Plumbing, Head, Part 7, Installation of Toilet, Seacocks, Manual Pump, Strainer, and Starboard Vent Valve

The toilet and other components of the new plumbing system, installed and ready for the hoses
Having accomplished many preliminary steps, I could now install the toilet and other components of the new plumbing system. How I did this on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, is the subject of this posting.
I wanted to install the toilet first, but I needed to do a few things before I could carry this out.
For one thing, I needed to check the mounting holes for the toilet. Back in 1975 when Ericson had manufactured this boat, they had installed a block of wood underneath the fiberglass shelf in the head. I knew there was wood under the shelf, because the original, coarse-threaded, square-headed wood screws that held the original toilet in place would have small grains of wood on them whenever I removed the screws from the platform (remember that I had reinstalled the old toilet a number of times in my replumbing of the head). The screws also made a distinctive squeaking sound whenever I turned them. I could only assume that this wood was teak, since it had held up this well for this long.
Nevertheless, I didn't want to give it any opportunities to begin to fail now. Therefore, I beveled the original holes with a countersink bit. My plan was to install the new toilet with butyl tape on the mounting legs. This tape would form a gasket of sorts around the screws when I tightened them down on the legs.
Long before this time I had installed the new bronze through-hulls and the mahogany backing plates and bronze flanges that supported the through-hulls. Now I could install the bronze seacocks. I started with the waste discharge through-hull. I wrapped Teflon tape around the threads of the flange, and then I screwed on the seacock. Notice that I removed the handle of the seacock prior to my installation of bronze valve.
If I had not been able to remove the handle, then I never would have been able to install the seacock. The mahogany bulkhead would have been an obstruction. I had thought through all of this in advance. I had also thought through the issue of the handle itself. This Groco brand seacock was designed to give the user some flexibility in terms of the positioning of the handle for the opening and closing of the seacock, where either pushing it away from you or pulling it toward you would open it. This was a good thing, especially for tight spaces.
There was, though, the issue of the orientation of the valve mechanism to which the handle was joined. In the pictures above and below, the valve mechanism is facing the bulkhead. I have not yet fully seated the seacock into position on the flange. I took this picture for illustrative purposes. If this were the fully seated position of the seacock, then there would be no way for you to install the handle, and there would be no way for you to use the seacock. Why? Because the bulkhead would be in the way. The valve mechanism needed to be facing the other direction in its fully seated position. How did I ensure that this would happen? Forethought. Back when I had installed the flange, I had fully dry-fitted the seacock to ensure that the flange itself was oriented correctly.This was the only way that I could have figured this out in advance.
One other thing . . . notice that on top of the seacock I have installed a bronze tailpiece with Teflon tape. I had purchased a straight tailpiece (as opposed to a right-angle one) because I had determined that this one would provide the fairer lead for the hose.
After I had installed this seacock, I moved on to the other one - the one that would supply seawater for the flushing of the toilet. For some reason I did not take any pictures of my installation of it. The picture, below, however, from an earlier stage in this project, gives you some idea of what I had to work with. Notice that the tailpiece for this seacock is right-angled. I had determined in advance that this would provide the fairer lead for the hose that would join it than would a straight tailpiece. Because of this right-angle piece, the installation of this seacock required even more forethought than than the previous one. Not only did I have to take into account the angle of the handle, but also the angle of this tailpiece. I have a better picture of the final installation later in this posting.
Now I could focus on the toilet. This Raritan PH II came out of the box preassembled, for the most part. It too had a right-angle piece that I had to take into consideration. Below, we see that this plastic tailpiece is oriented downward. I needed to turn it around so that it worked for my set-up. I can't imagine how the downward orientation would work for anyone's set-up, but I guess that's beside the point.
My re-orientation of the tailpiece enabled me to get a glimpse of that all-important joker-valve. This is that part of the toilet that gets so much discussion on all those online forums. Everything that you put into that toilet has to go through that narrow slit. The joker valve is the gatekeeper - an easily disgruntled one, I might add, who'll walk off the job at a moment's notice, if you don't respect him. Speaking of job positions, have you every heard of this one - Joker Valve Specialist? That's the position you fill when the gatekeeper quits.
