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Old 20-04-2011, 00:03   #1
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Groco K Head Taking a Lot of Strokes to Empty Bowl

We installed a new Groco K head (again) and I notice the amount of strokes to empty the bowl have doubled. It draws in water beautifully from the intake(pedal down), but when I release the pedal and try to empty the bowl, the pull or suction is lousey. It does eventually empty. Could an air leak in the intake side cause this? or a leak in the joker valve? I dont hear any air being pulled in and I have checked over everything and have no leaks (of water). This seems like a classic example of....

Thanks,
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Old 20-04-2011, 12:45   #2
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

It's becoming obvious that the gods of the sea and marine toilets do not want you to have a Groco Model K! In which case, I'd return the d'd thing and replace it with a Raritan PH II. Raritan PH II It costs a lot less and has been the top rated manual toilet in its class for more than 3 decades. Keep it lubricated, replace the joker every year and rebuild it every 5-6 years and it'll give you at least 20 years of reliable trouble-free service.
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Old 20-04-2011, 22:32   #3
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

Oh how I want to cry on your shoulder!! We have a ps34 and apparently the ONLY head that will fit the foot print is this groco K (or a lavac). I will call patrick on monday and see what he says (sigh). We can fit the rartitan if we mount it to a offset base system thingy (maybe). I am tempted to bring one to the boat to see exactly what the challenges are in installation, but first I will see if this groco can be fixed (sign).
People love these heads, surely sooner or later we will find our zen.
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Old 21-04-2011, 09:13   #4
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

If there is that much difference between two identical units something must be stuck. Would hate to rebuild a new unit, but if you can disassemble lube and reassemble that may correct the problem or you will find a faulty valve. Contact the maker. maybe they can send you a repair kit.

Or you may have a clog or blockage down stream. Check your Y valve to make sure it is in the correct full position.
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Old 21-04-2011, 19:07   #5
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Thanks for the feedback, we tested the head on the dock with a hose and it appeared to work( though we were focused on sniffing out any leaks, and not how well it pumped). I have no leaks but I think I will remove and replace everything downstream as we pump water through) it may not be the head), instinct tells me it is sucking air which won't allow a good vacuum. We are in transit right now so I will wait till we get back to home port before the big dismantle ( sigh).
Thanks again,
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Old 21-04-2011, 19:10   #6
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Correction, I will check everything down stream, not replace it( it is all brand new)
Erika
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Old 22-04-2011, 05:28   #7
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

The only problem I have ever had with my EB was when the lever which is mounted on the foot pedal shaft rotated a little out of sync.
Your K model is built differently from my unit, but it appears the adjustment is important.
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Old 22-04-2011, 05:45   #8
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That could be it , it pumps, but sometimes it just doesn't draw anything out of the bowl. How did you adjust the lever?
Thanks,
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Old 22-04-2011, 06:15   #9
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

The cam, #21 on the Groco parts list, is locked to the foot pedal shaft by a squeeze bolt, (cap screw).
This cam opens the water intake port when the pedal is depressed, but closes it, and allows full discharge opening when released. The 'rocker' motions is important to the in/out flows, I found.
May work for you. Good luck.
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Old 22-04-2011, 07:17   #10
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

PHII rules. pumps like crazy .. sometimes makes some strange noises .. but works every time
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Old 23-04-2011, 07:48   #11
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
It's becoming obvious that the gods of the sea and marine toilets do not want you to have a Groco Model K! In which case, I'd return the d'd thing and replace it with a Raritan PH II. Raritan PH II It costs a lot less and has been the top rated manual toilet in its class for more than 3 decades. Keep it lubricated, replace the joker every year and rebuild it every 5-6 years and it'll give you at least 20 years of reliable trouble-free service.
Have two older Grocos that seem to be OK after overhauls. Only used them a short while before hauling for extensive refit so may have a different opinion after a while. However, even if they work well I am really considering a new head because the bowls and seats are so small. I am not exactly huge nor overweight but to put is politely, am not a good fit for the Groco.

I looked at the Raritan web site for the PH II and it mentions a household size bowl but no specs or details. When I look at retailers for details I see only a standard and Hi-Boy models with no mention of a larger bowl. So is the Hi-Boy larger as well as taller? If not, where to I look for the larger, manual head?

If I do switch to a Raritan perhaps I can work a deal with Ocean Girl for my old Groco that she needs to fit her head.

