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GoVols
05-13-2013, 06:18 AM
I have 2 Raritan Crown heads on my boat that havenít functioned quite right since I bought it nearly 2 seasons ago. I know these have impellers in them to suction the water out of the lake and into the heads and I know impellers have a life expectancy. I went through all the fittings over the weekend to check for air leaks. I checked for blockages and then tightened everything down again, but Iím still losing prime. After lots of test flushing Iíve determined my air leak is coming from inside the toilet itself. I fear the impeller has stiffened or shrunk due to nonuse over the winter. My neighbor had the same thing happen to his marine head in his cruiser and is suggesting I buy an impeller replacement kit. My boat is 6 years old now, so I suppose itís time.

Other reasons I believe itís worn out are we keep getting sewer odor inside the boat. I believe the holding tank is venting past the impeller and into the toilet itself. Also, the toilets vibrate pretty darn good when itís flushing, which indicates something is off balance.

Have any of you done this type of repair?

42gibson
05-14-2013, 05:07 AM
i've never done the raritan but i've done several jadsco's. its pretty simple and the kit comes with directions.the worst part for me was getting the pump unhooked and out.

GoVols
05-14-2013, 05:49 AM
Tell me if this makes sense. I called a local Raritan parts supplier that was listed on Raritan’s website. This company tells me that Raritan no longer offers the impeller any longer and I must update my intake pump to the latest design, which they’ll happily sell me for $260 each. He said it converts the system from an impeller to a diaphragm pump, which is virtually maintenance free for life. My toilets are 2005 models. You mean to tell me I can’t buy a lousy $30 impeller for it anymore?! I’m calling BS on this. If this is truly the case, I’m calling the Better Business Bureau on this outfit. There’s no excuse. Automotive is obligated to offer repair parts for at least 10 years past the last manufacture date, so why would there be no available impellers. It’s not like the impellers are difficult to make in the first place! Surely someone makes a knock off of the impeller if Raritan doesn’t have the decency to make the repair parts. This is highly disappointing.

easttnboater
05-14-2013, 06:03 AM
I have had several Crown heads, so I understand more about them than I want. I just replaced both of them on my boat with Marine Elegance toilets. A couple of things:

1. Your holding tank is not venting past your intake impellers into your cabin. The two sides of your toilet are not connected that way. Your sanitation hoses may be permeated. You can either smell them directly or take a rag soaked in warm water, place it on the hose for several minutes, then smell the rag. If the hoses are permeated, then you will need to replace them.
2. Your intake impellers are not intended to hold prime. If you have good water flow into your toilets, then the impellers are OK.
3. There is a check valve - a spring with a rubber ball - in the housing that holds the impeller that supposed to hold prime. They tend to get stuck. If you look opposite from where your water line comes in, you can see a plug that you can unscrew to get to the spring and ball. Pull it out and look at it.

Even if the check ball looks OK, there is only so much that it can do. It is at the end of the water line and is trying to hold the water in the line by suction. If you use your boat, cruising down the lake can literally suck the water out of the line. If you do not have strainers on the incoming water line, then debris can get in there. I eventually put in strainers and inline check valves right after the strainers to keep the prime.

They naturally vibrate some when they are used. They are also loud - the noise actually comes from the intake impellers, not from the macerator. If they are vibrating a lot, then someone probably put something in there that they should not have and it is wrapped up in the macerator blades. To see that, you will need to pull the round cover off of the front of the toilet. This is not a pleasant job if you are squeamish.

I have quite a few spare parts for the Crown heads that I replaced. If you want some parts send me a private message and I will see if I have what you need.

GoVols
05-14-2013, 07:25 AM
I got hold of one of the Raritan engineers in New Jersey. He's confident my toilet design already has the diaphram style pump and not the impeller design. I will have to pull the toilets over the weekend to confirm. They make a diaphram rebuild kit for $50, which I will likely have to buy. Because he's sure I have the diaphram pump, he didn't address the availability of the replacement impellers.

