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The Dreaded Head

Phil Herring

Dethroned Admin
Mar 25, 1997
4,847
Hunter 450 Bainbridge Island
Does your head make you want to bang it against a wall?

Clogs. Overflows. Poor drainage. Bad smells. And the maintenance.

Have marine toilets improved over the past 50 years? Or is a bucket the more practical option?

Hold your nose and tell us your worst head stories.

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Sep 30, 2013
3,293
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
We actually had that one on the left. The "Luggable Loo". Use with a kitchen garbage bag and some high quality kitty litter. Cleanup is a breeze, just tie off the bag and "take out the trash". ;)
 
Nov 10, 2009
19
Hunter 410 Rock Hall, MD
The aft holding tank on my Hunter 410 has been difficult to pump out lately. I believe I have localized the problem now to solid matter clogging the outflow at the hose fitting. I plan to open the access port in the tank and hose down the outflow fitting and then any other residual solids before I pump out the tank. Other than being conceptually disgusting, working on the heads and holding tanks on my boat has not been otherwise problematic.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,309
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
We have two heads aboard. The aft one (ours) is electric and the fwd one is a PHII. No smell with either (being a charter boat we'd better have no smell!!!) and beyond the normal maintenance (and a few broken plastic pieces, but that's to be expected on a plastic toilet, right?) I am as satisfied as I can be with anything other than an old Wilcox Skipper head.
 
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Likes: Rick D
Dec 2, 1997
8,132
- - LIttle Rock
The aft holding tank on my Hunter 410 has been difficult to pump out lately. I believe I have localized the problem now to solid matter clogging the outflow at the hose fitting. I plan to open the access port in the tank and hose down the outflow fitting and then any other residual solids before I pump out the tank. Other than being conceptually disgusting, working on the heads and holding tanks on my boat has not been otherwise problematic.
Before you do all that, do two things: 1. check the vent for a blockage. 99% of 'em occur in just two places: the vent thru-hull and the other end of the vent line--that end of the hose and vent fitting on the tank. 2. Put a bottle of No-Flex Digestor Noflex Digestor in the tank and wait a couple of days. No-Flex not only is the most effective tank product in eliminating odor, it also "digests" sludge in the bottom of the tank (that wouldn't be there if you flushed out the tank 2-3 x/season, especially in prepping for winter or other extended layup).
--Peggie
 
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Likes: RoyS
Jan 7, 2011
2,927
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I recently changed the discharge hose on my O’Day 322 with a Raritan PHII.
Very difficult to get the old hose pulled out (down through the floor, up into the lazzarette, back down through the floor, and across the boat to the holding tank.

After removing the hose from the discharge on the PHII, I thought I would suck the water and yuck out with my shop vac.....(wait for it).....

As I turned around and out of the head (the vacuum in the salon)...the most horrible STINK hits my nostrils...as my shop vac was pulling all of the stink out of the holding tank and pumping it into my salon.

I real quickly shut off the vac, opened every port, lit candles, etc.

Thankfully it didn’t permeate anything and after a little airing out, things were back to normal.

Whew (or should I say phew!).

A lesson or 2 or 3 learned...
1) Trident 101 hose is is unforgiving and does not bend much (yes Peggy, I know)
2) Block off all of the hose and tank openings to keep the odor down
3) Do not try to suck the crap out of your hose with a shop vac, especially if the other end is hooked to the holding tank.

But, after all that, and a rebuild of my PHII, life is good.

Greg
 
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Likes: Rick D
Dec 2, 1997
8,132
- - LIttle Rock
A lesson or 2 or 3 learned...
1) Trident 101 hose is is unforgiving and does not bend much (yes Peggy, I know)
2) Block off all of the hose and tank openings to keep the odor down
3) Do not try to suck the crap out of your hose with a shop vac, especially if the other end is hooked to the holding tank.
1. Then you know why I recommend Raritan SaniFlex for "complex" installations.
2 & 3. Next tune try this instead: (excerpt from the chapter "Replacing Hoses in an Existing System" in my book...see link in my signature below):
Prepping to do any work on any part of the sanitation system starts with thoroughly rinsing out the whole system with plenty of clean water before taking anything apart. Pump out the holding tank VERY thoroughly with lots of clean fresh water. Adding Raritan C.P. to the rinse will remove most of the odor. Rinse out the toilet, all hoses and any macerators or manual pumps, VERY thoroughly with lots and lots of clean water...
Prepping to do any work on any part of the sanitation system starts with thoroughly rinsing out the whole system with plenty of clean water before taking anything apart. Pump out the holding tank VERY thoroughly with lots of clean fresh water. Adding Raritan C.P. to the rinse will remove most of the odor. Rinse out the toilet, all hoses and any macerators or manual pumps, VERY thoroughly with lots and lots of clean water... Put plastic garbage bags or disposable aluminum pans under hose connections to catch any spills. (Warming hoses with a blow dryer makes them easier to remove and replace). Have a couple of rolls of paper shop towels (super heavy duty paper towels) handy...you'll need them.

(There's a lot more help in this chapter but I can't give the whole book away for free...no one would buy it if I did that!

