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Old 10-20-2020, 03:40 PM   #1
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Are two (marine) heads better than one?

I'm restoring a 1980 Chris Craft Commander 410.
The boat had two full heads with separate showers.

I've pulled out both toilets, and will soon pull the marine sanitation hoses as well. The hoses are at least 20 years old - so I'm not even going to question them - they're gonna go. The two AWESOME things are that:

1) The boat hadn't been used in YEARS - so the heads and hoses (and hopefully tank) are all DRY!!! SOOOO much better than if we had used the heads for a while, and then got around to replacing...
2) The boat is laid out in a way that I can get to everything!!! For both heads, the hose starts at the toilet, goes through a bulkhead or two immediately into the engine room, makes a vertical loop (smell containment?) and then runs to a Y (one branch from each toilet) before dumping into the holding tank.

I'm planning to first replace the forward toilet, which serves the forward V-berth, and acts as the "day head". My plan is to replace the old raw water toilet with a fresh water toilet. Possibly the Raritan Marine Elegance, as it's the only one I've found so far that is designed for a fresh water supply without requiring additional solenoids, etc. (If there are other options that are already configured for a fresh water supply - please let me know!)

But I'm not so sure about immediately replacing the toilet in the master head. I will likely hold off at least for a little while to stem the wallet hemorrhaging... I've had thoughts of trying a composting head in the master, with a conventional forward, but that's a different thread.

Bottom line:

Is ONE toilet enough?
I would expect that I'll entertain during the day, but RARELY have more than one couple spending the night. My current/previous boat(s) only had one head - and that was fine.

Having the head and noise (bodily and from pumps, etc.) on the other side of the boat from the person still in bed might be nice.

Similar to the "one engine or two" argument - One head instead of two means less maintenance, parts, expense, and more room in the tiny aft head. It also implies that there is "no backup" if the one toilet fails (though a bucket or porta-potty could be used in the spot where a toilet would normally go in the master bath).

If I don't immediately put in the 2nd toilet, the next question is how much prep of marine sanitation lines should I do for it?

Should I JUST run the line for the first toilet?
In an effort to avoid a messy addition in the future, I could go ahead and put in a new Y in the line from the first toilet to the holding tank. If I do that, do I run the hose all the way to the aft cabin (good hose is DANG expensive!), or just stub it off? If I stub it off, it would be nice to do so in a way that adding the rest of the hose later wouldn't be a nasty job (hence going ahead with the Y and stub).

I thought about running the line from the forward head to the Y, and on to the tank. The other branch of the Y could go to a ball valve, so I'd have a clean, sealed end to work with for adding the second toilet later. The question here would be: Will the ball valve stick shut if it's not operated for a year or so?

Thoughts?
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Old 10-20-2020, 03:54 PM   #2
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I really like the 410s. Pretty boat. Definitely go with the Marine Elegance head, best head on the market IMO. Use Raritan Sani Flex hose. Best hose on the market. I get it from Defender, best price I have found. If you plan on ordering a lot of stuff you may want to join Defender First. It costs $50 per year. I just joined today and saved over $70 on an alternator kit so I am already ahead for the year. I personally would not go with a composting head but that is just my opinion. I would put the head in the master cabin for nighttime head calls. I would run 2 separate lines to the holding tank. I don’t like the idea of a Y in the holding tank hose. When I remove old holding tank hoses I screw paper towels tightly into the end of the hosa as soon as I unhook it. Then put several layers of duct tape over the end so they don’t leak as you pull them out. Last thing I want is that stuff leaking all over as I pull the hose out, I do that even if I think it is empty.
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Old 10-20-2020, 04:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by oak_box View Post

Bottom line:

Is ONE toilet enough?

...It also implies that there is "no backup" if the one toilet fails
Thoughts?

We use the forward head almost exclusively because it is directly over the 50 gal sanitary tank and requires less water for a good flush.



