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SeaLand Vacuflush Issues

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by DOCKMASTER, Sep 15, 2020.

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  1. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    I have two heads on my boat that both have the Sealand (now Dometic) Vacuflush system. The port side serving master stateroom has been totally trouble free for the 8 years I've had the boat. The stbd side is a whole different world. We continually have problems with it. The vacuum pump runs excessively, sometimes even when nobody has flushed. We keep looking for a vacuum leak and replacing hoses but to no avail. We have heated up hose ends to ensure good fit and double clamped. Still has issues. Worse yet, we have had three pumps fail over past few years whereby the bellows completely blow out and dump doo doo all over the centerline bilge space where the pumps and equipt are located. Makes quite the mess. We have installed complete new pump assemblies each time and checked for blockages and yet just had same happen again. We are at our whits end. What would cause the pump to blow out like that? Does it have to be a blockage somewhere? We are are about to once again remove all hoses and look for blockage and install a new pump.
    Both heads have the siphon break loops under the master stateroom bed. The check valves were removed and capped long ago before I got the boat. Do I need to leave these siphon break loops even though the check valve ports are capped? It seems like they are adding like 20' of unnecessary hose. Can I remove those to shorten the run or do they still do something even though the check valves are capped?
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Bad vacuum switch is common. Base seal is next, then scored duck bill.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I recently had one that I put a new pump on and did the same thing, where the pvc 90 on the bottom of the toilet slid right around with my hand and had broken free and that was where the vaccuum leak was. I bet that's where yours is leaking also......you wouldn't even know it until I put my hand on the hose and noticed it turn. Do yourself a HUGE favor. Buy a brand new complete Raritan marine elegance toilet for about the same price as a vaccuuflush pump/box, hook the drain hose to it, hook power to it, and hook the supply hose to it and mount the touch pad on the wall. Super easy install and super reliable and trash the vaccuuflush or save it for spares for your others. Just make sure you get the tall one with elongated bowl.

    $829-1099 list for the complete toilet and system and done.....

    https://www.raritaneng.com/en/product-categories/marine-toilets/electric-marine-toilet?type=F
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I am assuming that water stays in the bowl, right? If not it s obviously the bowl seal

    how old are the duckbills? That’s the first thing to replace as they re cheap. 5 to 8 years is what you ll get out of them. As they age they start leaking a little so it takes longer to build a vacuum and the pump may cycle. When installing them, make you you scrape any deposit on the flanges and coat the flanges with liquid soap to void them getting distorted. Do not over tighten the fittings.

    the bellow issue is really weird. I ve had bellows fails (messy) but usually by 10/12 years old. No idea why you replace the whole pump instead of just replacing the bellow. Did you do it yourself or did a yard talked you into getting whole new pump$? Replace the bellows is a 20 minute job.

    a blocked discharge hose would not damage the bellows. It would typically cause the duckbills to reverse but cause the bellow to fail. Are you sure the pump was replaced not just the bellow maybe with a wrong version? Weird

    the only reason to have vented loops is if you have Y valve for direct overboard discharge which is illegal within. 3 miles of shore. Makes no sense to have it. Just more plumbing, valves etc

    now about switching to Raritan... after 20 years having VF is decided to convert to fresh water Raritans as everybody seems to be very happy with them. So far so good. I have one Elegance, full size tall bowl and one Atlantes elongated tall bowl. Both are great but the Atlantes elongated uses a lot more water than the Elegance. At least twice. And probably 3 times what a VF uses. No big deal if you have a big enough holding tank and easy plum out. Otherwise it a worth taking into account.

    One last thing, apparently the elongated Atlantes is discontinued. I got one of the last One from Defender 2 months ago, Raritan had an issue with the mold used to make the bowls. The one I received had a bowl made in Vietnam and labeled as made in 2011. Apparently not a big seller ....
  5. Alzira II

