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Old 23-06-2016, 09:48   #1
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Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Hey all,
My Irwin 38 is equipped with two holding tanks. Each has y valve for tank or for discharge via thru hull. I want to add macerator so that I can pump thru to thru hull. Where do I install the macerator for use with both tanks?


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Old 23-06-2016, 11:13   #2
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

You probably can't, unless you can run a hose from both tanks to where you'll put the macerator (essentially Y'ing the two tanks together) - Looking at the layout of a Irwin 38 leads me to believe one tank is well forward, and the other aft - on the other side of the boat.

I'd just install two macerators. Attach to a tee in the discharge lines to your pump out fittings.
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:33   #3
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

You are correct on locations. Both tanks are plumbed to a single hull fitting below the waterline. Someone suggested I install the macerator between the "t" connecting the two tanks and the discharge sea cock. Does that make sense?


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Old 23-06-2016, 11:41   #4
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Macerator pumps can be a maintenance headache. Waste which has been thru a marine toilet pump is already macerated, so just need to pump out the tank. I suggest considering a diaphram pump instead.

Long plumbing runs are also a common source of problems. Keep the runs short and install two pumps. This gives you redundancy too.
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:44   #5
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

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Originally Posted by rastamon View Post
You are correct on locations. Both tanks are plumbed to a single hull fitting below the waterline. Someone suggested I install the macerator between the "t" connecting the two tanks and the discharge sea cock. Does that make sense?


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Ok. Im a bit confused on your plumbing then. Each tank is already plumbed for over board discharge right? Will they discharge without a pump if you just open the valve at the thru hull?
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:49   #6
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Thanks! Both heads are manual so I don't think it is macerated. When I turn the y valves to ocean discharge I am pumping solids😬 when I put valves in tank position I can only pump out by deck fittings. Bahamas don't have pump out's.


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Old 23-06-2016, 16:35   #7
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

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Thanks! Both heads are manual so I don't think it is macerated. When I turn the y valves to ocean discharge I am pumping solids😬 when I put valves in tank position I can only pump out by deck fittings. Bahamas don't have pump out's.


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Still not quite clear on your plumbing arrangement. You said earlier each tank was plumbed to a separate discharge, but the Y valve is between the toilet and the tank right? Tanks themselves have no direct overboard discharge?

Even human waste solids are pretty effectively macerated by a manual pump. Not essentially lliquified (not a legal requirement) as macerators almost do, but certainly broken up.

Not do most boats in the Bahamas, or elsewhere in the Carib, use holding tanks....something to consider before taking a dip in a crowded anchorage.
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Old 23-06-2016, 17:11   #8
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Thanks belizesailor,
Ok, so old 88 Irwin38. She has one tank forward with a y valve and one tank aft with a y valve. The discharge lines from both meet in a t and then out a single thru hull? As I read the manual, there are two options currently, 1) close both y valves and the thru hull. Each manual raritan pumps to its holding tank. Only deck fitting pump out is possible. 2) reverse both y valves at the tanks then open the the thru hull. With raw intake open you can manually discharge either head to ocean. It's refereed to as ocean discharge option. Caveat----- if you leave the y valves open to the tanks, they flood when the thru hull is opened.
It was my hope that a macerator pump inline from the t leading to the thru hull in conjunction with a check valve would pump one or both of the tanks as ocean discharge. Hopefully not big "floaters" ugh.
Hope this clarifies things⛵️🐬


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Old 23-06-2016, 17:47   #9
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Personally, I would stick with the gravity discharge. More plumbing and more pumps = more maintenance issues. Its becoming more common for newer boats to be plumbed this way for that reason. Just helped deliver a Lagoon 38 plumbed that way.

If you are in an area where it is reasonable/legal to discharge then a small floater won't matter (no big floaters are gonna make it thru the manual pump and plumbing in tact). Just use the holding tank when not.

If that idea really bothers you then you should be able to install macerators relatively easily. Either one near each tank in the discharge line or one near the T. One near T should work by closing discharge Y on one tank, opening on the other, opening thru hull and turning the pump on. Macerators will self prime, even pulling waste up thru a dip tube, but the existing gravity discharge should make priming quick.

Macerators draw a good bit of juice, so your wire runs, breakers, etc will need to be properly sized (better yet a bit over sized on the wire). Significant voltage drop at the pump will just cause you more maintenance issues because the under powered pump will be less effective and the blades will clog more often.

Sounds like it must be a long run to the T? That creates maintenance issues too, pump or no pump. Its a problem on a Logoon 50 I run sometimes (gravity dump)...stupid long almost horizontal run. The Lagoon 38 has a very short vertical run so fewer problems.

While the shared discharge eliminates one thru hull it creates another maintenance issue waiting to happen (clogs). Very short runs, ideally vertical or sharply inclined, are much less trouble prone.

