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Old 18-06-2024, 08:07   #1
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SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Hello to All,

I'm brand new here and glad that I found the site. I'm struggling with a long-standing issue and wondering if anyone could help me.

I have been dealing with a toilet that will not flush, or, barely flushes. It is random and has been the most frustrating issue for me, ever. At one point my daughter used it and said that the toilet would not flush. She swears she never put anything down that she shouldn't. Here are some things that happened next:

- Vacuum would not keep and the pump always ran.
- Water would stand in the bowl. Sometimes, after driving the boat in rough water and I docked it, the toilet would flush (a little) for about a day. From there, it would go back to not flushing.
- I have done the following:
- Replaced the bowl seals and switch - water was coming from the toilet base - This is now fixed.
- Replaced the duck bills and checked the hoses. No significant change.
- Found that the pump motor was stripped out. The bellow was seized inside the chamber. I replaced the entire pump assembly. There is still standing water in the bowl, but you can see it bounce up and down slightly to the rhythm of the pump motor.

Do you think it is possible that I have an air lock in the system? When the water is off and I push down the pedal, I got some large bubbles of air that came up. If there is an airlock, what is the best way to fix that?

Thanks in advance for reading my story!

OH.... a side note - Last Friday, the pump stopped working. I found that the 12v lead had no power, but the panel switch was not tripped. It's almost like there is a fuse in between it somewhere but I cant find it anywhere. The panel switch has power. For a temp fix, I wired it into the bathroom exhaust fan switch, and the pump now turns on like it should.
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Old 18-06-2024, 08:32   #2
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

If the water in the bowl is not going out, but IS moving in time with the pump, that strongly suggests the duck bill valves are bad.

There is no such thing as an "air lock" in this system.

It is possible there is a clog in the plumbing on the outlet side of the pump, or a clog in the air vent of the holding tank. A clog (or closed valve?) here can cause the pump pressure to invert the duckbills on the suction side, rendering them useless.
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Old 18-06-2024, 08:45   #3
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Welcome aboard cruisersforum!


I can think of several things that would cause your problem, but as you found out when you replaced the pump, VacuFlush components and even parts are too expensive to just keep trying something till you hit the right one. So I'm gonna send you to my favorate VF dealer/service center--Marine Sanitation and Supply (marinesan) in Seattle who'll know what the right one is and also has the best prices and very reasonable shipping cost.

Their phone number is 800-624-9111...ask for Leah and tell her I sent you.


--Peggie
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Old 18-06-2024, 10:12   #4
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

As Peg says Marine Sanitation in Seattle is very helpful. Peg is a wealth on knowedgle also. Do you have the vaccum test gage kit? Some basic questions are you sure the duckbill valves are oriented correctly? Which VG system do you have? I have the VG 4 and have found the lastic "bellows" with a small pin hole that caused similar symptons The test gage allows you to see if you are pulling a vacuum.
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Old 18-06-2024, 19:09   #5
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Hello All,

I first would like to say "thank you" for the warm welcome and detailed replies! I think that all of this information will help get me on the right track!

@SailingHarmonie: Thank you for confirming that there is no "air lock situation" on these systems. There is a guy on our dock who swears by that and says that it needs to be flushed with water. I'm happy to hear that is not accurate. When I turn the system on, it fills the cabin with a waste odor that lasts about 5-10m. Maybe that hose could be an issue!

@Peghall: I couldn't agree more about those parts prices! THANK YOU for the referral to Marine Sanitation (Leah). I will give her a call tomorrow and let her know you sent me!

@Gudgeon: Aloha! Great to hear that you like MS as well. I cant wait to talk to them. Yessir - I am sure of the duckbill direction. This is a brand new pump and below, but I don't have a test gauge. It sounds like I need to purchase one!

My boat is located at Lake of the Ozarks. It is amazing to me that nobody... NOBODY wants to work on this system. I'm glad to be learning all that I can. Thanks again to everyone! I'll let you know what I am able to find out!
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Old 18-06-2024, 19:45   #6
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

If you'll PM your email address to me, I'll send you a piece I've written I call "VacuFlush 101" that explains how it works (an amazing number owners think they know but actually don't) and how much water it actually needs to stay trouble free. Fwiw, VF was the toilet on my last two boats and I was a dealer for nearly 10 years up to the time that they combined everything but the bowl assembly into "vacuum generators."


--Peggie
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Old 18-06-2024, 19:51   #7
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Hello Peggie,

That is super nice of you! Wow, your experience sounds amazing and I would love to read the piece you've written! I will PM you my email address. I hope you have a great night!

