Thursday, 26 April 2012

Plumbing the Depths

It looks like the toilet on Molly might be fixed! Smile

There were three faults.  The first was that after a period of “nesting” the throne had settled onto both its tank mounting and new seal.  This had resulted in some “slack” in the four replacement mounting bolts.  I’d previously been reluctant to tighten them much more out of concern I might shear one.  However today I was able to tighten all four down by ¼”.  This eliminated the possibility of gas or fluid leaking between the base of the toilet and the tank. 

The second fault was the water inlet pipe which is connected to the back of the toilet bowl.  It had a slow drip.  The seal wasn’t in good condition and unfortunately it’s not possible to purchase just the seal.  Instead the entire hose assembly must be purchased.  I wasn’t going to purchase the complete assembly for one small seal, so I smeared a small amount of silicone sealer on the seal and carefully reinserted the connection.  This has stopped the leak.

Unfortunately this didn’t totally eliminate fluid leaking from the toilet.  Eventually I realised there was a second slow leak from the seal between the upper and lower halves of the toilet.  Effectively some water was leaking out of the bowl very slowly.  This was rectified by tightening the large hose clamp that holds the two halve of the toilet together.

Finally, I checked the toilet “breather pipe” to ensure it wasn’t blocked.

Jan has now informed me the unwanted odour from the toilet is starting to diminish!

Meanwhile, I have been following up on comments from yesterday’s post about the recently installed sanitation hose in Waiouru.  Blog readers Robbo and Bottle have suggested the flexible hose be replaced with a solvent weld waste pipe. 

A search for technical information on Google suggests solvent weld pipe in a marine environment isn’t a good idea as it is prone to micro cracking.  However I suspect this comment is more likely to be directed at fibreglass vessels.  Apparently sanitation hose comes in two basic types, PVC or rubber.  The PVC can be further divided into flexible PVC and (for want of a better term) less flexible PVC.  Both will eventually allow unwanted odours to penetrate the hose lining but this will occur much more rapidly in the former.  Probably one of the reasons why it’s half the price of the latter.  The rubber hose has an even better lifespan and of course this is reflected in the price. 

Having looked at the hose on Waiouru, I have identified it as Leeflex from Lee Sanitation and it appears to be the better quality PVC hose. This morning I discussed sanitation hose with the two boatyard engineers.  Both informed me sanitation hose needs to be replaced every 5 years.  This is the same information provided by Robbo. 

I rather like the way Bottle describes their setup.  He has solvent weld pipe runs under the gunwale between the toilet and the tank with flexible hose connections at either end.  My only concern is the pipe will run through the saloon.  I can just imagine what Jan will say each time the content of the toilet goes gurgling past her ears whilst sitting in her swivel chair.


The more immediate decision is whether to ask for the current hose to be replaced.  There are three potential issues should I request this be done.

  1. It will delay the build and timing is already critical for us.
  2. There will be an increase in cost and money is already tight.
  3. It might adversely affect our relationship with the boat builder as I’ve previously informed him we will not be changing our minds about the specifications and there will be no “extras”.

After some consideration we have decided to continue with the existing hose and accept it may need to be replaced at some future date.  However I will ensure the joiners allow sufficient room and access to the pipe for me to be able to achieve this without too much difficulty. 

Hopefully this will be the last toilet related post.  Winking smile


Adam said...

I'm willing to put money on this NOT being the last toilet related post ...

Tom and Jan said...


I'm willing to put money you are right!.....


Robbo said...

If you change your mind regarding the pipework. This from Leesan may be worth a look at.

nb piston broke said...

If it was up to me Tom I would go for the plastic waste with a downward trend to the wast tank but as its not may I suggest you put in extra supports so as not to allow the flexy to sag as this may fill up on the lower levels and if the boat is left for any length of time may go solid phew

nb.bobcat said...

No problems like this with compost!

Tom and Jan said...

I certainly considered a composting toilet. But then I read about the market gardening couple who pulled it out of their boat. If they couldn't make it work I thought I never would :-)

nb.bobcat said...

I used to keep horses. Rubber gloves and a muck out once a month or so is no hardship. So long as the ee is separated from the oo.