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Beneteau 343 head rebuild question

zimboy

.
Oct 18, 2020
10
beneteau 343 san francisco
I bought a 2006 Beneteau 343 a few months back, and although I have been sailing for many years, this is the first boat I've owned. I'm very happy with it but it has a smelly head. After reading lots of posts on this and other forums and speaking to some sailing friends I've decided to rebuild the head (I've also ordered Peggy Hall's book). The attached diagram "B343 Head" shows the current configuration of the head.

A friend has recommended taking the direct discharge Y valve out of the loop (it's currently jammed in the holding tank position), since I have no plans to do any sailing other than coastal waters. The attached Proposed Head Config shows the proposed change. Does anyone have any advice or feedback about going this route, or anything else I should consider while I'm doing this? I'm planning to change all the waste piping, the manual pump, and the Y valve (if the advice is to keep it).

A second question I have is the top of the bowl of the head is at about water level when the boat is not heeling. The Jabsco instructions for the piping recommends adding a vented anti-siphon loop, which the boat does not currently have. I have a suspicion that this (especially the vent) could itself become a source of smells and problems. Since I'm planning to remove the Y valve and will seal the through hull on the next haul out, and I plan to only use fresh water for the head and so I will keep the inlet seacock permanently closed, it seems unnecessary. Does anyone have any advice on this topic?

Appreciate any suggestions or feedback, this is a great forum!
 

Attachments

Jan 11, 2014
7,158
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
There are 2 possible locations for a vented loop, one on the discharge hose and one on the intake.

The vented loop on the intake goes between the pump and the bowl. Head manufacturer's only put a short hose between the pump and bowl. The needs to be removed and the vented loop needs to be above the waterline at all angles of heel. The easiest way to determine the height is to place the vent at deck height and in a few feet from the gunwale.

The discharge vent needs to be at a similar height and between the Y-valve and the through hull.
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,905
- - LIttle Rock
First, don't rebuild a Jabsco manual toilet...replace the pump instead. A new pump will only cost you about 10-15% more than the "service" (rebuild) kit and only requires removing and replacing the bolts that secure the pump onto the base and two hoses.

The two most likely sources for your odor are dead and decaying organisms in sea water left to sit and stagnate in the system while the boat sits between uses and sanitation hoses that have become permeated with odor...or both. Whether permeated or not, your hoses should be replaced if they're original or even close to 10 yrs old...'cuz rubber and plastic dries out over time, becoming hard, brittle and prone to cracking and splitting. You do NOT want to go with cheap sanitation hoses if this is a job you only want to do once every 8-10 years, 'cuz cheap sanitation hoses are not permeation resistant.

There's a simple cure for stagnant sea water odor in my book and I've also posted it here enough times that I'll let you find it in the book or the archives instead of typing it again.

I looked at your proposed drawing...If it accurately depicts the route the hoses will take, I have to wonder why you want to run the line from the toilet to the tank all the way past the tank to get to the intake fitting on the top of it instead going directly to it... and your proposed discharge/pumpout plumbing makes no sense at all to me...but that may only be due to your drawing skills being about as bad as mine...so we'll need to discuss all this, and I'll be glad to help you get it all sorted out, either here or one-on-one after you've had a chance to read at least the parts of my book that deal with your issues.

--Peggie
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,700
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Replace the hoses and remove the holding tank and thoroughly clean it.
Replace the pump, as Peggy mentioned, or just replace the entire toilet. I don't think your proposal is going to pass muster with the Coast Guard and local marine patrol. They will be looking for a Y valve with a lock out to prevent overboard discharge in coastal & near coastal waters. Hefty fines for those who do not comply.
When I purchased my used 343, years ago, the odor was intolerable. The majority of the problem was the holding tank. After thoroughly cleaning, there was a drastic improvement. Changing the hoses at a later date also helped.
 

zimboy

.
Oct 18, 2020
10
beneteau 343 san francisco
Thanks to all for the feedback.

