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SilverComet

Broken pump out, whats normal and what isn't?

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Let me start by saying we have had the boat since July, the boat previously was completely unused although 12 years old.

The tank looked fine, and was what appeared to be in good repair. We then started to notice a damp patch around the tank and discovered that the tank had ruptured on the bottom, so was rotting the floorboard underneath it slowly.

The tank is so large I am going to need to cut it in to pieces to get it out, it is made of mild steel and since taking some further paint off I can see rust, I am not interested in chasing the seller - I'm interested in the practical aspects right now so we can get back to living aboard!

The issue I'm having is, how do I check the rest of the plumbing? in the last couple of weeks I've noticed the toilet basin is smelling (this was before we found the tank issue!) when it didn't before (we haven't pumped it out yet as we discovered the problem a couple of days ago, this is top priority but we've had family emergencies and work so getting back before nightfall hasn't happened...we've just stopped using the toilet, annoying as we only pumped out a fortnight ago!).

I'm trying to decide if we should convert to cassette, because..

  • I'm not sure how big a tank I could get in to the boat through the doors, as ours has a doorway at the bottom of a staircase and the door cuts in at the top.
  • I really don't want to have to cut out another tank.
  • I don't know if I can trust the plumbing.
  • When we were cruising this summer we found with jobs it could be annoying to get the boat pumped out, and in fact had to get someone else to move the boat for us as work commitments changed our plans last minute.
  • I like the idea that if anything goes wrong I can just pick up another toilet cheaply and easily same day with no other fuss.

However...

  • I don't like the idea of having to take a cassette up to the elsan point regularly in winter if our marina gets icy
  • I stayed on a friend's boat and the cassette could get a bit smelly, which slightly put me off.
  • I'd have to replace a tile in our bathroom.

 

TLDR:

Tank broken, don't trust rest of plumbing, how can I tell if what I have is any good, how do I know a mascerator is working? I haven't even checked that it is installed - just trusted a surveyor, is it normal for a pump out basin to smell? do I just need to stick some chemicals down it, am I better at this point just getting a cassette as ours isn't a straight dump kind (I don't think so anyway...because tank is higher than the basin in the next room).

 

Sods law states if I keep the tank the mascerator will die, if I switch then I'll trip and break my ankle emptying the cassette, but lets just pretend sods law doesn't exist right now!

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Cut your losses and do what every sane person does and fit a cassette.

You know it makes sense.!!!!

 

Edit to  add:

At least when you are frozen in you CAN empty a cassette – that’s why folks with a PO also have a cassette / Porta-Potty.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
  • Greenie 2

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Welcome to the forum.

As Alan has already said, remove the PO, in pieces, clean and dry and replace anything that needs it. Then buy a porta potty or equivalent, with a couple of spare cassettes, ne a good solid large wheeled trolley for transporting said cassettes.

On the plumbing, search out every join, check if any leak, and fix them if needed. It will take a while, but you will know the boat a lot better by the end.

Good luck.

 

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20 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Cut your losses and do what every sane person does and fit a cassette.

You know it makes sense.!!!!

 

Edit to  add:

At least when you are frozen in you CAN empty a cassette – that’s why folks with a PO also have a cassette / Porta-Potty.

 I once saw a boater coming out of his front doors with a cassette, as he put his foot on the icy gunnel, he slipped and smashed the cassette which emptied nicely into the well deck. I think this proves you can empty a cassette when your frozen in.

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Thanks all, if I go for a cassette toilet what brands do people recommend? It can't be wall fixed and rear loaded like others I've seen, I'd need it to be front loaded if attached to a wall as all our walls are huge tiles it would need to be side or front loaded I'll be going to midland chandler's at the weekend so that would probably be where I would get it from.

Do people prefer wall fixed or freestanding? For what reasons?

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Possibly Phil, it's part of why I am suspicious of the rest of the plumbing, as from what I've read it shouldn't smell and there shouldn't be any water at the bottom of the basin unless the fill button is pressed.

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1 minute ago, Phil Ambrose said:

Puzzled as to why your basin should smell, or is it somehow linked to your pump out tank..

Phil

I wondered about that. Most (all?) basins drain directly to the outside world, sometimes via a U bend, and if that is the case, perhaps the U bend is clogged up with nasties?

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3 minutes ago, SilverComet said:

Thanks all, if I go for a cassette toilet what brands do people recommend? It can't be wall fixed and rear loaded like others I've seen, I'd need it to be front loaded if attached to a wall as all our walls are huge tiles it would need to be side or front loaded I'll be going to midland chandler's at the weekend so that would probably be where I would get it from.

Do people prefer wall fixed or freestanding? For what reasons?

