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Old 04-05-2018, 16:51   #1
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HEAD ISSUES 💩

I have a 1996 Freedom Yachts 35. The previous owners installed a new Raritan PHII within the last year. This head is operated manually in either the “dry” or “flush” position. When the unit is flushed in the “dry” position, I get an overwhelming rancid odor. Also, I am seeing what appears to be holding tank (colored) water, pour down from the upper bowl jets. From what i read, this would indicate a clogged vent, however, I noticed about a silver dollar size hole at the top of the holding tank, (also another head issue) which I think would eliminate that theory. I am also making sure the valve is completely in the dry position, before pumping and the hole in the holding tank is two compartment size over. I would be eternally indebted for any help on where to turn to solve the odor issue. Also, suggestions on replacing the holding tank for those that are familiar with this model, would also be appreciated.
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Old 04-05-2018, 19:32   #2
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Wow that’s a strange one. Do I understand correctly that when you lift the handle with the toilet set to Dry, Black water comes into the bowl from the openings in the rim?

That would indicate that black water is getting on top of the piston. The only way I can see this happening is if the piston ring is bad. It sounds like you’re getting a lot more black water than a worn ring would allow.

The wet flush / dry flush valve on the PH series is pretty complicated but I just don’t see how black water can get there if you are flushing into a tank. It can sometimes happen if you’re flushing overboard, but you said you’re flushing into a holding tank.
Peggie knows the PH better than I do. Maybe she’ll have a better idea.
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Old 04-05-2018, 19:52   #3
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

When you say "colored" water? Is it just yellow water, or clearly something more nasty?

Its possible that you have a clog of "sea gunk" on the intake line (possibly in the strainer). It could be this that is rotting and coloring the water. It would also be responsible for the stench.

The other thing I could think of is you don't actually have a strainer and you have some "sea gunk" now stuck in the upper rim of the toilet. We have known a few people with that issue.

No matter, I would trace your inlet line and make sure everything is proper there (actually coming from a thru-hull, strainer installed, ect).
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Old 04-05-2018, 21:01   #4
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
When you say "colored" water? Is it just yellow water, or clearly something more nasty?

Its possible that you have a clog of "sea gunk" on the intake line (possibly in the strainer). It could be this that is rotting and coloring the water. It would also be responsible for the stench.

The other thing I could think of is you don't actually have a strainer and you have some "sea gunk" now stuck in the upper rim of the toilet. We have known a few people with that issue.

No matter, I would trace your inlet line and make sure everything is proper there (actually coming from a thru-hull, strainer installed, ect).
That would be my thought as well but the OP said the toilet was set to Dry Flush. Nothing should be coming in. Maybe his Wet / Dry valve is broken and he’s getting sea gunk as you describe. Of course then he should get sea gunk when he wet flushes as well.

I think we need more info.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:20   #5
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

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That would be my thought as well but the OP said the toilet was set to Dry Flush. Nothing should be coming in. Maybe his Wet / Dry valve is broken and he’s getting sea gunk as you describe. Of course then he should get sea gunk when he wet flushes as well.

I think we need more info.
Yup.. You are right, I missed the "set to dry" part. That is strange..

More information required for sure..
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:47   #6
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Thank you all for your thoughts. I keep the thru-hull in the off position specifically to avoid any kind of gunk or growth, and physically add fresh water from a jug on an as needed basis. The discharge coming from the jets appears to be something of a darker or cloudy grey color. During the up motion, I seem to have plenty of suction. In addition, it’s not as if it is a consistent flow, but more of a “trickle” after I have flushed numerous times (about a dozen or even two.)
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:30   #7
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gr8tewhite View Post
Thank you all for your thoughts. I keep the thru-hull in the off position specifically to avoid any kind of gunk or growth, and physically add fresh water from a jug on an as needed basis. The discharge coming from the jets appears to be something of a darker or cloudy grey color. During the up motion, I seem to have plenty of suction. In addition, it’s not as if it is a consistent flow, but more of a “trickle” after I have flushed numerous times (about a dozen or even two.)
That is strange.. I don't have the toilet, but I'm pretty sure it shouldn't "trickle" after 20 dry pumps.

As to closing the seacock. Its a good idea, but if you don't have a seastrainer on the inlet side, that won't help much. Since everytime you pump on the wet side you are pulling in seawater and sealife. That tiny sealife gets into the toilet and lines and rots. You wouldn't believe how bad that will stink.
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:17   #8
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gr8tewhite View Post
Thank you all for your thoughts. I keep the thru-hull in the off position specifically to avoid any kind of gunk or growth, and physically add fresh water from a jug on an as needed basis. The discharge coming from the jets appears to be something of a darker or cloudy grey color. During the up motion, I seem to have plenty of suction. In addition, it’s not as if it is a consistent flow, but more of a “trickle” after I have flushed numerous times (about a dozen or even two.)


