which is no problem because you are using salt water, right?). For the fastidious there are enzyme additives that can be used in holding tanks to keep the odors at bay.

If you do much traveling you will want a holding tank; there are a fair number of no-discharge zones around which will not allow treated discharge.

Some folks like the composting toilets. They are too bulky to fit in my boat, and require carrying around a supply of bark dust or whatever - great for cruising the Pacific Northwest but probably very inconvenient for world cruising. YMMV

I use the Lavac pump to also pump the holding tank overboard. There are two bronze diverter valves to make that happen (DO NOT BUY the plastic/rubber valves - they are not up to the job). If I were starting over I would use the same model pump for all of the 1-1/2" pumping applications (bilge, etc) and then have just one repair kit for all of them.

Occasionally leave vinegar or other weak acid in the hoses to dissolve the mineral deposits.

Greg
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Old 11-04-2015, 15:53   #43
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

PDX--I'm with you up to the Y-valves. Instead, install a an identical Henderson pump dedicated just for emptying the holding tank. Eliminating the Y-valves greatly reduces your chances of clogs and service issues, as there is only a smooth hose between the pump and tank. And no risk of someone setting valves incorrectly.
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Old 11-04-2015, 17:01   #44
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

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simple Jabsco head with holding tank. Add an aquarium pump to the holding tank to constantly pump odors overboard. There is never an odor onboard my boat.
Yeah, I second this. jabsco are cheap and reliable. No special toilet paper required. No smell, well except the dead salt water smell if you don't use it for a week.

When I purchased my 36 footer three years ago it had a tight cramped head which your feet poked out under the screen door. It also had the smallest size bowl. It had a plastic holding tank that couldn't be used because there was no way where I live to pump out.

The year before I hired a yacht in the Whitsundays for a trial two week holiday. It had a plastic holding tank on the wall above the exit seacock. You simply turned the seacock off when in areas you couldn't discharge to.

So, I purchsed a 25ltr (small one) bulkhead holding tank ($200), and a large bowl electric Jabsco. The Jabsco pumps to the holding tank. Then falls by gravity through the seacock outside. If I'm at the dock, I just turn off the seacock and I can still use the toilet. 25ltrs is around four days of waste for one person. But you can buy bigger. I should have purchsed bigger, it was my only mistake.

I also boxed out an area for the head and waterproofed it complete with a Gulper320 to a floor grate so we can now completely close the door and have a shower.

The only negative is that everyone in the boat knows when you have taken a dump as with the Jabsco you have to flush the electric every half doz toilet pieces or it will block and then you have to wait for the paper to break down to clear it. And the motor is noisy, too noisy for night time use if everyone is asleep.
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Old 11-04-2015, 20:09   #45
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Re: A fresh start for the head on my boat need advice

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
We use a VacuFlush. The brochure says it uses only 1 pint per flush. More if you have solid waste to get rid of but still very little water. I think that is quite a bit less than other fresh water electric flush heads. It is not a KISS or cheap system though.


S/V B'Shert
The Raritan Marine Elegance uses only 0.6 liters per flush in the water-saving mode... that's less than manual heads and less than other electric heads except for the VacuFlush, which is far too complex and costly for my little boat. This is the main reason I chose it over a manual head, given the fact that I had room for only a 12-gallon holding tank.

It is mechanically very simple (fewer moving parts than most manual heads, I'd wager) and actually less expensive than many high-quality manual heads.
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