Thus may work for you. We have a Thetford C200 which backs onto our basin vanity unit, the toilet bowl swivels through 90degs and the cassette is swapped from under the vanity unit

Phil

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9 minutes ago, SilverComet said:

Thanks all, if I go for a cassette toilet what brands do people recommend? It can't be wall fixed and rear loaded like others I've seen, I'd need it to be front loaded if attached to a wall as all our walls are huge tiles it would need to be side or front loaded I'll be going to midland chandler's at the weekend so that would probably be where I would get it from.

Do people prefer wall fixed or freestanding? For what reasons?

Thetford c200 stuff. Has a swivel bowl so you should be able to fix it somewhere sensible.

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1 minute ago, Stilllearning said:

I wondered about that. Most (all?) basins drain directly to the outside world, sometimes via a U bend, and if that is the case, perhaps the U bend is clogged up with nasties?

And now I've realised I'm saying "basin" above and not bowl...it's been a long few days...sorry

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Oh and remember when you get rid of the stupid bog tank you will have oodles of storage space.

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Just now, SilverComet said:

And now I've realised I'm saying "basin" above and not bowl...it's been a long few days...sorry

Oh, that now makes sense

Phil

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I now realise you said pump out basin, so I shouldn't have assumed you meant a sink.

Bogs do smell, surprise surprise, but it sounds like maybe the seal on the bowl/tank interface is knacked.

 

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Why the aversion to pump outs?

Yes I know you can get "iced" in, but the idea of emptying it once in a while sounds far more attractive than frequent journeys carrying loads of poo sloshing about and the accompanying pleasure of tipping the contents into an Elsan Point.

 

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Just waiting for a proper Winter to catch people out again.  In 2010, spotted lots of cassettes discarded as people had left them outside and they had frozen and ruptured. 

Decent plastic pump out tank and watching the weather forecast meant I didn't have a problem....

 

Or have to risk icy towpaths taking kilograms of shit to frozen Elsan points. :P

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How much do you use your boat? If you live on board through winter and are in a marina that ices up you may not be able to get to pump out but it does depend how much you use the loo - how many people are on board and how many of them are out at work all day for example.

We have a pump out but it is just a leisure boat. We pumped out a couple of weeks ago and would not expect to do it again until March. That is why we like a pump out, if we had a cassette I would feel I needed to empty it each time we closed the boat up and went home. 

There is not one solution to fit all. 

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I have a pumpout and carry a cassette toilet, been used on 2 occasions in 15 years but it was very useful on those 2 occasions 

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I have a pump out bog but make sure I use all available work and supermarket facilities when available.

I used to pump out twice a year, now it's every 6 weeks as I don't expect t'other half to cross her legs until she gets to work. ☺

 

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16 minutes ago, matty40s said:

I have a pump out bog but make sure I use all available work and supermarket facilities when available.

I used to pump out twice a year, now it's every 6 weeks as I don't expect t'other half to cross her legs until she gets to work. ☺

 

Funny old world innitt. This boat has a stupid pumpout bog and we use it as I am fed up with removing the damn stupid things. We never wee outside or use other facilities life is too short. We pump out every week or two sometimes. We do have a proper boat bog onboard though for when this one goes wrong or if we get iced in again as we have on occasion over the years. Or for when the pump out machine is closed/broken/frozen up etc etc etc as has been the case over the years and there is never one when the tank is actualy full so you end up doing it early or useing the porta bog anyway.

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Put simply, any shitter that does it's job in a competent fashion, in line with reasonable expectations and as unobtrusively as possible is fine by me.

 

  • Happy 1

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On 26/10/2017 at 20:06, Mikexx said:

Why the aversion to pump outs?

Yes I know you can get "iced" in, but the idea of emptying it once in a while sounds far more attractive than frequent journeys carrying loads of poo sloshing about and the accompanying pleasure of tipping the contents into an Elsan Point.

 

A lot of boaters seem incapable on tipping the contents into the Elsan point without spilling most of it on the floor.

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On ‎26‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 20:06, Mikexx said:

Why the aversion to pump outs?

Yes I know you can get "iced" in, but the idea of emptying it once in a while sounds far more attractive than frequent journeys carrying loads of poo sloshing about and the accompanying pleasure of tipping the contents into an Elsan Point.

 

Reasons that folks give for disliking pump-outs:-

  • They (can) smell
  • You can see the contents
  • You have to pay to empty them
  • If badly designed and laid out there can be leaks and blockages

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12 hours ago, Flyboy said:

A lot of boaters seem incapable on tipping the contents into the Elsan point without spilling most of it on the floor.

That is because they are ether looking the other way or have their eyes closed so they can't see the contents.

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