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Old 09-21-2020, 06:37 PM   #1
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macerator not emptying holding tank

Good afternoon
Mainship 350 1997 two weeks new to me. Filled the empty holding tank with water and a little bleach to sanitize. After a week back to the boat to empty. Seacock open flipped the macerator switch. Macerator running but not pumping out. Not priming???
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:21 PM   #2
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I recently finished changing the macerator pump on my tak for the second time in a couple of years. The most recent failure was of a VERY little used pump. I attribute this last failure to the fact that the boat sat in the water instead of in its lift while the lift was repaired from hurricane damage with the seacock POSSIBLY left open allowing slight seawater pressure into the pump which itself sits a little above the 2/3 full level of the tank. An autopsy of the pump showed corrosion into the motor bearing from the pump section. If your tank was full of a chlorine solution with the pump down low, you may have killed the pump.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:28 PM   #3
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Just replaced ours in the (relative) middle of nowhere. It sounded like it was working but no pump out.

Had a rebuild kit on board...never again.

Was fortunately able to source a new one on our route and install it with excellent result.

For the $200 for a brand new self priming pump I would never attempt the rebuild thing again.

Not sure about putting bleach through the system but others will know more than me.

Good luck
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:29 PM   #4
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Impeller shot or air leak on the suction side. Also check for a valve or tee on the suction side to the deck pump out fitting. Every boat is plumbed differently.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Good afternoon
Mainship 350 1997 two weeks new to me. Filled the empty holding tank with water and a little bleach to sanitize. After a week back to the boat to empty. Seacock open flipped the macerator switch. Macerator running but not pumping out. Not priming???
Did you open the deck cap? If not try that in case the vent is clogged. Air needs to get in to replace the water.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:31 PM   #6
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I'm not sure how your system is plumbed but is your y-valve open from the tank to the deck fitting and not the pump? I would check that.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:34 PM   #7
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You donít need to sanitize the holding tank. Besides the first time you put poop into the tank it wonít be sterile anymore. Just flush it with clean water. Besides bleach will kill the bacteria and you do want aerobic bacteria growing in the tank. Anerobic bacteria are the bad kind, they cause smells, and they come from lack of oxygen. The solution to get aerobic bacteria is to get lots of air into the tank. If you have a filter on the vent that will contribute to anerobic bacteria growing and smelling.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:54 PM   #8
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Agree with comments above - could be pump or vent or combo.
Have you pumped out via deck fitting to ensure vent is working OK?
Vents are notorious problems and most Mfg use the wrong (fule vent) fittings and the small openings & screens plug often. Lots of threads about holding tank vents, size, fittings, routing, etc.
My macerator sat below the tank discharge so no priming issues but was corroded and leaking when I got my boat. I'm inland on fresh water lake sao just eliminated it instead of replacing.
As others said bleach doesn't help holding tanks as you are not trying to sterilize.; What you really want is aerobic bacteria action which requires getting air to the tank via adequate venting. Most (including myself) report good results using NoFlex Digester or Sodium Percarbonate (active ingredient in NoFlex) to help promote aerobic action and keep the tank "clean"
Worst case some (myself included) have resorted to installing bubbler to aerate the tank. My website linked on my signature includes details in the "Projects" section. I have since rerouted and increased the size of my vent but the bubbler is still running 24/7 during the season so I figure I'll continue to let it do its thing.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:02 PM   #9
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BTW, this is probably a god place to pontificate on one of my mantras.

Start with the most simplest (and in most case cheaper) resolution first and work your way towards the more complicated (and usually more expensive ) solutions.

This is a lesson borne of implementing fixes which cost more, only to find a 50c solution fixed the problem!

Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:05 PM   #10
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My mascerator pump died today. Breaker would open after a few seconds so I did the screw driver on the pump motor to manually turn the impeller figuring it would be an easy fix. Nope, and I am a ways away from sourcing a new pump. Time for the bucket for awhile until I can get to a pump out station.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:09 PM   #11
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My mascerator pump died today. Breaker would open after a few seconds so I did the screw driver on the pump motor to manually turn the impeller figuring it would be an easy fix. Nope, and I am a ways away from sourcing a new pump. Time for the bucket for awhile until I can get to a pump out station.
Holding tank full?

Hang it over the side, no one will know!
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:22 PM   #12
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Holding tank full?

Hang it over the side, no one will know!
I just gave my son the third lecture of the day not to pee in the toilet and he is not happy with me.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:25 PM   #13
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when i bought the boat the holding tank had waste in it. It did not empty then. The delivery captain had it pumped out and cleaned. The cabin of the boat had some odor so i put water and bleach in the holding tank to hopefully eliminate some of the odor. there is a PVC Tee at the bottom of the holding tank. One hose goes to the deck fitting the other side of the Tee goes to the macerator pump. No Y valve. The hose from the out put hose from the macerator to the seacock is wet and is leaking discovered after looking around a few days ago. Before my purchase the boat sat unused for about 6 months.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:31 PM   #14
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when i bought the boat the holding tank had waste in it. It did not empty then. The delivery captain had it pumped out and cleaned. The cabin of the boat had some odor so i put water and bleach in the holding tank to hopefully eliminate some of the odor. there is a PVC Tee at the bottom of the holding tank. One hose goes to the deck fitting the other side of the Tee goes to the macerator pump. No Y valve. The hose from the out put hose from the macerator to the seacock is wet and is leaking discovered after looking around a few days ago. Before my purchase the boat sat unused for about 6 months.
That PVC T is a Y valve! (not a lot of difference in the letter!).

Make sure the leak is between the macerator and the through hull, if it is on the holding tank side of the pump it may be causing your problem.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:33 PM   #15
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I just gave my son the third lecture of the day not to pee in the toilet and he is not happy with me.
I wasn't just talking about pee!
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:40 PM   #16
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That PVC T is a Y valve! (not a lot of difference in the letter!).

Make sure the leak is between the macerator and the through hull, if it is on the holding tank side of the pump it may be causing your problem.
Itís actually just a white PVC T. It is not a valve in anyway. You cannot isolate the macerator or the deck pump out like a true y valve.
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:03 AM   #17
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Why screw around with a macerator pump when a diaphragm pump will self-prime, run dry with no harm and will pump solids? I replaced our macerator pump with a Sealand diaphragm pump and haven’t had any issues since.
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:54 AM   #18
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There is one other possible answer here. It is possible that the through hull is clogged. Would be same effect as not opening the valve.
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:11 AM   #19
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Will check when I replace the macerator to seacock hose
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:26 AM   #20
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First step in troubleshooting a macerator is turning the motor shaft CCW with a screwdriver. Oftentimes this frees it up.

Turn it on again.

If it runs and cuts out again, it is likely not the motor. Open it up and remove the dental floss, chunk of gravel, or whatnot. You may have to replace the impeller/blade. It is a pretty easy task. If you buy the kit, you get an O-Ring. If it is just plugged, be careful with the O-ring, get a new one from a auto shop, or replace it with one from your O-ring kit. As long as you aren't using all sorts of chemicals in your tank, Nitrile, would be fine.

If it doesn't run, then it is a motor issue. Best to replace the whole macerator.

I'm no Jabsco fan, but I'd bet many macerators are tossed because they are plugged with something and it damages the impeller, and the owner or tech, just doesn't want to deal with it.

Running them dry accelerates wear and tear and loose the ability to self prime. Probably what happened here. Price out a kit versus a new macerator and see if it is worth dinking around with.

You always buy a new one and bench repair the old one, if possible at your leisure (maybe not the best word choice).
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