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Old 08-09-2015, 15:10   #1
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Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

I have had a Raritan PH-II marine toilet aboard the last several boats, and keep discovering new details/fixes all the time. The latest:

While my head was pumping fine in the "Flush" mode, it was getting harder and harder to pump in the "Dry" setting. This despite frequent cleaning and lubrication.

The cause? Something Raritan refers to as the "Air Valve Assembly". Its the square-shaped item I am pointing to in the pic. It is essentially a one way check valve, allowing air into the pump, preventing a vacuum from occurring.

Pulled it out, cleaned it well, and screwed it back in. Voila! Head now pumps as new.

Many of you may already know this, but I am posting this for others who may not have made this connection.
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Old 08-09-2015, 18:05   #2
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Re: Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

Thanks for the tip! I have a Raritan PHII, and I'm getting ready to lube the pump. I'll add this to my list.

This summer we had a weird problem where pumping to flush got very difficult. Turns out it was seaweed matted over the screen on the intake through-hull . . .
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Old 08-09-2015, 18:21   #3
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Re: Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

Great tips. Thanks

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Old 13-09-2015, 16:38   #4
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Re: Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

I took my PHII apart this weekend and lubed the inside of the pump with SuperLube. Fun! That all went as planned . . . happy to have lubed the pump, but a bit overwhelmed by the stench.

The only thing I wanted to mention is that the four bolts holding down the pump are very difficult to get a wrench on. The bolt heads on top are placed so close to the pump body you can't get a socket on them.

You can turn the nut on the underside with a regular box end wrench, but the two aft ones in my set-up were very difficult to turn because of lack of room.

I decided to get pan-head stainless machine screws same size and length (1/4" x 1 1/4"), to replace the bolts. Now I can reach a long Philips screwdriver down in there and at least turn all of them easily from the top, while simply holding the bottom nut with a wrench

Not sure if this will be of use to anyone else, but thought I'd mention it.
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Old 13-09-2015, 19:18   #5
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Re: Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
I took my PHII apart this weekend and lubed the inside of the pump with SuperLube. Fun! That all went as planned . . . happy to have lubed the pump, but a bit overwhelmed by the stench.
Next time, 6 months to a year from now, rinse out the pump--the whole system, in fact--by flushing a lot of clean water through it before you remove it from the base. Sea water will do, but disconnecting the inlet line from the thru-hull ('twould prob'ly be a good idea to close the seacock first) and sticking it into a bucketful of clean fresh water will work even better.
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Old 14-09-2015, 03:33   #6
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Re: Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

Yes, I did that -- first a lot of seawater (about 30 flush strokes), and then a thorough vinegar soak (one gallon overnight), and then more rinse water -- but there was enough residual crust and whatever other residue to still make it a smelly job. Next time maybe I should try a rosewater soak . . .

(Edit: I should mention too that I was also replacing my joker valve and waste hose, so maybe there was more mess than normal. . . .)

Overall though -- it was the first time I had taken apart our head in any way and it was good to see how it all works, to get more familiar with the mechanism, and not be intimidated for future maintenance.
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Old 14-09-2015, 09:01   #7
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Re: Raritan PH-II Useful Factoid #7

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
Yes, I did that -- first a lot of seawater (about 30 flush strokes), and then a thorough vinegar soak (one gallon overnight), and then more rinse water -- but there was enough residual crust and whatever other residue to still make it a smelly job. Next time maybe I should try a rosewater soak . . . (Edit: I should mention too that I was also replacing my joker valve and waste hose, so maybe there was more mess than normal. . . .) Overall though -- it was the first time I had taken apart our head in any way and it was good to see how it all works, to get more familiar with the mechanism, and not be intimidated for future maintenance.
A cupful of distilled white vinegar flushed ALL the way through the system, followed after about 45 minutes by a fresh water rinse (use a cup from the sink) once a week will prevent mineral buildup.

If it's been at least 5 years since the pump was rebuilt, it's time to do it. An annual or semi-annual lube with SuperLube, a new joker valve annually, and a rebuild kit every 5-6 years will keep a PH II working smoothly and efficiently for at least 20 years.

Why replace the joker valve annually? Vic Willman, who was Raritan's tech services manager for 40 years (now retired) and who knows more about everything they ever made than I will ever learn explained it (this applies to ALL manual toilets, not just the PH II and will be included in my new book):

Joker Valves 101
Most people think that the only thing the joker valve does is acts as a check valve to stop backflow from returning to the toilet or odor from the tank from escaping through the toilet. But that's not a joker valve's most important function...in fact, the joker valve is THE single most important replaceable part in a manual toilet.
Here’s how the discharge half of the pump works: On the upstroke of the piston, a vacuum is created in the area beneath the piston. This causes the joker valve to close tightly, and the flapper valve beneath the pump to open, allowing some of the contents of the toilet bowl to be drawn into the bottom half of the pump. Then, on the down stroke of the piston, the flapper valve is slammed shut, and the effluent is forced out of the bottom of the pump, through the joker valve, and off down the line. But when the joker valve becomes worn and/or there's a buildup of sea water minerals on it, it can no longer seal tightly on the upstroke of the piston...less vacuum is generated when you pump it. And as it becomes more worn less and less vacuum, till finally the bowl contents simply move up and down a bit, but don't go anywhere. Sometimes the flapper valve needs to be replaced too, which is why toilets should also be rebuilt at least every 5-6 years as PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE.

You prob'ly won't notice the loss of efficiency at first because it's so gradual...same as we don't see that we've gotten a little older than we were yesterday when we look in the mirror each morning. But I guarantee you that if it's been two years or longer since you replaced the joker valve, you need to pump the toilet at least 50% more times to move the bowl contents to the tank or all the way out the thru-hull....IF they're getting there at all any more.


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