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Old 03-12-2014, 10:36 PM   #1
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Newbie Here , Question about Heads

I'm looking at several older boats, from 1981 up to 1991, Is there a better type of head to look for? I just sold a 33ft RV and i Have not been a fan of plastic toilets. What does the Coast Guard require? What is the best type?
\Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:03 PM   #2
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I'm looking at several older boats, from 1981 up to 1991, Is there a better type of head to look for? I just sold a 33ft RV and i Have not been a fan of plastic toilets. What does the Coast Guard require? What is the best type?
\Thanks!
Welcome to TF! First of all keep your head about this! Just joking!

You will hear a lot of differing input from many people. If you're lucky Peggie Hall our spectacular HeadMistress will chime in. Anyway - I recommend you go to search feature on top bar and begin reading many threads and posts on this subject. There seems to be no absolute "Best" head. However, there are some real good ones and some bad ones too.

This gets deep! But... the actual toilet is just tip of the iceberg - so to say. The items needed for cleanliness after deed is done is where things can get dicey and expensive! Study well before coming to conclusion.

Best Luck!
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:57 PM   #3
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Head, head plumbing, and waste tank system are serious items, but unless they have contributed serious damage to the vessels you are looking at, don't let a cheap head sway you from an otherwise good boat. A new system is not that big of a deal if compared to hull, motor and deck issues, and could even be part of a negotiated repair before purchase.
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:13 AM   #4
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Good advice from HH. A head can be replaced with a new technology porcelain bowl with relative ease. It's not what I'd call a fun job, but it's very rewarding to have it done.

Hopefully remwines will chime in here. He's been busy replacing his system on his newly purchased vessel. He was able to see past the head and its problems and recognize a solid boat when he saw it.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Hotz View Post
I'm looking at several older boats, from 1981 up to 1991, Is there a better type of head to look for? I just sold a 33ft RV and i Have not been a fan of plastic toilets. What does the Coast Guard require? What is the best type?
\Thanks!

Just in case: If by that, you mean you are considering choosing a boat based on the model of head currently installed...

In the grand scheme of things, heads are (relatively) easily replaced. Choose the boat based on your intended use (the mission) and her bones.

Everything else is generally improve-able.

-Chris
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:56 AM   #6
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Look at Tecma and Raritan fresh water flush units. You can get high elongated bowls with full size seats. Call the tech reps at the main companies and ask why should I buy your unit. Try going to big boat shows where you can look at all their models. Buy the best hose. Keep asking questions so you know your final decision is correct. You could wind up with about $ 2000. in to one good system.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:12 AM   #7
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The best head is one that is a) Simple and b) Reliable. I replaced the "marine" head that came with my boat with a porcelain bowl RV gravity head that sits on top of the holding tank. Uses about 1 pint of fresh water to flush. Took a little work, but well worth it. Simple and reliable. One moving part. Most importantly, the First Mate loves it. Almost anything can be retro-fitted to fit your needs. And, it doesn't have to be expensive.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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The best head is one that is a) Simple and b) Reliable. I replaced the "marine" head that came with my boat with a porcelain bowl RV gravity head that sits on top of the holding tank. Uses about 1 pint of fresh water to flush. Took a little work, but well worth it. Simple and reliable. One moving part. Most importantly, the First Mate loves it. Almost anything can be retro-fitted to fit your needs. And, it doesn't have to be expensive.
Fitted an porcelain RV head for my main head with a hidden macerator and just added a hidden macerator to my forward older hand pump toilet...for about $400 it feels like I have had 2 new heads that have been trouble free for a liveaboard couple coming up on 3 years.

Both are very quiet as the macerators are in the bilge below the toilets...next upgrade will be diaphragm pumps to be even quieter.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:00 PM   #9
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When I set up my boat, I went simple simple simple. Jabsco hand pump head. One holding tank. Macerator drawing from tank to overboard. Diverter valve from head to overboard for offshore. This system has worked well for 1800hrs and 10,000nm of travel. Rebuilt the macerator once, put new pump seals in head once.

I work on boats for a living (NOT on sanitation systems), but am aware of the nightmares that my customers have faced. Upgrading systems have lead to a maze of plumbing, extra pumps, extra valves. Complex systems have complex behavior. When things go wrong with sanitation systems, they can go very wrong. Many customers end up regretting doing the very expensive upgrades.

Keep it simple.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:07 PM   #10
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Hand pumps aren't simple for non-boaters...almost every boat I know with hand pump heads and guests have issues....none with mine....plus explaining the pumping to them is like teaching in another language.

My system is as simple as a hand pump head...just uses electric instead of hand.

I work on boats for a living too...that's why I think I have improved on decades worth of bad engineering by marine boat & sanitation manufacturers.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:17 PM   #11
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In respect to all "Head Hunters", as well as the "Heads" they may capture!

