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Thread: Replacing head and hoses

  1. #1
    Sustaining Member Lawdog's Avatar
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    Replacing head and hoses

    I will be replacing my Lavac toilet on my 1983 E38 with a manual model, and was hoping someone has pics of an 80 to 85 E38 head and hoses so I can see what they are supposed to look like. My prior owner installed a Lavac which I dont particularly like, and will probably give away, and has hoses running up the head wall, and everywhere under the sink, with 2 Y valves.
    Neal
    Enterprise
    1983 E 38

  2. #2
    Moderator Guy Stevens's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    Lavacs are by far my favorites, would love to know what you don't like about it, and if you are thinking of giving it away, would love to be the reciever.... Let me know, I'd pay the postage etc....

    At the risk of talking myself out of a good head.... It sounds like you have the electrical model of the Lavac. In my opinion there is no such things as a good electrical head. You could convert the Lavac to a manual Lavac and have a manual head without having to replace all the hoses etc. All depends on where they mounted the Henderson Mark 5 pump that operates the Lavac. Did they go with the electrical so that it was really remote mounted etc?

    Guy
    :-)
    Last edited by Guy Stevens; 12-03-2005 at 02:47 PM.

  3. #3
    Sustaining Member Lawdog's Avatar
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    The Lavac is a manual model, works fine,but usually needs to be pumped a second time, which may be do to the plumbing, has a seat that still has a vaccuum, but the seat has cracks on the outside. The plumbing is run up the inside of the wall separating the head from the saloon, with just corrugated hose, and has a small air valve, not the proper method, or proper vented loop, then goes underneath with at least 2 y valves, etc.

  4. #4
    Principal Partner footrope's Avatar
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    I have a 1980 with the forward head. I'd be glad to take some shots for you. The basic idea in mine was that everything goes to the holding tank. From there the stuff either gets sucked out the deck fitting, or with a flip of a Y-valve and opening a thru-hull, it can be pumped out with a manual (Whale Gusher?) type pump, where regulations permit. The plumbing for this is very tight behind the bulkhead and under the sink.
    Craig Davis & Ellen Le Vita

    1980 E38 "Pilot Project"
    Hull #20, Universal Diesel 5432
    Gig Harbor, WA


    In Puget Sound there are only two directions to go - North and South. That applies to the boat and the wind.

  5. #5
    Moderator Guy Stevens's Avatar
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    Ah the cracks on the seat probably don't let it get full vacuum. The lack of a vented loop in the inlet line in the Lavac and that strange little valve that they have is on purpose, lets the system take on water in and yet is a vacuum breaker. I have never had to flush any of the Lavacs that I have used more than once using the directions that came with them. Pump 6-8 times, wait 5 seconds pump 5 more times and walk away. Never had any product left in the bowl.

    The seats are suscetable to damage from placing items on them such as tool boxes and the like. Down side is that the seat is the same cost as the whole head...(Yeah the only part that actualy makes it a Lavac is the patented seat.). I have welded the cracks on the seats before, if you really don't want it let me know and I'll cover the cost of shipping.

    Vented loops that go to a holding tank are a bad bad idea, they let the smell into the boat instead of out the vent line from the holding tank. It the tank has a pump overboard it does not need to have a vented loop on the tank overboard discharge, worst thing that happens is the tank fills up.

    If you want a Y valve to select from tank to overboard, then the valve should go into the line before the vented loop for the overboard discharge, otherwise you will stink up the boat.

    So the setup for an overboard or tank valve would go like this: Head -> Y Valve -> Output side one -> Vented loop -> Overboard Discharge 1
    Y valve output side two -> Holding tank. -> Overboard discharge 2

    Or you might have another Y valve for the overboard discharge to share a single thru hull. It can get kind of complex.

    If you are a casual weekend boater, and not a cruiser off for a long time, or a liveaboard then the Lavac is a lot of extra plumbing for you. The Lavac also despite their claims for using the least water, actualy moves quite a bit of water through it. If you aren't in the long term or liveaboard or cruising catagories get a Jabsco head, and throw it away instead of rebuilding it every 3 years or so.. If you only go to the holding tank, then the plumbing can be quite tight and simple.