My toilets have the strainers on the intake, but some idiot installed the check valves in front of the strainers! After a coulple of months of owning the boat, I discovered this and cleaned out the cloged intake hoses and the check valves. This became a very regular issue, so I have since taken the spring and the ball out of the check valves. Honestly, I haven't noticed a difference in the toilets' performance with or without them check valves. I think it's just due to poor placement and long intake runs. I'll have to move the check valve eventually to the opposite side of the strainer. I may even move the strainer and the check valves to the compartment under the guest cabin bed where the water supply comes out of the pontoon. At any rate, I think the toilets are losing their prime by draining down the toilet, not back to the lake throught the water inlet. Water is pulled up past the height of the boat's floor and then runs down hill to the toilet and down to the holding tank.... Damn, I'm convincing myself to rebuild the entire toilet plumbing. The wife will be so happy to hear of this project. *sarcasm*

I am positive that the hoses under the boat going to the holding tank are permiating. I fear all sorts of evil from replacing those! I must swim under the boat and pull the lines down, which means I will be swiming with whatever is inside those hoses...... I'm trembling as I type this. God help me!

easttnboater
05-14-2013, 10:32 AM
If you want to spend the money, convert to the Marine Elegance toilets.

Either way, replace as much of the hose as possible with PVC pipe.

GoVols
05-14-2013, 11:16 AM
Hey EastTN! You seem to be well-versed in this area. You care to come down to Nashvegas and show me how to do all this? I love to learn by watching. :) There's a case of beer in it for you...

easttnboater
05-14-2013, 11:33 AM
NFW. I have replaced too many of them on my own boats. The Marine Elegance is many steps up from the Crown - about $700 depending on what controls you buy.

Using 1 1/2 PVC is cheaper and quicker than using the hose. Put a couple of no-hub couplings in there and it will alleviate any vibration problems. And, the best part is that PVC will never permeate.

42gibson
05-15-2013, 03:41 AM
i'm with easttnboater,what a mess. when i replaced all my hoses i ran enough bleach through them first to kill ANYTHING in them and it took all the odor out. it wasnt perfect but it was a whole lot better and remeber rubber gloves!

Stmbtwle
05-15-2013, 04:01 AM
The vibration may be caused by part of a paper towel or other product in the chopper part of the pump. Been there. Enjoy.

I solved the prime problem on my old Jabsco by removing the integral impeller pump and installing a remote diaphragm pump below the water line where it cannot lose prime. The remote pump I used was a Shurflo "blaster" washdown pump. It has worked well (and quietly) for years now, in salt water. Might work for your Crown.

easttnboater
05-15-2013, 04:57 AM
Most likely "other product".

GoVols
05-15-2013, 06:45 AM
I actually have the Raritan Atlantes A5 Freedom toilets, not the crowns. Since the water is getting warmer, I may be able to swim under the boat this weekend if we take it out and inspect the hoses. Last year, I noticed a lot of black crud growing on the hoses. I'm guessing that's the permiation coming through and growing mold. Also, my boat simply stinks sitting at the dock and my neighbors have comented about it several times. I can tell it's an annoyance to them. I'm just hoping I can get the proper slope for the PVC to drain properly under the boat. The holding tank is forward from the toilets in order to balance the boat. The boat doesn't seem to be weighted down in the back too much, but I can tell the rear sits slightly lower - that's where all the weight is.

easttnboater
05-15-2013, 09:54 AM
The Atlantes supposed to be able to process the "other" product. But, if it is vibrating a lot, then something is in there.

How are your holding tanks vented? If your boat smells just sitting there, then it might be your vent. The hoses would have to be in terrible shape to be smelt from the dock.

