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View Poll Results: Which manual head would you choose?
Raritan ph II 16 53.33%
Jabsco 14 46.67%
Aqua T 0 0%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-09-2009, 15:52   #16
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I put a new Raritan PH II in our boat 3 weeks ago, and it's working great. We are liveaboards, so it's gotten regular usage and is functioning fine. The only problem I had was my own clumsiness, I managed to break the crappy plastic hinges on the toilet seat when I muscled it in. They wanted $50 for a new seat with hinges, but I found one with beautiful brushed nickel hinges at Home Depot for $25. The seat was way too big, but the hinges fit perfectly, so I installed them on the broken seat and threw the new seat away. My wife loves them, because the plastic hinges always made the seat wiggle around too much.
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Old 01-09-2009, 22:15   #17
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Just to clarify, I actually like the Raritan's. Just not the coupling for the joker valve. Otherwise they have been pretty trouble free. I have the IIE (motor flush). I particularly like that you can pretty easily disconnect the motor and hand pump them. Both are connected to Lectra-Scan treatment systems, which I also installed myself. Installation was not a small (nor pleasant) job, but once in, have been relatively trouble free. (knocks wood).
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Old 22-09-2009, 08:19   #18
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Progress

Thanks for all your insights.

Well we decided to purchase the replacement pump for our old Raritan. In the package were instructions that said if you have the old model, you cannot simply use the service kit to replace a leaking valve. You must replace the whole unit. So why didn't they tell us that in the first place when they sold us the service kit? We had a long conversation with them via phone. And why didn't they state that in the service kit instructions? Anyway, we'll be installing it today so I'll let you know if there are "challenges".
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Old 22-09-2009, 08:25   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
If I were going to install another convintional head it would be a Lavac.

That said, I am tired of dealing with all the vlaves, hose, pupouts and other problems.

Have you considered a composting head?

I am going with this one;

Nature's Head - Eco-Friendly Waterless Composting Toilets for Marine and RV use.

Would love to hear your impressions after you've lived it with for a while. It is an intriguing prospect from some perspectives like not worrying about different regulations and availability of facilities in different ports.
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Old 22-09-2009, 08:30   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gs41escapade View Post
I replaced two older Raritan PH II's with new ones of the same model, so that it would match all the old bolt-down holes, etc. Raritan told me it was "basically identical". What that actually meant is that they moved the discharge outlet fitting by about 4". Just enough that I had to cut a new 1.5" hole for the sanitary hose, and patch the old one. <sigh>

I also do not like the coupling on the discharge fitting. It has only two bolt holes 180deg apart, but really needs 4 bolts 90deg apart. The slightest misalignment and it leaks. Had to put 1.5" clamps on the plastic collar above and below. Had to do this on both heads, both of which were 'virtually' 100% correctly aligned. It doesn't take even the slightest flex pressure to leak.
Thanks for the "heads up"!
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Old 22-09-2009, 19:44   #21
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Wilcox Crittenden Skipper

Does anyone use these?
It's what I have and seams to be good (got it with the boat).
Are any being discussed as reliable or more reliable?

I'd be interested in your experience,

Extemp
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Old 23-09-2009, 12:36   #22
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Willcox Crittenden

Quote:
Originally Posted by Extemporaneous View Post
Does anyone use these?
It's what I have and seams to be good (got it with the boat).
Are any being discussed as reliable or more reliable?

I'd be interested in your experience,

Extemp
Actually, the WC is our primary head in our private quarters. We think it's original to the boat which makes it 33 years old. A couple of years ago, it stopped pumping out effectively so Alex took it apart (nice job, glad I wasn't doing it). Turns out the discharge hose had collected years of "debris" and had just a tiny opening left just like sclerotic arteries. After replacing the hoses, it works great - and there is no odor now. We've had the boat for 5 years of heavy cruising and no major problems otherwise. In fact, it is very easy to operate and, being a full size bowl, quite comfortable. Everything about it is pretty sturdy. I like it a lot.
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Old 23-09-2009, 12:54   #23
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Raritan pump replacement installation

How chintzy can a manufacturer get? So we have this replacement pump for the Raritan ph II. What don't they supply with it? A new handle. Here we have a brand new clean and shiny pump and we have to install into it a cruddy old handle. I cleaned it as best as I could, but the plastic is yellowed and the aluminum is pitted so it looks old and cruddy. Come on Raritan. You saved 25 cents on a critical feel-good part for a $130 replacement pump. Shame! It really made a bad impression. Lesson in how not to market your product upgrades -- makes both the manufacturer and the product seem cheap for so little savings.

Now, the installation. There was no room in the space to decouple the old pump. So Alex (once again I was spared as there was only room for one person in there) had to remove the entire head, assemble it with the new pump, and then reinstall the complete unit. Pain, but good thing. There were problems underneath the head that needed tending to -- mainly the fact that the wood frame it was screwed into had decomposed a bit and needed reinforcing -- the screws were barely holding. Would not have known it until catastrophe struck. I can only imagine the mayhem if the head broke free underway on an ocean crossing. I can see the cartoons now. I have named Alex the Head Master!

