I had noticed for some time that the Lavac toilet was not flushing as it used to. That usually indicates a clogged hose and/or pump. It must have been several years that I last cleaned the pump. (A Lavac is a vacuum head, and the pump is a standard Whale Henderson bilge pump). When I took it apart on the fore deck (where I have a sea water wash down pump that I can use to rinse everything clean), I was surprised that it still pumped anything at all! The inside was completely covered with a hard calcium deposit, and the inside of the hose that goes from the pump to one of the Y-valves was also restricted by calcium. Time to clean the pump. Not a very enjoyable task.
Nasty pictures of the clogged Lavac pump and hoses
It took me a while to get rid of most of the solid deposits so that I could remove the old neoprene flapper and the duck bill valve. I used an old screw driver and a hammer to scrape the rest of the inside of the pump “clean”. I probably will replace it this winter. I don't think that soaking in vinegar will clean it up sufficiently. I had a spare parts kit for the pump on board and I replaced the diaphragm, the flapper, the valve and the large gasket and re-assembled the pump. I then went ashore to Hamilton Marine to buy a section of hose and a new spare parts kit. They did not have the flexible type of hose that I wanted, so I bought another brand instead. Back on board I re-installed the pump and the new hoses, then tried the pump. No success. Somewhere in the pump was an air leak. I took the whole thing apart twice more before it had proper suction. A functioning head is important. Especially as I expect my cousin Frederique from the Netherlands on board in a few days and I'm sure she will appreciate a functioning head.
Sunday 8/20: I hoisted the Aquair. Then went ashore to fill a couple of jugs with water.
Monday 8/21: I went to the fuel dock at Journey's End Marine and filled two jerry jugs with 12 gallon diesel. Also bought Yanmar fuel and oil filters at their store. Then back to Hamilton Marine to buy a new accumulator tank for the fresh water system. The old one is leaking through the valve, which also tells me that the bladder inside the tank must have failed. On the way back I met a couple who had docked their Cabo Rico 34 “Hildur Marie” at the town dock.
Tuesday 8/22: I ran the Honda generator for an hour, to charge the batteries and to do a proper vacuum cleaning at the same time. It was a very windy day after a cold front had passed. The Lavac was still not flushing very well. As the pump and the hoses were clean, I concluded that the raw water intake must be clogged. I had a diver clean the prop and rudder in the spring and he was also supposed to clean the through hulls. As I wrote before, he either did as very poor job, or did not clean all through hulls. When I pulled the hose off the barb and opened the seacock only a tiny flow of water appeared. Obviously the through hull was clogged with barnacles. Unfortunately, there is a 90 degree elbow between the through hull and the hose. So I could not ram a screw driver down to push the stuff out. I used a thin flexible wire instead, but that opened it up only a little bit. I’ll get a diver when I’m back in Boothbay Harbor. In the mean time we may have to flush with fresh water from the shower head.