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Head pump out?

May 2, 2012
233
Catalina 310 Toronto
I've been getting mixed info about pumping out. Should the head be in pumping mode or closed. Mine is a manual Jacob.

Cheers
2 Old Pirates
:)
 
Jan 12, 2011
930
Hunter 410 full time cruiser
What is "pumping mode" to you? Mine is always in pumping mode and all that changes is whether it is in flush or dry bowl mode. The head should always be in dry mode when not flushing.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,005
- - LIttle Rock
It doesn't matter. The toilet has nothing whatever to do with pumping or dumping a tank. It's the tank VENT that you need to pay attention to.And no matter what you may have been told, the toilet is not a tank vent. If you hear hissing from the bowl while pumping out, it means your tank vent is at least partially blocked and the tank is trying to pull in the air it needs to replace contents as they're being pulled out from anywhere it can....so making sure the tank vent never becomes blocked is essential!

Your question leads me to believe you're kinda new at this stuff, so I suggest you check out the link in my signature...it goes to my book, which is a comprehensive "marine toilets and holding tanks 101" manual that'll help you prevent problems so you won't have to fix 'em. The chapter "Maintaining the Tank Vent" begins on page 41...you'll find "How to Pump Out a Holding Tank" instructions on page 69. There's a lot more good information on the other pages too.

(Btw...I think you meant Jabsco, not Jacob. Don must have missed that hair when he split the other one.)
 
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Jan 18, 2016
595
Catalina 387 Dana Point
I'm not really disagreeing with Peggie.

I used to unlock the twist and lock so that if the pump sucks really well and the vent has trouble keeping up, the head would hiss. Why? 'cause as Peggie says, if you've got a plugged vent it's a problem. My boat has the craptastic vent-in-the stantion thing. So it's essentially a 3/8 inch hole.

Why used to?
1. The pump out at my marina doesn't suck all that much so it's not really a problem.
2. I mainly empty with a macerator once out past 3 miles.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,005
- - LIttle Rock
I used to unlock the twist and lock so that if the pump sucks really well and the vent has trouble keeping up, the head would hiss. Why? 'cause as Peggie says, if you've got a plugged vent it's a problem. My boat has the craptastic vent-in-the stantion thing. So it's essentially a 3/8 inch hole.
Why used to? 1. The pump out at my marina doesn't suck all that much so it's not really a problem.
2. I mainly empty with a macerator once out past 3 miles.
You've just provided all of us with a good indication of your approach to everything on your boat that requires even a little maintenance.

Overboard discharge pumps need a source of air too...how do you know yours is actually emptying the tank completely before it pulls a vacuum? What if you have to pump out where there's a strong pump?

How hard would it be to install a thru-hull next that rail stanchion right below the toe rail and reroute the vent line to it? If you use an open bulkhead thru-hull instead of a "vent" thru-hull, you can even keep the vent line open almost effortlessly by just sticking a hose nozzle up against it and backflushing it every time you wash the boat. And, you'll have less odor if the tank can get some air.
 
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Jan 18, 2016
595
Catalina 387 Dana Point
I know the macerator isn't pulling a vacuum 'cause I can see the tank as I run it - so the vent is enough.

And I do plan to put in a new vent -- it's just not yet on the top of the endless list of things to fix.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,005
- - LIttle Rock
If you don't want a strong pumpout to crack your tank, at least use a screwdriver blade, ice pick or whatever works to clean out the holes/slit in the stanchion and keep 'em cleaned out.
 
Jul 7, 2004
7,867
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I've seen my slip neighbor backflush his C30 stanchion vent. It doesn't look hard.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,005
- - LIttle Rock
Nice job, Paul. Why did whoever installed the original vent line use a 90 degree fitting on a line that they had to know would run straight up??? Although boat builders are the worst sanitation system plumbers on the planet, I don't think yours was a factory installation...'cuz your tank is white. Catalina has used black Ronco waste tanks (haven't noticed what color the water tanks are) for decades.
 
May 2, 2012
233
Catalina 310 Toronto
Thanks Peggie and Paulj. I was having a talk with a number of sailors and as you know everyone has an answer. I figured that this was the best place to get proper feed back, just to be sure.
Cheers
2 Old Pirates
 
Nov 16, 2012
997
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 31 Santa Cruz
Nice job, Paul. Why did whoever installed the original vent line use a 90 degree fitting on a line that they had to know would run straight up??? Although boat builders are the worst sanitation system plumbers on the planet, I don't think yours was a factory installation...'cuz your tank is white. Catalina has used black Ronco waste tanks (haven't noticed what color the water tanks are) for decades.
Peggy, I'm pretty sure Paul's tank is black. Like ours, it's got what looks like white paint overspray on it. Ours (hull #31) also has the elbow fitting, but installing a larger vent like Paul did is on my to-do list. Luckily our head usage is fairly light, with a fresh water flush, and has only been #1, so a small vent hasn't been an issue, yet!
 
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