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Disclaimer first: I have zero knowledge or experience with this subject. I bought a 1979 boat with a Wilcox Crittenden Headmate and the handle leaks. I see WM has a rebuild kit for $90($120 CDN). Is this what I should do or am I able bolt on a replacement pump of any brand? I see a Jabsco pump at Binnacle for $129. Thanks in advance. 

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Thanks, that is the cheapest I've seen by far. That said, in Canada it's $218 CDN and the Jabsco is $229. Any recommendation between the two?

On a secondary note, it's sad that we live in a time where it's more economical to throw something away for a minor issue rather than repair it. I will likely take the pump apart and see if I can fix it somehow as it works but leaks fresh water from the neck of the handle. *rant over*

Edit to add: I think/hope it's fresh water leaking ;-0

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Faced with the same situation I went with a new Jabsco. 2 years in I'm happy with it - cheap, simple, it works, and I can get parts in stock at any local marine store.

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I'd carefully disassemble that head and then throw it in the trash. Buy a Lavac and don't look back. Rebuild the pump every 15 years or so ($60 and 1/2 hour).

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14 minutes ago, DDW said:

I'd carefully disassemble that head and then throw it in the trash. Buy a Lavac and don't look back. Rebuild the pump every 15 years or so ($60 and 1/2 hour).

Even if you were only using it occasionally? I take a week or two every summer of ‘cruising’ and a few guests and family members use it. Not sure if it’s worth the spending the money. 

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5 minutes ago, inneedofadvice said:

Even if you were only using it occasionally? I take a week or two every summer of ‘cruising’ and a few guests and family members use it. Not sure if it’s worth the spending the money. 

A functional head that doesn't let backflow happen is pretty damn important, ESPECIALLY if family members and guests use it.

"Hey dad, why does black stuff keep coming into the head, and it stinks!"

Words you don't want to hear...

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3 hours ago, inneedofadvice said:

Even if you were only using it occasionally? I take a week or two every summer of ‘cruising’ and a few guests and family members use it. Not sure if it’s worth the spending the money. 

Depends on how much money is worth to you vs. time. Unfortunately in my experience cheap marine heads self destruct just as fast - maybe even faster - when not being used much. The Lavac is unique in that there is basically nothing that can go wrong with it. No sliding seals, no rotating seals. It has it's own issues, but self destructing, whether well used or unused, isn't one of them. 

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The headmate is significantly better than a jabsco, I have owned both and rebuilt both. If the leak is where the rod moves up and down at the top of the pump housing you may be able to stop it by tightening the fiberous nut on top. Be gentle, if you you can't stop the leak that way then consider a rebuild. Before buying the kit take the pump apart to see if you can get the retaining nuts off the piston rod. It it is too corroded, or there are bigger problems like a crack in the pump housing, then it is not worth it since many of those parts are no longer available.

If you have to give up on Wilcox, I would by a Jabsco and a spare complete pump assembly. It should be fine for occasional use, and if there is a problem swapping the whole pump is a lot quicker and easier than a rebuild, especialy at sea. The complete pump is not much more than the rebuild kit.

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Yes, definitely what Steele said.  I always carry a complete Jabsco pump assembly on board,  Quick and easy to swap out.  Currently dealing w/ a broken clamping ring on my holding tank overboard pump (Whale Titan).  Fortunately the collateral damage was minimal when it failed.

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This is a cut n paste from another thread but will work for whatever head your have:

I have a Jabsco manual pump. Faced with the same situation I bought a new unit for around $150. I also purchased a gasket repair kit for around $55.

Installed the new unit, kept the box, took the old unit home, dismantled it, soaked all the parts overnight in a very light bleach solution, cleaned it, reassembled the old unit with the new gaskets and put the newly reassembled old unit in the box that the new unit came in. It fit perfectly.

Now when I want to replace my Jabsco manual pump marine head I’m just going to go and put the old unit with the new gaskets in, take the existing unit out and repeat the retrofit process with another gasket repair kit.

This way I will always have a replacement unit with good gaskets ready to go any time I want to slap it in there. Each unit seems to last 3 ½ to 4 years before the gaskets start leaking.

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I rebuilt my pump...carefully.  Not one to not re-use stuff.  It leaked. These pump assemblies are finicky.   I would buy a new assembly for back-up of a back up is needed.   Usually joker is the one to go first. 

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