August 2007 --
The good old Raritan PHII head finally broke.
Note that this is the PHII with a "Compact
Base". The normal PHII is longer and has a cover over the base. I don't
know why a Compact Base model was installed in my boat,
since there's room for a full sized model
I rebuilt the head back when I put in the new holding tank, and saw crevice corrosion on the stainless shaft for the hand pump. So I knew it was going to break within a few years, but a new pump assembly cost as much as an entire new head, so I decided to wait and think about options.
After evaluating heads, I decided to stick with the Raritan
PHII with Compact Base. The normal base would fit into the boat easily,
but I was hoping to avoid drilling new mounting holes.
I upgraded to the large household sized bowl, and hoped
that it would fit on the shelf. According to the drawings on
Raritan's web site, it seemed possible.
The head stayed in my living room for a while,
as a conversation piece.
Here's a close up of the failure.
Because Stella Blue had sat derelict for years before I bought
her, a large amount of sea water had remained trapped inside the pump, creating
an anaerobic state that eats stainless steel.
Eventually crevice corrosion developed around the threads on the stainless steel pump shaft.
Raritan has a much better pump assembly now,
but a new pump cost over $300.
A new head cost over $300,
so it made more sense to replace the whole thing.
I had to drill new holes. The household sized
bowl forced me to move the entire head out 1-1/2" inches.
I sealed the old holes with
epoxy and colloidal silica putty so the plywood will stay dry whenever I
scrub the head down.
Since I was drilling new holes anyway, I reattached the big hose to the head before marking the spots. I didn't feel like replacing that big hose, since it's the old Sealand Odorsafe hose and you can't get it any more. Actually, I just didn't want to mess with the hose. It's good hose, but is a pain to work with. The hose is only four years old, and is just fine, but trying to change a fitting would be a real pain.
Pulling the old head out was
quick, but messy.
Heads never break when one is pumping clean,
clear water through them.
They only break when in use.
I don't need to go into details, but it was
a nasty job that required scrubbing
the entire area a really well
with detergent and bleach.
The mounting shelf was built with a nice hunk of 3/4" plywood underneath, so the old head was attached with lag bolts. I had not been looking forward to trying to deal with nuts on the backside, and discovering plywood there was a welcome relief.
(Sorry 'bout the joke.)
Okay, we're back in business.
If I were to do it again, I would have installated it a bit more to the right, just so sitting on it would be a tad more comfortable. That would have involved cutting a couple of inches off the big white Sealand Odorsafe hose.
Frankly, I didn't want to mess with that hose. It's good hose, but once the
fitting is on a barbed fitting,
it's a royal pain to remove.
I did replace the raw water intake hose.
The household bowl option uses a normal household seat, and can be replaced with any seat from any hardware store.
I think it's much more civilized that the normal size marine head seat.
The new pump works a lot better than the old model. Now that I have two handles, I'll cut one down, so it doesn't extend behold the front of the head.