We’ve two heads aboard our Tolly; each with old-school “Crown Head” porcelain bowl 12V electric toilets. They’re tough as nails and powerful at flush time (quite loud – if that bothers you)! These heads consume electricity off batteries – so, good batts and charge system are needed. They also can use too much water (i.e. fill holding tank quickly) if there is not a water valve near their “push button” so the incoming flushing-water-flow can be instantly adjusted down or up as needed... with your free hand during flush (they don’t mention this feature in the instructions – cause these monsters were designed pre holding tank laws, when “Out the Boat” IT Went!). Once set up correctly so ample 12V power is on board and incoming water flow can be controlled for low-flow flush... they work like magic! That said – YRMV!

http://acf.cwrelectronics.com/literature/ownersManual/33785OM.pdf

CROWN HEAD

CENTRIFUGAL DISCHARGE SERIES AUTOMATIC MARINE TOILET

INTRODUCTION
The Crown Head is a powerful centrifugal macerating toilet that thoroughly breaks down waste in preparation for treatment or holding and requires little maintenance. It can be ordered with a 90 degree or straight discharge, a white marine-size bowl or household-style bowl available in either white or almond.

OPERATION
CAUTION: The Crown Head motor is designed to be used as a toilet and is not rated for continuous duty.
The Crown Head does not require special toilet paper, however, hard objects or stringy substances (paper towels, famine hygiene products, filter cigarettes, etc.) must not be thrown into the toilet as they will cause damage.

Momentary Operation Using Push-button Switch (#PBS) - not included: Depress button and hold. Water should appear in the bowl within one to four seconds. Flush as necessary.

DO NOT run this system dry (without water).
DO NOT run continuously for more than 30 seconds.

Good Luck Head Hunting and Boat Searching!
Happy Boating Daze! - Art
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Hand pumps aren't simple for non-boaters...almost every boat I know with hand pump heads and guests have issues....none with mine....plus explaining the pumping to them is like teaching in another language.

My system is as simple as a hand pump head...just uses electric instead of hand.

I work on boats for a living too...that's why I think I have improved on decades worth of bad engineering by marine boat & sanitation manufacturers.
Guests are trouble. I have learned that when they are on board, I must pay attention to the head. Nobody seems to grasp the little flip lever for "pump out/pump no water in" vs "pump out/pump water in." Bowl can get pretty full before someone calls me over. I'm thinking of making a placard explaining the flip lever, but that effort would probably be as useless as a verbal explanation!!

But so far, no catastrophes.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:52 PM   #13
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"Marine Heads" flush attributes are basically designed for "Marine People"! It takes some finesse and just a smidge of smarts to properly flush nearly any marine toilet. Of course years of practice helps too... such as most here on TF have!

IMHO KISS for the mechanics of a head is the main premise to making things go smoothly aboard a boat! Of course, that is only if you want to truly stay a-head of the game!
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:09 PM   #14
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Be sure to put up a sign for visitors that says: No Wet Wipes, Tampons, Kotex or other foreign objects. Only, POOP, PEE, and WATER Allowed!
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:53 PM   #15
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I agree with others, don't spend too much of your research time on this, that will come after you own the boat and find it failed shortly after buying and typically when you have taken a large group out to show them your new baby!
Plus, I typically like to remove what is there and replace with new, maybe just me, but I like a fresh start.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Guests are trouble. I have learned that when they are on board, I must pay attention to the head. Nobody seems to grasp the little flip lever for "pump out/pump no water in" vs "pump out/pump water in." Bowl can get pretty full before someone calls me over. I'm thinking of making a placard explaining the flip lever, but that effort would probably be as useless as a verbal explanation!!

But so far, no catastrophes.
This was useful till I redid the toilet...PO had stuck it to the wall right above the pump....
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:38 AM   #17
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"Marine Heads" flush attributes are basically designed for "Marine People"! It takes some finesse and just a smidge of smarts to properly flush nearly any marine toilet. Of course years of practice helps too... such as most here on TF have!

And many guests will NOT be boaters,,,,,,,,,so

The best head is one that is a) Simple and b) Reliable. I replaced the "marine" head that came with my boat with a porcelain bowl RV gravity head that sits on top of the holding tank. Uses about 1 pint of fresh water to flush. Took a little work, but well worth it. Simple and reliable. One moving part. Most importantly, the First Mate loves it. Almost anything can be retro-fitted to fit your needs. And, it doesn't have to be expensive.

KISS is the goal for any cruising boat (that actually leaves the dock) .

AS you decide if you wish to change anything be sure to operate the boat AS IS for at least 6 months or more so you will understand what you have , and learn weather other setups would be a step up, or down.

Massive complexity is always a step DOWN!

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