Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-13-2022, 02:33 PM   #1
Member
 
City: Sanford, FL
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 9
Swap Out VacuFlush With Thetford Cassette

I am rehabbing a 1988 Gulfstar 63 MY which has three VacuFlush toilets. Seals are gone and accumulator tanks not working. One toilet plumbed directly to a SeaLand diaphragm pump and works. The other two (in forward cabins), one fills and doesn't flush, the other flushes but doesn't fill. Both pumps are on last legs. Complicating factor, the boat is in Panama and there's no pumpout available in my marina.

Given all of that, I'm thinking about taking out all 3 vacuflush units and replacing them with Thetford 92306 cassette toilets (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKR3VYT...roduct_details).

Anyone have experience doing this? Downsides? I'm aware of keeping on top of the odor issue (so to speak). Removing, emptying and refilling the water and waste tanks regularly won't be a problem for me.

Anticipated upsides: EASY installation. Waaaaay cheaper than rebuilding a 3-station vacuflush with two pumps. Get back a chunk of space in the engine room by removing the accumulator tanks & associated plumbing.

It seems simple enough that I MUST be overlooking something obvious.



Many thanks gang.
thecurioustraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 04:08 PM   #2
Veteran Member
 
Mac2's Avatar
 
City: Ballard
Vessel Model: 1998 RealShips Voyager
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 88
Where to start. I can't think of a more important system on the boat, that contributes to comfort, then the toilet. I'm a backpacker and I understand that you can do things in a basic way, but why? For resale purposes alone, I wouldn't do the portable toilet.
You say you don't mind emptying the portable toilet, but I'm sure that would get old quickly. It holds 5 gallons, so that is 40 lbs you'll be lugging around.
I wouldn't trust the ability to hold the toilets in place either. The portable toilets aren't designed for large sea states. I would start with installing one good marine toilet and then work up from there. I had a vacuflush for 15 years on a previous boat. I became an expert (this is not a good thing!). Way to many possibility's for something going wrong-seals going bad, toilet paper preventing a good seal, visitors not understanding how to flush etc. I installed three Raritan Elegance toilets on my new boat. Expensive, but I can say after 3 years of being a livaboard with my wife, they are fantastic! All the moving parts are incorporated in the back of the toilet. I have quick disconnects on the hoses for easily detaching if I have to do repairs. The panel for flushing is easily understood. My experience has been that visitors are the main source of disasters I've had with toilets. Unless they're a boater, they don't understand the limitations of water for flushing and what is not ok to flush. My two cents.
Mac2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 05:10 PM   #3
Member
 
City: Sanford, FL
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 9
Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Definitely some good points. Glad you confirm my thoughts about the fragility of the vacuflush. I had a boat with two Raritan Atlantes Freedom macerating toilets. I had a guest try to flush a baby wipe with predictable consequences. The only guy in my area who worked on marine toilets told me (with no irony in his voice at all) that he was "backed up" 6 weeks, but that he would talk me through a rebuild if I got stuck. So I rebuilt it myself, including a new macerator chamber, macerator motor and control board. Never, ever again. The board alone was around $300 IIRC. I will look at the Elegance though, since your experience with them has been so good. Thanks!
thecurioustraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 05:35 PM   #4
Veteran Member
 
Mac2's Avatar
 
City: Ballard
Vessel Model: 1998 RealShips Voyager
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 88
" I had a guest try to flush a baby wipe with predictable consequences."

Amazing what people will do! Boating toilets (or anything boat related) is ridiculously priced. I can vouch for the Elegance's ability to not break after someone tried flushing a plastic grocery bag down it. I had coached the parents about the toilets, but forgot to talk directly to the kids. Live and learn.
Mac2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 05:42 PM   #5
TF Site Team
 
Insequent's Avatar
 
City: Brisbane
Vessel Name: Insequent
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander 50 Mk I
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3,582
I've been running 2 vacuflush units for 10 years. I had them both rebuilt 10 years ago and although I have been able to keep them working I really wish I had replaced them instead. I'm at the point where any significant issue and they are gone, but for a while its been just $100 here or $100 there to fix small issues.

If you can get the Elegance readily then go for it. One of the best there is I believe. Having said that, they are not readily available in Australia and the alternative that people say is basically trouble free as well is Tecma. IMO absolutely don't put cassette units or composting types in.
__________________
Brian
Insequent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 05:52 PM   #6
TF Site Team
 
Comodave's Avatar
 
City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Black Dog
Vessel Model: Formula 41PC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 15,340
The Marine Elegance is superb. I have put them in the last several boats. We have a Vacuflush in our current boat and wish it was a ME. Next winter it is on my list to swap out.
__________________
Boat Nut:
If you are one there is no explanation necessary.
If you arenít one, there is no explanation possible.
Comodave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 06:09 PM   #7
Guru
 
tiltrider1's Avatar
 
City: Seattle
Vessel Name: AZZURRA
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander 54
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 3,046
Nothing is cheaper than a porti-potty. Nothing will be more uncomfortable than a porti-potty and nothing will kill resale value more than a porti-potty.

Sounds like the previous owner stopped doing maintenance and started performing bush fixes rather than spend money.

