New pooper. Experiences welcome

eliboat

Super Anarchist
2,168
574
After 30 odd years of service, I think it’s time to replace my beloved Skipper head.  I’ve rebuilt it several times, and I’m looking for something solid and reliable… manual… electric.   I like the Lavac, but I do worry about the guests I have aboard.   Anyhow, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  

 

accnick

Super Anarchist
2,624
1,807
We have a Vacuflush system. Far more complex than a Skipper, but dramatically easier to operate, and the use of very small amounts of fresh water to flush means that you can go much longer before emptying the holding tank.

 

eliboat

Super Anarchist
2,168
574
I like the vacuflush, but the system complexity is what gives me pause, especially at this late date in the season and this being a last minute item on the job list. 

 

Veeger

Super Anarchist
I’ve had a Lavac and liked it except that it used more water than I felt it should.  Dead easy to fix/maintain/repair.  And it was really only the whale pump that needed attention due to the calcium buildup.

Had a freshwater only generic head on the most recent boat.  Used less water than the Lavac and the fresh water greatly reduced /eliminated odors in the head compartment. The holding tank lkr still smelled (mighta been the leaky thru hull hose to valve connection that was the real culprit though)

 

sugarbird

Member
298
118
Caribbean
Our boat came with an old style electric Wilcox that was noisy, an amperage hog, occasionally dribbled at seals, and required tear down and maintenance every couple of years. Replaced it with a one piece, electric, Raritan "Marine Elegance" 7-8 years ago, based partially on reviews and recommendations by Peggy Hall, The Head Mistress." No issues or problems since then. Fairly quiet, low amp draw, no leaks or rebuilds. 

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,365
2,719
Edgewater, MD
After 30 odd years of service, I think it’s time to replace my beloved Skipper head.  I’ve rebuilt it several times, and I’m looking for something solid and reliable… manual… electric.   I like the Lavac, but I do worry about the guests I have aboard.   Anyhow, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  
What is your concern with your guests with respect to the Lavac?

I have one and it's dead simple.  Poop, put the lid down and pump away until the poop is gone. The usual marine toilet caveats apply: Do not put foreign objects into the loo such as feminine hygiene products, matches, cigarettes, etc.  The Lavac is so tough that it actually probably *could* process those items but obviously it's not a good idea to push the boundaries.

The best part about a Lavac and guests, is that if they do manage to clog it up, it's about 30 seconds' work to pop the cover off of the pump and clean out the clog. It's disgusting, but quick and easy.

 

Elegua

Generalissimo
4,300
1,840
God's Waiting Room
I'd give a vote for the Raritan PHII. Bog standard head, no where near quality of the Skipper, but simple to maintain and use, widely available parts. Cheep enough that is you don't want to re-build it, just buy another. 

 

kdh

Super Anarchist
3,747
92
Hinckley used to use Skippers but now recommend Vacuflush on all their boats. Mine's been great. In 15 years I've replaced the hoses once and a pressure switch once.

 
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ghost37

Member
181
33
Boston
I'd give a vote for the Raritan PHII. Bog standard head, no where near quality of the Skipper, but simple to maintain and use, widely available parts. Cheep enough that is you don't want to re-build it, just buy another. 
+1 if you're looking for something manual and super simple. We're full time on the boat and it's our only head. After 4 years of constant, regular (hehe) use the only thing we've had to do is change the joker once. 

 
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Jud - s/v Sputnik

Super Anarchist
5,685
1,407
Canada
I’ve got this task coming up maybe early this fall - haul out, replace the 1 1/2” through hull for the head discharge  (that physically isn’t able to close the way it’s mounted; handle can’t turn...don’t get me started).

I’d long been planning to remove the pathetic Jabsco and install a Lavac since someone I know with a boat that has done tens of thousands of miles of crewed ocean racing and solo cruising has one - if it’s worked well for him over the years, I figure it must be pretty good.  It’s fucking expensive, so I’d hope so :)

But it sounds like I should look into the Raritan PHII.  I suspect the choice may come down to ease of installation/how well a particular toilet will fit.  Based on a preliminary look, it seems a Lavac will fit easily in my boat, with a flush-mount pump/handle.

 

221J

Member
119
43
CT
I bolted in my new head last weekend.  It is a Raritan Fresh Head in compact size.  I decided on manual for simplicity and that the flush water should be fresh water to reduce the possibility of odors.  I believe that the Raritan Fresh Head is the only choice for a fresh water, manual head.  I went with a compact because anything larger will not fit.  

I used Raritan hoses and cannot say enough good things about how flexible they are.  Makes installation so much easier.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,239
972
I've got two Lavacs on the sailboat, they have been nearly flawless for over a decade. I did rebuild the pump on the main cabin one a couple of years ago as it seemed to be pumping a little less efficiently. There has been zero maintenance other than that. You do have to train guests a little, mainly to pump enough strokes. 

The trawler came to me with a Vacuflush. It can leak water, effluent,  and vacuum, makes enough noise when flushed to wake the dead, and the vacuum generator takes up quite a lot of space. Not that easy to service and parts aren't real cheap either. Used it for two seasons, then removed it and gave it away. I followed the common advice in the trawler world and replaced it with a Raritan Marine Elegance which is a macerating head. This freed up a full locker of space where the vacuum generator was, can (and should) be plumbed with 1" hose rather than 1.5". While not exactly silent, it is quieter than the Vacuflush and worked without issues on last year's cruise. I am quite happy with the change. A Vacuflush can be made to use less water, but that loads up the vacuum generator with fossilized poop, which I was able to mine when I removed it. The Vacuflush experts say to run a fair amount of water through it if you don't want to do that. The Marine Elegance can be had with a switchable fresh/salt input, if that is of use (depends on your pumpout situation). If pumping out, the macerating head pretty much liquifies everything on its way to the tank, so pumpouts are more complete and less dramatic. 

So, my vote is for the Lavac in a manual head, and the Marine Elegance in an electric. No way I would install a Vacuflush in anything. 

 

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
13,271
2,927
Onne and Tenley van der Wal did not waste any time once they purchased their 1986 Grand Banks 32. After clearing out all the gear from the boat and bringing his tools aboard, Onne gave the bilge a good scrubbing and then turned his attention to the dirtiest job of all, the head.

Initially, Onne intended to refurbish the vintage Wilcox Crittenden Skipper marine toilet, which back in the day sold for more than $1,000 and some people claim can flush a raincoat. Used ones still sell for hundreds of dollars, and never used ones are listed online for $1,600. Onne was going to order new parts for the old throne, but when he discovered that all the assembly bolts and screws were corroded and wouldn’t budge, he decided to install a new head.

 

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
13,271
2,927
Skipper heads are powerful enough to burst a 2" waste hose if you don't remember to open the seacock. Don't ask me how I know...

 

Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
9,407
2,951
Tasmania, Australia
What is your concern with your guests with respect to the Lavac?

I have one and it's dead simple.  Poop, put the lid down and pump away until the poop is gone.
Yeah except you can't see when the turds depart the bowl and they don't always cooperate IME.

Friend of mine fitted his with a translucent perspex seat top to address this problem. Some visitors find it disgusting, others (like myself) find it funny and a good solution.

I fitted a deck wash pump in my head compartment with a tee fitting to use a short hose/nozzle to flush the turds to the centre of the bowl while pumping. Works well and no more opening the lid later to find surprises.

FKT

 
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