--Peggie
 
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Likes: Flying Jay
Jun 8, 2004
2,564
Catalina 320 Dana Point
The 6 yo Raritan was getting a little hard to pump and a new joker did nothing to improve. Further investigation revealed a minor clog of a wye.
wye.jpg
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,132
- - LIttle Rock
The 6 yo Raritan was getting a little hard to pump and a new joker did nothing to improve. Further investigation revealed a minor clog of a wye.
When if ever was the last time you lubed the pump?
And btw...rebuilding every 5-6 years is recommended to keep it working to factory specs for 20+ years.
--Peggie
 
Jan 8, 2015
356
MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30 Kerr Reservoir
Ever since I bought my Express 30, the head never would flush very well. One day when I was replacing the stereo speakers, looking behind the liner, I was able to discover the problem. A kinked vent line in the most inaccessible location.
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Dec 2, 1997
8,132
- - LIttle Rock
You don't say how you corrected the problem, but for the benefit of everyone following this thread... The water hose used as the vent line should be replaced with sanitation hose (Shields or Trident flex PVC #148 is fine for vent lines and toilet intake lines) and a 90 degree fitting used at the vent thru-hull.
I see a black corrugated hose in your photo...it hasn't been recommended for use in sanitation systems for at least 40 years because the corrugations trap bits of waste, TP, salt and other seawater minerals. So if that black hose is toilet or other sanitation hose, it needs to be replaced with sanitation hose. In fact, judging from its appearance it's so old that it should be replaced whether it's part of the sanitation system anyway.
--Peggie
 

Ed.S

.
Jan 31, 2020
10
Hunter 376 St. Petersburg
I own a 1997 Hunter 376, and the drain hose between the Y valve and holding tank has stopped up several times and is currently stopped up. I was reading about the "NOFLEX" product and was wondering if this might unclog my hose, otherwise i was considering replacing the hose completely. Any help will be appreciated.
Ed S.
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,049
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Wrote an article sometime ago about our clogged forward head when we first purchased Belle-Vie in 2002. That article is here: Hunter 42 Owner Modifications and Upgrades

Then I started a thread awhile ago about our aft head clogged discharge hose. That thread is here: Clogged Sanitation Hose

A way to avoid these head issues is to do what what one sailor does and that is to dump and chuck. Unpleasant and illegal as it might seem, no working parts, no hoses, etc., etc., etc.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,927
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
A way to avoid these head issues is to do what what one sailor does and that is to dump and chuck. Unpleasant and illegal as it might seem, no working parts, no hoses, etc., etc., etc.
Illegal here on the Great Lakes…I hope no one takes your recommendation here!

Greg
 

Ed.S

.
Jan 31, 2020
10
Hunter 376 St. Petersburg
Thanks for the response, I think I will try to unclog the hose with a SS cable then use some NOFLEX DIGESTER to finish the job. I'm sure it is calcified material that has been in the hose for many years. If that doesn't work then I will replace the hose. Not a fun job no matter what option I choose.
Ed S
 
Jan 25, 2011
2,223
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
Thanks for the response, I think I will try to unclog the hose with a SS cable then use some NOFLEX DIGESTER to finish the job. I'm sure it is calcified material that has been in the hose for many years. If that doesn't work then I will replace the hose. Not a fun job no matter what option I choose.
Ed S
Noflex is not a magic hose cleaner. Just replace it..
 
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Likes: Tally Ho
Dec 2, 1997
8,132
- - LIttle Rock
Flush a a 12-15% solution of muriatic (hydrochloric) acid--available from any hardwrare store--through the system...follow it with about a quart of clean FRESH water after about 45 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Mineral

Or...if your hoses are original, they're way overdue for replacement. 10 years is the average working life of any hose 'cuz plastic and rubber dry out, becoming hard, brittle and prone to crack. Sanitation hoses are not the place to "go cheap" if you only want to have to do this once every 10 years instead of every 2-3 years, which is when cheap hoses start to stink. Raritan Sani-Flex is the top rated hose...it's proven to be 100% odor permeation proof --Raritan recently increased the warranty against it to 10 years--and has the added advantage of being so flexible that it can be bent almost as tight as a hairpin without kinking...which makes most re-hosing jobs a LOT easier. Defender has 1" and 1.5" for <$10/ft and they sell it by the foot.

Replacing sanitation hoses doesn't have to be a nasty smelly job... these instructions were supposed to be in my book but somehow were left out:

Before you begin, flush a LOT of clean fresh water through the entire system including the tank.
Start with the highest connections, duct tape the ends as you remove each one.
Warming the old hoses a bit (I always used a blow dryer) will make them easier to get off the fittings.
Put a plastic waste basket liner under each connection to catch any spills.

Warming the hose also makes it easier to get the new hose onto the fittings. Lubricate the inside of the hose and the outside of the fitting with a little K-Y...it's a water soluble surgical jelly that dries out and is also much slipperier than dish washing liquid.
And I'm sure you already know that all hose connections should be double clamped, with screws 180 degrees apart...or at least 90 degrees if access makes 180 impossible.

AFter you've either cleaned out or replaced your hoses, you'll want to prevent future mineral buildup in in 'em. It can be prevented by flushing a cupful--no more than 2 cupfuls--of undiluted distilled white vinegar all the way to the tank once a week...Follow with a quart of clean FRESH water after 45 minutes (no more than an hour). NEVER leave vinegar standing in the bowl. When soft rubber (joker valve) is allow to sit and soak in vinegar, it swells and distorts.

--Peggie