I used to have a dual tank / dual macerator pump configuration. I installed a momentary on switch (only on when pressed) near each pump (which were near the tanks), so I could listen to the pump during operation. You can tell by the sound when it primes, when its working properly, when its not, and when it has emptied the tank.

Be prepared though, when you have to service the macerator pump, and you will, its a pretty nasty job. Keep at least one rebuild kit aboard.
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Old 23-06-2016, 18:25   #10
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Hey, thanks belizesailor!
We use forward for #2 with only a 6' run. Aft is #1 which is a very long run. Been replacing hoses and y valves. Not pretty for sure.
Good, sound advice. Will research manual pump, seems like a more logical solution.
Fair winds
Jay⛵️🐬


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Old 24-06-2016, 06:54   #11
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

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Originally Posted by rastamon View Post
Hey, thanks belizesailor!
We use forward for #2 with only a 6' run. Aft is #1 which is a very long run. Been replacing hoses and y valves. Not pretty for sure.
Good, sound advice. Will research manual pump, seems like a more logical solution.
Fair winds
Jay⛵️🐬


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The manual pump I refered to is the one already built into the head. Many boats have nothing more than that and a gravity dump from the tank. The L38 I delivered recently for example had a simple configuration: head plumbed to tank only (no Y valve), tank gravity discharge with very short run very large diameter hose, only valve was seacock on discharge thru hull. Closed: waste is held in tank. Open: waste flows thru tank and over aboard. About as simple as it can be plumbed with a holding tank.

I would consiser a second seacock for that aft head. Will save you maintenance issues down the road.
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Old 24-06-2016, 11:46   #12
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Rastamon on my 1987 Irwin 38 I have no tank for the aft head as it is coupled to an Electoscan unit and discharges directly via its own thruhull. The forward head has a holding tank or via the diverter can be discharged directly.

I also have a diaphragm pump allowing me to pump out the holding tank directly. So if required in an area such as Florida the forward head is the action center while the aft head has to wait for the 3 mile limit.

I can't imagine the long run to connect the two being worth the effort and potential aggravation.

Drop me a PM when you can. Cheers.
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Old 26-06-2016, 13:14   #13
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Macerator pumps can be a maintenance headache. Waste which has been thru a marine toilet pump is already macerated, so just need to pump out the tank. I suggest considering a diaphram pump instead.

Long plumbing runs are also a common source of problems. Keep the runs short and install two pumps. This gives you redundancy too.
I've been having trouble with a Jabsco macerator pump used to empty our holding tank jamming so I almost always have to use a screwdriver on the end of the shaft to get it started. Once it starts up it runs fine but it's a pain to do because it's located in a tough position to reach on a regular basis and sometimes it takes several attempt to get it unstuck. So, I've been looking at pumps to replace it and in the Defender catalog noticed a pump called the Whale Gulper Grouper Mk3 fishbox discharge pump. It doesn't macerate, but as you mentioned above, I'm not really sure that's necessary after the waste is whisked through a vacuflush system and into our holding tank. We currently have 5 of the standard version of the Whale Gulper pump that we use as bilge pumps or for shower sumps and have found them to be extremely reliable and resistant to clogging so it's tempting to use one to empty our holding tank as well. Does anyone who has experience using one of these type diaphragm pumps in place of a macerator pump to empty their holding tanks have any advice, pro or con?

One unique thing about vacuflush's is that they don't do well pumping up to a vented loop to go directly overboard so we always use the holding tank even when we're legal to dump overboard. Since it's such a frequently used item, I want the pump used to empty the holding tank to be extremely reliable and trouble free. So far, our Jabsco macerator isn't doing it for us. Is another brand macerator pump more reliable and less prone to jamming or should we switch to the Whale diaphragm pump? Thoughts, suggestions?
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Old 26-06-2016, 13:56   #14
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

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I've been having trouble with a Jabsco macerator pump used to empty our holding tank jamming so I almost always have to use a screwdriver on the end of the shaft to get it started.
....
So far, our Jabsco macerator isn't doing it for us. Is another brand macerator pump more reliable and less prone to jamming or should we switch to the Whale diaphragm pump? Thoughts, suggestions?
Oh boy, sounds like macerator pump head maintenance time!

Jabsco macerators are the only ones with which I have long term liveaboard experience. Like most pumps, maintenance issues typically occur in the pump head. The blades gunk up and stuff gets wrapped around the shaft, seals get old...all adds up to harder starting and the screw driver trick. The motors are typically good for many years...I still have some old serviceable motors in my bodega in fact.

Ive run others and diaphram pumps for this purpose, but only on boats I was running short term. All work fine short term of course.
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Old 27-06-2016, 10:17   #15
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Re: Adding macerate to Irwin with ocean discharge system

Hi Rastamon, you can join Irwin Sailboats on Facebook, there you can fund always someone witch might help you since has same Irwin model, engine as you. I have a Irwin 52" and have a jabsco macerator in one of my tanks and always worked well. Cheers. Miguel.
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