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Dozer

toilet Vacuum and overboard discharge- how to operate

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Ok, this is the dirty part of the boat that I really DO NOT want to work on -- the toilet system!
My boat, a 2006 Sig 290 has the vacuflush system and the marcerator for overboard discharge.

After the hurricane last year, our pump stations are out - which we used on a regular basis - so we have to go out on open water and discharge - the first time I used it, all I did was turn the key on this picture and it pumped out.
We have done it a few more times, without issues. Recently we went out, and because the season is coming to the end, I wanted to make sure the tank was empty, so I tried to discharge it, and nothing discharged...we only use the toilet once, maybe twice since last discharge, except for adding Toilet deodorizer and some fresh water via the pumpout tube. 

My question is - what's the correct procedure to perform the discharge, in regards to the Key and the Vacuum Pump switch on this picture
Before I turn the key, should I turn off the Vacuum Pump switch and release the Vacuum by pressing the pedal????
Does the tank need to be full, or at least half full for it to work???

I'm hoping the marcerator is not busted....Ya, I know, I'll hear all about the Crappy joke :)

 

 

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If it's worked in the past just follow the same procedure. I would turn off the vacuum pump and release the pressure. Can you hear the macerator pump running when you turn on the key? 

Could also be empty below the pick up for the pump. 

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I would read the instruction manual.

I am sure you can download one.

Releasing the pressure makes sense...but maybe not.

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I go with Phillbo.  Not enough liquid. Boat is also tilted away from the pickup tube ?  add a lot more more water to the system. Then pump

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Thank you all for the reply, if we get any warmer weather here soon, I'll give it a try after adding more water.

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Just curious, is it normal/legal to dump raw sewage in the ocean?  I live in north Texas so honest question, not trying to start any s*it.  

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I thought it was 12 miles but then I'm not a coastal boater and have never pumped out into the water in a power boat. 

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1 hour ago, Phillbo said:

I thought it was 12 miles but then I'm not a coastal boater and have never pumped out into the water in a power boat. 

Just got this from the Florida DEP;
"In Florida, boaters are prohibited from discharging raw sewage into the state’s waters extending 9 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico and 3 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean"

Hopefully we'll get one of our pumpout stations back up so I don't have to go out that far. But hurricane Michael completely destroyed the main marina in town. 

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Here is an update on this topic from last year...I added more water to the tank, and still couldn't get it to pump out.

I have to be honest, I have made it a point to understand every system on my boat, and I truly enjoy the peace of mind that I have a fairly good knowledge of how most things work....but the Toilet flushing system was one of those I really DIDN'T care to investigate...for obvious reasons. 

After some research I found out that the Duckbill valves are usually only good for about 2 years... I guess I have been lucky, because as far as I know they have never been changed....and if those were bad that would explain the issue.

So I decided to start with the discharge pump first -- or what some refer to as the macerator. Overall the entire toilet and tank system is fairly simple, but not one of those systems anyone is eager to tackle -- The discharge pump is removed by removing the 4 nuts from that attach it to the tank posts, unplug the motor, and unscrew the 1.5 inch pipe connectors on both ends...then deal with the smell :( 

The goal here is to inspect the duckbills, in the discharge pump, there are a pair of those. They are supposed to be flat and closed, when I took a look in there, one was slightly open but the one on the tank side was wide open, therefore the pump could not create the vacuum to pump out the fluid. So I have ordered 3 pairs or duckbills. The Vacuflush part of the toilet uses 2 pairs.  I figure while I'm in this "crap" I mind as well take care of this $h!tty job all the way. Plus in my setup, if you have to work on the Vacuflush, you have to remove the Discharge pump...so it's a no brainer...

Due to the COVID shipping is slower than usual, so the duckbills should be here end of this week.

There was also another surprise on this project. One of the floor drains is directly above the bracket that mounts the electric motor to the pump. When I first got the boat a few years ago, I noticed all the rust on that bracket mount. I fixed the leak back then and sprayed the bracket with oil to try and slow down the rusting process... well after pulling the entire assembly out, I new it was just a matter of time before that become the next problem, the bracket was literally crumbling . I search all over the net for a bracket....but no luck, they now use a different motor mount bracket  that keeps the motor horizontal Vs the old style that mounts it at an angle like mine. And the bracket is only sold with a new motor....I tried to find a used or failed motor... but no luck, So I just had to get creative and made my own out of metal bar stock and a few other pieces.

Will post an update if the replacement of the duckbills and the new homemade bracket will fix the initial problem of not pumping out.

 

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I am surprised the ducks did not make a bigger stink .  Being 12 years into retirement.   :mandancing:

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No @#$%@#!...LOL

Hopefully once replaced they will last another 12 years.... I want to deal with that system as little as possible.

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On 10/30/2019 at 4:30 PM, Phillbo said:

If it's worked in the past just follow the same procedure. I would turn off the vacuum pump and release the pressure. Can you hear the macerator pump running when you turn on the key? 

Could also be empty below the pick up for the pump. 

