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Old 07-22-2020, 09:11 AM   #1
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Mainship 400 Replacement for Vacu Flush head

Still having to baby our Vacuflush head, hoping it holds out another two weeks until we get home from the Bahamas. If it's a repair that costs more than $100, I've decided to replace the entire vacuflush system with a traditional head.


I know lots of people are high on the Marine Elegance head, and I've added it to the list of considerations, but what other options are out there? Anyone with a 400 made this switch? I'd like to avoid as many mods as I possibly can.


Our head compartment is small and neither my wife nor I are big people so I don't really care about having a larger sized head. We also don't care about noise.



We had a Seaera on our old boat and really liked it, it's smaller and a couple hundred bucks cheaper. Looks like the ME hoses come in and out at the bottom though, like the Vacuflush, so install may be easier.


Looking for opinions.


Thanks,
Doug
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:43 AM   #2
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I've bought and am in the process of installing the Raritan Sea Era. I doubt you'll be able to fit the Marine Elegance in your space. We couldn't in the 350/390 and from what I can tell, the head in the 400 is laid out the same.

The Sea Era is the Marine Elagance Jr, from what I can tell. One thing to note, the Sea Era is a freshwater flush. I bought the dual Freshwater/Seawater model which has two pumps, and the Seawater pump is EXTERNAL. It is a 'remote' pump, however if I want to install the seawater option, I need to find a location to install the seawater pump. For now, I am installing the freshwater only option. This requires that I remove the inlet T on the head to route freshwater only.
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:48 AM   #3
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The Sea Era comes in a few versions. There's a freshwater version, a remote seawater pump version, a combo fresh / raw water version, and an integrated seawater pump version.

I installed the integrated pump version (raw water) last year in my forward head. The integrated pump is LOUD and I kinda wish I'd gone for the remote seawater pump. But other than the noise, it works great. Pretty much, if it comes out of a human and any even remotely reasonable amount of toilet paper is added to it, it'll flush with no complaints from the head.
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Old 07-22-2020, 10:08 AM   #4
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I am really surprised. Those systems are not all that complicated and in my experience work very well. I would never go back the the old style heads. One reason is that vacuflush use less water to pump outs aren't as frequent.
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Old 07-22-2020, 12:13 PM   #5
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You can get a kit from Raritan to make the Marine Elegance a rear discharge instead of bottom discharge. I bought one and it is terribly expensive for what you get. It is a short section about 2Ē of hose a nd a 90 degree elbow and 4 hose clamps. Make your own. We love the ME. That is absolutely what I would use if it will fit.
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Old 07-22-2020, 12:39 PM   #6
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I am really surprised. Those systems are not all that complicated and in my experience work very well. I would never go back the the old style heads. One reason is that vacuflush use less water to pump outs aren't as frequent.
Add me to the list of the surprised. As I was futzing around yet again with one of our traditional toilets here on land, I was reflection on how dependable our VF toilets were when we lived and cruised aboard for several years; much more so than any toilet of any kind we have ever had in a about a dozen different houses.

Environmental Marine in FLL is a great source for parts and very detailed technical help. Give them a call. They were very helpful to me when I had to remediate a very incorrect installation by a PO on one of our systems. https://environmentalmarine.com/

A big mistake people make with these heads is not operating them correctly and running enough water through them. The tendency is to pretend they work like an airliner toilet.
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Old 07-22-2020, 12:59 PM   #7
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Macerating electric heads are also simple as dirt, so I don't think vacuflush wins anything there. The macerating heads might as well be a water pump and a blender attached to a toilet bowl.
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Add me to the list of the surprised. As I was futzing around yet again with one of our traditional toilets here on land, I was reflection on how dependable our VF toilets were when we lived and cruised aboard for several years; much more so than any toilet of any kind we have ever had in a about a dozen different houses.

Environmental Marine in FLL is a great source for parts and very detailed technical help. Give them a call. They were very helpful to me when I had to remediate a very incorrect installation by a PO on one of our systems. https://environmentalmarine.com/

A big mistake people make with these heads is not operating them correctly and running enough water through them. The tendency is to pretend they work like an airliner toilet.

Yes, I have worked with environmental marine on this current problem and the vacuflush issues I have had in the past. They are a first class operation, and have done all they can to help me. They replaced my vacuum genertaor tank and pump 18 months ago, moved the switch and bellows over from my old tank. Pretty much a full rebuild. As I said in another post, in the last 5 years I've dumped close to $1,500 into parts to keep this vacuflush system going. I do my own labor, God only knows what it would have cost if I had someone do it for me. Three to four grand is my guess. It's always vacuum leaks. Hard to trace and troublesome to fix. That's the problem with Vacuflush IMO, too many points of possible failure. I'm glad yours works for you, but I've just had enough.



And no, it's not user error. We flush with plenty of water. It's not a duckbill issue or a clogging issue.



From the trouble shooting I've done, I think the current issue is in the toilet base. I've got a spare base with me, but not the PVC elbow and tailpiece I need to fix it. It holds pressure for about 30 seconds, so we turn the breaker on right before use, flush then turn it off.
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Old 07-22-2020, 03:42 PM   #9
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" The macerating heads might as well be a water pump and a blender attached to a toilet bowl".
That's a great description of the Marine Elegance we installed! The Smart Control "flush only" option works well to help save water.
A friend dropped a bolt in the bowl and was easily retrieved due to the access to the built-in macerator. Another vote for the Elegance.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:15 PM   #10
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I agree that Vacuflush is too may areas of possible failure. The ME on the other hand is simple. Hope you get it figured out to your satisfaction.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:44 PM   #11
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Vacuflush problems posted here frequently. Yes, some folks rarely have a problem but here is a question. Why is it that in years and years of following this forum I have never seen a problem with a Marine Elegance. And never mind that space-hogging, failure-prone vacuum pump.
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I am really surprised. Those systems are not all that complicated and in my experience work very well. I would never go back the the old style heads. One reason is that vacuflush use less water to pump outs aren't as frequent.
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:43 PM   #12
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Peggie will chime in soon- the Head Mistress!
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:27 PM   #13
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I agree that Vacuflush is too may areas of possible failure. The ME on the other hand is simple. Hope you get it figured out to your satisfaction.

Too many slip fittings that require a perfect vacuum seal is a problem waiting to happen.
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Old 07-23-2020, 06:47 AM   #14
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Macerating electric heads are also simple as dirt, so I don't think vacuflush wins anything there. The macerating heads might as well be a water pump and a blender attached to a toilet bowl.
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" The macerating heads might as well be a water pump and a blender attached to a toilet bowl".
That's a great description of the Marine Elegance we installed! The Smart Control "flush only" option works well to help save water.
A friend dropped a bolt in the bowl and was easily retrieved due to the access to the built-in macerator. Another vote for the Elegance.

We've had both VF freshwater and electric freshwater... latter suited us better. Quieter, chopped carrots, etc.

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Old 07-23-2020, 09:22 AM   #15
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Peggie will chime in soon- the Head Mistress!

I'm following the thread and will chime in when I see the need to do so. But for now, y'all are doing fine without any more input or correction from me.


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