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Old 15-05-2007, 19:14   #1
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Head Problems

Hey guys, full time worker, first time owner. Recently purchased a 35' Beneteau Oceanis 370. The electric head on the boat has been acting a little funky. It for the most part runs perfect. Unfortunatley though there is no manual pump which is a problem in itself. Sometimes when flushing the "waste" will go down slowly allowing the bowl to fill mostly with water. This occurs and leaves the water at a level that is to high while under sail. I have not pumped out the boats holding tank yet, could it be full and backing up? Nothing is brought back into the toilet while attempting to flush. I closed the seacock to try and cease water flow in and pump water out into the holding tank. What gets me the most is it can be working fine 9/10 times but on that one flush it gives me problems... Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 15-05-2007, 20:53   #2
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I have not pumped out the boats holding tank yet, could it be full and backing up?
Might be glogged up. A full holding tank woulkd prevent waste from flowing and might make it slow if it was really close to full. Seals could be in poor shape. Salt water isn;t friendly and when left to sit for long periods stuff will grow inside the pipes. You might try running a lot of fresh water through and pumping it out. After that oyu mat need to disassmble part of the head to make sure things are clear and seals are working. Heads do need a service from time to time.

Honest it's really one of the fun jobs.
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Old 15-05-2007, 21:49   #3
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Thanks for the help! I will be pumping the holding out this week, any places you would recommend dismantling first if that fails?
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Old 15-05-2007, 22:11   #4
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I would pump it out and run as much fresh water through the system as you can then npump out more. Once it is cleared out you could consider looking at the head itself. More parts and places to cause irratic flow. The rest is just the tubing. Check the vent for good air flow as the vent when glogged will prevent good flow too.
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Old 16-05-2007, 01:11   #5
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The electric head has two spots that can cause an issue. Niether are nice to work on. Ensure you wear gloves. There should be no smell, but make sure you keep your hands safe.
You will have to remove the pump from the bowl. The place to check is in a section imediatly on the dicharge side of the pump. It is a pipe section that can be dismantled with usually two screws. Only piping that has screws, so you shouldn't miss it. Inside this pipe section is a rubber restriction/valve. It does two things. It stops what has been pumped from flooding back into the bowl and it helps to slow down the discharge so as the macerator blade can well and truely chew it all up. This small rubber valve can easily get blocked. Especially when you have girls onboard that seemingly get the entire roll pf paper down the thing. I got so sick of it blocking, I removed the valve. I so far have had no problems doing so and it has been two years scince I did it.
The next place to check is the impellor. Once the chopping blade has done its job, the macerated waste is then pumped on down the waste hose via the impellor. Remember that this is not plain water and these impellors get a hard time. So it could be that it is not working as well as it could do.
And lastly, when the toilet is flushed, you need to give it a good flush time. I get people to push the button and count to 5 before releasing. Theis ensures that the waste has pumped all the way through the hoses to the tank and only seawater shoudl be left that can drain into the tank. If solids are left int he hose, it could cause a back pressure that will slow the pump from pumping till that flow gets up and going. So you see a backlog in the bowl and suddenly it all empties. Oh one other thought, ensure the pipes have a gradient to the holding tank so as they can drain and not back up.
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Old 16-05-2007, 06:42   #6
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Thanks Alan, super helpful start!
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Old 16-05-2007, 10:19   #7
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"Ensure you wear gloves." And plan ahead. Find the bleach, mix up a bucket of diluted bleach and have that out anlong with a roll of paper towels, and a large trash bag opened, so that when you want to clean up you have everything out and ready, and you don't spread filth while trying to get the cleaning things out.

While you wouldn't ordinarily put bleach in the head or tank, you might want to flush some down a hour or two before you start, as a way of semi-sterilizing whatever you'll be working in afterwards.

Considering the labor involved, you might want to get a rebuild kit for the head, and new hoses, before you start, as opposed to having to order one and leaving the head disassembled for a week. Sewage hoses on a boat have a limited life, after 5(?) years they may be clogged with calcium deposits, or go permeable and let odors out.

So...while you're doing the labor...this is how boat jobs always manage to become five times harder than they started.<G>
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Old 16-05-2007, 13:05   #8
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Alex,

We had a similar problem with our electric head, and the problem was a clog in the 1-1/2" line back to the holding tank. Could be a lot of things.

Don W.
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Old 16-05-2007, 13:10   #9
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I recently found out how great vineager works to clean out the calcium deposits in the toilets piping and valves. I read in the past how people pour vineager into the toilets to keep the deposits down used Twice yearly by some people. Well I had a clogged vacumn flush head. cleared the Whale pump (gas mask & gloves required) found it was the hose from the pump to the 3-way valve and the valve, totatly blocked with calcium deposits, rock hard and only a pencil sized opening. I pitched the 20" of hose it was solid. I put the $100 valve into a bucket of vineager and left it for several days. When I went back to it all the rock hard calcium deposits had broken up and practically fell out. the valve looked good as new.

I will be leaving some vineager in the system again when leaving the boat for a few days and allow soaking time.
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Old 16-05-2007, 13:19   #10
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The down side to vinegar, is that a holding tank is not a salad bowl. The vinegar will kill the bacteria which break down waste and keep down smells. The calcium comes from urine reacting with salt water, and better flushing will also prevent it. (Unfortunately, it will also fill the holding tank sooner.)

Catch-22.
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Old 16-05-2007, 13:41   #11
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Thanks HS, I didn't know that. More to think about. It sure worked to clean up that "$$$gold$$$" valve,though. I guess it would take a good flushing/pumping out of the tank to remove all traces of the vineger, have to give that some thought/research before doing that to the system.
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Old 17-05-2007, 08:58   #12
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Peggy Hall, aka "The Head Mistress", runs a small but informative forum on the subject and will answer you questions personally. Check it out:

Forum: The Head Mistress
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Old 17-05-2007, 13:46   #13
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I guess it would take a good flushing/pumping out of the tank to remove all traces of the vineger,
Nah the stuff neutralises pretty quickly. It can't do any harm to try it.
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