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Old 07-12-2014, 15:53   #16
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

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Originally Posted by Gone2long View Post
Can urine and salt water actually rot through fiberglass????
No.

Urine has probably soaked into the surrounding wood or might even have puddled in the bilge. Best to remove toilet first and then have a good look (smell) around. Zeehag may be right about that urine/bleach combination being hazardous but maybe not, although being a nurse her words are worth considering.

My guess is that you have a bit of dirty but not difficult or dangerous work ahead...
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Old 07-12-2014, 16:53   #17
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

As far as doing this work on the hard, isn't a boat better supported in the water?
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:08   #18
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
No.

Urine has probably soaked into the surrounding wood or might even have puddled in the bilge. Best to remove toilet first and then have a good look (smell) around. Zeehag may be right about that urine/bleach combination being hazardous but maybe not, although being a nurse her words are worth considering.

My guess is that you have a bit of dirty but not difficult or dangerous work ahead...
my mom used to use clorox in the toilet until she passed out in the bathroom from doing that and was lectured long and hard by her engineer husband and her engineer poppa.
chlorine and ammonia together makea lovely poison gas that hurts you.
momma used to call it phosgene gas.
dont do it.
vinegar neutralizes urine.
vinegar neutralizes some rots in woods.
use vinegar. dont die or become ill while fixing yoiur boat.
there are more dangers in boating than merely CO2, CO and propane.
read up and get excellent in chemical engineering so you know what is gonna kill ye and make you sick. prevention is the key.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:46   #19
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

Does "glass over wood" mean this was a home-made boat of some kind? A wood boat that someone slapped fiberglass over?

That would explain a lot of things, like why a stringer seemed to be rotting in the glass not just the wood: Poor fiberglass work. Because urine and saltwater don't affect proper frp at all. If the stringer was built properly, the wood in it is mainly just there to support the frp while it sets up, and the wood can be removed and replaced, or replaced with foam if you seal the frp first. If the frp is defective, you rebuild the beam entirely.

The bigger question being, was this boat professionally built by a boatbuilding firm, or something one-off?
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:47   #20
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

Phosgene isn't close to Chlorine I don't think, I've never been exposed to Phosgene gas, but remember being told in training, if you smell fresh mown grass like somebody is cutting the yard, that's Phosgene gas.

Two weeks ago I converted the other head to a "fresh head". I wanted to ensure it was as sterile as I could before working on it as I didn't need any kind of serious infection, so I poured pure chlorine bleach in the thing, and it actually foamed a little. I thought, must be the reaction of chlorine with some kind of organic material? About that time the overwhelming odor of chlorine hit me and I had to open up everything and leave the boat.
I went to the Emergency room as a kid after inhaling chlorine gas, we had a big drum of HTH granulated pool chlorine and I wanted to add some to the pool. I was small and it was close to empty so I leaned way down inside of it to get the chlorine out, must have taken a breath or two. I learned to respect chlorine that day. I think it's called one trial learning.

So Zee's right, be very careful with toilets and bleach.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:18   #21
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

When Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach) is mixed with ammonia (urine), toxic gases called chloramines are produced.
However, fresh urine does not contain much ammonia due to the acidic condition of urine, but the enzymes in the urine do break down the urea to CO2 and ammonia over time.
Bleach and any acid results in chlorine gas.

Fresh urine is an acid. Vinegar is an acid. You can not neutralize an acid with an acid.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:00   #22
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

Stale urine contains ammonia.
Vinegar is acid. Ammonia is alkali.
When you react an acid and an alkali together, you get a neutralization reaction which produces water and a salt.
In the case of Ammonia and vinegar, the salt you would produce is Ammonium Acetate.
So, vinegar will neutralize the ammonia in stale urine.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:41   #23
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

Now I remember why I went with mechanical engineering instead of chemical engineering, even though they were getting higher starting salaries out of college...
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:37   #24
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

