I need a lesson on my plumbing

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TitanTn, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. TitanTn

    TitanTn Member

    271
    Jul 12, 2015
    Chattanooga, TN
    1986 Saltare, 1987 300 Weekender, 1998 400 Express
    454 direct drive; twin 350s, twin 3116TA
    The head system in my 1998 400EC needs some explaining. It's the vacuum flush variety and I'm guessing that no upgrades beyond factory have been put into place. I haven't been able to crawl back to the tank and follow lines, but I've been craning my neck trying to see how everything is plumbed.

    It looks like there's a bottom discharge and I have a pump out plate on the deck. I need to know where the valve is for switching the output. I'll be pumping out at the marina 98% of the time. I'd also like to know how to activate the macerator for discharging into the ocean when appropriate. The owner's manual is slightly less than helpful.
     
  2. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Big boats could be different but ours doesn’t have a valve. We have a seacock for the macerator and that is always closed (fresh water lake). You would close the macerator seacock for when you go to get pumped out, and should be closed normally unless discharging.

    For discharge you open the seacock, hit the breaker for macerator/discharge, and hold the switch down until the tank says empty. It takes a while if the tank is full.
     
  3. TitanTn

    TitanTn Member

    271
    Jul 12, 2015
    Chattanooga, TN
    1986 Saltare, 1987 300 Weekender, 1998 400 Express
    454 direct drive; twin 350s, twin 3116TA
    Thanks for the response. I would typically expect for there to be a valve and the owners manual shows about 6 different possible setups and most of them include a valve. Just not sure where it would be.
     
  4. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    I haven't been on your model, but I'm not sure I understand the need for a valve to switch between the two "outputs". Usually the two output hoses are separate. Typically, the only thing you need to do for a pump out is to close the macerator's seacock which is easy to locate by following the hoses off the tank. The location is likely listed in your manual, as well.

    If you're in an area where you'd be doing a pump-out, the seacock should ALREADY be closed since you'd be in inland waters and it is illegal to travel with the seacock open.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  5. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    You need to determine if you have a macerator. That is (was) an option on most boats of that size and vintage. Look for a through hull valve in the bilge and follow the hose to the holding tank. It should have a warning label on it to keep it closed to comply with federal regulations concerning discharge of sewage.
     
  6. Capt. Rusty Higgins

    Capt. Rusty Higgins Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    689
    Nov 6, 2006
    Florida
    The yacht delivery captain for Sea Ray Boats Inc.
    mostly 1100hp CAT/MAN
    Titan TN....

    If you PM me a number and good time to call, I will have a detailed discussion with you regarding the plumbing system on your 400 Express. If you can also provide the HIN (SERF_____) I will be able to tell you what head option(s) you have and where to find all the components.

    Standing by Capt.

    Rusty
     
  7. BryanOnTheBay

    BryanOnTheBay Member GOLD Sponsor

    540
    Oct 6, 2013
    Edgewater, MD
    "Havana Crush" - 1998 270 Sundancer
    7.4L Mercruiser MPI Bravo III Outdrive
    And probably put you in touch with the person at the factory who actually installed your unit... ;)

    Bryan
     
  8. TitanTn

    TitanTn Member

    271
    Jul 12, 2015
    Chattanooga, TN
    1986 Saltare, 1987 300 Weekender, 1998 400 Express
    454 direct drive; twin 350s, twin 3116TA
    It's typically a requirement so you have to consciously select your discharge path. If you don't have a valve you should have the overboard discharge disabled (more than just a closed seacock - unless you remove the handle) when in a non-discharge area.

    Yeah, agreed. Same reason why there is a shut-off or Y valve before the seacock. At least in boats I've owned.

    No doubt! Captain Rusty is going to hook me up with some very specific answers. I'll respond here with what I learn so others can learn as well.
     
  9. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    It's definitely not an actual requirement to have a physical valve so that you can select "pump out" or "overboard". A lot of boats use a holding tank that has multiple "output" tubes. So one tube goes directly to a macerator, while another one goes to the pump-out fitting. HOWEVER, if your boat uses a tank with a single output tube, that of course changes things. Is that what your boat has? Maybe take some pictures of the tank? Put your phone on a stick to get better pics/video?

