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Old 08-04-2018, 04:44 PM   #1
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Another Vacuflush thread

My vacuflush is not creating a vacuum.


Here is my process so far.


1. Water stays in the bowl, but no vacuum when the toilet is flushed. the water runs slowly into the vacuum tank and the pump pushes it out, but no vacuum. There is no hissing at the toilet.


2. The pump runs all the time, until I turn it off at the breaker.


3. I replaced both the duckbill valves on the outlet hose, as they are easiest to get to. The toilet created a vacuum and flushed fine about 6 times, then stopped working and is now behaving exactly as described above. No pressure at the toilet, pump runs all the time, water stays in bowl.


4. I replaced the other two duckbill valves, which on my unit are inside the vacuum tank. Lots of sludge built up in there. No improvement.


5. I replaced the bellows. No improvement.


I think I've got an air leak somewhere in the vacuum tank, but I don't have a tester and can't get one until Monday, I'm on the boat all weekend. I'm out of spare parts, I guess I should have bought an O ring kit, but didn't think about it.



Any advice?
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Old 08-04-2018, 06:46 PM   #2
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Shaving cream.

If all the duck bill valves are good and the bowl seal isn't passing water, use the shaving cream to look for leaks. Turn the pump on and apply small amounts of cream around all the vacuum hose ends. If there is a leak from a loose clamp, the cream will get sucked in.

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Old 08-04-2018, 06:54 PM   #3
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After rereading your post, I would go back and reinspect the first 2 duck bills you changed. Theory: if changing them solved the problem (for a short period), it seems likely that something may have come out of the vacuum tank that is keeping those valves from closing.

If you have sludge in the vacuum tank, you need to flush a bowlful of water through the system more often for obvious reasons.

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Old 08-04-2018, 07:27 PM   #4
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Thanks Ted.


Since my last post I pulled the entire vacuum generator unit off, disassembled it, and scraped/cleaned the interior, which was coated with a crusty sludge. Boy that was a nasty job. I noticed that this same crust was in the housing of the duckbills, and that it was causing them to be misshaped, a little open, so I took out the 3 duckbill valves that are on the generator and scraped/cleaned the housings. They slip right in now and are "closed."



With the generator off I can see the 4th duckbill, which is in the top of the vacuum tank. It was closed tight, so I put the the generator back on. I tightened all hose clamps and screws.


The O rings, look OK, though I guess they could be bad.


Started it back up. No love.


Took a long, hot shower and I'm sitting on the FB now having a rum drink. Long day.


Maybe the problem is on the toilet end of the system? Even though it is holding water?
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:40 PM   #5
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Take the hose from the toilet off the vacuum tank. Turn on the pump. Put your hand over the tube and check for vacuum. If you have vacuum, replace the hose, and pull it off at the toilet. Cover the hose and check for vacuum. Might also check the hose clamp that holds the bowl to the base of the toilet.

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Old 08-04-2018, 07:53 PM   #6
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OK, that's great advice. I'll try it in the morning.



Thanks Ted.



I know everyone says it on here, but I love your boat. I was born and raised in Fort Myers, all of my family still lives there.
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:02 PM   #7
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My vacuflush is not creating a vacuum.Here is my process so far. 1. Water stays in the bowl, but no vacuum when the toilet is flushed. the water runs slowly into the vacuum tank and the pump pushes it out, but no vacuum. There is no hissing at the toilet. 2. The pump runs all the time, until I turn it off at the breaker.

The V/Flush trouble shooting guide has a list of probable causes and cures for your problem. If you have an owners manual (or my book), you already have it. If you don't, I'll send it to you if you'll send a PM that includes your email address.

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Old 08-04-2018, 08:36 PM   #8
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Hi Peggie,


Thanks for the reply. I do have a copy of your guide you were kind enough to send it to me a few years back.


Unfortunately, I think I have reached a point where I may need the vacuum pressure tester, which i don't have. That is unless Ted's advice works.


Do you think it could be at the toilet, even though it is holding water with the pump on?


Also, I tried using a plunger. It didn't seem to help anything.


Thanks,
Doug
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:10 PM   #9
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Do you think it could be at the toilet, even though it is holding water with the pump on?

Not in or at the bowl, but based on your description of the all the crud that was on the duckbills and the pump bellows, there could very well be a similar buildup in the plumbing between the bowl and the vacuum tank, especially if there any 90s in it.

Unfortunately, I think I have reached a point where I may need the vacuum pressure tester, which i don't have. That is unless Ted's advice works.