Thanks
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Old 23-04-2011, 08:30   #12
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
However, even if they work well I am really considering a new head because the bowls and seats are so small. I am not exactly huge nor overweight but to put is politely, am not a good fit for the Groco.

Thanks
Skipmac,

The Groco's come in marine or household sized bowls -mine has the household sized bowl.( I've never sat on a marine sized bowl that felt right).

Erica,

I wouldn't give up on the Groco - ours has been trouble free (Murphy's law makes me dread typing that) and it gets alot of use. I think once your problem is straightened out, you'll be happy with it.

Since ours has been trouble free, I'm afraid I won't be any help in diagnosing your problem. There is obviously something in the system that is letting air in - a gasket that isn't seated properly perhaps. Have you contacted Groco? It seems like it would be an easy diagnosis for someone who know the head inside and out.

Good luck - when you find the fix, please post what you found. It may be useful information for other Groco owners down the line.
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Old 23-04-2011, 08:59   #13
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

perhaps there is a plug in the outflow pipe requiring the roto rooter drill.....They are sold at Lowe's and other hardware establishments.

we found clearing the downstream hoses this way solved our cheap Jabsco head issues. It wasn't the head that caused our problems (and there definitely problems) and we had to clear the hose again two weeks later after the first clearing. It was all bad....

First, does the crew throw toilet paper into the head, thinking the marine toilet can handle it? Unless it is very special, very flimsy, quickly degradable paper (and even then the toilet gods laugh at mariners - ha ha) it will collect in the 90 degree bend from the effluent hose into the holding tank, creating a plug just before all the effluent drops into the holding tank.

Have you been hearing musical noises in the system when one pumps the handle? There is a reed (as in the reeds used in musical instruments - similar) in a threaded nipple on the 180 degree bend in the effluent hose. When the pipe starts to back up and build up air pressure, the reed sounds as a warning - disgusting but useful to know.

Even without use of toilet paper, the hoses like to plug up the effluent just to curse us mariners. I'm truly guessing here: perhaps old hoses build up some kind of hard deposit that snares effluent and builds up the plug. Old hoses on your boat?

The problem may not be with the toilet. It may be a clogged location in the effluent hose downstream of the toilet. In any case, the cure will be just as bad or worse than the disease. I do not envy you. We have been there.
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:03   #14
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

Groco makes/made more than one toilet...the EB (which they discontinued about 10 years ago) and the K are larger toilets that have household/"hiboy" sized bowls. The HF and its predecessors HC and HE are "compact" toilets that have the smaller "standard" size bowl. And from your description of the bowl size, it sounds like yours is a compact HF Groco HF instructions

Household toilets are 14-15" high to the rim of the bowl...the seat adds another inch Some are round, some are elongated. A household toilet seat from Home Depot that fits toilets that are NOT elongated will fit the household/"highboy" marine bowl. You'll find the dimensions for the Raritan PHII, "standard" and "household" sizes, here:

http://www.raritaneng.com/pdf_files/...0phiiv0303.pdf

If you decide to replace your Groco with a PHII, check this out: sbo.com PHII PHC LBA
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:27   #15
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Re: Groco K head, taking a lot of strokes to empty bowl

There are easy solutions to your problems:

1. Add water to the bowl with a cup from the sink ahead of solids...at least a pint (2 cupfuls).

2. Once a day flush at least a quart of fresh water through to the tank to rinse out the toilet discharge hose.

3. Yes, sea water minerals build up in hoses--new as well as old. That may be the main cause of your problems. Muriatic acid (available from any hardware store) will clean it out....follow handling and use instructions VERY carefully! To prevent future buildup, once a week flush a cupful of undiluted distilled white vinegar ALL the way through the system to the tank to prevent sea water mineral buildup in the head discharge hose. Don't leave it sitting in the bowl and make sure to flush all of it out of the pump...soft rubber left to sit and soak in vinegar will swell up and distort. After an hour, follow with fresh water.

4. Replace the joker valve in the toilet discharge AT LEAST every other year...better yet, annually. As the joker valve wears, the toilet becomes less and less able to move bowl contents through the system. So a combination of mineral buildup and a toilet that has no "oomph" any more would definitely account for your tail of woe.

Btw....NEVER use a plunger in a marine toilet. The downward stroke won't don't any harm but the upward suction will misalign and damage the seals, valves and o-rings in the pump. And don't use an auger through the toilet...if you must use one (unlikely if you maintain your system properly), disconnect the discharge hose from the toilet and insert the auger or snake directly into the hose.
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