Ah, yes, so funny to imagine the Joker Valve Specialist at work. It's not so funny, though, when you're the first one called upon to fill that position . . . because of your own dumb mistake. Forethought . . . oh, how I elevated that virtue to the stars. Now the tables would be turned. Why didn't I read more on those online forums about the tightening of the plastic flange? I should have. I instinctively dogged down the nuts on this flange. We'll discuss the consequences of my actions in the final posting of this article.
I mentioned that I would install this toilet with butyl tape, right? Well, here it is.
Before I set the toilet into place, I needed to install the toilet seat lid.
Raritan Engineering in Millville, New Jersey might have made the porcelain toilet, but they didn't make the toilet seat lid. That honor goes to Bemis Manufacturing in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.
This was the Raritan PH II, Marine Style (not the Household Style, which was too big for the space). I had purchased this toilet from West Marine, back when they did real price-matching, not like the price-matching they do now in 2016 where they have a million different restrictions. They matched the price that Defender was offering during their annual spring sales event. That made it worth my while to buy it locally from the normally high-priced West Marine. Ever since they changed their price-matching policy, I've given most of my business to Defender and depended upon West Marine for little, last-minute things. This just makes the most economic sense to me, the consumer.
This Bemis lid joined the Raritan bowl in the same fashion that household lids join household bowls. It was an easy installation.
The hose that you see pictured above and blow was preinstalled. This was for the seawater that would provide the flushing action for the bowl.
See the pump housing on the right? By working the pump up and down by hand you draw seawater up through the seacock, up through the anti-siphon loop, down through the seawater strainer, and then down into the manual pump.
Speaking of seawater strainers . . . now it was time for me to install mine in the head. The Groco brand plastic strainer came with an aluminum mounting rack, but it did not come with any fittings. I had purchased the black Marelon right-angle fittings separately.
For the time being, I installed the fittings loosely, with a downward orientation. Later, when I installed the hoses, I would orient them correctly. The correctness of anyone's orientation depends upon his set-up. For mine, one would point upwards, the other down.
Now let's take a look at the orientation of the seawater seacock handle and the right-angle tailpiece. Everything turned out as I had planned when I installed the flange long before this time. When I fully screwed the seacock into position on the flange, the valve mechanism ended up adjacent to the fiberglass bulkhead. This allowed me to install the handle as you see pictured. To me, this was the most natural position for the handle. The user of the toilet could reach down beside him and push the handle downward to open the seacock. Then, he could reach down and pull the handle upward to close it. As far as the orientation of the tailpiece was concerned, it too ended up being close to what I had planned. This one was more difficult to plan in advance. As I recall, I wrapped the threads several different times to different thicknesses to get the tailpiece to end up where I wanted it to be.
Below, we see a picture of the waste outlet seacock as it appeared after I had installed the toilet. There was just enough room for the handle. Note that the tailpiece for the head is now oriented 45 degrees to the left. Yes, this orientation is possible on the Raritan PH II tailpiece. This ended up being necessary, not only for the sake of the hose that I would soon install, but also because I needed the room for the seacock handle. Yes, the handle was oriented, for the most part, where I had planned in advance for it to be, but it was not exactly where I had wanted it. I had wanted it to be in the the 10 o'clock position, not the 7 o'clock. As it turned out, the 10 o'clock was actually better for the reason I just described. Just as is the case when sailing, the ability to adapt to changing conditions is a must.
The last thing I needed to do for this part of the project was to install the holding tank vent valve on the hull of the head. I used flat head screws in counter-sunk holes so that the heads of the screws would not interfere with anything.
Now I needed to install all the hoses that I had previously pre-cut for this new plumbing system. That's the subject of my next posting. That part of the project, just like this one, would require some adaptation to changing, real-world conditions.
This ends this posting on how I installed the toilet and other components of the new head for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

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