    Guy
    :-)
    Last edited by Guy Stevens; 12-04-2005 at 12:12 AM.

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    Neal, Guy's suggestion is very close to one I've had great success with and thought I'd share my installation for you to consider. By the way, both electrical and mechanical pumps (macerators) work just fine.

    I've installed a number of head systems in previous boats, friends boats
    and in our current one that don't involve any Y-valves at all. Go to page 527
    of the 2005 West Marine catalog to see their "Our Favorite Method". It's
    the one in the center of the right side of the page.

    My installations are identical to their favorite with one big
    difference. Mine eliminates the Y-valve marked as 8 in their drawing.
    Y-valves are prone to breakage (snapped off plastic handles) and aren't
    really needed in that schematic if you think about it.

    I happen to have a macerator but a manual pump will work just as well.
    Study the illustration and you'll soon see that you can pump overboard by
    simply opening the seacock. To evacuate the holding tank from on deck,
    simply remove the deck plate and pump away. You can see that a Y-valve
    serves no purpose assuming that the O-ring seal in the deck plate is in good
    condition and lubed with a bit of silicone grease. That's the simplest and
    most efficient method of plumbing I've been able to come up with.

    When ready to empty the holding tank, I simply open the discharge
    seacock in the hull and pump overboard if I'm three miles or farther from
    shore. If I choose to use the pump-out at the marina, I remove the deck
    plate and do it that way. Note that the waste will follow the path of least
    resistance regardless of there being a Y-valve in place. As long as the
    overboard seacock is closed (must be by law, see below), the waste can only
    go up and out of the tank.

    I might add two more things here. USCG regulations require the seacock
    for the holding tank to be closed at all times other than when in use and
    they also require it to be defeated in such a way as to avoid the possibility of accidentally hitting the valve handle and opening the seacock to the sea.

    I keep my seacock closed as required and have checked with the Coast
    Guard to determine that removing my handle satisfies the law, it does. That
    said, I keep the handle tied to a short line close by which they also approved of as meeting the spirit of the law.

    One more thing I'd like to share. As far as keeping the head system
    clean and odor free, I do the following. Once a year I flush the entire
    system with muriatic acid as follows. (Muriatic acid is NASTY stuff so be
    careful to mix it out of doors. The darned stuff actually smokes when you
    take the cap off)!!

    A. Make 50/50 mix of muriatic acid and water, (2 quarts in a plastic
    bucket).
    B. Pour 1 qt. into a dry bowl and let stand for 15 minutes and flush
    down.
    C. Repeat with second quart as above.
    D. Flush the toilet and tank thoroughly at least 2-3 times to remove all
    traces of the muriatic acid. Fill the holding tank completely and then
    empty it at least twice. Include removal of any any trace that might be
    left in the bowl too. This cleaning removes any calcium that might have
    built up inside the entire circuit. Those calcium deposits are like a sponge and they hold odors like crazy. If calcium is present, the water in the bottom of the toilet will bubble like Alka Seltzer when you add the mix.

    Finally, use 1 ounce of Odorlos nitrate head treatment (page 537, same
    catalog) for every ten gallons of holding capacity of your tank as follows:

    Pour it directly into the toilet bowl and flush it down with about 1
    quart of raw water. Do that every week and head odors will be a thing of
    the past, honest.

    Apparently Odorlos differs from every other kind of waste treatment in
    that it out gasses non-odor bearing nitrogen while the others out gas
    odor-bearing oxygen, it's that simple. Look at the price of this stuff and
    you'll see that your maintenance costs are pennies a day. Note that if you
    have a 10 gallon tank, a 40 ounce measure bottle will last you 40 weeks and
    at $14.99 that comes out to 37 cents a week or a little over a nickel a day. My tank is 13 gallons and I only use 1 ounce a week and have done so for at
    least the last 5-6 years with no odor in the boat at all so you can play
    with that ratio a little.