    And, yes... That Rusty is a heck of a guy. Never met him - but hope to some day. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  10. TexasBryan

    TexasBryan New Member

    14
    Oct 12, 2017
    College Station, TX
    2001 Sedan Bridge 400
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3
    We performed a survey this week on a 460. The surveyor found that the waste overboard seacock was seized in the open position.

    When the boat was hauled-out, all of the contents of the waste holding tanks slowly drained out into a very smelly mess.

    Shouldn't the waste overboard pump have acted as a check-valve to prevent the tanks from free-draining?
     
  11. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    995
    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Yes it should have, I am assuming the duckbills need to be replaced. In adddtion in the 460 there are 2 holding tanks that have a shut off valve going to the overboard pump mounted below the batteries in the fwd bilge. If those 2 valves (red handles) were closed this wouldn’t have happened. So in your case you have multiple ways to control the discharge.

    The crossover valves also allow for pumpout, so if they are not open then you are effectively only pumping out 1 of the 2 holding tanks. This setup is preferred by me because if we get a warning light in one of the heads then I can leave the seasick closed and open the red valves which allows the waste to crossover into the other tank providing additional capacity. Some leave these valves open but I want all the shutoff options I can. In addition the fine is rather large from the USCG.


    Edit: the more I think about it the pump itself may not be able to stop the pressure from a full waste tank being released when the boat was hauled... I’ll have to think about it but those other 2 valves would definitely stop it.
     
  12. Captain Allen

    Captain Allen Member

    322
    Feb 2, 2009
    Coastal North Carolina
    370 EC 1994
    454 Mercruisers, straight drives
    I've got a 1994 370 EC. The outlet on the holding tank comes out to a fitting that goes up 90 degrees to the pump out location, and also has an outlet at 90 degrees horizontal that goes to a discharge pump and then to the thru-hull discharge, which I keep closed with the handle removed. When I first got the boat, I had pumped out and rinsed the tank well and decided to see if the discharge pump worked. It cycled fine, but nothing came out. After investigation I found that the PO had apparently pumped out dockside with the discharge valve open. That caused the duckbills to reverse themselves. There is no valve between the tank and the pump, so it was a messy job to correct the problem. I only pump out at a pump out station, but I now have a functioning discharge if I should have the need in the proper location.
     
  13. TexasBryan

    TexasBryan New Member

    14
    Oct 12, 2017
    College Station, TX
    2001 Sedan Bridge 400
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3
    So I have been looking at a boat that's stuck in illegal mode and it's one of the things that the current owner does not want to fix or credit toward the sale price. Speaks volumes.

    "Coast Guard regulations require that the "Y"-valve must be secured in the closed position (by padlock, non-resealable tie, removal of handle or other physical barrier) when the boat is within three miles of shore. Boaters can be fined for non-compliance."
     
  14. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    My 410 doesn’t have a valve either. Just the deck pump out, and the seacock at the end of the hose that comes from the macerator mounted on top of the wate tank.
     
  15. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    The seacock is the only thing that is actually needed to be legal. However, there could be a Y-valve used in a system that has only one "outlet". In newer systems (tanks) they often have separate outlets/pickups for the deck pump out and the macerator.

    That does kinda stink that the seller isn't open to negotiating, but it doesn't kill the deal. Depending on what price you're already dealing with, just take this into account. Be sure you get a proper survey done to check on other systems. BUT... "most" times a stuck seacock valve can be opened with a little time and patience, working it back and forth, possibly by using a little extra leverage. They get stuck from not being "exercised" once in a while.
     
  16. MickT

    MickT Member

    52
    Aug 5, 2016
    australia - newcastle
    2006 sundancer 300
    twin mercruiser 5.0 mpi w/bravo III

    If he refuses to come to the reduction in price party, offer to advise CG about the fault....
     
  17. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    248
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    If your boat doesn't have a macerator there probably won't be a macerator switch and vercy-vicy.
     

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