@dlochner Yes, I understand where the vented loops have to go, my question was about whether problems could be experienced with them. The idea of the vent in the pipe just seems to be asking for trouble with smell, blockages etc, so was looking for feedback on experience with them and the necessity, since the factory configuration does not include them. I understand why they are recommended, but my sense is they may introduce more problems than they solve (other than the boat sinking of course).

@peggie hall, looking forward to getting your book - I got notice it shipped today. Maybe I used the wrong word when I said "rebuild". My plan is to replace the pump, all the waste piping, and (maybe) the Y valve, if that seems to be the way to go. I'm pretty certain the waste pipes have not been replaced since the boat was new, and there's backflow because the joker valve needs replacing. My sense is these are the main contributors to the problem. This is the piping that has been recommended to me. I saw your recommendation for the raritaneng product, would be interested to hear your feedback on both.

The routing in the diagram is partly a bad drawing, and partly a result of the physical location of the head and the holding tank, which is between the hull and a panel right next to the head. There's no alternative to routing the pipe other than the way I show it because of the placement of the head and the holding tank, and the location of the inlets / outlets on top of the holding tank. If I eliminate the Y valve it will require about 8 or 9 feet of piping and a rise of about 5 feet.

@BigEasy
I am planning to replace all the components that could be contributing to the problem. Regarding your comment:

"I don't think your proposal is going to pass muster with the Coast Guard and local marine patrol. They will be looking for a Y valve with a lock out to prevent overboard discharge in coastal & near coastal waters."

What I'm proposing to do is to remove one of the two methods on this boat for overboard discharge. Method 1 is to use the Y valve to discharge directly, this will no longer be possible if I take the Y valve out of the loop and direct the waste directly to the holding tank. This will eliminate problems with stuck Y valves, need for anti siphon loops, risk of accidental overboard discharge etc, etc. Method 2 is to use the existing macerator. (However downside of this is if I remove the Y valve and the macerator fails there will be no way to discharge the holding tank overboard).

I believe method 1 will reduce the risk of a violation of USCG regulations since there is no way for overboard discharge except via the macerator.

Thanks for everyone's help.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,158
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Yes, I understand where the vented loops have to go, my question was about whether problems could be experienced with them. The idea of the vent in the pipe just seems to be asking for trouble with smell, blockages etc, so was looking for feedback on experience with them and the necessity, since the factory configuration does not include them. I understand why they are recommended, but my sense is they may introduce more problems than they solve (other than the boat sinking of course).
My experience is that there is no increase in head odor. It does take a little longer to get water to the bowl. One caveat, we're in freshwater so there are fewer things growing that are going to die in the hose.

I believe method 1 will reduce the risk of a violation of USCG regulations since there is no way for overboard discharge except via the macerator.
The macerator will need to be locked so that it can't be operated in order to be legal.
 
  • Like
Likes: BigEasy
Dec 2, 1997
7,905
- - LIttle Rock
If you'll only be flushing into the tank, you won't need a vented loop in the toilet discharge line, but you do need one in the toilet INTAKE line...it needs to be at least 6-8" above waterline at max heel, not just when the boat's at rest, which on most sailboats puts it 2-3 FEET above the bowl. There will be no odor from it because water wiil be PULLED through it...vented loops only squirt liquid being PUSHED through them. However, there still should be an air valve installed in the nipple on the top of the loop.

The macerator will need to be locked so that it can't be operated in order to be legal.
Not true...federal law (33 CFR 159.7 (c) ) only requires:
(c) When operating a vessel on a body of water where the discharge of untreated sewage is prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency under 40 CFR 140.3, the operator must secure each Type III device in a manner which prevents discharge of sewage. Acceptable methods of securing the device include
(1) Closing each valve leading to an overboard discharge and removing the handle;
(2) Padlocking each valve leading to an overboard discharge in the closed position; or
(3) Using a non-releasable wire-tie to hold each valve leading to an overboard discharge in the closed position.

Locking the macerator is also an acceptable option, not a requirement.