GoVols
05-15-2013, 10:17 AM
There is a vent. When under the boat, I couldn't tell if it was hooked up properly b/c the view is obstructed. I was told to blow water down the vent tube to clear any obstructions, which I'll try this weekend. I'm going to study this thing in much greater detail when I can get in the water this spring.

easttnboater
05-15-2013, 11:01 AM
Most factory installations have a charcoal filter in the vent line. Age or water will ruin the filter. They are a maintenance type item that need to be replaced periodically. If there is no vent filter, then you have to have a lot of ventilation in order for the holding tank not to smell - think 1 1/2 cross flow vent lines.

This is the vent filter that I have - http://www.bigorangefilter.com/

Endurance
05-15-2013, 12:13 PM
I hope this doesn't turn in to a thread hijack, but I'm wondering why macerator toilets are common on houseboats. I can see a macerator in a different time or place like an ocean-going yacht that grinds and discharges raw sewage on the high seas. But houseboats don't spend much time on the high seas.

My boat has an RV-style toilet that drops through a 3" pipe that I'm guessing is PVC or ABS about 6 inches long directly into my black water tank. I have a second toilet connected to the same tank with about three feet of 3" hard pipe. I have not experienced a plug and I use toilet paper from Costco rather than the marina. Other than replacing a $35 flush valve, the only time I have touched the toilet is with my foot to flush it and with, um, other parts of my body to use it. I used to have smell problems, but those went away when I extended my 1.5" vent stack about 8 feet above my roof.

I can see advantages to a straight-drop RV toilet, but there must good reasons for using macerators since most houseboats have them. Can anyone educate me as to what those good reasons are?

GoVols
05-15-2013, 12:21 PM
I have wondered this myself.

My friend's 1998 model 80' Sumerset was remodeled by the previous owner who yanked out the marine toilets and installed house style toilets instead. He's owned the boat nearly a year now and has had no problems whatsoever with the entire system.

easttnboater
05-16-2013, 06:58 AM
I think it is just how houseboats evolved. The first ones did not have the front to back "basement" space below the floor. Many of the floors of the bathrooms were actually below the waterline. So, you had to have a macerator type toilet to grind and then pump the waste uphill and into the tank.

Stmbtwle
05-16-2013, 07:18 AM
I can think of a couple of reasons for using a macerator... It chops the waste into pieces small enough that will flow through a relatively small hose (1" in my case) some distance to the holding tank or even uphill. It also makes the waste easier to pump OUT.

However as most modern houseboats now have the head above the waterline and the tank, I think the much simpler Sealand type toilet might be a better option provided it's plumbed correctly.

Household toilets have been developed over many years and work too, but they use much more water than any marine toilet I know of, which means you'll fill up the holding tank that much quicker.

Zilpo55
05-23-2013, 07:45 AM
How do I find a what model head I have so I can order parts? It just says "Raritan". I've looked on all sides. The FloJet motor/impeller has a nice clear nameplate on it. I'm pretty sure I need to replace the check valve, but I need a part number. The boat is 13 years old.

easttnboater
05-23-2013, 12:49 PM
Look at www.raritaneng.com You should be able to figure it out.

GoVols
05-23-2013, 01:05 PM
I was told to move the toilet away from the wall and the serial / model numbers are on a placard on the back size by all the mechanicals. I didn't get around to working on mine yet. I think I'll wait until after the holiday before I risk messing something up and being down 1 toilet.

easttnboater
05-24-2013, 05:26 AM
Depends on the model as to where the info is. If he could attach a picture it would be easy to tell him.

Zilpo55
05-28-2013, 05:34 AM
Look at www.raritaneng.com You should be able to figure it out.

Went to the site and my head looks pretty much like the Alantes A5 except the handle is a little different. When I drill down for the details it says the A5 was replaced by the Alantes Freedom on 9/1/05. It says "for information on units manufactured prior to 9/1/05 click on this text", which takes me to "NOT FOUND". There is no excuse for that happening on a corporate web site. I will take a photo next weekend when we return to the boat.

Anyway, I'm getting closer to the info I need. Thanks.

GoVols
05-29-2013, 08:06 AM
Went to the site.....It says "for information on units manufactured prior to 9/1/05 click on this text", which takes me to "NOT FOUND". There is no excuse for that happening on a corporate web site.

