Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tight Spaces and Things That Stink

  Can anyone guess what this post is about? A few weeks back, well before our move to the Wentworth Marina, the aft head (toilet) stopped working. This project never made any "to do list" mostly out of denial, I suppose. There was an odor that required the port hole being left open most of the winter and the door to the head remaining shut. I had read about everyone's head being a bit funky and honestly thought this was something to accept...and oh god...this is boat life. This is the part the "smiling ear to ear" cruisers do not tell you.
Note the wall mounted air freshener in an attempt to mitigate the "funk"

We have a Jabsco Electric head on board. Besides its large power consumption (leading to yet another project) it is quite nice. No hand pumping, push a button and waalaaa it is theory. Basically the way it works is sea water comes in and is pumped into the head, you do your business, hit the button, and everything disappears. Yay! Okay well, it leaves via a macerator (large grinder), is pumped again, and then travels through something called a "joker valve" (yup...a joker valve) then through a vented loop and into the holding tank. 
I spent a full weekend in this position and it's still not done
 When I started the project we could flush, but the toilet filled with too much water. A few message boards and boat friends later we deemed the joker valve the culprit. I picked up the Jabsco repair kit for my model from West Marine and replaced all kinds of parts: joker valve, impeller, wearing plates, and gaskets. After pulling the pump out of the bottom of the toilet I quickly realized like everything else these things need maintenance too. It was loaded with "stuff" and clearly was not running well. I got it all back together knowing I nailed this project. AHHHHH! Nope...toilet still fills with water and now it will not flush. 
  It is 4pm...John and Al are coming for boat drinks in 2 hours before Saturday night restaurant week dinner at Mambo! Jill made me some late lunch and with fuel in the tank, I went back to it.
  I rather hastily pulled the thing apart again, rebuilt it and installed it to the same result. At least I knew what I was doing this time around. I saw nothing wrong with what I did and put it back together expecting a different result with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I think "they" call that insanity! 

Oh my god, it's a vented loop!
  Day 2 - After an excellent dinner with friends, renewed energy and a clear head I set out to conquer this thing. After some basic troubleshooting I deemed I must have a clog in the discharge line. I split open the line and sure enough it was completely jammed with calcium deposits all the way through. I didn't waste anytime and began removing all kinds of panels, doors and hatches to gain access to the hoses. I ripped them all out and ran over to Jackson's Hardware (best, friendliest place ever) and picked up some new lengths.
This was the result of over tightening  a
plastic reducer  and home depot run
Sunday leaked (Jackson's was clearly
closed and had exactly the right part I
needed though on Monday)

This one of those pics I take to make sure I can
put it all back together again
After struggling a bit to get them hooked up working under the sink and behind walls, the toilet once again flushed way better than it had, albeit a few leaks...which are now fixed.  And it does not smell at all!!! However it still fills with way too much water...ahhhh. The problem still persists, but I know the fix. I need a loop on the water intake line from the ocean, as the toilet sits below the water line.
I wish it had been done right the first time. 
Sometimes you just have to love an old boat. It is projects like these that make it your own!

It's all worth it!!! First time out this year! Kristin, our neighbor took a few glory shots of us headed out! Check out Kristin's photography here!

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