You don't need a vacuum tester. If Ted's advice doesn't work, you need to talk with Dometic/SeaLand tech support (which prob'ly won't be available till Monday). They're in Ohio: 800-321-9886

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Old 08-04-2018, 09:29 PM   #10
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Hi Doug, I've been where you are with our Vacuflush units. Changed everything you have plus the pressure switch. The problem with ours ended up being an air leak around the flange where the pressure switch goes into the tank. I pulled it out, put plenty of silicon grease on the o'ring, replaced it and tighten up the hose clamps. I'd suggest for a start just try tightening up the hose clamps on you pressure switch flange and where the pump fits into the tank if you model has that and see if you get any improvement. Also look at the pressure switch itself as it has its own rubber diaphragm,


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Old 08-04-2018, 11:44 PM   #11
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I'll vouch for the shaving cream test. My unit was working fine one visit. Next time down, the unit would not hold a vacuum. Turned out to be the seal where the hose from the toilet entered the Vacuflush tank at the pump.

Took me way longer to find the leak than I thought. Bought the vacuum gauge after that incident. Great tool to have-plus those in the marina without one all of a sudden become friends once the word gets around...
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:48 AM   #12
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+1 for the shaving cream test.
Even with the gauge if you don't develop vac you have to find the leak. The suggestion of simply feeling for vac at the hose connection helps isolate the problem location. If at the vac tank there are many possible sources. I've seen the flanges leak after replacing many components... the shaving cream will help confirm or eliminate many potential leak sources.
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:41 AM   #13
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OK, I pulled the hose off that leads from the toilet to the vacuum tank and put my hand over the tank inlet with the pump running. No pressure there, or at least very, very little. Certainly not enough to create a vacuum.


Put shaving cream around the hose connections, including the flanges, and the pressure switch, turned on the pump. None of the cream has been sucked in, or at least none that I can see.


I think I'll pull of the pressure switch and take a look at it. Maybe the O ring is bad.


Any other suggestions?


Environmental Marine in Fort Lauderdale is the Vacuflush distributor for the SE US and I'll be down there tomorrow. I'm considering pulling out the entire vacuum tank unit and bringing it down to them. Maybe they will put a tester on it for me while I wait or advise me on it.
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:49 AM   #14
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I'd call them first. They may not have a tech available if you just walk in with it.


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Old 08-05-2018, 10:57 AM   #15
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Makes sense Peggie, but I have to go down there for work tomorrow morning anyway, leaving here (Stuart) before they open. So I might as well take it with me. It's pretty easy to get out of the boat.



I've also found that showing up in person, with your problem in your hand, and your CC out ready to buy parts, usually, not always, gets you immediate attention.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:39 PM   #16
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Well.


I went by Environmental Marine Services in Ft. Lauderdale, they were very helpful and jumped right on it. That was the good news.


The bad news? There was some sort of leak in the tank itself and the pressure switch had failed. I ended up replacing the tank and the switch, $450. It pressure tested perfectly on the bench.


Installed it on the boat and it works great except now the pump kicks on and it pressurizes every 10 minutes or so. I think I have a small leak somewhere between the tank and the toilet.
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:31 AM   #17
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Your last comment about cycling on and off is what I am experiencing.

I asked Dometic for advice on the Sealand Vacuflush System. The unit works well, however, over night while all is quiet, we hear the Vacuflush pump come on for about 10 pumps then stop. Happens ever so often. We keep a small amount of water in the bowl at all times and never see it dry so I do not believe the bowl seal is leaking. What do you suggest problem might be and solution?

Their response:”The pump occasionally regenerating lost vacuum is not a problem.
However, if it cycles frequently and wakes you up, you may want a technician to investigate the system.”

Not sure I want a technician just yet. Has anyone on the list had a similar situation with a Vacuflush and suggest a potential solution other than call a factory tech?

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Old 08-21-2018, 09:26 AM   #18
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It's prob'ly doing the same thing during the day...you just don't hear it. A V/Flush system that doesn't have any air leaks doesn't lose vacuum....it's not unusual (didn't use to be) for a system to hold vacuum for a week or longer. Occasional very short cycling is usually the first sign that it's time to replace the duckbill valves in the pump. As they become more worn, the pump will cycle more often and longer. If new duckbills don't solve it in a system that's more than about 5 years old, it can be a sign that the vacuum switch is failing. There's a tiny little diaphragm in it that can wear out and leak. The bigger the leak becomes, the more often and longer the pump will cycle till eventually the pump runs continuously unless turned off at the breaker. Unfortunately you can't replace just that little diaphragm, you have to replace the whole pricy vacuum switch. You certainly don't need a technician to replace either one.


Nor do you need a vacuum tester to find air leaks in the plumbing. Just squirt a LITTLE shaving cream around every hose connection...flush the toilet. The shaving will be sucked into any connection that's leaking, just sit there on all those that don't.



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Old 08-21-2018, 09:41 AM   #19
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Subscribed because I’m having the same issue I think.
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Old 08-21-2018, 09:42 AM   #20
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We are fortunate in that we have several vacu flush technicians near our marina. With a similar issue to the OP's the vacuum testing gauge was used successfully to isolate the leak to the toilet mounting base. Apparently during the vessel's construction someone got careless and cracked the base.

There are 4 places a vacuum leak can develop between the toilet and the pump. The vacuum tester makes trouble shooting quick and easy. In our case it took about 4 hours for the hairline base crack to show itself.
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