Whenever you think that a project on a boat is going to be straightforward and easy to complete, wait for the alarm to go off so that you can wake up from your dream. That’s what I should have done when I considered swapping the forward head and related hoses on our boat. Leave the yuck factor aside for the moment because to tell the truth, that doesn’t even phase me any more. This was just a challenging job.
Why bother doing this in the first place? Well, for whatever reason, the head stopped working. It probably could have been revived by replacing some internal parts but the toilet was a brand not available around here. We’ve also found that the rebuild kits for marine toilets are a good percentage of the cost of a completely new toilet. For these reasons, we decided to get rid of the old head and start from scratch with a Jabsco manual head, a toilet that is readily available everywhere these days.
The project was made difficult by a few things. First, waste hose, especially old calcified waste hose, is extremely difficult to work with. Getting the old hose out was a bear of a job. Getting the new hose in was equally tough. While more pliable, the new hose diameter was slightly larger than the old stuff making it a very tight fit. That wasn’t the real challenge though. The old toilet was bolted in with no access to the underside of the bolts. Nope, no access, and believe me, we looked. Did the bolts have nuts underneath them or were they glassed in, we couldn’t tell. It didn’t really matter though, we needed to remove them as they didn’t line up with the new toilet that we purchased.
After a lot of searching for access, we gave upon and decided to cut an inspection hole that would ultimately be covered up again by the new toilet. When we did that, we could see that the bolts were actually glassed in, and they were in there good… there was no removing them! While not an eloquent solution, we used a hacksaw to cut them flush. With them removed, we could then get to installing the new toilet. It’s worth noting that there was not a millimeter to spare in placing that new toilet in. It fit exactly. It would have really sucked if it was any bigger!
All’s well that ends well. The new toilet looks great and the old smelly hoses are off the boat. And just in time for our guests who will be arriving this Saturday to go sailing with us. We’ll leave it to them to break in the new head. 🙂