Kind Regards,
Wade
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Old 18-06-2024, 21:30   #8
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wreck-Diver View Post
Hello All,

I first would like to say "thank you" for the warm welcome and detailed replies! I think that all of this information will help get me on the right track!

@SailingHarmonie: Thank you for confirming that there is no "air lock situation" on these systems. There is a guy on our dock who swears by that and says that it needs to be flushed with water. I'm happy to hear that is not accurate. When I turn the system on, it fills the cabin with a waste odor that lasts about 5-10m. Maybe that hose could be an issue!

@Peghall: I couldn't agree more about those parts prices! THANK YOU for the referral to Marine Sanitation (Leah). I will give her a call tomorrow and let her know you sent me!

@Gudgeon: Aloha! Great to hear that you like MS as well. I cant wait to talk to them. Yessir - I am sure of the duckbill direction. This is a brand new pump and below, but I don't have a test gauge. It sounds like I need to purchase one!

My boat is located at Lake of the Ozarks. It is amazing to me that nobody... NOBODY wants to work on this system. I'm glad to be learning all that I can. Thanks again to everyone! I'll let you know what I am able to find out!

It can sometimes be true that older, tired duckbill vlaves can have debris hold them open, and a flush with water can move the "chunks" along.

If you have oder entering the cabin after flushing, that is a key sign something is wrong. That's not permeation through a bad hose, that is a serious leak.

Take a look at the duckbill valves on the suction side of the pump. If they look like they have been turned "inside out" then you have a clog in the system somewhere. If they look good, then follow peghalls advice, she's the expert.

Once you get this sorted out, these can be very reliable systems. I had one for ten years in full time liveaboard use. Other than changing duckbill valves, and a bowl valve seal (once) I can't remember a repair.
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Old 19-06-2024, 00:38   #9
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Assuming you have a new vacuum generator (not just a new motor), then the last option is a blocked hose or air leak... if you kept the old tank then all plumbing connections must be tested.

How old are the hoses?

Is the holding tank vent functional?

Can you hire an electrician to fix the wiring issues?
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Old 20-06-2024, 20:32   #10
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

Hello Cram!

Thank you for your reply. Yes, it's a brand-new assembly. Last year, my teenage daughter went in there and came back out saying the toilet wasnt flushing. She said she put nothing in there. I wish she had (or would tell me) because then I would have an idea.

I'm note sure of the age of the hoses. I have had the boat about 5 years. When it worked properly, the vacuum could darn near take an arm off. LOL I dont have a guage, but can say that the vacuum seems good all the way to the accumulator. I havent checked the exit yet - It is reaaaaaly hard to get to, but it sounds like I might have to lose weight and find a way! HAHA

The vent line is another thing I need to look at. I will be down at the boat tomorrow evening. I guess I could always remove the line from the waste tank for a moment and see how it works. I have an endoscope that I could put in there as well.

The 12v lead... It's the strangest thing (loosing power). I havent delved into that yet either, but at least have a temp solution, running it to the bathroom fan switch. It's another thing that I need to take a look at.
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Old 21-06-2024, 08:22   #11
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

The holding tank is not a part of the VacuFlush system so the vent line on the holding tank has nothing to do with how it works. However a blocked vent line can pressurize the holding tank, creating back pressure that would prevent the vacuum pump from moving flushes into it. But it wouldn't affect the pump's ability to try or affect it's ability to restore vacuum.


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Old 01-07-2024, 07:28   #12
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

I also had difficulty with mine last year. Vacuum pump running on but not generating a vacuum.
Turned out that the 4 new but non-genuine duckbills were the problem. Replaced them with another set of new ones - slightly different moulding - and she worked fine. Duckbills seem to be a bit temperamental. Also took the time to replace the 20 yo hoses recently. They eventually suffer from odour permeation. Always have 4 replacement duckbill valves on hand - had to change mine out on New Year’s Day this year
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Old 01-07-2024, 09:02   #13
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

If you are using saltwater you might find there is a serious build up of calcium in the pipes etc which can often cause a partial blockage ( this happen to me and I had to replace some pipework and a clean out a vacuum tank).
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Old 02-07-2024, 08:05   #14
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Re: SeaLand/Dometic/Vacuflush Flushing Issue

The VacuFlush is designed to use pressurized fresh water, so it wouldnn't be using sea water unless the OP replumbed it to use a remote intake pump. However a buildup of urine crystals in the plumbing and vacuum tank is highly likely as the result of using too little water to flush or rinse the plumbing after each flush. The flush water pressure is too wimpy to fill the hoses, so it necessary to flush at least a 1/2 bowlful of water through the system once a day to prevent it.


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