Saturday, March 30, 2013

Head Aches

Sorry... I had to go there.  A friend of ours went off cruising a number of years ago.  Upon his return, we eagerly asked him to tell us all about it.  His words:  Something breaks every day... EVERY DAY...

So, my plan was to move onto the boat before we cut the dock lines so that if things were going to break, they would all get it over with while we are still on familiar ground and with income to make fixing them a bit less stressful.

Lucky that!  I won't say that something has broken EVERY day, but we sure have put the hurts on the systems in these four months.

Friday night, it was the aft head.  Just before bedtime, I was pumping it out and suddenly something inside gave it up and it no longer moved what was inside the bowl to the nether regions where it is supposed to go.  Bright and early on Saturday morning, Bruce got busy taking it apart.

As you might expect, this involved some physical contortions and not a little bit of cussing.  He got the thing apart and found that the bar you see coming out of the top of the cylinder had come unscrewed from the plunger piece inside.  No more pumpey de poopie.

Since buying this boat over a year ago... Bruce has raised his eyes to the heavens and thanked John Shinn for providing us with so many wonderful spares and today was another of those days.  We had a rebuild kit.  YAY!  This wasn't going to cost us ANYTHING!

I made myself a bucket of cleaning solution and crawled into the tub where Bruce plunked the parts covered in some substance that I felt it was better not to consider to closely...  I got my old toothbrush and a scrubber and went to work cleaning layers of gunk off of the reusable parts.  Some of the stuff even had to be scraped off with a knife it was so caked on there.

I've read many stories of rebuilding the head and I don't know if we were just lucky, or what... but it was really nothing like I though it would be.  The smell wasn't even that bad.  I think I kept the mess contained and cleaned it all up with some bleach and Pine Sol... Now the head smells like pine and the potty works SMOOOOOTH!  I'm hoping that whatever it is that has everyone talking about how horrible it all is, never happens to us!  One thing I learned from this, is that regular maintenance is SO important.  Soaking the hoses in vinegar and lubing them with some cheap cooking oil at least weekly will become a part of our routine.  So I wonder what is going to break tomorrow...

UPDATE  April 6, 2013

Well, that's what I get for being cocky!  After a day or two, I noticed that my little bathroom rug was rather damp... and by rather damp, I mean WET!  Must investigate...

The yoke that holds on the fitting where the joker valve is housed was leaking like a sieve.  So, this morning we took a look at it.  There is a tiny crack where the bolts hold the yoke to the fitting that MUST be causing water to pour out due to improper sealing.  There isn't a gasket.  The only thing causing this must be that tiny crack.  So this morning, I spent some time and some money on the Raritan website.  So Carolyn, I've now got the replacement parts as well as a new Overhaul kit on their way...  Sigh...


  1. I hate to burst your "no-cost" bubble, but you're going to have to replace that rebuild kit so you've got it next time.

    Ugh . . . yeah, there'll be a next time. But now you're experienced head rebuilders. I know, just what you want to put on a resume. :)

    1. Yes thank you Carolyn for agreeing with me... My husband and I have been having that conversation. He thinks we could wait to replace it and I think we should replace it now... It's going on the list of spares to buy before we leave the country. It was nice though to be able to fix it without waiting for a new one to materialize. It was actually kind of fun in a dark and twisty sort of way. It was a project we were able to finish. Tick it off the list. Does it count that it wasn't actually ON the list for more than 12 hours?

  2. Our policy is always to replace anything we've used at the first opportunity. You never know when you'll need it . . .

    Immediate repairs are ALWAYS the best -- congrats on having it done within 12 hours!

    1. That's not a bad policy to adopt... This won't be the first bit of advice I've taken from you Carolyn. Thanks for being there.