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Old 09-04-2008, 09:30 AM
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Default Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Hi all.

I'm in the market for a used SeaRay 240da, and I'd like some opinions about the head options.

My understanding is that the standard option is the squarish "portapotty" with a pump flush, with a holding tank that can be pumped out.

Then there's the optional VacuFlush. Is the only advantage of the vacuflush that you can flush it without pumping? Can they both be emptied in the same fashion?

If I buy a boat with a portapotty, can I retrofit it with a vacuflush? What would it cost?

What is a macerator?

I haven't had any experience with either (I haven't ever owned a boat, so I've never had to deal with cleaning the head), so I'd appreciate anyone's opinions.

Thanks!

Jonathan
Buffalo, NY
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:04 AM
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Default RE: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Hi 20 year marine mechanic here.
Vacuflush is great, seems like home toilet. You can get a manual pump head or the electric pump model with a masc. pump that fails.......a lot.
Vacuflush uses a suction to pull waste from the toilet and sometime the pump fails(not often) and sometimes the pressure seals in the bowl fail.

Bottom Line.....are their women on the boat?
Are there inexperienced persons on the boat?

They are gonna like vacuflush much better.

So will you.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

There will be women, inexperienced people, AND a child on the boat, so "no pooping" won't fly... Do you think it's best to look only for the full vacuflush?
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:58 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Yes! full vauflush is the way to go with the crew you mentioned.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:52 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

I will never have a head in my boat again. nothing worse than doing maintenance on a head system. Portapottis for my boats please.

Boating is more fun when you have less to go wrong.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

That's an awfully small boat for a Vacuflush. Unless you do long weekends away from the dock, go with a porta pot. The flush type porta pots are as good as a permanent install, except when you have to empty them.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:23 PM
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Default RE: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

My simple answer is:
Vacuflush is preferable- and is a time-tested and usually trouble-free system. I'm surpised they could fit one on a 240- the vacuum tank is sizeable. Retrofitting one would be expensive, but doable. This is a WAG, but you're probably looking at 2-3 grand for an installed system.
After that I'd go with an electric flush head (like Raritan). No pumping porta-potties for me...

The mascerator is the electric pump connected to either the head or the holding tank that grinds up the sh** so it can be pumped overboard (if equipped with overboard discharge).
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Quote:
B-Faithful - 9/4/2008 11:52 AM

I will never have a head in my boat again. nothing worse than doing maintenance on a head system. Portapottis for my boats please.

Boating is more fun when you have less to go wrong.
yes.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

We've used our electric toilet for 4 seasons now and no problems. There is a macerator on the holding tank but we typically don't use it and get pumped out instead. Much prefer it over the porta poty on a previous boat. Never had a vacu flush so can't say how it stacks up.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

I have had both (not in a Sea Ray) and I will never have another porta pottie. The first time you have a boat load of girls (happens to me quite a bit) and that porta pottie fills and overflows you will never want to touch another one again. I had to grab that pee hot overflowing tank and dump it overboard multiple times.

Hot girls are great....hot girl pee on your hands and all over your boat is not so great.


And for all you tattle tales....I'm talking about dumping pee overboard, no different then just whipping it out and peeing over the side...its just all at once. And yes, it had marine toilet paper in it. Call the EPA and FWC on me.

I now have a true marine electric head with holding tank, its the best grand I ever spent on the boat....the ladies agree.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Vacuflush are nice until you have to learn the words 'duckbill valves'. Once you have had to service them a few times you may do what I did and swap it out for a staright macerator toilet with a holding tank.
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:20 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

OK, I went to look at the Sea Ray site and a few other places that have pictures. If the boat in question is of the latest design, with the "trunk" and seats as engine cover then there seems to be ample room for any kind of holding tank system you could want. The optional VacuFlush has an 18 (!) gallon capacity, so if that is a possibility, I highly recommend that you buy one with that installation rather than the portable type head. As this is your first boat it probably isn't a good idea to start out with something that is going to need to be refitted, especially a big deal like the sanitation system. No marine toilet is without it's pros and cons (unless it is a Blakes) so go with the Vacuflush and learn to live with it.
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

I spent a weekend on a boat with a vacu-flush toilet.