If you’re only getting a trickle, I’d bet the small amount of “matter” that bypasses the piston is building up on the seawater side. I’m guessing this is because you don’t use the seawater side, so there is no water available to clean out the cylinder.


Try using the head with seawater as intended and your problems may vanish. We have our head intake sharing the vanity drain, so when leaving the boat the sink drain is closed and the sink filled with water. The fresh water is then flushed through the head. No smells.
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:36   #9
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

I strongly suspect that what you're seeing/smelling is dead decaying animal or vegetable life that got sucked into the head intake line and into the pump before you began keeping the intake seacock closed--maybe even before you bought the boat. So I'd try disconnecting the intake hose from the thru-hull and sticking it into a bucket of clean fresh water to which you've added a quart of distilled white vinegar. Flush the whole bucketful through the toilet. Follow in an hour with another bucketful of clean water. That SHOULD solve the problem...if it doesn't, it may be necessary to remove the bowl and set it on the dock to blast out whatever is stuck in the channel in the rim of the bowl.

Keeping the seacock closed and always adding water to the bowl isn't good for the pump 'cuz whatever is added directly to the bowl only goes out the bottom of it...increasing wear on the seals and o-rings (and btw, how long has it been since you lubed the pump?) There's a better way:

Reroute the toilet inlet line to tee into the head sink drain line, just above the seacock--it needs to be below the waterline. This will allow you to flush with sea water while providing a safe source of fresh water to rinse it out of the entire system--intake line, pump, channel in the rim of the bowl...just close the sink drain thru-hull, fill the sink with clean fresh water, flush the toilet...pulling the water out of the sink. Or you can keep the sink drain thru-hull closed except when needed and flush with a sinkful of clean fresh water all the time.

That'll leave you with an unused thru-hull that can either be used for a washdown pump or HVAC pump or removed and glassed over.

Ronco Plastics Ronco Plastics marine Tanks (no relation to the VegoMatic Ronco) is your best source for a new tank. They make TOP quality thick-walled water and waste tanks for a very reasonable price and have more than 400 shapes and sizes, over 100 of which are non-rectangular, and they install fittings in the sizes and locations specified by the customer when they make the tank.

Btw...you might consider checking out the link in my signature....

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Old 05-05-2018, 08:41   #10
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Peggie, the OP said the problem only happened when it was set to Dry bowl flush.
Nothing should be coming into the bowl, not even clean water.

If the piston was left in the down position with dirty water on top of it, the first up stroke would push dirty water into the bowl. After the first up stroke nothing more should come into the bowl.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:00   #11
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Does it happen if you flush until you get clear water and then pump dry?Could be piston or flapper.
Might be from not wet flushing enough first.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:09   #12
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

It could if some flotsam isn't allowing the barrel in dry/flush valve to close off the intake line completely. Another possibility that just occurred to me: is it possible the seacock isn't completely closing the intake thru-hull?

I considered the possibility that a badly worn joker valve is allowing the upstroke to pull waste left in the toilet discharge line back into the bowl...but that doesn't explain dirty water dribbling out of the channel in the rim...the pump is the only route into the top of the bowl...I've never heard of a a PHII recirculating.

So if the intake hose isn't the source, I'm out of ideas (doesn't happen often, but it does happen). He needs to talk to Raritan about it. My go-to guy there since Vic Willman retired is Mac McCoy in their Ft. Lauderdale plant: 954-525-0378

Please report back us what he tells you.

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Old 05-05-2018, 09:09   #13
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

Many thanks to all of you! I should have enough info to try and resolve the issue. All of your input is appreciated. Now comes the hard part! P.U.

P.s. I will keep everyone up to date and informed as to what the culprit was. I will be back at the vessel in a week and it is understandably at the very top of my list.
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Old 06-05-2018, 13:05   #14
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

I switched to a composting head, Natures Head, removed all black water holding tank and plumbing hoses. I now have more storage and don’t have to carry around a bunch of black raw sewage. I highly recommend a composting head.
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Old 14-05-2018, 11:01   #15
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Re: HEAD ISSUES 💩

UPDATE:

I have done the vinegar flush, and was pretty amazed at the quantity of gunk that was flushed out. I am crossing my fingers that this was the culprit. If it does not, I’ll be sure to let everyone know. Many thanks again to all the commented!
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