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Old 31-03-2012, 05:11   #1
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HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric ?

Hi,

We have 2 Jabsco Manual toilets in our heads. We absolutely hate them! They break down constantly and their rebuild kits cost half as much as a whole new toilet. Those of you that have them probably already know this. We have a chance to "upgrade" these to the Jabsco electric for relatively cheap price. We would eliminate many of the parts that seem to break all the time, but not sure how good the Jabsco brand ? Is it worth the switch or are we switching one set of problems for another. We have had Lavac on our previous boat and it was great! But they are not cheap and we are out on the water with few options.

What experiences has anyone had with the Jabsco Quiet-Flush electric toilet? Reliability?
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Old 31-03-2012, 05:42   #2
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

My electric jabsco isnt much better. I have to keep a length of bendy wire handy to release the air lock that occasionally happens and stops the flow to the blades

And then there is the regular back flow from the tank into the bowl. I guess stuff gets in the valve and holds it open. The pipe from the pump goes to the top of the holding tank, so it can only backflow the volume of the hose, about half a bowl full, but when youve been ashore for a day and come home to the smell its the last straw.

And then there is the crap design of the bowl rim, where all the flushing water gushes out of the first few holes and washes down the back of the pan, but never the front. Therefore its essential to keep a jug handy to fill from the tap and pour round the bowl.

All in all, im not enamoured of jabsco
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Old 31-03-2012, 05:44   #3
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Funny... I usually go the other way! I tear out the electrics and install manuals first thing when I buy a boat. I might have a servicable electric take-out on the shelf out in the shop I'd give you if you want it...... where are you located?

One of the things I always do is install an electric pump to add water to the bowl with a switch. I've found that the additional water makes the manual head work much better. When I was a full-time liveaboard, I would get 2 years between overhauls. Another good thing is to always flush the head with fresh water if it is to be left unused for more than a day or two.
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Old 31-03-2012, 05:58   #4
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
Another good thing is to always flush the head with fresh water if it is to be left unused for more than a day or two.
Ive learned the same thing, the hard way. I found that paper swells up in the hose and then its blocked.

Mine has the integral mascerator/pump and water pump, but the flow and volume is no where good enough for a proper flush
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Old 31-03-2012, 06:28   #5
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

No matter what head you have they clog and they suck. This is especially true if someone ELSE clogs the toilet and you have to fix it. Either way, I was resigned to my fate and we had two on board our last boat that worked ok. The day before we were to shove off and go cruising my wife announced, "I'm not going." What? "I'm not going until you get an electric toilet. I hate that thing." In the interests of marital harmony I duly complied and replaced the manual with the Jabsco electric quiet flush version. I kept the forward head manual because I fully expected the electric one to die on us from day one.

Fast forward three years later after hard cruising crossing the Indian, Red Sea and Med, that electric Jabsco was still working flawlessly. No rebuilds, no clogging, no problems. We never used the forward head once during the whole trip.

I will be replacing both heads on our current boat with the same model. Did we get lucky? I don't know. One thing I did that might have helped is put new hoses in to reduce chances of clogging. That also prevented any odors leaking through. We used salt water to flush and traveled through very hot areas. No smell.

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Old 31-03-2012, 06:32   #6
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

I prefer electric toilets for a few reasons:

1. They macerate everything and make it less likely to block.
2. Landlubbers -- guests -- hate and are intimidated by manual toilets.
3. It's easier to pump the right amount of water through with an electric. It's an endless job (on my boat, with long anti-syphon loops) to get enough water through so that waste is not standing in the pipes afterwards.

People told me - leave at least one of them manual; what if you lose electrical power? Well, if I lose electrical power I've got much bigger problems than having to use a bucket.

I had the noisy Jabsco electric conversion in my after heads which was original to the boat. The motor died eventually after 10 years of service -- I think that's a perfectly acceptable service life. The function is fine although the noise is incredible.

I replaced it with a new identical one which never worked properly. Some priming problem often prevents the evacuation pump from pumping. I am about to replace it with a Raritan; still waiting for parts. Anjou, where and how did you use the bendy-wire you're talking about? I'm wondering whether you have had the same priming problem I had.
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Old 31-03-2012, 06:40   #7
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

We have RM69 here.

I think it is good quality. We went thru 1 repair kit in 9 years. It takes me about 30' to change any given part on it.

Last year I changed the whole pump for roughly half of the value of a new complete kit. (The top of the pump lip split and I did not care to fix it with epoxy anymore).

So I can say our RM is OK and not too costly.

b.
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Old 31-03-2012, 07:11   #8
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

Replaced my second (and last - ever) Jabsco (manual) with a manual Raritan PHII five years ago. I'm a liveaboard so it gets a lot of use. I had to replace a couple of seals this year because (uncontaminated) seawater was spurting a bit out of the piston shaft hole. Called Raritan and got a $30 kit, which took 20 minutes to install and all is well again.