This is the piping that has been recommended to me. I saw your recommendation for the raritaneng product, would be interested to hear your feedback on both.
Raritan SaniFlex RaritanSaniFlex hose has been on the market for more than 10 years and has proven to be 100% odor permeation resistant and--as you'll see in the photo on the Raritan promo sheet--has the added advantage of being so flexible it can be bent almost as tight as a hairpin without kinking. It now has a 10 warranty, btw. Has a list price of about $12/ft, can be found for < $10/ft from Defender to +/- $11 and is sold by the ft. by most retailers

Shields PolyX has a "lifetime" warranty...however the average working life of any hose is only about 10 years, so "lifetime" can mean whatever they want it to mean. It's only available in 12 and 50' lengths and the price at the link you provided is $16.30/ft...

There's no alternative to routing the pipe other than the way I show it
Maybe not the line from the toilet to the tank...but why would you run the hose from the discharge fitting on or at the bottom of the tank (hard to tell from your drawing) all the way up to the deck pumpout and the hose from the discharge fitting on the top of the tank(which I'm sure has a diptube inside the tank) all the way down to the thru-hull? You'd need a lot less hose doing it the other way.

And finally for now...As long as you're doing all this work, this would be an excellent opportunity to upgrade your toilet to a Raritan PH SuperFlush Raritan PH SuperFlush which is the current version of their tried and true PHII that's been the top rated manual toilet since Raritan introduced it in 1983. It moves bowl contents twice as far with half the pumps needed by your Jabsco, which can almost be considered necessary considering the required length of your hose.

--Peggie
 
  • Helpful
Likes: rgranger
Jun 21, 2004
1,700
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Not true...federal law (33 CFR 159.7 (c) ) only requires:
(c) When operating a vessel on a body of water where the discharge of untreated sewage is prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency under 40 CFR 140.3, the operator must secure each Type III device in a manner which prevents discharge of sewage. Acceptable methods of securing the device include
(1) Closing each valve leading to an overboard discharge and removing the handle;
(2) Padlocking each valve leading to an overboard discharge in the closed position; or
(3) Using a non-releasable wire-tie to hold each valve leading to an overboard discharge in the closed position.

Locking the macerator is also an acceptable option, not a requirement.
--Peggie
So, in essence, you're saying that the the waste system has to be "locked or rendered inoperable" to prevent overboard discharge in restricted areas designated by the EPA. If you have to remove the macerator thru hull valve handle or tie it shut, that is essentially locking it.
Personally, I would not want to take a chance with some hefty fines if the Coast Guard or Local marine patrol finds the macerator system not "locked", especially on San Francisco Bay.
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,905
- - LIttle Rock
So, in essence, you're saying that the the waste system has to be "locked or rendered inoperable" to prevent overboard discharge in restricted areas designated by the EPA.
No, that is NOT what I'm saying. Actually I'm not saying anything, I simply posted the language of the applicable law and that's not what it says either.
"Acceptable methods of securing the device include" does NOT mean you have to use them all...It means you get to pick the one that works best for you. For most people that's #3 because running a zip tie through a hole in a y-valve or seacock handle (a hole you may have to drill) to run a piece of plastic through it that can be easily cut when you get offshore again is the easiest.

This law was written in 1978-79, before macerator pumps existed...it has not been amended to include them, but IF you have a macerator pump that has locking switch, it has become an acceptable 4th choice.

Some of y'all can be worse than a flock of little old ladies when it comes to getting your panties in a wad for no reason!

--Peggie
 
  • Like
Likes: marchem
Oct 3, 2008
308
Beneteau 393 Chesapeake Bay
I have a Beneteau 393 with the same setup, except with two heads. Anyway, on these Beneteaus the tank is located vertically on the wall and is higher than the toilet. Beneteau configures the hose runs as zimboy shows in his first picture. So the toilet discharge goes up (and up) to the top of the holding tank. And yes, the deck pumpout hose is connected to the bottom of the tank. The macerator pump also is attached at the top of the tank, connected to a diptube.