I say "almost exclusively," because it was really nice to have another when the forward head raw water pump crapped out (har!) in the wilds of BC. I vote for two.
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Old 10-20-2020, 04:25 PM   #4
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I agree with Comodave about running two inlets into the holding tank instead of a Y-fitting. You can simply cap the second fitting if you chose not to install second head. Or you could install a less expensive head in the master. Peggy Hall, the Doyenne of Do-Do, monitors this forum pretty regularly and will likely pop-in for a comment. If you're interested, she may have a good recommendation for an inexpensive head.

Hose is about $10/ft. There is no need for the loop you describe. If your run is relatively straight, you might be able to use PVC Schedule 40 pipe instead of hose. I have not had good success with valves in head systems (mostly Y-Valves). They tend to freeze and the handle breaks. But since you won't have flow through your config, might work fine.

Compost head. I like them. More popular with sailors than powerboat folks. If you are in a no-discharge-zone, it makes more sense. You take a whack on re-sale, but heck, the CC41's are way under-valued anyway. Couldn't hurt much. But you are right - different thread.

You didn't mention pump-out and macerator. Don't forget those.

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Old 10-20-2020, 04:56 PM   #5
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Peter,

I already pulled the macerator. I'm currently on an inland lake, and even if I went to the coast, wouldn't anticipate being far enough out to be able to legally dump. The macerator was old, inoperable, and in the way when I wanted to pull out the old hot water heater. So, it went. I plugged the hose from the pump out Y that went to it.

I am definitely planning to replace the pump out hose, though I haven't yet had a chance to figure out how to get to the end at the pump out fitting. Hopefully it will be as reasonable to get to as most other stuff has been. So far, I'm really loving how accessible stuff has been (at least for a boat...) on the CC410!

Running two hoses into the tank makes sense. But... Right now, I only have one input hole. I'm pretty sure the tank is metal. What fitting would I mount to it and how? Hole saw to the top of the tank?
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:08 PM   #6
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Holding tanks are not usually metal since urine will corrode it and you definitely don’t want that tank leaking. If it is metal now is the time to replace it too. Ronko makes a bery good holding tank. Heavy duty thick walls and they will put in the fittings wherever you need them. I would add a 1” vent out to each side of the boat. Use a standard mushroom through hull fitting, not fuel bent fittings on the hull side. Then you can specify every fitting on the tank and just plug the ine for the second head until you need it. I agree if you have room to get PVC in for long straight runs it will be cheaper and never smell. Get Peggie Halls book on boat smells. Look her name up on Amazon. There is a company that makes a fitting to add holes in tanks, something like Unimount, maybe. They work in plastic tanks for sure, I have used them, not sure about metal tanks but you should get rid of the metal tank anyway.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:19 PM   #7
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Hm. I was pretty sure the tank was metal. I have access to the top of the tank where the fittings are, but the rest of the tank is buried under the floor. Same with the water tank. I'd MUCH prefer a poly tank so that I could use a tank level monitor that did not have probes inside the tank.

And yes, getting it out now, while things are dried out and haven't been used in a VERY long time would be good. But that may still be a daunting job.

What connectors does one use with the Raritan sanitation hose? I've been poking around, but haven't found much lately.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:22 PM   #8
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Ronko has hundreds of different sizes as stock tanks and will spin in fittings wherever you designate. The hose used hose barb fittings. It would be much better to replace the tank now when it is empty and dry. Plus you may be able to get a bigger tank if there is room. Because sooner or later a metal holding tank will leak no matter what metal was used. Even S/S.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:28 PM   #9
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I didnít mean to imply that there have never been metal tanks used as holding tanks. We had an aluminum holding tank in a previous boat that was a very good quality boat. However they will leak at some point if you put urine in them. Depending on metal type and thickness will determine how long they will last before they leak.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:48 PM   #10
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Oak_Box - I agree with Comodave about replacing the tank if it's metal. Honestly, I'm surprised it's lasted this long. I don't think the Ronco tanks are very expensive, and they come in literally 100's of sizes. And I believe they will put fittings wherever you want them. You may want a fitting for a future macerator in case you want to manually pump-out the tank - would be a simple 1-inch NPT inlet that would take a MPT plug and probably wouldn't add more than a few dollars to the tank cost. I've never purchased one, but I looked closely a couple years ago. An angle grinder and a stack of wheels should make pretty short order of the old tank, but will generate a ton of dust. Dust mask is important.

