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Old 08-05-2015, 14:55   #1
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Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball

About 5 years ago, I purchased and installed a Ph-II upgrade kit - a decision I certainly don't regret.

Unfortunately, after just splashing my boat for the season, I discovered a blocked seawater inlet due to the little spring-loaded inlet ball (part # 1201) being seized inside the inlet body.

I've as yet been unable to dislodge it, and have applied increasing levels of force to drive it up and out. I'm at the point where I'll have to take the entire pump assembly off to invert it so as to be able to drive down into the seawater inlet port with a hammer and drift pin.

Given the kind of force it appears I'll have to apply, I'm afraid I'll crack the molded body of an otherwise perfectly good pump assembly.

Has anyone ever run into this problem?

The instruction manual says:

Water not being drawn in
Check Ball Stuck - Shutoff seacock and remove intake hose
Using an eraser end of pencil be sure check ball is
moving freely

which would seem to indicate that my problem is not typical.

I can't imagine what would have caused such a strong seizing-up.

Anyone??

Al - s/v Persephone
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Old 08-05-2015, 20:50   #2
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Re: Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball

It's more common than you think, mostly on boats in salt water on which the salt water hasn't been rinsed out before the boat sits and/or the toilet isn't kept well lubricated. If you disconnect the inlet hose from the seacock, stick it in a bucket of clean fresh water and flush the whole bucketful to rinse the seawater and salt out of the toilet before you lay up this fall, you shouldn't have this problem next spring.

Poking the ball with a pencil eraser is usually all it takes to free it up.Once you've done that, stick your intake hose in a buck of clean water to rinse the salt out of the system. If the mineral buildup is severe, clearing it out may require more drastic action.

The PH II should be rebuilt about every 5-6 years...yours is due. The correct rebuild kit for PH IIs mfr'd after 6/92 is PHIICRK...the ones made before that use a different kit (PHIIRK). Be sure you get the right one because about half the parts in each kit are not interchangeable. A single use tube of SupeLube thick Teflon grease is included in the kits...use ALL of it--squirt it into the pump, then pump a few times to spread it all over the inside of the pump cylinder. You'll be good to go for a season. Next spring--and every spring--lube it again with the same stuff. Ace Hardware carries it. A full tube of it will last you for years and is also good for lubing y-valves, pumps, winches and anything else that stays wet a lot.

If you can't free up the ball, call Raritan tech support: 800-352-5630.
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Old 09-05-2015, 07:33   #3
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Re: Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball

I've left the intake cylinder full of vinegar overnight to see if any salt (which isn't visible) might be the problem

After 5 years of flawless performance I'm otherwise clueless how a perfectly working ball check-valve could end up over a winter lay-up with the ball appearing to have been jammed down with such force (much more than the wimpy little spring could provide).

If it wasn't our fifth yearly over-wintering, I'd almost suspect a large difference between the thermal expansion (contraction) coefficients of the ball and body materials shrinking the ball enough to let it descend into the opening on a particularly cold night and get stuck when the temperature rose.

That, however, seems pretty improbable.

Replacing an entire otherwise-perfectly-working Ph-II conversion unit because of this stuck intake ball seems ridiculous.
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Old 09-05-2015, 08:33   #4
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Re: Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball

Thanks Peggie, I've never run across that problem. Now if a customer asks me I'll know the answer.

Al if the easy fixes didn't work, you might try coming at the problem from the top.
Disassemble the whole intake valve and see if you can figure out what's holding the ball down. While you've got the pump apart that far you might as well go ahead and do a rebuild as Peggie suggested.

When you figure it out, please let us know what was going on.
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Old 09-05-2015, 08:51   #5
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Re: Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball

The ball isn't jammed, it's stuck to the inside of the housing...there's all kinds of stuff in coastal sea waters that can get sticky as it dries.. Using a pencit eraser or anything similar that won't scratch up the ball and maybe some hot water should free it up.
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Old 13-05-2015, 06:54   #6
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Re: Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball

It took a "little tap" with a 5lb sledge-hammer on a 3/8" bolt to do it, but the ball is now out and seems to be functioning OK.

Yet another example of the triumph of brute force over intellect <g>.

Seems appropriate after getting caught taking a sloppy "short-cut" to my winterizing.

The force of expanding ice did an impressive job jamming down that ball.
Thanks for all the help, folks.

Raritan Ph-II head - stuck inlet ball - SailboatOwners.com


Al - s/v Persephone
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