Head Maintenance

Technical Articles

Tag: head maintenance

There has been a lot of discussion recently about replacing the marine toilet. Several members have taken the advice of others (including testing recently conducted by Practical Sailor magazine) and are replacing the Jabsco Compact unit with the higher rated, and more expensive, Raritan PHII. It appears to be a fairly easy conversion, although new bolt holes for the base must be drilled.

Here are a few tips for getting the most life out of whichever marine toilet you use:

Some marine writers advocate pouring a cup of vegetable oil or mineral oil down the toilet to keep those valves supple, and to lubricate the seals of the manual pump plunger if the unit has one. However, the nation’s foremost expert on marine heads, Peggy Hall, directly contradicts this advice. If you have a manual head, she suggests that you dismantle the pump occasionally, check the plunger stem and its O-rings and coat both with a PTFE lubricant (such as Synco’s Super-Lube Teflon Grease).

At the end of each weekend, or any time the boat will sit, after you've closed the seacock, run a quart of clean fresh water through the toilet, followed by a cupful of undiluted white vinegar. The clean fresh water will go a long way toward preventing odor from permeating the head discharge hose. The vinegar dissolves sea water minerals so they don't build up in the hose. Be sure to push the vinegar all the way through the discharge. Don't leave it sitting in the bowl more than a few minutes. It won't do any good sitting in the bowl, but it will cause the joker valve to swell up and distort if it soaks in vinegar for days.

by Karl Mielenhausen

Moved up to the C320 from a Catalina 22. We purchased Hull 690 in Sept 2005. I am a retired Quality Assurance Engineer (Eastman Kodak Co.). My wife, Elaine, and I relocated from Pittsford, NY to New Bern, NC in March 2005.

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