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Old 07-07-2017, 11:12 PM   #1
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New toilet

I have a 1979 30' Californian with the hand pump toilet. Is it difficult to switch to an automatic flushing toilet?
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:37 AM   #2
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The plumbing shouldn't need much change. You'll have to run wires and install switches.

You don't say which toilet you currently have but you can probably reuse your existing bowl and save a few bucks if you buy a Raritan Sea Era conversion kit.

The Sea Era is an excellent toilet. Raritan Sea Era Conversion Kit - 16LI012

Do you have Peggie Hall's book? Now is the time to read it.
https://www.amazon.com/New-Get-Rid-B.../dp/1892399784
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:33 AM   #3
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Thank you, I inhereted the boat so I am trying to figure it out. I am ordering the book as a good start. I am assuming that the water supply that is in place now would be sufficient and that the holding tanks just need to be pumped out periodically? The wifey said the existing setup definently needs upgraded as well as other items. (Sink, counters, upholstery, curtains, carpet, stove) good lord, what have I got myself into? Lol
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:43 AM   #4
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My advice to you is, with a "new to you" boat and especially if you are an inexperienced boater, you should not make any significant changes until you've had and used the boat for a while.


Personally, my wife and I aren't too proud to pump a toilet to empty it and just converting it to electric doesn't make it any better, it just adds possible complications.


That said, if you have the room and $900 lying around unused, a Raritan Elegance head would be a nice and practical upgrade.


Some toilets use sea water to flush and some use potable (fresh) water to flush. They are not interchangeable.


My point is, you have a lot to learn about boating and your boat so don't do anything until you understand what you are doing and why.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:05 AM   #5
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After a few years of boat system maintenance and repair, including the toilets, I agree with the other posts - simpler the better. Now I have to go down to the boat and install a new shower sump box screen to protect the electric pump from shower "material" and clean out the goo.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:11 AM   #6
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Thanks, I fully agree. I think i have done more reading in the last few months than I had in the last 10 years! I fully understand that with this larger boat come many more skill levels than what I am used to with my 21' ski boat and that I have much to learn!, from restoring the teak rails and trim, to the upgrades I mentioned earlier. I am definently looking forward to this journey!
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:23 AM   #7
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WesK mentioned the Raritan Elegance toilet. They do cost more but they have a reputation for reliability and they can be had for a lot less than the $900 Wes mentioned. (Yes you can spend $900 on one depending on options) There are a lot of options with the Elegance and the installation will be more complicated but the looks and ease of using it will make your wife a lot happier.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:25 AM   #8
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I agree that simpler is almost always better.

Our current boat has a Jabsco electric head. It is noisy, wakes me up at night when my wife flushes it and the motor failed recently which cost almost as much as a new manual flush toilet to replace.

And when the electric head fails it fails. Manual flush toilets rarely fail to the point where they can't be used for a few days until you can fix them.

If you do install an electric toilet, you will need at least a 20A circuit with at least 12 gauge wire, maybe 10 ga if it is a long run from the breaker. My toilet motor pulls 10A and the wiring run is about 10' each way so I need 12 ga to limit voltage drop. But follow the manufacturer's instructions in any case.

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Old 07-08-2017, 09:25 AM   #9
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I have both a manual pump toilet, (just replaced) and an electric. Can't say I like one better than the other. No matter which is used, they both get the job done. If it is clean and in working order move on to more pressing projects like engine maintenance. Everything in due time. It's a boat, you're never done! LOL!
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:45 AM   #10
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My boat came to me with one manual head, one electric head. Due to the noise and high failure rate of the electric head, we now enjoy two manual heads.
I expect the electric head technology has advanced somewhat since 1994, but as with most systems, if it isn't broken, no fix is required, so we are staying with the manual heads for a while longer.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesK View Post
My advice to you is, with a "new to you" boat and especially if you are an inexperienced boater, you should not make any significant changes until you've had and used the boat for a while.


Personally, my wife and I aren't too proud to pump a toilet to empty it and just converting it to electric doesn't make it any better, it just adds possible complications.


Great advice!

One other point... before you drop a lot of time and money into the boat to bring it up to your wive's standards, you may want to use the boat to see if boating is even something that you WANT to do. Just because you inherited a boat, doesn't mean you have to be a a boater. Even if you want to be a boater, that boat may not be the type you want to use. You could make all those upgrades and still find that you or your wife don't enjoy using it.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthoennes View Post
After a few years of boat system maintenance and repair, including the toilets, I agree with the other posts - simpler the better. Now I have to go down to the boat and install a new shower sump box screen to protect the electric pump from shower "material" and clean out the goo.
You wouldn't need the screen if you kept the sump clean, which may be the only maintenance job on a boat that doesn't require any manual labor.

Raritan only markets their "C.P. Cleans Potties" as a toilet bowl cleaner, but it also happens to be the best sump and drain cleaner on the planet. C.P is a bio-enzymatic cleaner that not only destroys odor on contact, but the enzymes in it "eat" hair, soap scum galley grease and all that goes into the sumps and drains. A couple of ounces down the shower drain once a week when it can stand at least overnight, or last thing before leaving the boat 'cuz the enzymes need time to "eat" the stuff. It won't harm anything, so it can remain in sumps or drains indefinitely, it just stops working after 24 hours.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Beers30 View Post
I inhereted the boat so I am trying to figure it out. I am ordering the book as a good start. I am assuming that the water supply that is in place now would be sufficient and that the holding tanks just need to be pumped out periodically? The wifey said the existing setup definently needs upgraded as well as other items. (Sink, counters, upholstery, curtains, carpet, stove) good lord, what have I got myself into? Lol
In every system on a boat it's not the type of equipment that matters most, it's its age and condition...and everything has a working lifespan. New versions replace older versions and most mfrs discontinue parts support for obsolete equipment after 10 years. Did the boat sit unused for several years? Sitting unused results in deterioration that can be more destructive to everything on a boat than hard continuous use if the boat's been well maintained too.

