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pete_nj

Any advice on keeping bilge clean during head repair

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My macerator is not working.

Just the words every boat owner wants to hear.

 

The pump is turning, but it is not emptying the tank. It worked in the fall, and then the Superstorm hit. I think that mud backed up into the hoses that run from the macerator to the thru-hull. I say this because the sink in the head had mud come in from outside and the two thru-hulls are about a foot apart.

 

I will pump out the holding tank from the deck pumpout prior to doing the repair. That said, there will be some waste water that will spill into the bilge when I start pulling hoses apart.

 

Does anyone have a good strategy for keeping the black water out of the bilge?

 

I was thinking of lining the area under the hoses with a large garbage bag, and then getting some adult diapers and spreading them out on top of the garbage bag. It is a fairly isolated area, so I could get pretty good coverage.

 

Anyone have thoughts on this approach or advice on a better one?

 

 

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Your plan sounds good. Just been through a head repair so here are a couple of things to try.

Undo the "outflow" hose at the macerator first then try to flush toilet paper through. This way you will see if the macerator/pump is actually working and confirm your problem is further down stream (towards the through hull). If you have some spare hose to route the outflow into a bucket then there will be less mess to clean up...but this will be "clean" mess... doesn't have to be white sanitary hose. But there is no way to prevent some "spillage" when you first disconnect the hose from the marcerator.

 

If all good there, then if the outflow hose goes directly to the through hull, (mine goes through a Y valve so had to dismantle more.) leave the hose attached to the through hull and try hooking out/ freeing up muck from OUTSIDE the through hull (make sure the sea cock is open!) Coat hanger wire or something longer...even a smaller diameter hose might be your friend here. Then from the macerator end of the (now disconnected ) pipe do the same. even freshwater hose with mains pressure might help in the end... this is all about trying, to minimise the muck that will come into your boat!

 

Also I'd check your intake hose, could be clogged too which will inhibit good pumping.

 

What ever happens, you can only mitigate "stuff" coming out of those hoses and your mitigation plan seems pretty good (better than mine was!) Good luck!

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I was thinking of lining the area under the hoses with a large garbage bag, and then getting some adult diapers and spreading them out on top of the garbage bag. It is a fairly isolated area, so I could get pretty good coverage.

Thanks for that idea! I've got to do a similar project. Like it! Manual rather than macerator, compounded by almost impossible working space.

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Keep the hose ends above the pump when you disconnect them, then jam a wooden damage plug in the sucker. Do that for both hoses. Once the pump is un plumbed, you can test it in a bucket. I'm guessing that you're correct that there is an unpleasant clot in the output line.

 

If you do the disconnects over a bucket, keeping the hose ends well above the tank, you ought to be ok. Wear gloves eh? And wash your hands when you're done.

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Thanks for all the input. I will also pick a day with a breeze and I'll open all the hatches.

 

I particularly liked the advice to wash my hands - I'll have to write that down.

 

One thing that will make this easier than on some other boats I have worked on is the layout. All of the hoses and the pump are contained under the vanity in the head. There are no long runs or hoses that disappear out of sight. Also, the boat is only a year old, so everything should come apart without too much effort.

 

I'll report back.

 

Resisting the urge to make the obligatory bathroom joke.....

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May not help if the hoses are full of water, but a heat gun may slightly soften the hoses enough to aid removal (and later reinstallation) from the fittings.

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All of the above is good advice.

 

I will add one more from personal experience. Be careful when you disconnect the hoses. Mine were pressurized from the crew pumping away with great enthusiasm. My daughter says I described everything that hit me in the face in great detail and at a fair volume!

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I was thinking of lining the area under the hoses with a large garbage bag, and then getting some adult diapers and spreading them out on top of the garbage bag. It is a fairly isolated area, so I could get pretty good coverage.

Thanks for that idea! I've got to do a similar project. Like it! Manual rather than macerator, compounded by almost impossible working space.

let me guess, no need to even go get the adult diapers! Got those eh?

 

:)

 

seriously - pump out first - then pump full of water (Hot water if you can) and then suck that all

repeat out several times.

 

Then dis assemble.

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Before I took anything apart, I would try to work the mud theory from the outside.

 

There are drain clog removers that are small diameter hoses with fittings on the end that spray water. One of these should wet/disolve the mud in the outlet if that is the issue. Here is a link to Amazon for an example. I have no experience with this particular product.

http://www.amazon.com/High-Pressure-Drain-Opener-Remover/dp/B00AEYDZBI

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Turned out to be a pretty simple event. The plug was in the hose that runs from the vented loop to the seacock. It is all of about 2.5 feet of hose. There was a plug of bits of wood and other debris that had floated up the through hull during the storm. Once I removed the hose, it just took a few minutes to clear.

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