    Alzira II Member

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    This. Much easier and works great.
  6. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Yes I agree replace it. I would never dump any money into a Vacuflush. I hate them. I like Dometic SeaLand Masterflush 8100 Series - I think the base even shares the same footprint with VF. And you can pretty much forget about your head forever.
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    The best heads I ve had to deal with are headhunters. No pump no motor as simple as it gets as they used pressured water. Down side is that you need enough downhill run to reach holding so not always feasible on smaller boats. And they use more water. Otherwise they re bullet proof
  8. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I remember a boat show very long ago, The sales rep was poring a bucket of quarters in the bowl during it's flushes.
    Installed one on a work boat shortly there after, it was bomb proof.
  9. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    I’m certain the entire pump has been replaced multiple times on stbd side. We have also replaced duckbills a few times. Water stays in the bowl. I do have Wye valves for both sides. We don’t have pump out stations so most of the time we are dumping direct Ovbd once we pass the 3 mile line.
    Will the Raritan electric just connect to my existing plumbing? How does it discharge if not via Vacuum? Does it have built in macerator? I’m not too concerned about water usage. Current system uses fresh water and I have pretty good watermaker now.
    Really appreciate all the input. Thank you!
  10. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    How would the headhunters work when my Wye valve is set to direct ovbd?
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Headhunter uses a jet type nozzle to flush/break up and shoot the stuff down the pipe.

    Raritan has a S/S macerator that is built into the bowl and also uses a jet style nozzle to shoot the stuff down the hose to the tank.

    With both heads all you do is hook the 1.5" waste hose and run it directly to the holding tank or in your case directly overboard. Raritan is best bang for the buck. Headhunter is good, but have to get the adjustment right on the jet nozzle flush disc mechanism or it won't flush properly which is easy, but if trim of the boat changes quite a bit so do their flushing habits sometimes. I've NEVER had to fix a Raritan marine elegance in all of the years.

    MY BET, is the 90 pvc fitting at the bottom of the toilet came unglued (the 1.5" hose connects to it) and it's sucking vaccuum there, which is EXACTLY what my customers boat did. It kept cycling and staying on for minutes at a time, he insisted I install a new VG4 pump assembly and I did and it was doing the same thing. I started double checking hose clamps and saw that fitting move as I was tightening the hose clamps......pulled it off and put 5200 on it and slapped it back on, it's all I had and he said to.....it fixed it.
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    If you digested it, it will direst it. 1 1/5" full flow sea cock is needed. A lil down hill is preferred. There is a loop that can be installed under or behind it, pending the model ordered.
    Their home office used to be with spitting distance of I95S. At the end of Liquordale Int Airport's runway.
    I hope they have moved by now.
    Oh, They do use water. Also need adder water valve kit and a water pressure accumulator real close for best performance.

    Good web site. https://www.headhunterinc.com/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=bKPAeSAW8Rs&feature=emb_title
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  13. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Funny thing, I still have Raritan 32v Crown heads on board with elongated bowls.
    Spare motors in the shop.
  14. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Just did some quick looking at the Raritan. Seems like a good way to go. I could pull all the pumps, vacuum tank and junk out of the bilge. And I can remove the siphon breaks which will reduce total hose and thus doo doo travel length considerably.

    Looks like I just plumb it direct to my Wye valves for either flush to tank or direct ovbd.
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, right to the WYE valve. Easy peasy. Mount the flush panel and has a telephone cord/connection. Hook power, water supply and drain hose and screw it to the floor.......Super easy install and can pull 100 lbs of crap out of the bilge........
  16. Alzira II

    Alzira II Member

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    If you need any convincing about doing business with Raritan call them,,, they will answer. It threw me off-guard at first. They were helpful too. kind of a surreal experience. If I found a better head I probably wouldn't buy it knowing the service I have had buying Raritan products. its like Shurhold -why buy anything else.
  17. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    And hopefully keeps the additional 100 lbs of crap out of the bilge when the pump blows
  18. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Really appreciate all the great input here. I will look at doing the switch to the Raritans.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Every once in a while someone comes up with a new product.......that revolutionizes the industry while the big guy sits on their laurels.....Shurhold is still #1 overall, but these 2 products blow them away in that area.

    These carbon fiber poles are a REAL treat from Yot Stick, they're incredibly lightweight compared to Shurhold
    https://www.yotstik.com/shop-yotstiks/yotstik-carbon

    And this brush head from TD Mop is an awesome improvement and gets in corners great compared to the Shurhold:
    https://www.tdmops.com/product-page/360-yellow-brush-soft
  20. Prospective

    Prospective Senior Member

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    Just putting in another thumbs up for the Raritan Marine Elegance. I put one in to replace the raw water electric Jabsco in one of my heads. Install was pretty easy and it has functioned perfectly for 3 season. I had a vacuflush on my last boat and, while it functioned fine, the simplicity of the Raritan head in terms of fewer moving parts and lack of need for service makes me wonder why anyone would install a Vacuflush or any other head for that matter.