I had the same experience with their site before you! I laughed when I read this.

Mine has a plastic handle on the left side. Is that what yours looks like as well?

Zilpo55
05-29-2013, 09:18 AM
I had the same experience with their site before you! I laughed when I read this.

Mine has a plastic handle on the left side. Is that what yours looks like as well?

Yes, mine has the plastic handle.

GoVols
05-30-2013, 06:04 AM
That's the same model I have then. Can you tell me if it has an impeller setup or if it's a diaphragm that pumps the water from the lake into the bowl?

What's your toilet doing wrong that you need to fix it?

Zilpo55
05-31-2013, 05:16 AM
It has a FloJet pump/impeller mounted in the hold below the head. The head is not holding water in the bowl after each flush. Only an inch or two. We have been adding a couple cups of water before each use, but it goes away after flush. Somebody told me that's the check valve. What does a check valve look like in that unit?

42gibson
05-31-2013, 10:13 AM
It has a FloJet pump/impeller mounted in the hold below the head. The head is not holding water in the bowl after each flush. Only an inch or two. We have been adding a couple cups of water before each use, but it goes away after flush. Somebody told me that's the check valve. What does a check valve look like in that unit?

every head i have ever had has done that. i finally put a vented loop in just above the head and now it holds about 4 inches of water in the bowl.i have 2 jabsco 37010's now and before that a johnson aqua t quiet flush.

GoVols
05-31-2013, 11:17 AM
It has a FloJet pump/impeller mounted in the hold below the head.

So it doesn't have a diaphram style pump? Does it actually have a serviceable impeller?


The head is not holding water in the bowl after each flush. Only an inch or two. We have been adding a couple cups of water before each use, but it goes away after flush.

Ours does the same. I was told adding a vented loop to each toilet should do the trick. I contacted Raritan and priced the vented loop at ~$100 each. :(

42gibson
05-31-2013, 05:57 PM
So it doesn't have a diaphram style pump? Does it actually have a serviceable impeller?



Ours does the same. I was told adding a vented loop to each toilet should do the trick. I contacted Raritan and priced the vented loop at ~$100 each. :(
i got my 1" vented loops on e-bay for 10.99 with free shipping, their plastic but work great

GoVols
06-03-2013, 07:23 AM
B/c the weather sucked here, I finally broke down and pulled the guest head from the wall over the weekend. Mine is the Atlantes A5 Series with a diaphragm pump, not an impeller. The pump looks the same as the fresh water pump. I pulled the diaphragm apart to inspect it and believe it looks to be in perfect working condition. With that said, I don't know what a bad diaphragm looks like...... I put it all back together and then I tightened all the intake hoses to try to stop the air leak.

The maserator has a clear window so you can see if anything is obstructing it. Upon inspection, I could see a heavy cotton string wrapped around the blades. Hmmmm? I wonder what that could have been.....ladies! $%!#$%$%&##$%!!!!!!

I opened up the maserator chamber and used the LONGEST needle nose plyers to pull the giant cotton ball and string out of the blades. When I put the toilet back together I bolted it back down, it purred like a kitten, however, the water intake still is losing its prime. So, it's still taking 2 cycles to get the job done.

Any ideas?

42gibson
06-03-2013, 07:03 PM
do you have a strainer in the line? it could have a bad gasket.i just did my strainers and replaced all my intake hoses.

Stmbtwle
06-04-2013, 04:38 AM
A bad diaphragm can allow the water to drain back, and if it's bad enough, it won't pump at all. The little rubber valves can warp with age and not seal, allowing the leakage. A new diaphragm or "kit" (depending on the pump) will fix the problem, and it's a whole lot less expensive than a new pump!

GoVols
06-04-2013, 05:49 AM
42Gibson: Yes, I have the standard issue Raritan strainers. They only have a simple O-Ring for a seal. Over the weekend, I'll pull them off and rub some white lithium grease on them to see if that improves anything. I inspected them before and they seemed OK.

