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Old 26-07-2019, 09:12   #1
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Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

I just went through the rewarding process of tearing down my Raritan Marine Elegance head to try to see why it wasn't emptying.

You hit the empty only, or the flush button and it fills no problem. The macerator and impeller run no problem.

But... Nothing leaves the bowl.

I took the entire thing apart and disassembled the macerator pump. I found some hair around the blade and cleaned that off thinking it may have been interfering with the flow of water over the impeller.

Everything else looked right. Impeller was in great shape, no blockage in the hose leading from the impeller housing to the joker valve in the line going to the tank.

The tank empties using the diapham pump, no issues.

Yet... The bowl will not drain!!!

I cannot understand this. What could be wrong?

Also, who is the "genius" who invented the marine head system anyway. Mentally challenged engineering for sure. A gravity drop into a tank would have been 1000x better.

Any idea?
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Old 26-07-2019, 11:13   #2
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

There is one of those. Traveler, I think it's called.

Anyway, is the discharge hose that runs from toilet to holding tank clear of obstruction?

-Chris
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Old 26-07-2019, 11:29   #3
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Any idea?

Yep...sounds like a circuit board problem....call Mac McCoy at Raritan 800-352-5630 x 306

Also, who is the "genius" who invented the head.html" target="_blank">marine-IRJDSUNE9932123321222xxeww-head system anyway. Mentally challenged engineering for sure. A gravity drop into a tank would have been 1000x better.

How many sailboats have bilges directly below the toilet to make that possible?

Also, who is the "genius" who invented the marine head system anyway. Mentally challenged engineering for sure.

Nope, he really was a genius...John Ericsson who was the Swedish engineer who designed the ironclad MONITOR. And it's a fascinating story;

About 30 years ago divers sifting through the wreckage of the ironclad Union Monitor off Cape Hatteras had found a flush toilet--the first ever on a boat. At first glance, a flush toilet aboard a ship may not seem impressive, but look for a moment at the context.

"Before the Civil War, only the rich owned flush toilets. It'd be a decade before that famous plumber, Thomas Crapper, would popularize water closets. And on a ship, you used either a slop bucket or a hole in the edge of an upper deck. But most of the low-lying Monitor, crew included, rode below the waterline. It had a serious waste-disposal problem: Toilets depended on gravity, and gravity can do little good below water. Waste had to be forced out.
"The Monitor's designer, Swedish engineer John Ericsson, had one of the most restlessly inventive minds of the 19th century. He solved the problem by creating a kind of mini-torpedo tube. After a sailor used the toilet, he had to close a near valve, open a far valve, then actuate a pump to drive the waste out (the toilets on today's submarines are still very similar to Ericsson's design.) The system was fiendishly tricky to use (and still is). One sailor turned the valves in the wrong sequence and was blown off the seat by a powerful jet of seawater. Problems like that bedeviled the Monitor. It was one-of-a-kind all the way through. From its radical use of new screw propellers to its 120 revolving gun turret, everything on the MONITOR was new."

(Excerpted from "The MONITOR'S FLUSH TOILET" by by John H. Lienhard)
You can read the entire article, which covers a lot more than just the toilet, here: The Monitor's Flush Toilet

--Peggie
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Old 26-07-2019, 11:34   #4
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

His toilet is a Raritan Marine Elegance, Chris!


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Old 26-07-2019, 15:54   #5
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Thanks, Peggy. And thanks for the interesting background on the origin of the marine head.

I just isolated the circuit board from the macerator pump by feeding the pump 12v directly, completely bypassing the circuit board. Same result.

So, it's a plumbing or impeller issue. Ugh.

When a joker valve breaks, it usually stops acting as a 1 way path, correct? It can't freeze shut all of a sudden, can it?

Also, there was a bit of a strange noise from the macerator in the days leading up to this. I can barely describe the noise. It was almost like a squeak while the thing was running.

When I had it apart, the impeller seemed to turn the motor shaft. I could feel the magnets of the motor as I spun the impeller by hand.

I wonder if some piece is missing that the impeller blades interact with? Broke off and went to the tank?

Really running out of ideas.

The water level goes down by about an inch in the bowl (God how I wish it was water) when the macerator comes on. But then it gets blended up like a blender instead of pumped out of the bowl. When you stop the macerator, the "water" level in the bowl returns to where it was.
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Old 26-07-2019, 18:55   #6
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Really running out of ideas.


CALL RARITAN!! (which you could have done today but now will have to wait till Monday). Unlike some equipment mfrs, Raritan has tech support people who can actually trouble shoot a problem and give you the solution, and problems with the Elegance are so rare that Raritan is the only reliable source for the correct information you need. I gave you the name and phone # of the Raritan tech I recommend, early enough in the day that you could have called him today..now you'll have to wait till Monday and you have no one to blame that you don't already have the information you need to solve your problem but you...CALL HIM!!



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Old 27-07-2019, 03:51   #7
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
There is one of those. Traveler, I think it's called.

Anyway, is the discharge hose that runs from toilet to holding tank clear of obstruction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
His toilet is a Raritan Marine Elegance, Chris!
Yep, I realized that. Do those not connect to a hose after the joker valve that leads to a holding tank?

