Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's all about getting ahead...

Oh yes. It's every boat owner's nightmare. A broken head. This spring, upon opening the seacock for the seawater intake that provides the water for flushing, I discovered, much to my horror that something -- and I'm sure only God knows exactly what -- had somehow broken in the head.

Oh it would pump dry. But water would not come in. I died a little inside. When the dial was turned to "flush," the handle would become almost impossible to push down and no water would appear in the bowl. I almost cried a little bit. Almost. OK, maybe one tear. Don't judge.

Anyway, once my serious panic had subsided, my dad mentioned that some guy in the boatyard had said that pump repair kits could be bought and that it would likely solve my problem.

Pump repair kits? Yeah, they cost $75 for a Raritan head -- which is, of course, what I have. Just so you know. And the Golden Anchor coupon I'd gotten from US SAILING and had been saving? It was expired.

So I gritted my teeth and paid full price. When I finally got the courage to open the little plastic box on Saturday, I was relieved to find instructions. And I was not so relieved to discover a large amount of strange parts never mentioned in the instructions.

That's the box, sitting on the head. See that red thing? I never used it. No clue what it's for. But you can bet that at $75 I saved the darn thing.

The first thing you do is close the seacock and take the handle arm apart. The instructions are very specific that before beginning work you should CLOSE THE SEACOCK. No sweat. Then it gets scary. It involved a 7/8" deep well socket (don't even bother going to Wal Mart, all they have is metric.) It involved taking a cap off and putting in new rubber and plastic bits.

It involved a new black rubber ball, the function of which I can only guess at.

And finally it included "Raritan Super Lube." Get your mind out of the gutter. I smeared that stuff all over the part of the pump that moves (I'm pushing on it in the second picture) , reattached the handle, opened the seacock again and pumped -- and darned if it didn't start flushing like a champ!

I may not know a thing about marine electronics, but I can sure do some plumbing with the right tools and a well-thought-out chart. First the seaweed and now the head pump? I'm unstoppable.

At least until something else breaks.


  1. the red thing is the joker vavle. It's what keeps the 'stuff' from coming back into the head when you pump it. You should have replaced it.

  2. Yeah, yeah. No comments from the anonymous peanut gallery. I followed the instructions and it worked. I'll save the joker valve until I need it, thanks. And I didn't see anything that looked like it anyway. That head is only like 2 years old to begin with.