Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sanitation System

     This is probably one of the least fun systems to work on, for obvious reasons. My goal is to simply rebuild everything now, and enjoy a long stretch of trouble free operation thereafter. I took a picture before removing any of the Vacuflush components. Lots of rust, old hoses, and evidence of poor maintenance and cleaning is easily visible.
     Also, notice how the vacuum generator is mounted on top of the water heater, and how the mounting platform forms a step into the engine room? Did the factory really design it this way? What if the owner of the boat weighs 300 pounds? I still can't believe this is how it was done. No wonder my water heater leaks at the seams, and has to be thrown out now. A water heater is not a load bearing device!!!
     My first step was to remove everything, and rebuild both the holding tank and vacuum generator. There are 2 transfer pumps in this sanitation system - one for the vacuum generator, the other for the discharge of the holding tank. The pumps themselves are the same, but the vacuum generator uses a double duck-bill valve system, while the transfer pump uses single duck-bill valves. So, you need 6 valves in total for a rebuild. It is also a good idea to replace the pump bellows if they are getting old - no need to do this job twice!

     Here is a shot of the holding tank before any work was done. Notice the old hoses, deeply stained tank, and rusty transfer pump motor. The tank was completely cleaned inside and out, the pump rebuilt with all new parts, and the motor was disassembled and cleaned. I polished the commutator, lubricated the bearings and gearbox, and stripped and repainted the motor. The tank itself was cleaned with a mild solution of soap and bleach - I just let it soak overnight. The hoses and vent filter were replaced, along with all gaskets, and a new vacuum relief valve was installed. The finished result is shown below:

     My next post will detail the rebuilding of the vacuum generator, and the new mounting design for it. These modifications also allow for the installation of a larger hot water heater.

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