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Old 15-05-2017, 07:25   #1
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New Jabsco Head Not Working

Over the weekend I installed a new Jabsco manual head in my boat which is currently on the hard. After everything was hooked up I decided to flush a bucket of water as a test. The toilet does not empty the bowl. With the lever in the right position, the handle pulls up with some resistance and then springs back down. I don't know where to look. Is it a faulty head?

I replaced the hoses last October, so I'm pretty confident it's not clogged since it hasn't really been used since. The vent seems clear since I removed it and it blows air thru ok. If it was a clog between head and tank it seems like there would be resistance on the down stroke of the handle. It also doesn't seem to be building pressure since I can pump it all I want.

My other idea is that it acts like it needs to be primed. I hear a gurgle in the pump and it seems like it's trying to do something but not. Do I need to fill the pump by running a house from the inlet to a bucket of water?

I'll take any advice. Thanks in advance.
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Old 15-05-2017, 07:42   #2
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Flip the lever to Dry Bowl not Flush/Water Fill. Sounds like the handle is trying to pull a vacuum, which it does on Water fill and valves are shut. Or your Y-valve is aligned incorrectly and you're pumping to a deadhead.
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Old 15-05-2017, 08:24   #3
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

I have the lever in the dry bowl position. The handle seems to operate the same way regardless of lever position (slight resistance up, springs back down). The only difference is in the fill position it draws a vacuum on the inlet side as it should.

For anyone who has this head, does it suck down the water on the pull stroke or the push stroke?
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Old 15-05-2017, 08:43   #4
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

When the piston is drawn up, the base valve should open to draw water out of the bowl. Then when the piston goes down this valve closes and the joker valve opens. The base valve may be installed incorrectly. I seem to remember that you can't do that with the three holes that mount the valve. My first thought is blockage, holding tank full or valve shut. Maybe the Headmistress will chime in.
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Old 15-05-2017, 09:03   #5
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Ok, I'll look for blockage between head and tank. Resistance pulling up makes sense for blocked output. I know old head was emptying fine 6 months ago when the boat was hauled out for the winter. Maybe something dried up. I wish I had tested the old head before I replaced it and threw it out.
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Old 15-05-2017, 11:22   #6
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Over the weekend I installed a new Jabsco manual head in my boat which is currently on the hard. After everything was hooked up I decided to flush a bucket of water as a test. The toilet does not empty the bowl. With the lever in the right position, the handle pulls up with some resistance and then springs back down. I don't know where to look. Is it a faulty head?

I think you got a defective toilet...one with a problem that's very common in Jabsco manual toilets--a failed wet/dry cam. The wet/dry "valve" is actually just a little "gate" (the cam) that the lever swings to block or unblock the flow of incoming flush water. Due to either a tooling or mfr'g flaw, it hangs up...creating back pressure that feels like pumping against a clog or blocked tank vent.

I'd return it. Fwiw, a few years ago ITT spun Jabsco off to a company called Xylem Flow Control...they have only 3 mfr'g locations--the UK, China and Mexico, none in
the US. All Jabsco equipment sold in the US is now made in Mexico with parts and components sourced from China and other Asian sources.

So you might consider spending a little more for a higher quality toilet that's made in the US. That would be either a Groco HF or the Raritan PH SuperFlush (Defender has it on sale for under $300). They're the only two toilet mfrs left who still build everything here.


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Old 15-05-2017, 11:44   #7
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Peg's got a good point, but before you pull it. Mine did the same thing when I first got it with the dry bowl cam lever. Toggle it over with a strong force. If it's in any position other than fully dry, it won't pump. After working it back and forth it loosen up and works fine.
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Old 15-05-2017, 11:59   #8
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Will try that first since that is easiest. Thanks guys. I also contacted Jabsco customer support waiting to hear back. According to the troubleshooting guide, " bowl does not empty and difficult to pull handle up" recommends removing pump and check for blockage. It seems a blockage in the rest of the system would result in difficulty pushing the handle down. Wet/dry lever not being in the right position is most likely culprit. I'll let you guys know what fixes it tomorrow.
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Old 15-05-2017, 13:28   #9
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

I've tried two brand new ones now trying to resolve a vacuum in the pumping. What I discovered is that when you flip the lever over to the right, it doesn't positively snap into position and you have to insure that it is. Every time (months pass and my memory is bad) that I find myself with a vacuum in the pump I start thinking I need to replace it and then I remember to check the valve and that solves the problem.
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Old 15-05-2017, 13:57   #10
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

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Originally Posted by cnsutter View Post
Will try that first since that is easiest. Thanks guys. I also contacted Jabsco customer support waiting to hear back. According to the troubleshooting guide, " bowl does not empty and difficult to pull handle up" recommends removing pump and check for blockage. It seems a blockage in the rest of the system would result in difficulty pushing the handle down. Wet/dry lever not being in the right position is most likely culprit. I'll let you guys know what fixes it tomorrow.
They mean blockage of the inlet (in is one side of the piston, out is the other). If there is any chance of that, simply take the hose off the water inlet--no more blockage. Although that seems unlikely to you, a wasp could have built a nest in there or a hose could have collapsed. The seacock may have failed. Taking the suction hose loose will tell you in a minute, then you will know.


It is either that or a defect, as Peggy stated.
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Old 15-05-2017, 14:25   #11
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Yea, inlet hose is not even connected right now amid the troubleshooting to rule that out already. Inlet is free of blockage. When the switch is set to wet bowl, I can put my finger over the inlet and it pulls a vacuum like it should.
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Old 15-05-2017, 14:34   #12
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Neighbor had the same issue. Just pull on the lever as you dry flush. It will probably work fine. Not the best design in MHO Peter
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Old 16-05-2017, 08:36   #13
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

Looks like you're on it now. I have one if these and it has given great service for the past 3 years, living aboard for about 5 mths per yr.
Maintenance I do:
Fit new joker valve each year. 15 mins and $10.
Flush with vinegar, and let sit, about every week or two.
Lube with dose of cooking oil, as soon as it seems a bit stiff to pump.
Stay away from other, more aggressive, chemicals.
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Old 16-05-2017, 09:22   #14
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

I replaced a Wilcox-Crittenden HeadMate with a Jabsco. Neither are top of the line, but the Jabsco has given me good service.
I can buy two Jabscos for the price of one Groco

Sounds to me like the seacock for the inlet is closed or you have the 1/2" hoses reversed.

Sometimes the "pump dry" lever has to be quickly and firmly pushed to the right to get it to function.

I have replaced the joker valve once in 7 years and I have to add silicone grease or vaseline to the plunger every year or two.

What is important is that nothing goes into the toilet that wasn't eaten or drunken and 20 - 30 pumps of clean water to push everything up past the vented loop.

Jabsco has a fairly good website and an exploded diagram of the toilet, maybe you can see if something was installed correctly.

Be careful when removing and replacing the screws that hold the pump to the rest of the unit. They strip easily.
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Old 16-05-2017, 09:35   #15
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Re: New Jabsco Head Not Working

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Be careful when removing and replacing the screws that hold the pump to the rest of the unit. They strip easily.

A little trick when refitting the screws is to drop them in the holes, then turn them gently anti-clockwise. You will feel the screw drop into the thread in the base. Then gently tighten the screws.

A agree with the suggestion of the lever not being full over, happened to me after fitting a rebuild kit, but it only happened the once. Worked normally ever since.
Despite all the poor rep Jabsco get, mine have worked well for the last 5 years.
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