Stmbtwle: I agree that the gaskets can be worn out, but I didn't really see any signs of wear on the diaphram. I was hoping to find debris coating the surface or caking the intake hose, but nothing. Raritan tells me the diaphragm rebuild kit is ~$50. It's a last resort, but can easily be completed. There's only a couple more things I have left to check before I give up and start spending more money.

Stmbtwle
06-04-2013, 07:38 AM
In my experience the diaphragm didn't "wear", but the valves did warp to the point they wouldn't seal. However it WAS a different make of pump from what you have.

Seems to me this could be checked easily enough without disassembling the pump. Disconnect the hose at the toilet end, fill the hose with water and see if it drains back. If it does, the water is either going back through the pump or you have a leak.

I've had the same problem with a manual toilet too, where the rubber valve plate warped and wouldn't seal.

42gibson
06-04-2013, 03:49 PM
mine has perko brass raw water strainers right after the thru hull,thats what I rebuilt. the gaskets were cracked and sucking air.

Zilpo55
06-04-2013, 05:39 PM
I need to correct what I said earlier. After doing some research, my pump is a diaphragm model not impeller. Model 4405-143. I can't decide if it needs a rebuild kit yet. I am going to try Stmbtwle's water test. I hate to be dense, but where do you mount the 1" vented loop you guys are talking about? Doe it have to be above the head?

GoVols
06-05-2013, 05:46 AM
Check out Raritan's website for installation diagrams of their toilets. I think it illustrates where the vented loop should go. I've about decided I don't need one for my application because my waste travels uphill slightly (8" - 1') to the holding tank inlet.

I don't have a simple 1" hose lying around to test the intake with a bucket of water. I'll have to get creative to do that. Also, I was unable to get the 1.5" waste pipe loose from the toilet as well as the 1" inlet tube. I eneded up removing the plastic inlet tube connection from the diaphragm housing so that I could move the toilet 6" from the wall. So, my toilet is pretty limited in movement.

42gibson
06-05-2013, 05:55 AM
if you need the sanitation hose lowes carrys it. my hose was hard to get off till I heated the ends with a hair dryer then it came right off. when I put the new ones back on I put dish soap on the toilet ends and again used heat on the hose ends.

Stmbtwle
06-05-2013, 06:34 AM
Vented loops are mainly there to prevent the boat from flooding if the toilet is located below the waterline, and the loop must be located above the highest waterline (important on a sailboat). If the toilet is already above the waterline you don't need one on the fill side (I don't). If the toilet is above the holding tank as well you may not need one on the discharge side either it but it probably helps keep odors under control. The height of the loop may affect the amount of water that remains in the bowl after flushing. Mine is only a few inches above the toilet discharge (still below the rim) and works just fine, thought I've considered raising it a couple inches. It's nearly a 3' drop to the holding tank.

Note: my diaphragm pump is located below the waterline, so it always gets a prime.

GoVols
07-18-2013, 06:28 AM
1.5 months ago, I pulled the maserator chamber door open to find a woman's hygene product wrapped around the motor. Since then, I have given "the marine toilet speech" to everyone who comes aboard. This last weekend, we had 5 friends aboard the boat and, again, I gave them the speech. During our outting, my 6 year old comes to me and says the guest head isn't flushing correctly. Upon inspection, of the garbage can next to the head, I found the reminants of more hygene products........... Guess what I'm doing again this Saturday.

easttnboater
07-18-2013, 11:10 AM
Invite your friend back and let her help you.

Stmbtwle
07-19-2013, 04:20 AM
Sometimes that's the only way to get someone's attention.

JuliaAllan056
09-22-2014, 03:04 AM
This is a great product! Thanks for sharing! I found some more information on this website: http://www.nauticexpo.com/boat-manufacturer/marine-toilet-1288.html

Fork-lift-king
09-23-2014, 02:15 PM
Mail it back to her. She probably doesn't know that she lost it.