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Old 08-09-2020, 06:57   #1
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Head - won't pull water in

Good morning!! We had our sailboat on the hard for about 4 months getting worked on. We splashed about two weeks ago. Went to use the head for the first time and no water will pull in. This is our first boat and we are definitely learning on the fly! Any suggestion would be appreciated. We're thinking maybe a seal dried out or something like that. But we are CLUELESS!
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:19   #2
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

At the risk of stating the obvious... I assume that you have made sure that the inlet and outlet thru hull valves have been opened?
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:26   #3
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

Start with the simple stuff first, make sure the thru-hull is open. Is this a manual pump head? If it is there is usually a lever on the pump to select if you draw water or not. Make sure that is in the right position. After that, put some water in the bowl and see if you can pump it through that will tell you if you have bad seals or not. Once you've tried all this then you'll probably have to take stuff apart. Or at least loose. I would start by loosing the hose at the thru-hull to verify water is coming in, then at the connection at the vented loop, and then the pump from the vented loop. That will tell you if you have a clogged hose or not.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:26   #4
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

HA!! Yes - we did actually have to go back and open. And then we both looked at each other like - DUH
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:28   #5
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

What's the make/model of your toilet?


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Old 08-09-2020, 07:29   #6
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

good question - I left the specs on the boat! That would be helpful
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:29   #7
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

If you still get an air lock after opening the valves, drop a bucket of water into the bowl and start pumping. This removes the air lock.


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Old 08-09-2020, 07:56   #8
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

FWIW a few weeks ago we had the same problem. I dove under the boat and there was a fish stuck in the inlet hole. It was jammed in pretty good needed pliers to extract.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:33   #9
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

Try adding a few cups of water to prime things. I have similar issue after pumpouts and it works for me. I suspect my seals are aging.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:34   #10
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

I wonder how many times I've found masking tape left on thru-hulls after the boat has come out of the yard.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:34   #11
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

Quote:
Originally Posted by APWTryfan View Post
FWIW a few weeks ago we had the same problem. I dove under the boat and there was a fish stuck in the inlet hole. It was jammed in pretty good needed pliers to extract.

Yup, our (exactly 1/2" diameter) fish made it through the thru-hull, a "T" fitting (inlet is shared with the forward washdown pump), flapper-type check valve (to prevent the washdown de-priming the toilet) and the hose all the way up to the head. When I pulled the inlet hose off the head, instead of seaweed, I see a pair of eyes staring out at me.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:01   #12
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

I had the exact same problem. This is a wear problem of the pump piston seal. A pump with a worn seal needs a water film for proper sealing. Your pump has dried completely and is not anymore able to pull a vacuum and draw outboard water In the pump. Remove the flushing(top) hose and feed some water to the pump with the piston all the way down. As wear progresses you will experience this more often and a pump rebuild will be required.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:00   #13
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

If you have a Wilcox Crittenden or Groco manual head, you can use the following dodge to prime it without removing the hoses. Fill the porcelain bowl to the very brim--above the upper flushing ports-- and move the pump handle slowly to allow the water to back into the upper chamber of the pump. Then start gently pumping the bowl dry, removing about half an inch of the water in the bowl. If you are fortunate, and the seals aren't too badly worn, this will prime the pump. Then open the intake valve, with the foot pedal or lever, and pump aggressively to fill the intake hose and the pump chamber. Pump aggressively again in about fifteen minutes to prevent air lock from bubbles settling upward in the intake hose.
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:51   #14
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Re: Head - won't pull water in

Was the bottom painted in the yard? Possibly you have an inlet grate was painted over to some degree and went unnoticed. Don't ask how I know.
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