I had a similar symptom once when I had that hose disconnected for a bit, while I was waiting on parts to install a new joker valve. The hose clog dried up hard, couldn't even get a plumber's snake through it... had to use Sew Clean to open it up. That worked well, at least.

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Old 27-07-2019, 12:12   #8
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Had similar problem recently, I put in a air purge valve in the discharge line, not realising that scale had broken away from the pipe and collected in a manner completely blocking the discharge. Best to replace the discharge pipe.
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Old 27-07-2019, 12:48   #9
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

I had the same problem exactly with the same head. Turns out my waste hose was completely obstructed by uric crystals, and my joker valve was worn out. Replaced both and all is well again. Check your hose for obstruction.
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Old 27-07-2019, 13:19   #10
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Silly questions, just in case...
1. Is your holding tank empty? I presume so since you say the "tank empties using the diaphragm pump". If the tank is full, the bowl will not drain properly.
2. Is your Y-valve all the way in the correct position? Might be worth rotating it to the overboard discharge position, then back to holding tank.

Someone mentioned replacing the discharge line if it is filled with uric acid crystals, but you can try muriatic acid first to break down the crystals and, at least partially, clean the line. But, if it's really old, it might be worth replacing regardless.

-David.
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Old 27-07-2019, 13:23   #11
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Oh boy. Not the best news. That's what I was fearing. An obstruction in the discharge pipe. It's absolutely loaded with the worst smelling, non urine flush I've ever encountered. ��

There was a little bit of it in the area between the macerator and the last joker valve and I thought I was going to puke. I've been elbow deep in other people's waste a few times before (thanks to the brilliant invention of the marine head) but this is such a bad one.

May just replace the entire thing with a dry toilet at this point. I can't understand this Rube Goldberg thing called a marine head. So unreliable. So smelly. Gravity drop or dry toilets are all I can really see working for the long haul. Such terrible design. Always and forever breaking.

I guess it'll also be nice to get rid of the head smell they all inevitably get after a couple years.
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Old 27-07-2019, 13:26   #12
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Rant over. Lol

I actually don't have a Y valve. It's straight to the tank (empty tank). Then tank has a diaphragm pump to go overboard... Or you use deck pumpout. Does not go directly to the sea with a y valve in any case.

If it did, I may have been able to use that temporarily to keep it running I think.

Oh well. I think I'll upgrade to a head without plumbing and complicated machinery at this point. Tired of all these years of all these different systems failing on every single boat.
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Old 27-07-2019, 22:23   #13
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

Run muriatic acid through your system if you can get the head to pump it up toward the tank. Even if you have to do it in stages. It will descale things very fast. It will also knock the odor down incredibly quick as that scale will go to the holding tank where it will be able to get some oxygen and off gas out the vent. Don't waste your time with vinegar. Google safety precautions using muriatic acid because while it works very well, it can be extremely dangerous if used improperly.
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Old 28-07-2019, 02:43   #14
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

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Run muriatic acid through your system if you can get the head to pump it up toward the tank. Even if you have to do it in stages. It will descale things very fast. It will also knock the odor down incredibly quick as that scale will go to the holding tank where it will be able to get some oxygen and off gas out the vent. Don't waste your time with vinegar. Google safety precautions using muriatic acid because while it works very well, it can be extremely dangerous if used improperly.

Worth a shot for sure. I may try this today.

Only tricky thing will be if it doesn't work. Then I have a bowl and macerator full of acid to contend with.

I've used it to clean off the "brown smile" from the bow before so I'm familiar with how dangerous it is. And I can't imagine using it indoors. Would need a great respirator for that. Eye protection too I'd think I still from the fumes.

But. I bet it'll work.

I think I'm still going to upgrade the head to something that uses gravity and minimal plumbing though for now. Thanks for the thought and the idea which definitely would work.
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Old 28-07-2019, 03:49   #15
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Re: Absolutely Stumped - Raritan Marine Elegance Head Won't Empty

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Oh boy. Not the best news. That's what I was fearing. An obstruction in the discharge pipe. It's absolutely loaded with the worst smelling, non urine flush I've ever encountered. ��

May just replace the entire thing with a dry toilet at this point. I can't understand this Rube Goldberg thing called a marine head. So unreliable. So smelly. ... Always and forever breaking.

I guess it'll also be nice to get rid of the head smell they all inevitably get after a couple years.

If you've got "non urine" mixed in there, it may be because scale build-up is so severe the "non urine" can't get through anymore.

Trac's Sew Clean is made specifically for clearing uric acid scale. Near as I can tell, it's just a correct dilution of one of the typical acid families, though.

Hard to imagine what the heck you do to your toilet to make it "so unreliable" and "forever breaking." I think I've done minor service on ours (replacing the joker valve) maybe once every 3 years... a treatment of Sew Clean once... and major service once (replaced the pump/motor assembly)... over the course of 17 years.

I did replace all the hoses once, too, just a few months ago actually ... but that was mostly because I was also installing a larger holding tank... and maybe 17-year-old hoses was pushing it a bit.

But in general, if yours gets smelly, it seems like you're doing something wrong. Maybe "crap" (as in rubbish) hoses?

-Chris
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