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My Favorite Job of the Year

Jan 4, 2006
3,907
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
I really can't decide if it's lubricating the head piston or getting a root canal (without sedation). Tough choice but I think the root canal comes out on top because it's a little tidier than the lube job.

For the last 19 years, I had made do with a Jabsco just because I could. It was always a bugger getting the gasketed cap back on after a lube job because it always had a leak. Fool around long enough and USUALLY you could get the gasket to seal. And then, early this year, I just could not get the gasket to seal and enough was enough. Out it went into the dumpster in a shower of dirty water.

I had spent a number of previous years looking at the Raritan PHll Superflush and figured the time had come to at least give it a try. @Peggie Hall HeadMistress had strongly recommended it over the years so I figured it had to be better than the Jabsco.

It went in fairly easy with a minimum of cabinetry work and worked like a hot damn. Even went as far as putting in a fresh water suction connection from the sink. Rinsing out the head with fresh water each time the boat was left was a walk in the park.

But now came the time to lubricate the pump piston ring after a season of use. This was always a relatively easy job with the Jabsco as the piston came right out with the rod. The killer was always trying to put the thing back together without leaking :yikes: !

Looking at the instructions for lubing the piston on the Raritan did not exactly inspire confidence. Open that flange and you don't know what's been in there. Well, actually, you do know what's been in there:poop:. What concerned me most was the amount of loose debris which could fall down and get under the gasket preventing a seal after the piston has been lubricated. Got to be a better way.
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If one could get into the top side of the piston, the area has only seen fresh flushing water and lubing should be much simpler.

Getting into the top section was an easy enough job removing a couple of pieces:


This picture shows the handle and its attachment removed (remove pin) and the shaft gland cap removed.
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This picture shows the forward check valve cap removed for ease of access to the shaft gland.
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This picture shows the access to the top of the piston gland accessible along side the piston shaft.
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This picture shows a small grease gun with a small polyethylene tube which slips down the side of the piston rod.
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This shown the grease gun tube being fed into the cylinder and against the cylinder wall and rotated until all cylinder wall surfaces have been coated. The grease gun is filled with Super Lube.
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Once a sufficient amount of grease has been spread along the walls, the piston rod is moved up and down to spread the grease over the interior of the wall. Once this is completed. The pump is re-assembled and the job complete.
 
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Likes: jon hansen
Oct 26, 2008
5,020
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Nice! I installed that pump in Thunderbird just last Spring before I sold her. Never had the chance to do that maintenance on it.
 

BillyK

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Jan 24, 2010
502
Catalina 310 Ocean City, NJ
I liked the Jabesco for ease of maintenance when i had it.. but clearly the Raritan PHll is a solid number 2!

You probably want to wipe your memory of that old Jabesco now..

I bet you looked pretty flushed after doing all that work...
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,847
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Having had a couple of root canals with sedation and having rebuilt and lubricated a couple of head pumps, I'd opt for the lubricating the head. Much less pain and less expensive. ;)
 
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Likes: Bob S
Jan 19, 2010
10,007
Hunter 26 Charleston
I liked the Jabesco for ease of maintenance when i had it.. but clearly the Raritan PHll is a solid number 2!

You probably want to wipe your memory of that old Jabesco now..

I bet you looked pretty flushed after doing all that work...
And you know you didn't throw your money down the toilet.
I guess it is time to roll onto the next job.
 
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Likes: BillyK
Jul 8, 2012
112
Catalina 28 North East
Following Peggie Hall suggestions/instructions the Raritan PHll lube maintenance seemed pretty simple. First flush several times with fresh water, then with the handle lifted remove the four screws on the bottom of the pump. Lift the pump an inch or two and put a golf ball size glob of superlube grease into the cylinder. Reassemble.
Its a ten minute job max, worth putting on some gloves if only to keep the grease off your hands, but wash your hands afterward and maybe wipe down the work area with a clorox wipe.
(That last obvious bit added in the spirit of "do not dry pets in microwave" instructions.)
 
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Likes: jssailem

RoyS

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Jun 3, 2012
1,214
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Why can't you just put the lubricant into the toilet bowl and pump? I would think it ends up in the piston and cylinder anyway. I have only ever used olive oil for this because it was already on the boat. Please advise.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,847
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Why can't you just put the lubricant into the toilet bowl and pump? I would think it ends up in the piston and cylinder anyway. I have only ever used olive oil for this because it was already on the boat. Please advise.
Liquid lubricants like cooking oils will flush right through the system and where it doesn't flush through it will dry and gum things up.

The lubricant needs to be friendly to the plastics in the pump and sticky enough to stay in the pump. The grease @Peggie Hall HeadMistress recommends does this, but it has to be inserted into the the pump mechanism, it won't flush through the toilet.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,129
- - LIttle Rock
Dave is right...any lubricant that's thin enough to flush will wash out in a few flushes, making it a never ending job.
An application of about a tablespoon of the SuperLube thick silicon grease--the grease that's in Raritan toilets when they leave the factory (they even include a single use tube in their rebuild kits) and is available from Ace Hardware-- should last a full season...at least 6 months if you're a liveaboard. Best time to use it is to make it a part of spring recommissioning.

My directions (which I was taught by the folks at Raritan): flush plenty of clean, preferably fresh, water through the toilet to thoroughly rinse it out. Lift the pump just high enough to stick the tube nozzle into the pump and give it a healthy squirt--about a tablespoon. Replace the pump onto the base...pump a few times to spread the grease all over the inside of the pump cylinder...and you're done. Takes about 15 minutes at most.

A PHII toilet (SuperFlush is the current version) has been the top rated manual toilet since Raritan introduced it in 1983. It'll provide at least 20 years of reliable trouble free service if it's just kept well lubricated and gets a rebuild kit (about $60) every 5-6 years. Note that there are two different rebuild kits for it....toilets made before 6/92 need kit PHIIRK...toilets made after 6/92 need kit PHIIRKC. There are several parts in the kits that are not interchangeable, so it's important to get the right kit.

If your toilet is a Jabsco, remove the TOP of the pump and squirt the grease into it.

A bit of marine toilet trivia: If you've ever wondered how the practice of using veggie oil to lube a toilet began...the earliest manual pump toilets didn't have rubber and nitrile seals, o-rings etc., they were leather...and leather absorbs oil, so a couple of tablespoons of veggie oil flushed down the toilet and allowed to sit for a couple of hours lasted for months...it was what toilet mfrs recommended. As leather began being replaced with rubber etc that DOESN'T absorb oil, people just kept using veggie oil any way.

And btw, the SuperLube grease is also a great choice to lube y-valves, winches seacocks and just about anything else that stays wet.

--Peggie
 
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Likes: jssailem