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Replumbing the Head


The head on Tomfoolery made its presence known to all who boarded her the year after we acquired her. Permeable hoses are usually the culprit in cases like this, and since the lines between the head and holding tank were showing their age I decided to replace them.

Another factor that I was uncomfortable with was that the existing head and holding tank were a closed loop system. Water in the holding tank was recirculated to the bowl for flushing. I don't know about you, but I want to keep all of the previously used beer and chicken wings well contained before pumping them off the boat. The idea of pumping this liquid through an open bowl over and over again seems to be asking for an odor problem.

Removal of the Holding Tank and Hoses

19 April 1997

Since the weather around Lake Ontario has been really cold and (pardon the pun) crappy, I thought it to be an ideal time to pull the old hoses. Because the holding tank was shoehorned beneath the forward end of the V-berth, I had to remove it also in order to get at the fittings. The photo to the left shows the holding tank immediately after removal. The lights are as much for illumination as they are for heat!

The next problem with installing the new hoses turned out to be the fittings on the holding tank. Although the old hose had been 1.5 inch tubing, the wall thickness was considerably thinner than that of the new tubing. Consequently, the new tubing would not stretch sufficiently to fit over the 1.625 inch fittings. Thus, another justification for removing the tank: Installing fittings that actually fit!

The tank was taken into my back yard and rinsed out multiple times. The cover to the access port was removed and multiple baffles were discovered inside the tank. Removing the baffles to gain access to the fittings proved to be beyond my abilities, and in a fit of frustration I purchased a new holding tank and fittings from my local West Marine outlet. Fortunately, the tank available at West was within 1 inch of the dimensions of the old tank!

10 May 1997

I was quite relieved when the new tank fit without argument, and the hoses went over the new fittings without being overly difficult. Here is the shot of the new installation just before putting all of the access covers back into place.

The thru-hull originally installed for providing flush water for the head had been capped off instead of removed when the recirculating holding tank was installed, so it was just a matter of freeing the seized seacock and connecting the proper sized tubing. Repeated applications of Liquid Wrench over a period of several hours did the trick. The toilet now draws lake water in to flush and waste water is pumped into the holding tank.

The next modification, probably not to be done until next year, will be to place a Y-valve into the holding tank pump-out line so that the holding tank can be pumped overboard when it is legal to do so.

By the way, the compartment immediately aft of the holding tank (partially obscured by the open access panel) is where the depth sounder transducer is located.