So we have a functional head in the guest quarters with a not quite satisfied customer in the end. Thanks for everyone's help. I'll report back on any issues.
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Old 23-09-2009, 13:00   #24
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Seats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windblown View Post
I put a new Raritan PH II in our boat 3 weeks ago, and it's working great. We are liveaboards, so it's gotten regular usage and is functioning fine. The only problem I had was my own clumsiness, I managed to break the crappy plastic hinges on the toilet seat when I muscled it in. They wanted $50 for a new seat with hinges, but I found one with beautiful brushed nickel hinges at Home Depot for $25. The seat was way too big, but the hinges fit perfectly, so I installed them on the broken seat and threw the new seat away. My wife loves them, because the plastic hinges always made the seat wiggle around too much.
Good idea!!! I installed a brushed nickle mirror which has not had any corrosion in several years of use. BTW, West Marine carries replacement seats in just the right sizes at reasonable cost for future reference. I actually replaced one, then cleaned and repainted the second seat using the best parts from both and it looks like new.

I am starting to feel like a head case. How can I get excited about this stuff?
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Old 23-09-2009, 13:27   #25
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My Jabsco works fine. Make sure the inscts havent built a house in the went intake on the side of the hull. If so you will get a collected smell from your holdingtank./Harry
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Old 24-09-2009, 10:55   #26
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Lavac not recommended

I would not recommend Lavac heads based on our liveaboard experience over the past year. The heads are new and were correctly installed by the builder who had installed Lavac's for other owners. Our Lavacs have been a constant source of trouble either with the head itself or the Henderson pumps.

The problems with the head itself were due to a manufacturer's fault in the (made in Taiwan) seat retaining rings - fixed after some experiments with glue. The symptom was that insufficient vacum made it difficult to flush the heads.

The ongoing problem with the pumps are that, in our application where they pump up to holding tanks located near deck level, there is seepage back into the bowls. I have replaced the valves in the Henderson pumps but the outlet (joker) valve is not as robust as that found in conventional heads (have rebuilt them in the past as well) and as soon as one gets any sediment buildup, they do not seal completely. The result is that the seawater in the hose above the pump slowly fills up the bowl to the point of overflowing - not good estheically or in a seaway. The recommended solution is to let vinegar sit in the system periodically which we have tried with little success and may try muriatic acid next. When the pumps need servicing, I have to remove the head and the bulkhead behind it to get at it as it is a neat through bulkhead installation – about three hours messy work.

Yes the design is appealingly simple and they do not clog easily and if you pumped down and out a seacock (as in the days of old) they would probably be OK. I realize that this is a heretical opinion but I am close to "de-installing" ours.
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Old 24-09-2009, 11:18   #27
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I would definately go Wilcox Crittendon if I could afford it. Our raritan has served us well. One thing that has worked well for us. Instead of using the pump to fill bowl and flush, we have an outlet for our pressurised saltwater system near the head with a short hose and trigger sprayer head. You don't have to fill bowl before use and it is much easier to keep bowl clean with the added benefit of getting many more uses between pumpouts. I used pvc to plumb instead of hose. The only hose is a short piece that connects pvc to head. No hose odor issues. Way less cost.
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Old 24-09-2009, 11:26   #28
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Ps concerning Jabsco, their heads are cheap junk but their customer service rocks. Had jabsco on last boat. The pump cracked I called customer service and they sent me a new pump no questions asked,not even purchase date. Brother bought hunter with two jabsco heads. Both needed rebuild, upon calling customer service they sent two rebuild kits free of charge. Can't ask for better customer service than that.
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Old 24-09-2009, 11:40   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Namoian View Post
I would not recommend Lavac heads based on our liveaboard experience over the past year. The heads are new and were correctly installed by the builder who had installed Lavac's for other owners. Our Lavacs have been a constant source of trouble either with the head itself or the Henderson pumps.

The problems with the head itself were due to a manufacturer's fault in the (made in Taiwan) seat retaining rings - fixed after some experiments with glue. The symptom was that insufficient vacum made it difficult to flush the heads.

The ongoing problem with the pumps are that, in our application where they pump up to holding tanks located near deck level, there is seepage back into the bowls. I have replaced the valves in the Henderson pumps but the outlet (joker) valve is not as robust as that found in conventional heads (have rebuilt them in the past as well) and as soon as one gets any sediment buildup, they do not seal completely. The result is that the seawater in the hose above the pump slowly fills up the bowl to the point of overflowing - not good estheically or in a seaway. The recommended solution is to let vinegar sit in the system periodically which we have tried with little success and may try muriatic acid next. When the pumps need servicing, I have to remove the head and the bulkhead behind it to get at it as it is a neat through bulkhead installation – about three hours messy work.

Yes the design is appealingly simple and they do not clog easily and if you pumped down and out a seacock (as in the days of old) they would probably be OK. I realize that this is a heretical opinion but I am close to "de-installing" ours.
I have been on the sailing forums for a couple of years now. That is the first negative I have read on Lavac, and head questions are popular!.......i2f
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Old 24-09-2009, 11:44   #30
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That is exactly the reason why I bought a Jabsco. I bought the cheapest Toilet. It's working great for over a year, no problems (Liveaboard).
Spare Parts for a Raritan PH II are just too expensive.
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