    I hope this helps, Glyn

  7. #7
    Moderator Guy Stevens's Avatar
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    Muratic Acid

    Any dilute acid will work, Muratic in a 50 / 50 concentration will damage rubbe parts in a head if left to soak at all.

    a Vinegar bath whenever you are a away from the boat is a better idea, it won't hurt the rubber orplastic pieces and will accomplish the same thing. Get a couple of big gallon containers of it from the grocery store, and last thing before you leave the boat flush vinegar through the whole system every time. Will do as well as or better than the occassional big guns of muratic.

    Also I said above to throw out the head, I meant the pump only part, bolt on a replacement pump and you are ready to go, a head rebuild in 4 screws.

    As for macerators that are electric, I have found that they get too little use and tend to have problems with lock up. For a while I ran a head only business and found that they were my number one money earner.

    Guy
    :-)

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    Good idea on the vinegar!

    I'd like to point out a safety tip that may not be obvious when mixing acid and water - you should always mix acid with water. NEVER mix water with acid. "Alphabetically" - A to W, not W to A. That's how I remind myself. Some go so far as to pour along the side of the container vs. directly into the water, but muratic acid isn't so bad vs. the really really nasty stuff.

    Here's a question - could you do the acid flush with a product like drano? Drano in the bowl, flush, then flush with a generous water chaser? I'm not sure if Drano would kill rubber.

  9. #9
    Moderator Guy Stevens's Avatar
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    Always add acid

    My 7th grade chem teacher had the following to say; "Always add acid". When pressed she would say; "Do what you otta always add the acid to the watta". Of course she would say this with the thickest new york accent that a midwesterner could muster, and we would all laugh. But the ploy worked, I have never added water to acid.... :-)


    Guy
    :-)

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    I am in the process of replumbing my head and am replacing the discharge hose with sealands odor proof hose. I haev heard its the stuff to use but that you still need to properly flush and maintain the syste. The oem setup I had was head to y valve, output 1 to vented loop to t-hull. Output 2 to tank. Line from tank back into head vanity to manual pump to second discharge t-hull. Discharge hose from tank to deck fill. I am eliminating the y valve to vented loop to t-hull section. I may even remove the t-hull and glass over as I dont need extra holes. New setup will be head to holding tank. Holding tank to deck fill. Holding tank to manual pump, pump to t-hull. No vented loops no y valves. With the location of the manual pump being above the output on the tank I should be able to avoid having waste sit in the lines. Even so I use a filter on the tank vent and Odorlos treatment. This system still requires almost 25' of new hose if I replace it all like I plan.

  11. #11
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    Head hose type

    Ted, if you use odorlos as directed (not too hard to do), you really don't need to use the thick-walled odorproof hose. It's quite expensive and I've heard difficult to route and/or get onto barbs and fittings. You might want to consider an easier hose to work with. The gray ribbed hose available at West Marine and other chandlers is quite satisfactory and wasy to work with. remember that with those hoses attached to a seacock that's always closed except in use, there shouldn't be any worry about any of the plumbing system allowing sea water to come rushing at some sort of possible breach. If you do use that gray spiraled hose, take a tip from a guy here in Marina del Rey who's done this installations for decades. He recommneds cutting the front end of the gray rubber fittings completely off, leaving only the threaded part of the collar. Thread that onto the hose with liberal amounts of soft Permatex and and between the hose and the barb. Then press just that collar and hose on such that the ribbed hose is in direct contact with the barb. Then use a hose clamp over the outside of the collar to secure everything. While you're at it, also consider using the more expensive ABA or AWAB hose clamps that are 100% 316 stainless. They also have non-protruding screw threads, flutes strap sides and a straighter pitch that almost guarantees that they'll neve vibrate loose. Go for it, Glyn

  12. #12
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    I can get the hose at a discount and don't ever plan on doing this job again. I would rather spend a little more and use the right stuff in my opinion. Any extra help I can get in keeping the odor out I am going to take. The Sealand hose is no harder to work with than the existing wire reinforced stuff. I use a heat gun or hair drier to help coax the hose into position. Then seal with permatex and double clamps.

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