I have had so much trouble and heard of so much trouble with Jabsco heads that I really can't understand why the company hasn't made any effort to redesign an inferior product. Although I find their other products (impellers, water pumps, etc) just fine, when most people think of Jabsco, they think of those crappy heads. If for no other reason, it would be worth it for them to sell a better head - even if at below cost - just to salvage the company's reputation.
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Old 31-03-2012, 07:41   #9
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

IF you search this topic you would have learned that smart sailors don't buy the rebuild kits; they replace the pump unit, which is only a few dollars more, are very easy to swap, and fixes the problem. Rebuild kits are easy to mis-install and they don't replace everything.

Replacing the joker valve is non-head specific and is an annual task.
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Old 31-03-2012, 07:46   #10
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Try other brands, like vacusys from Sealand they also carry manual toilets.
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Old 31-03-2012, 07:53   #11
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

IF you are talking about those plastic ones with the grey handle, theyre fantastic, but they need a few mods to make them reliable.
The six screws that hold the valve chest together, drill them through and replace with nuts and bolts.
The shaft nut where the seal fits, drill it out to a bigger diameter and fit a brass tube as a wear piece.
The rubber lip seal, throw away the stainless steel spring, and replace it with an O-Ring. (We do this with ALL our rubber lip seals)
grease it up once a month, always pump slowly and surely, and rotate the handle while pumping to prevent scores in the bore.
All the screws on that unit are double-start for thermoplastic. When replacing a screw, first turn it backwards, you will feel it ratchet "click then CLICK" a small hop and a big one, start turning CW after the bigger hop. This will allow it to start in the same place and not strip the threads.
If you have waste vinegar (salad dressing etc) from the Galley, flush it, and let it sit a bit.
Place some loo paper in the bowl, send someone outside to look at the OB discharge, count the number of flushes to clear the paper. Make this amount mandatory for each use.
Now you should get 10 years out of it.
Happy crapping!
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Old 31-03-2012, 07:58   #12
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

Not had much of a problem wuth the Jabsco manual, blockages curtesy of guests only.
One rebuilt pump unit spare and ready to go when needed. Then can rebuold any defective unit at "leisure"
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Old 31-03-2012, 08:26   #13
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

I don't see much wrong with the Jabsco toilets, either manual or electric but The Head Mistress, Peggy Hall, will tell you to convert your Jabsco manual toilet to a Raritan SeaEra. You can reuse the Jabsco bowl and save some bucks. The Sea Era is a very well made toilet. It's also somewhat quiter than the Jabsco as it uses a diaphram pump instead of a rubber impeller to supply the flush water. Here is a link to the conversion kit: Sea Era Conversion Kit - 16LI012
Shoot! I see the "add to cart" button isn't working. I'll fix that on Monday. The SeaEra is also available with fresh water flush and one model even allows you to choose to flush with either salt or fresh water. Here's a link to the Raritan website where you can learn about all of the options for the SeaEra conversion kit: Raritan Engineering | Sea Era Conversion Kit
If you decide to buy one, please give me a chance to quote on it.
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Old 31-03-2012, 08:33   #14
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

You'll hate the Jabsco electric conversion even more,' cuz it "chokes" on just about anything more than urine, makes enough noise to wake the dead, and draws a whopping 24 amps (compared to 16 for most other sea water electric toilets.

Jabsco's "quiet flush" toilets are a bit better, but nothing Jabsco makes any more is very durable...yet they cost as much or more than toilets that are...and NO sea water toilet is actually quiet because--contrary to what most people believe--it's not the dscharge pump and macerator that make all the noise, it's the INTAKE pump. Only toilets that are designed to use pressurized fresh water are actually quiet .So yes, I think that "upgrading" to any electric Jabsco would provide short term relief, but would be trading one set of problems for another in the long run.

If you were happy with Lavac before, I suggest you stick with manual toilets...and there is an affordable alternative: the Raritan PHII has been rated the best manual toilet for more than 20 years...with only minimal maintenance it'll last that long. It's now available in a "compact version"--the PHC, which uses the same pump, but on a compact base and with a shorter handle--and both are available as a "conversion" that allows you to re-use your existing bowl, seat and lid and cuts the price by nearly 50%. However, I would NOT ever "upgrade" a PHII to the electric PHE II...putting an electric motor on it turns an outstanding manual toilet into one of the poorest excuses for an electric toilet on the planet!

Check out the PH II/PHC here Raritan PH II Raritan PHC The cconversion for both is available from this retailer sbo.com PHII PHC LBA

But...don't even THINK of connecting this toilet--or any other sea water toilet--to your fresh water water plumbing....there's no way to do it with risk of e-coli contamination of your potable water, damage to the toilet pump or both...and EVERY toilet mfr specifically warns against it in their installation instructions.

Btw...just how much is the "relatively cheap" price you're been quoted to "upgrade" to a jabsco quiet flush? Which model?
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Old 31-03-2012, 08:35   #15
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Re: HATE Jabsco Manual Toilet - should we Convert to Electric?

I see several of you are having problems with hose blockages. This happens when you don't clear the hose with clean water each time. You need to flush long enough to get the paper and poop all the way to the tank or overboard. The urge is to stop pumping as soon as the bowl is clear. Don't do that, keep pumping until the hose is clear. A cup of vinegar pumped into the hose once in a while and left for a while will help as well.
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