We are in the Chesapeake Bay which is brackish, but we mostly use fresh water to flush. When we do, we make sure to continue pumping well after the bowl empties. About 15-20 more times, so that most of the waste is forced through that hose and up to the top of the holding tank. We also replace the toilet pump every other year. Once or twice I needed to do interim replacements of the joker valve (I use the sturdier Raritan duckbill instead of the Jabsco valve). Since we started this approach, we really don't get bad smells anymore.
 

zimboy

.
Oct 18, 2020
10
beneteau 343 san francisco
My experience is that there is no increase in head odor. It does take a little longer to get water to the bowl. One caveat, we're in freshwater so there are fewer things growing that are going to die in the hose.

The macerator will need to be locked so that it can't be operated in order to be legal.
@dlochner Thanks - after reading Peggie's book and discussions with others, I've decided to bypass the Y valve and feed the head outlet directly into the holding tank. Since this will go to the top of the holding tank which is above the waterline at all times, there will be no need for an anti-siphon loop.
I need to investigate how the macerator is set up in this boat, it's tucked away at the back of a closet in the head, and it's hard to see where everything goes. It's still in its factory configuration, so hopefully they made provision for USCG rules.
 

zimboy

.
Oct 18, 2020
10
beneteau 343 san francisco
I have a Beneteau 393 with the same setup, except with two heads. Anyway, on these Beneteaus the tank is located vertically on the wall and is higher than the toilet. Beneteau configures the hose runs as zimboy shows in his first picture. So the toilet discharge goes up (and up) to the top of the holding tank. And yes, the deck pumpout hose is connected to the bottom of the tank. The macerator pump also is attached at the top of the tank, connected to a diptube.

We are in the Chesapeake Bay which is brackish, but we mostly use fresh water to flush. When we do, we make sure to continue pumping well after the bowl empties. About 15-20 more times, so that most of the waste is forced through that hose and up to the top of the holding tank. We also replace the toilet pump every other year. Once or twice I needed to do interim replacements of the joker valve (I use the sturdier Raritan duckbill instead of the Jabsco valve). Since we started this approach, we really don't get bad smells anymore.
@Paul Mermelstein yes, your setup is the same as mine. Unfortunately I already ordered the Jabsco joker valve, but will switch to Raritan the next time around, which sounds like it will be from 6 to 12 months based on the feedback here. I am also only using fresh water to flush. The sink in the head has an extensible hose that can used for a shower and can also reach the head, so I have only been using fresh water.
 

zimboy

.
Oct 18, 2020
10
beneteau 343 san francisco
If you'll only be flushing into the tank, you won't need a vented loop in the toilet discharge line, but you do need one in the toilet INTAKE line...it needs to be at least 6-8" above waterline at max heel, not just when the boat's at rest, which on most sailboats puts it 2-3 FEET above the bowl. There will be no odor from it because water wiil be PULLED through it...vented loops only squirt liquid being PUSHED through them. However, there still should be an air valve installed in the nipple on the top of the loop.


Not true...federal law (33 CFR 159.7 (c) ) only requires:
(c) When operating a vessel on a body of water where the discharge of untreated sewage is prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency under 40 CFR 140.3, the operator must secure each Type III device in a manner which prevents discharge of sewage. Acceptable methods of securing the device include
(1) Closing each valve leading to an overboard discharge and removing the handle;
(2) Padlocking each valve leading to an overboard discharge in the closed position; or
(3) Using a non-releasable wire-tie to hold each valve leading to an overboard discharge in the closed position.

Locking the macerator is also an acceptable option, not a requirement.