Part of the bowl seal was this very gross basket like thing. You had to reach in the toilet, remove the gross basket, do your thing, put the basket back in the toilet (with the mess you created swimming around), then close the lid and flush.

The basket is always wet. So the toilet water touches it.

With the kids swimming in the pool.

By the way, the basket was in the sink when it was not in the toilet.

Anyhow - that is how it was.
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:33 AM
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Default RE: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Quote:
jattea - 9/4/2008 11:30 AM

Hi all.
My understanding is that the standard option is the squarish "portapotty" with a pump flush, with a holding tank that can be pumped out.

What is a macerator?
Thanks!
Jonathan
Buffalo, NY
Jonathan, a standard "portapotty" does NOT get pumped out, nada. It's a two-part unit; top part is the seat attached to the flush water tank. Lower part is the effluent holding tank. When you're finished for the weekend (or the season) you undo the two clasps on each side of the tank and take the lower unit to a commode, into which you pour the contents. Rinse everything out and you're ready for the next time.
For your boating season, six months of non-use and freezing temps might cause problems with the seals on a VacuFlush and might cause a nice stink if "stuff" was left in the holding tank before winterizing.

A Macerator is a grinder that pulverizes the paper and solid waste. Boats equipped with these allow the captain the option of either getting the holding tank pumped out at the fueling dock or discharging the effluent overboard. I'm not familiar with your boating laws, but would suspect that overboard discharge in your area is both illegal and gross.

The only commodes we've never had problems with are the simple Porta Pottis. Of course, I've never been blessed/cursed with ScarabChris' personnel problems!
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

I had a porta-potty in my 30' Sea Ray, with a maserator pump, and options to use a dock-side pumpout, or overboard discharge...Functionally, it was fine, but I had a firm "no solid waste" policy which didn't go well with the family...The other problem was the odor...No matter how well I cleaned it, the odor in the head was aweful...

I like simple, so I replaced it with a Blakes Lavac head, and a LectraSan system...The head uses a manual pump, and also works via vacuum, but unlike most marine heads, this one is bulletproof...
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Quote:
Lazy_Iguana - 9/5/2008 7:47 AM

I spent a weekend on a boat with a vacu-flush toilet.

Part of the bowl seal was this very gross basket like thing. You had to reach in the toilet, remove the gross basket, do your thing, put the basket back in the toilet (with the mess you created swimming around), then close the lid and flush.

The basket is always wet. So the toilet water touches it.

With the kids swimming in the pool.

By the way, the basket was in the sink when it was not in the toilet.

Anyhow - that is how it was.
You might want to ask your "friend" with the boat what all that was about. That's certainly not part of a Vacuflush system.
Maybe his kids liked to flush legos down the toilet.
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:20 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

If you have an opportunity to have a vacuflush system...I would also suggest it. I have one, use it regularly, and other than replacing "seal" once, there have been no problems. It uses fresh water to flush, so no smell. There's a bunch of information on the "net", so go explore!
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

The basket thing was part of the toilet. It had to be in the bowl to make the seal for the vacuum thing to work. No basket would supposedly cause an overflow?

Something like that.

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Old 09-06-2008, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

Absolutely love my vacuflush. So does the wife, kids and every other female in the area when they find out about it.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:51 AM
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Default Re: Sea Ray heads - Portapotty vs. vacuflush

I have a VacuFlush toilet system on my 2003 24' Wellcraft W/0 using the VHT12 vacuum holding tank. I have two daughters and the wife onboard and THEY LOVE IT. Very simple to operate and maintain. I have had two clogs thus far - probably due to a visitor's kids putting too much TP in the toilet. I had to flush the system with lots of water and used an old fashion plunger to PUSH the clog past the duckbill valve. Made sure I didn't 'pull' the water back towards the plunger as this could damage the duckbill valve (so I've read).

I'd definately recommend the VacuFlush toilet over a porta-potti if you have women/children on board.
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