When I acquire a new to me boat, I immediately go through the sanitation system. Vacuflush is one of my favorites. Easy to over haul and easy to maintain unless some one buried the vacuum pumps in an unreachable location. A typical overhaul would be to buy all new toilet bases. You can find them on the internet for $150. With the vacuum generator I replace the bellows and the duck bill valves. The motors are usually built proof, I wouldn’t replace them but maybe buy a spare. I have never need to replace a motor. The only other item with moving parts is the vacuum switch. They either work or they don’t. They are unfortunately one of the more expensive parts to purchase. In most cases the switch is not the problem, it’s the wiring. Once you have done this it will be years before you will need to do any maintenance.

If you hate vacuflush then by 3 marine elegance toilets. You will need to run electrical but you will be much happier that using a porti-potty.
tiltrider1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 07:22 PM   #8
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 3,657
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insequent View Post
I've been running 2 vacuflush units for 10 years. I had them both rebuilt 10 years ago and although I have been able to keep them working I really wish I had replaced them instead. I'm at the point where any significant issue and they are gone, but for a while its been just $100 here or $100 there to fix small issues.

If you can get the Elegance readily then go for it. One of the best there is I believe. Having said that, they are not readily available in Australia and the alternative that people say is basically trouble free as well is Tecma. IMO absolutely don't put cassette units or composting types in.
Tecma (which I believe is now a Thetford Company) is an excellent head too and uses similar technology to Marine Elegance. If I remember correctly, Tecma actually pioneered the technology 25 years ago and Raritan followed suit.

Peter
__________________
M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 07:53 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
City: Anacortes
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 451
Phil Bolger designed a boat that used a cassette toilet and he had a rack that'd hold a bunch of extra cassettes. So you'd collect the full ones until you found a place to dump them. Just doing what a holding tank does, though the cassette toilet experience is never a nice one.
sean9c is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2022, 11:57 PM   #10
Guru
 
tpbrady's Avatar
 
City: Gooding ID/Wrangell AK
Vessel Name: Silver Bay
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42-002
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 829
I have a porta poddy as a backup. I had a friend with a Vacuflush borrow it when a pump broke. It’s the most reliable marine sanitation system I am aware of. Few moving parts, no electricity, takes anything that will fit through the whole, and easy to dump.

Tom
tpbrady is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2022, 10:08 AM   #11
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,315
Dometic makes an "MSD" portapotty...MSD in the model name or # means it has fittings for a pumpout line and vent line and has sturdier brackets than the portable version. The 5 gallon version holds 50-60 flushes. A y-valve and macerator in the pumpout line allows it to be dumped at sea. Dometic SaniPottie 975MSD Toilet with MSD Fittings - Gray | Defender Marine

Dometic also makes a much classier version of the MSD portapotty--the 711 M28 Marine Traveler, which is designed to use onboard pressurized flush water, same as the VacuFlush does, china bowl sits atop a 9 gal tank. Only possible downside is the size of the tank footprint--about 20" x 20". If you have room for it in the head, you'll love it.
Dometic 711-M28 Traveler at Defender

--Peggie
__________________
© 2021 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2022, 10:09 AM   #12
Member
 
City: Sanford, FL
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 9
Great Feedback

Great feedback gang. Appreciate it. I already bought one Thetford to see how much of a pain in the ass (pun intended) it is. I might put it in one of the two forward heads as a temp until I can get MEs installed. Yes, the former owner did little to nothing on the boat for the previous 5 years, so the toilets were just one of many things that are being replaced. The budget for all of this is just into 6 figures, so I'm pacing the rehab to make sure the most critical stuff gets taken care of first. The Thetford could buy me some time to get floors/ceilings/windows and a new kitchen in. Fortunately the 8V92s are in good condition, tho they need some attention (turbo rebuild, hoses, risers). As they said when the monkey peed in the cash register, it all runs into money.
thecurioustraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2022, 10:15 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
HTurner's Avatar
 
City: Corpus Christi
Vessel Model: Willard Vega Horizon
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 322
If one wants simplicity, I suggest Blake's Lavac.


https://blakesandtaylors.co.uk/lavac...ilets-41-c.asp


https://www.fisheriessupply.com/lava...-manual-toilet



Every boat I have ever owned since 1982 has had one aboard. My current boat has one, they just plain work.
HTurner is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2022, 12:09 PM   #14
TF Site Team
 
Shrew's Avatar
 
City: Westerly, RI
Vessel Name: N/A
Vessel Model: 1999 Mainship 350 Trawler
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,452
I would strongly urge you against this course of action.
__________________
Shrew
/SHro͞o/
noun
1. A small insectivorous mammal resembling a mouse, with a long pointed snout and tiny eyes.
Shrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 08:08 AM   #15
Guru
 
City: Rochester, NY
Vessel Name: Hour Glass
Vessel Model: Chris Craft Catalina 381
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 4,976
I'd personally be inclined to install decent macerating electric heads and ditch the Vacuflush. They're incredibly simple mechanically and work very well, so they're nice to live with and easy to keep working. Feed them all to a holding tank (or 2, depending on boat layout) and make sure the tank is equipped for both pumpout and overboard discharge.



That should give a much nicer, more convenient experience than any of the port-a-potty types.
rslifkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Trawler Port Captains
Port Captains are TF volunteers who can serve as local guides or assist with local arrangements and information. Search below to locate Port Captains near your destination. To learn more about this program read here: TF Port Captain Program





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012