This is post #3 of what I hope is only a 4 part series on the cabin makeover. With the vast majority of the woodwork completed in the cabin, I turned my attention to the ‘smell’. It wasn’t overpowering but it was there throughout the cabin giving a little tug on the nostrils from time to time. Oh I had an idea where it came from but I was not looking forward to ‘digging in’. One of the items on my list was to upgrade the head. The old plumbing looked old, corroded and I wasn’t real sure that any of it was really working. I started by removing the old head. The hoses looked very old and there was definitely an odor coming from them so out came the hoses. I opened the compartment where the holding tank is located and low and behold, all the wires had corroded off the sensors. There were signs that the holding tank itself might not have been … well, let’s just say, not doing it’s job. This nasty job was quickly turning into a real crappy job. It took all of about 30 seconds to assess and decide that a new holding tank was in order. I removed the old holding tank and got it off the boat. At this point, I was quite confident that I had found the source of ‘that smell’. I ordered a new holding tank blank, the connections, new hoses and a fresh water pump for the new deluxe electric head. While I waited for these parts to arrive, I spend an entire Saturday covered in latex and scrubbing away in the bilge and holding tank area. My new friends were a water hose, bleach and Simple Green. After spending all day cleaning and sanitizing, the smell was forever gone!
Now onto the installation of the holding tank. I cutout all of the holes in the top of the holding tank in order to fit the diameter of the new fittings. There are 3 holes. One is for the hose that comes from the head. It’s a 1.5″ hose. One is for the vent which connects to one of the through hulls above the water line. The last hole is for a 1.5″ hose that is used for the pump out. I also installed the extension arm going down to the bottom of the holding tank used when pumping out. The last step after I ensure that everything works will be to spray some foam into the holding box area in order to hold the holding tank in place. There is about 1-2 inches clearance around the holding tank to the sides of the holding box. I attached all of the hoses and ran them to where they need to go which I’ll cut to the correct size when ready to attach the other ends. Whenever one decides to hook the head up to the fresh water system, you need to install a back-flow device which prevents the bad stuff from possibly contaminating your water supply. The head I purchased comes with such a device. I installed the back-flow device and the new pump next to the other pump that supplies the faucets in the head and the main cabin. It was a fairly easy task cutting a tee into the water line coming from the water tank before the hose connecting to the other water pump. Once all the hoses were connected, I turned on the water pumps and tested the faucets. They worked and nothing was leaking! I then moved to the head, cut the hoses to their proper lengths and connected the hoses to the head while positioning the head in its final resting place. The remaining steps will be to connect the final wires, position the control box (4 different flush modes) on the back panel behind the head and test the system.
While I was in the forward bilge, I noticed that the shower sump pump was full of water and was not functioning and the bilge pump had some issues too. I ordered a new shower sump pump and a new forward bilge pump. While I waited for these parts to arrive, I continued to work on sewing up the new cushions for the cabin. After I received all of my parts, I began working through each of these new projects one at a time. I started with the bilge and shower sump pump. With the help of an ohm meter, the wires going to the bilge pump and shower sump pump showed 12.3 volts which is what I would expect. However, neither of the new pumps worked. It was possible that one new pump was bad but both pumps and each from a different location? It sounded highly improbable but having grown up with something our family likes to call the ‘Brouillard curse’ this did seem to be in the realm of possibility. I replaced the bilge pump and low and behold this one didn’t work either! Now we have gone from the world of improbability to the realm of impossibility! I decided to hook up the bilge pump directly to one of the batteries to see if that made any difference (which it shouldn’t). Well, wrong again, the pump fired right up as it should. This was becoming a real head scratcher. The problem ended up being the gauge of the wire going back to the pumps … it wasn’t big enough to carry the amperage. This still didn’t make any sense to me since the old bilge pump worked and the shower sump pump was exactly the same one as the old one. The more I thought about it, I realized that the old shower sump pump probably never worked or at least I never saw it work so who knows. The new bilge pump has an electric sensor in it instead of a float. This added feature requires slightly more amps. The world was in harmony once again or at least for the moment. I ran new thicker gauge wires back to the pumps, crimped the wires together and called this phase complete. Part of the cause of some of the odor that was in the cabin was also the result of sea water being used as water in the old manual toilet. Sea water has little organisms living in it and when these die they tend to smell which is why systems that use sea water always seem to have that ‘ocean smell’ attached. One of the through hull seacocks next to the bilge was supposed to supply sea water to the old sanitation system. Now that the new system was going to use fresh water from the onboard fresh water tank, I didn’t need the sea water from this seacock. There is a second seacock next to the unneeded one that supplies sea water to the back deck wash down spicket. I could close the valve on the unneeded seacock but if the valve should ever fail, that would be a very bad thing. I decided to cap this off as well as close the valve. The picture below is before I ran the new bilge pump wires and before I capped off the unneeded seacock pipe.
I also managed to sew up one of the large cushions. It looked (notice the past tense) great! I ran down to the boat, removed the old cushions, cleaned the area real good and flopped the new cushion down. It was fantastic except for one slight little flaw. There is a starboard side and port side cushion and both are different lengths. I somehow mixed up the sides. The side I sewed up was supposed to be the port side and it was configured to be on the starboard side. I could have turned it upside down and nobody would have known but I decided to use the cheaper white vinyl for the bottom because nobody would ever see that side … doh! I went back to the apartment with my tail between my legs and begin using the seam ripper to separate all of the parts so I could try again. Even though she never said anything, the little hint of a smile on my wife’s face said it all. Why am I getting the feeling that she is really enjoying this?? More to come on the cushions …