The waste tank itself is not pressurized. In pumping out, I try to have my wife in the head and the system on.  Towards the end of the pump out, she fulls the bowl up twice with water and flushes it. Never had a problem in 7 years.

 

Turn the system on and wait for the pump to stop. Remove the the pump out cap, does the pump restart and do your hear air rushing in. Nope.  

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Your waste holding tank is not part of the vacuum circuit on your particular system. As such, you tank is vented to atmosphere with a separate small diameter vent line, and typically there is a charcoal odor filter affixed in that line, which are prone to plugging. I would inspect that line and filter as part of your maintenance, as if no air can gets in during attempts to pumpout, no waste can go out and you may even collapse your waste tank if you discharge pump is healthy. There is no reason to shut down your vacuum pump, or open the bowl ball valve during pump out on your model system as the vacuum switch is affixed to the vacuum accumulator tank that is inline ahead of the holding tank. This is not the case on the smaller Chaps, where the holding tank is the vacuum accumulator. W

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Good point on the filter. They can be cut in-half and change out the charcoal. You can make your own out of 1 1/2  PVC, reducers and hose connectors. 

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2 hours ago, Wingnut said:

Your waste holding tank is not part of the vacuum circuit on your particular system. As such, you tank is vented to atmosphere with a separate small diameter vent line, and typically there is a charcoal odor filter affixed in that line, which are prone to plugging. I would inspect that line and filter as part of your maintenance, as if no air can gets in during attempts to pumpout, no waste can go out and you may even collapse your waste tank if you discharge pump is healthy. There is no reason to shut down your vacuum pump, or open the bowl ball valve during pump out on your model system as the vacuum switch is affixed to the vacuum accumulator tank that is inline ahead of the holding tank. This is not the case on the smaller Chaps, where the holding tank is the vacuum accumulator. W

Thanks for the info, I plan on dealing with that filter also. I just never really cared to deal with this system...

2 hours ago, Iggy said:

Good point on the filter. They can be cut in-half and change out the charcoal. You can make your own out of 1 1/2  PVC, reducers and hose connectors. 

Where do you get the charcoal? Where do you exactly cut the filter?

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15 minutes ago, Dozer said:

Thanks for the info, I plan on dealing with that filter also. I just never really cared to deal with this system...

Where do you get the charcoal? Where do you exactly cut the filter?

You can cut it on the end and then use a PVC reducer. Or make you own as mentioned. 

One for me is good for two years. https://bigorangefilter.com/collections/related-products

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3 hours ago, Dozer said:

Thanks for the info, I plan on dealing with that filter also. I just never really cared to deal with this system...

Where do you get the charcoal? Where do you exactly cut the filter?

Depends on what type filter you have. Go to the SeaLand website and match up your unit. Here is my best guess, but there are several different models. W https://www.marinepartssource.com/vent-filter-replacement-cartridge-sealand-309311002?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIt4-_mfnW6AIVmpOzCh3mTAY9EAQYASABEgJHiPD_BwE

 

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Ok, I now have a fully working Crapper :huh:

The duckbills on the discharge pump were bad - one was wide open, the other slightly. I mentioned before about bracket that mounts the electric  motor to the pump, it was so rusty that two of the mounting holes crumbled when I tried to remove it. I searched for a couple days to see if I could find a replacement...even buying a busted up pump or motor so I could use the bracket. No joy on that, so used some scrap metal bar a few washers and a little ingenuity, and now it's just as strong as the original.

The vacuflush pump had one really bad duckbill and one that was questionable - the other two seemed ok. Now with four new duckbills, the pump creates vacuum in about half the time, and doesn't come on every hour or so.

As for the filter, I followed the advise of cutting it in half. The foam ends just disintegrated, and the Charcoal Pellets just poured out. Got some activated Charcoal for fish tank, used two panty hose feet (courtesy of my wife) filled both halves of the filter. Because the filter mounts onto a plastic bracket, I used the wide flex black tape to seal the seam. Worked great, plenty of flow. To test it out I added a bunch of water to the tank, and I was near the exhaust port...could not smell anything.

I did test the discharge pump... just to make sure it worked, I haven't had the chance to put the boat in the water.
I had someone turn the key while I looked at the discharge port. Immediately  the "Crap" started flowing out... so had the person turn off the key and rinsed the CRAP out of the grass and side of boat.... extra fertilizer :o

The only thing that really was a pain, was to remove the Vacuflush Pump - Turns out, it's easier to remove the four nuts from the posts on the Vacuflush tank, so it slides over to give you room to unscrew the PVC connections.

Unless my final test (when I able to put the boat in the water) fails..... I think I'm done discussing this crap.... or unless someone has any questions about it.

For those that gave me some advice, as usual, thank you all very much... this forum has saved me not only from some major headaches, but also $$$

Final note, at least here in the Panhandle of Florida, we're allowed to take our boats out... just stay 50 feet away from other boats. So I plan on at least enjoying some of this COVID shutdowns and quarantines as much as I can.... STAY SAFE 

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