I've never run PVC in a boat so I don't know what fittings to use, but would look for 1-1/2" barbed-nipple adapters to solvent-glue/weld to the ends, then use the Raritan Sani-hose to connect. The pipe will weigh a few pounds when full so you do not want them hanging off a solvent-glue/weld fitting into the tank.

I know this sounds pretty daunting, and it is at some level. But also sounds like access is decent. What really sucks is working in a bilge well below your feet, so hopefully you're in good shape.

As you've figured out, there's some outstanding knowledge on this forum. I ask questions all the time and always find a decent answer. Do not hesitate to keep the questions coming.

Good luck

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Old 10-20-2020, 05:51 PM   #11
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It jas been a few years since I ordered a tank from Ronko but I don’t think they charged for the fittings or at least they didn’t charge much. The tanks are not prohibitively expensine for the quality you get. Hopefully you will be able to pull the old tank out in one piece since it isn’t like a fuel tank and be hundreds of gallons in size.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:54 PM   #12
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What about the fittings to use on the hose?
Can I just use normal plastic / PVC / nylon barbed fittings with hose clamps?

The fittings that I've seen so far on the old heads and macerator looked like they were rubber, and were attached with hose clamps.

Where do I get fittings with rubber ends that go over the sanitation hose?
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:58 PM   #13
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What about the fittings to use on the hose?
Can I just use normal plastic / PVC / nylon barbed fittings with hose clamps?

The fittings that I've seen so far on the old heads and macerator looked like they were rubber, and were attached with hose clamps.

Where do I get fittings with rubber ends that go over the sanitation hose?
Usually just the hose goes onto the barb and then clamps. Use a quality clamp like AWAB or ABA, they are all 316 S/S and have rolled sides and no perforations. I have never used fittings with rubber ends so I am not sure what you are talking about.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:03 PM   #14
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What about the fittings to use on the hose?
Can I just use normal plastic / PVC / nylon barbed fittings with hose clamps?

The fittings that I've seen so far on the old heads and macerator looked like they were rubber, and were attached with hose clamps.

Where do I get fittings with rubber ends that go over the sanitation hose?
Yes, regular nylon fittings. I usually order from Defender. Pool supply store may have some decent ones too.

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=2802711
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:28 PM   #15
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I have THREE heads. Odds are ONE will be working. Two would be my minimum.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:00 PM   #16
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There's so much to talk about that it's hard to know where to begin!

As others have said, if the holding tank is metal, it's most likely already been living on borrowed time 'cuz the average lifespan of any metal waste tank is only about 10 years. Replace it now instead of waiting till leaks AFTER you've run all the plumbing to and from it. Ronco (NOT "Ronko") Plastics is the best source. They make TOP quality thick-walled water and waste tanks for a very reasonable price and have more than 400 shapes and sizes, over 100 of which are non-rectangular, and they install fittings in the sizes and locations specified by the customer when they make the tank. There are retailers who sell Ronco tanks, but Ronco sells direct for a much lower price...and they're great to work with. Their current marine tanks catalog is here Ronco Plastics marine Tanks However because so many people told 'em it's so much easier to search their previous catalog, it's available here Ronco Plastics old marine catalog

The only question is whether to replace it with one tank or two. You've indicated that the existing tank is only a few feet from the one of the toilets...how far is it from the other one? It matters because there's a limit to the distance marine toilets can move bowl contents with a minimum amount of flush water. Plus keeping both system separate simplifies plumbing and all but guarantees that you'll always have at least one in working order.


You asked, Where do I get fittings with rubber ends that go over the sanitation hose?

I have a strong feeling that the existing sanitation hoses are corrugated hose secured with rubber "cuffs." It's been at least 30 years since those were used in marine sanitation systems. Today's sanitation hoses are smooth walled that slip ONTO schedule 80 PVC fittings and are secured with hose clamps.


