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Old 10-03-2016, 11:58   #1
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Poo Blues

Hi All, i have a TCM electric head system which I suspect is pretty commonplace.

The system flushes well and I close both sea cocks after flushing.

When I sail in the slightest swell the bowl fills up (i.e. the waste comes back from the tank) with 'gunk' from the holding tank. I have to keep flushing every hour or so to keep the waste out.

When the weather is really bad you are distracted and the bowl fills up and spills into the bilges!!! Not pleasant at all on passages.

I am not looking forward to pulling apart my head system and I would like it to be as short a project as possible, so I need your help.

Firstly, what is the likely problem;and secondly how do I repair it?
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:33   #2
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Re: Poo Blues

I don't have any idea what head that is but I believe all of them have a duckbill kind of valve that prevents backflow, yours needs replacing, usually not a bad or hard job really, called a Joker valve I believe.
I'd look for the parts breakdown of your head to see where the Joker valve is and order one and replace it.

Here is an article on what I'm talking about
http://www.practical-sailor.com/issu...s_11065-1.html
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:54   #3
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Re: Poo Blues

Had the same problem last week !!! poured in a little bleach let it set a few minutes wet flushed and dry flushed really vigorously removed two screws replaced joker valve and all is well again (note don't leave the bleach in long it will damage the rubber components which is what started my problems)
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Old 10-03-2016, 14:10   #4
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Re: Poo Blues

Joker valve.
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Old 10-03-2016, 14:37   #5
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Re: Poo Blues

When I sail in the slightest swell the bowl fills up (i.e. the waste comes back from the tank) with 'gunk' from the holding tank. I have to keep flushing every hour or so to keep the waste out.

It is possible for tank contents to run back into a toilet discharge line at the top when the boat is heeled hard enough over to let them flow into the inlet fitting. But you didn't mention heeling. Otherwise, the only two possibilities are, 1. the tank would have to be full to overflowing for the material to be coming from the tank, because unless your system is plumbed incorrectly, the inlet on the tank is at the top and tank contents can't jump....or 2. The most likely. Your tank vent is blocked. Air displaced by incoming flushes can't escape, a pumpout or overboard discharge pump will pull a vacuum that won't allow much if anything to be pulled out... so the system has become so pressurized that flushes aren't even getting to the tank...the backpressure is sending 'em back to the toilet. You THINK the tank is empty or has very little in it because the pump isn't pulling anything out.

First thing to do is check the tank vent...start by opening the pumpout fitting cap to relieve any pressure, and I recommend that you do this at arms length UPwind of it and have a hose at the ready! If the boat has sat for a day or longer, it is possible that enough air along with backed up sewage has escaped through the toilet to relieve the pressure until you start using the toilet again. So don't be fooled into thinking the vent isn't problem...I'd be real money that it is. The two most common locations for a vent blockage are the vent thru-hull and the vent line connection to the tank--both that end of the hose and the fitting on the tank. Start at the vent thru-hull...use a screwdriver blade, ice pick-whatever works-to dig out whatever is in it. If there's screen on it, knock it out...screens cause more problems than they prevent. Next, remove the vent line from the tank (easier if you warm it a bit first...you're likely to find the end of the hose and the tank fitting packed. Scrape both out...reconnect the vent line. Now you should be able to pump or dump the tank completely.

Next: replace the vent thru-hull with an open bulkhead thru-hull. All "vent" thru-hulls are actually designed for use on fuel tank vent lines, so the have spark arresters and the smallest opening possible to keep sea water out of the fuel supply. Boat builders use 'em on ALL vents 'cuz it's less expensive than the right one for each application, and they're ok for water as well as fuel, but totally wrong for waste vents. A plain ol' open thru-hull will let you stick a hose nozzle up against it and backflush the line to prevent it from ever becoming blocked again. Any waste or critters in the line will be washed into the tank.

Finally...you are gonna have to do a little toilet maintenance. Replace the joker valve in the toilet discharge fitting...I would'nt be surprised if you find it turned inside out when you remove the discharge fitting. After you've done that, disconnect the head intake hose from the thru-hull (prob'ly be a good idea to close the seacock first) and stick it in a bucket of water to which you've added a quart of distilled white vinegar...flush the whole bucketful through the toilet to clean it out.

And despite your not wanting to take your head system apart, when it comes to systems--especially sanitation systems--preventive maintenance calls for it. And not only is prevention always cheaper and usually a LOT easier than cure, you get to do it on YOUR terms, at YOUR convenience...which you're finding out is never true of repair.

Although I'm 99% certain the above is the problem and the solution, I am occasionally wrong. If this is one of those times, send me an email and we'll spend some one-on-one time getting to the bottom of it.
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Old 10-03-2016, 20:36   #6
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Re: Poo Blues

Thanks all for the help. Ive looked at a diagram of the head system and can't see where the joker valve might be....I want to avoid taking the whole thing apart, so any help would be appreciated.

I have attached an image of the system.

Cheers
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File Type: pdf TMC Electric Toilet Spare Parts.pdf (123.3 KB, 29 views)
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Old 10-03-2016, 21:04   #7
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Re: Poo Blues

I think it's going to be part number 23 (Flapper valve), can't be helped, it's going to have to come apart, but anything is better than sewage in the bilge.
Rubber gloves are useful here
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Old 10-03-2016, 21:15   #8
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Re: Poo Blues

It's part # 23 in the drawing...which doesn't provide a very good look at it.

The joker valve in ANY toilet is in the discharge fitting--the fitting the discharge HOSE connects to. It's bolted to the pump...the flange on the valve is the gasket that seals the connection.

The attached photo shows what joker valves look like.
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Old 10-03-2016, 21:32   #9
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Re: Poo Blues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendana View Post
Thanks all for the help. Ive looked at a diagram of the head system and can't see where the joker valve might be....I want to avoid taking the whole thing apart, so any help would be appreciated.

I have attached an image of the system.

Cheers
Replace #23, as simple as undoing three small bolts, separating the two parts, install flapper valve and reassembling.
And yes it is the same toilet that is on my boat.
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Old 10-03-2016, 22:41   #10
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Re: Poo Blues

If it's one of the electric toilets with a macerator built into the pedestal I think they rely upon the impeller pump to act as a non return valve. If so and yours is leaking back it may just need a new impeller or the housing may be worn allowing fluid to bypass the impeller.
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