Gord-
"Stale urine contains ammonia."
I've used bleach in toilets many times, including lots of bleach while replacing head valves and the like. But when it comes to mixing bleach and ammonia...let's just say this is something you never want to do in a confined space. When you see green vapors rising off something, it is time to bugout without thinking any more than that.
I don't know if urine is strong enough to do that (as it ages) but the stuff in ordinary cleaning supplies can do it very nicely.
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Old 08-12-2014, 14:14   #25
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

gone2long,

Now that we have the ammonia/chlorine issue sorted, how about some pix of what you found after removing the toilet, please.
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Old 10-12-2014, 21:39   #26
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
my mom used to use clorox in the toilet until she passed out in the bathroom from doing that and was lectured long and hard by her engineer husband and her engineer poppa.
chlorine and ammonia together makea lovely poison gas that hurts you.
momma used to call it phosgene gas.
dont do it.
vinegar neutralizes urine.
vinegar neutralizes some rots in woods.
use vinegar. dont die or become ill while fixing yoiur boat.
there are more dangers in boating than merely CO2, CO and propane.
read up and get excellent in chemical engineering so you know what is gonna kill ye and make you sick. prevention is the key.
Thank you. Will try the vinegar. Was actually gonna buy some for salad tonight, so ... good timing : ) Any preference for type?

G2L
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Old 10-12-2014, 21:54   #27
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How Test the Repair - Got repair kits, but no instructions

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No.

Urine has probably soaked into the surrounding wood or might even have puddled in the bilge. Best to remove toilet first and then have a good look (smell) around. Zeehag may be right about that urine/bleach combination being hazardous but maybe not, although being a nurse her words are worth considering.

My guess is that you have a bit of dirty but not difficult or dangerous work ahead...
After ripping out the toilet and having a good look, my guess is that there were some repairs, but not all, done at various times and that from stepping on the stringers, small cracks in the epoxy formed. After a while, these got coated with urine and salt water, and the wood began to rot. Left unattended for years, the rot got worse, and I recently inherited the mess when I purchased the boat.

Got two repair kits in the boat, but no instructions, and from the Raritan website information, it seems as if I have a "pre-1992" model. Am having some bottom work done by a pro, and he will replace the stringer as well, so now, I just need to figure out where all dem little toilet pieces go. Hopefully, by studying them closely, I should be able to figure this out, and, hopefully, all the parts I need are actually in the kits that I found.

I plan to test the toilet before reinstalling, and it seems that I can do this with a couple of pails of water; but I am not sure how I will know if the toilet is working well, meaning, what volume of water should I see coming into, then out of the bowl?

With the help of the folks on this thread, I have a pretty good start, though it took me 12 hours or so to get out a few screws, hoses, and six rusty old bolts. Soaking w. WD 40 worked well, but took hours.

All serious replies on how to test the results will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards to all,

G2L
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Old 10-12-2014, 22:08   #28
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

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gone2long,

Now that we have the ammonia/chlorine issue sorted, how about some pix of what you found after removing the toilet, please.
Hi,

Am leaving the wood problem to a pro. See my post above on testing my soon to be rebuilt Raritan.

Thanks for your help,

G2L
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Old 11-12-2014, 00:39   #29
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

Pre '92?! Rip at all out and put in a new head and hoses. Probably a new holding tank too.
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:39   #30
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Re: Leaky Toilet Rotting My Stringers - What to do?

G2-
Go out and buy a can of "PBlaster". Available in most chain hardware and auto stores. When you need to loosen stuck bolts, use that. You'll get religion after the first try.


WD-40 is great for many purposes, but it does not chemically attack corrosion bonds, the way PBlaster does. The only similar product would be "Kroil" which is not generally sold at retail at all.


And as Minaret says, replace all the hoses while you are at it. Ten years would be a long time for even the best of hose, and buying the best hose means replacing it that much less often.


I'd suspect there are diagrams on the web and who knows, maybe a YouTube video on replacing the head parts. Usually, well, if you've got the right kit it is just a matter of swapping out each part, old for new, and then bolting it back up again.
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