Toilet(s): The Raritan Marine Elegance is an excellent choice for the master and/or most used toilet, maybe even for both. Just don't make the mistake of putting a manual toilet or any other that requires a learning curve to flush it in your guest head. "Landlubber" guests cause at least 90% of toilet problems...if you want to prevent them, it's essential that the toilet they use be a "no brainer" to flush!

There's a lot more to talk about...which sanitation hoses are best, fittings, other toilets besides the ME, how to plumb and vent tanks to prevent odor, but I'll leave it here for now except to second ComoDave's suggestion that you buy my book (see link in my signature below, just click on the title). That title (my publisher's idea) is a bit misleading...'cuz although it does deal with every source of odor on a boat and how to cure, or better yet PREVENT 'em, it's actually a comprehensive "marine toilets and sanitation systems 101" manual that explains the laws, describes all the types of systems and how they work, and will help you learn how to operate and maintain your system to prevent 99% of problems instead of having to cure 'em. 'Cuz you get to do any preventive maintenance on your terms when it's convenient...the need to cure a problem never happens when it is! And because no book can ever answer every possible questions, I'm always glad to answer those that it doesn't.


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Old 10-20-2020, 07:42 PM   #17
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Ronco, my bad...
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:07 PM   #18
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Peggie,

The engine room is directly under the main salon. The holding tank is centered under the floor of the engine room, about 3-4' aft of the forward bulkhead. The forward head is on the starboard side, immediately forward of, and back up against the bulkhead of the main salon / engine room. The hose exits the toilet, goes through the bulkhead, past the generator, turns port, goes through the Y, and into the tank.

The main salon is about 13' long. The aft head is mounted on the starboard aft side of the aft bulkhead of the engine room / main salon. The hose exits the toilet, goes through the bulkhead, about 10-12' along the length of the engine room, bends to port, goes through the Y, and into the holding tank.

Is it correct that I do NOT need a venting loop of any kind for the hose from a Marine Elegance to the tank?

I appreciate the redundancy of the 2nd tank, but it's enough of a hassle to pump one out, and there really isn't a good spot in the engine room any further back than the existing tank is located.

The specs for the boat claim it's a 75 gallon tank. If I remove the old one, I'll get a better guess then what size it is. Though I'm assuming it will first take a circular saw to take out flooring to get to the tank. My guess is that the tank must be pretty long and flat, since it's so low in the boat.

Maybe it would be possible that I could replace the single 75 gal tank with two 30 gal tanks. But I'd lose a little capacity, and flexibility of not having to worry about which tank was full, or worry about TWO tank monitors (which seem to be one of the weakest links...).

I've also toyed with the idea of a Marine Elegance in the forward (guest) head, and a porta-potty in the master head for times that it would be easier to walk over a porta potty than it would be to take the boat over to pump out. Dunno. Emptying a porta potty is nasty business. And as often as I have to pump out my current boat - I can only imagine even a 5 gal. porta potty doesn't hold much.
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Old 10-21-2020, 12:39 AM   #19
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We run two heads into a single holding tank without any difficulty. I really like having two heads for redundancy and guest accommodation. Personally I'd stay with tank, I'd think 75gal is plenty large enough. I'm not sure how much water the marine elegance uses but our Vacuflush only uses a quart or two when flushing. If you figure 1/2gal/flush thats about 140 flushes which I'd expect to last a couple weeks. I guess it depends how you use the boat. We can typically pump at the same places we take water and/or fuel aboard so it isn't a big problem
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:16 AM   #20
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I guess the decision on what tank size, 1 or 2 tanks, will depend on access when you get the old tank out. We have 2 heads and 1 tank. The forward head is a really long run to the holding tank. I wish there was a place to put a tank forward to decrease the length of that run but there absolutely isn’t anyplace for a second tank. If the current tank is central then not much you can do, but if the tank is closer to one head I would investigate the chances of a second tank. Let us know how it goes and take photos.
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