Raritan SaniFlex RaritanSaniFlex hose has been on the market for more than 10 years and has proven to be 100% odor permeation resistant and--as you'll see in the photo on the Raritan promo sheet--has the added advantage of being so flexible it can be bent almost as tight as a hairpin without kinking. It now has a 10 warranty, btw. Has a list price of about $12/ft, can be found for < $10/ft from Defender to +/- $11 and is sold by the ft. by most retailers

Shields PolyX has a "lifetime" warranty...however the average working life of any hose is only about 10 years, so "lifetime" can mean whatever they want it to mean. It's only available in 12 and 50' lengths and the price at the link you provided is $16.30/ft...



Maybe not the line from the toilet to the tank...but why would you run the hose from the discharge fitting on or at the bottom of the tank (hard to tell from your drawing) all the way up to the deck pumpout and the hose from the discharge fitting on the top of the tank(which I'm sure has a diptube inside the tank) all the way down to the thru-hull? You'd need a lot less hose doing it the other way.

And finally for now...As long as you're doing all this work, this would be an excellent opportunity to upgrade your toilet to a Raritan PH SuperFlush Raritan PH SuperFlush which is the current version of their tried and true PHII that's been the top rated manual toilet since Raritan introduced it in 1983. It moves bowl contents twice as far with half the pumps needed by your Jabsco, which can almost be considered necessary considering the required length of your hose.

--Peggie
I got your book and have read it cover to cover, it's very helpful, thank you! You answered both my original questions in the book. I've decided to bypass the Y valve (I will put a temporary length of pipe on the discharge through hull in case it is accidentally opened, will remove the through hull when I do the next haul out). Since the outlet of the head will go to the top of the holding tank which is above the waterline there will be no need for an anti siphon loop. I will add one to the intake as recommended.

Regarding your comment: "And finally for now...As long as you're doing all this work, this would be an excellent opportunity to upgrade your toilet to a Raritan PH SuperFlush Raritan PH SuperFlush". As I mentioned before, this is my first boat. My intention is to find out if I (and my partner) like the cruising life and to learn about how to operate and maintain a boat. I know that I will not get anything back from any investment I make (other than personal enjoyment and experience). If this works out, my plan is to get something bigger in a year or two once I am more confident in my ability to handle a boat. So bottom line is I want the boat to be safe and functional (and odor free :) ), and I want to learn about owning a sailboat. I noted your comment in your book about any change to a head will require new holes to be drilled, as well as your comment that a rebuild is not always required, so I don't want to over invest. Also I started down this road and ordered the replacement parts before I read your advice to wait until completing the plan (very good advice!). The sense I get from all the feedback is that I'm going to be doing routine maintenance on the head every 6 - 12 months, so I will know better next time around, and this option is still open to me.

I will follow your advice about the Raritan hose, it sounds like it is much more flexible than the Poly X, and there are some tight corners that it needs to run through.

I pumped out and rinsed the holding tank with clean water multiple times today, and then added detergent and completely filled it until water started running out of the vent so I know it is not blocked. I will leave it until next weekend, pump out again and start on the refit.

Many thanks for all your help and advice. I now feel much more confident about what I need to do.
 
Oct 3, 2008
308
Beneteau 393 Chesapeake Bay
@Paul Mermelstein yes, your setup is the same as mine. Unfortunately I already ordered the Jabsco joker valve, but will switch to Raritan the next time around, which sounds like it will be from 6 to 12 months based on the feedback here. I am also only using fresh water to flush. The sink in the head has an extensible hose that can used for a shower and can also reach the head, so I have only been using fresh water.
You should be fine. Just to clarify, for urine we add a full cup of water and then flush the bowl empty and follow with 1) another full cup of water and, 2) 15-20 dry pumps so the fluid is pumped up the hose and into the tank. For feces, we do a similar routine but start with water in the bowl first. The dry pumping removes most of the fluids from the hose and into the tank and lessens the hydraulic back pressure on the joker valve and flapper valve in the Jabsco Twist n Lock pump. We usually get no backflow for at least a year. If I do (rarely), I either replace the pump or just the joker valve. Peggy's book is great and is full of terrific facts and ideas. Following our routine and learning from her book, we have a pretty smell-free boat. You will enjoy your 343. We love our 393.