Your wife's priorities are cosmetic issues...those can wait. First you need to be concerned with making sure the engine(s) and the sanitation, electrical and fresh water and all the other systems work--'cuz it doesn't matter how pretty the boat is, she won't be happy if any of 'em don't.

You're about to find out why a boat is known as a hole in the water surrounded by fiberglass into which one pours money. Depending on how much this one needs, you may decide to convert your inheritance to cash and continue enjoying your ski boat...'cuz you own it, but any boat too big to live on trailer owns you. That's fine for some of us, but not for everyone.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:47 PM   #14
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You're about to find out why a boat is known as a hole in the water surrounded by fiberglass into which one pours money. Depending on how much this one needs, you may decide to convert your inheritance to cash and continue enjoying your ski boat...'cuz you own it, but any boat too big to live on trailer owns you. That's fine for some of us, but not for everyone.
What Peggy says is true in my experience with a few boats....BUT.....you can stare at and admire the money in your account on Fidelity.com or you can do like we did and take some out and buy a boat. So far, despite HoldingTankapalooza (long story) our vote is that the boat option is much better. Our boat was in really nice shape but despite that I calculated 10% of the purchase price to handle unforeseen things and get it up and running in as close to perfect shape as a 30 years old boat can get. I will probably be spot on after I finish doing these things.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
My advice to you is, with a "new to you" boat and especially if you are an inexperienced boater, you should not make any significant changes until you've had and used the boat for a while.

Personally, my wife and I aren't too proud to pump a toilet to empty it and just converting it to electric doesn't make it any better, it just adds possible complications.

That said, if you have the room and $900 lying around unused, a Raritan Elegance head would be a nice and practical upgrade.

Some toilets use sea water to flush and some use potable (fresh) water to flush. They are not interchangeable.

My point is, you have a lot to learn about boating and your boat so don't do anything until you understand what you are doing and why.
Recently purchased two Raritan Elegance electric toilets for $557 each.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:03 AM   #16
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My last boat (1989 Sabre) had the original manual toilets in it. My wife wasn't happy with the manual toilet, so I installed an electric toilet in the master and left the manual toilet in the forward head, I just rebuilt it.
By doing it this way, my wife was happy with the electric toilet, but if a problem arose, we had the simpler manual toilet as a backup. Everyone is happy��
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:16 AM   #17
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We have an electric, fresh water head on our current boat. Prior to this, we have had nothing but manual, raw water heads. My current electric head has not been a problem for us and works really well. My wife loves it.

I am still a fan of manual pump toilets. I think that some don't like manual toilets because it makes them have to think about the whole process of flushing, storing, and emptying their poop. Easier to just push a button and pretend everything magically disappears.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:37 AM   #18
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We pulled out both electric toilets and replaced with new, manual units.

The main reason was there was no "dry bowl" setting. You pushed the button and raw water came in as the waste was pumped out. These toilets never quite got all of it out; they just diluted it. To put it as delicately as I can, if any of that waste was of the floating variety, it would take a long time to get it down the drain. All the while filling up the holding tanks.

Secondary to that was the noise and extra complexity.

Finally, there is some value in forcing guests to confront the results of their activities in the head. Thinking they can close the lid and push a button to make everything disappear is not an attitude we want to encourage. Most people are good at asking for specific instructions if they're not clear on the concept of wet and dry pump settings.

PS: Dave posted while I was reading this thread and composing my post. And of course, said it more concisely than I did!
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:07 AM   #19
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We pulled out both electric toilets and replaced with new, manual units.

The main reason was there was no "dry bowl" setting. You pushed the button and raw water came in as the waste was pumped out. These toilets never quite got all of it out; they just diluted it. To put it as delicately as I can, if any of that waste was of the floating variety, it would take a long time to get it down the drain. All the while filling up the holding tanks.

You and I are on the same page as far as manual toilets being a reminder that folks are on a boat, not a house sitting above a sewage system.

For your other issue, it may have simply been your electric head. Our Techma Silence does a great job. I am not familiar other electric heads but this has two buttons. The first button puts water in the bowl. The second button add water, flushes, and empties the bowl. The instructions to guests are that if they need to poop, push the first button first, then the second button after they are done. After the flush cycle is complete, the bowl is empty and generally clean. If no poop is involved, they just push the second button after they are finished.

This system reduces the amount of water used when only urine is being flushed (unfortunately, that is a concern with a fresh water head and no watermaker). I assume that the Raritan Elegance (Don't you love that name? What woman doesn't want to feel "elegant" while sitting on the toilet?) does much the same.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:42 AM   #20
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Thanks for the input. I had the boat serviced and mechanically it is in great shape. Everything works good so far. My dad kept real good care of the boat so it is mostly cosmetics and upgrades that need done. Not sure when he had the bottom repainted but that is next on the list! Looking forward to many more years of boating!
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