The Great Toilet Crisis: Installing our Lavac


Who said installing a toilet can’t be fun? Carol deserves a good show award. Although I worked hard, there isn’t room for two people to work in the head on anything inside the cabinetry. Once Carol was dirty…and I mean dirty with a capital YUCK…he decided that he would continue in the head hose handling position. That’s love.

Removing the old toilet was actually not so bad. We did it the night before the install. After the old toilet was out we had 5 main tasks:

1) Position and mount the pump inside our cabinetry in such a way that it was above the toilet bowl and yet the necessary hoses could still be bent to connect to it AND such that the handle of the pump stuck out into the bathroom in such a way that it didn’t obstruct the toilet seat and could be operated while seated. Here you can see the hole we cut for the pump handle and the paper we used to trace the pump dimensions. Also note the wee cabinet where all of the hoses and pump and sink all fit.


2) Cut a hole in the cabinetry for the handle receptacle and install the plastic ring and rubber gasket which is designed to make the installation waterproof but in this case is used more as a cosmetic cover (not that attractive itself really, but “finished looking” at least).

3) Cut a circle out of one inch starboard spacer to raise our toilet lip. Our old toilet was barely above our new waterline and we wanted it a tad higher. Considering I did this with a saber saw I’m quite pleased with the result (toilet is upside down here).


4) We decided to replace the crappy broken Jabsco Y-Valve with a Whale Diverter Valve which looks burlier, has fewer moving parts and NO rubber gaskets. Once I finally remembered that heating the hoses the best way to loosen them, Carol had a much, much easier time with this task. Luckily there was enough slack in all of the hoses that we could make the swap directly. I had purchased a new Jabsco as well, just in case, because we really weren’t interested in completely redoing the pipes.

5) Clean a few of the hoses (Carol had cleaned most last year) and reconnect all of the hoses to the toilet and diverter valve. Well, that sounds like the gross but easy part, right? Not for us. One of our hoses is melded to the fitting it is connected to and there was no way we were going to get it off without a heat gun. So, we stuck a stick in it and banged it around in the sludge until we figured we had “cleaned it” and then connected everything. No joy. It turns out we had plugged up the discharge hose with our brute force cleaning. Much stress, more poking, vinegar, grunting, groaning hand pumping, more poking and a lot of cursing later, Carol freed it up. This one oopsie mistake took almost 1/4 of our time. That’s the way of boat tasks.

The new manual Lavac:


Remaining tasks are: put in the tap screws in the remaining holes in the plastic cosmetic pump ring, patch the holes in the floor where the old pump used to be located, and shorten the pump handle a bit and perhaps put a more comfortable rubber handle on it.

More on initial impressions in a few days.


  1. Depending on the diameter of the pump handle, you may be able to slide a cushy bicycle grip on there.

    I look forward to taking a dump in your new head in some exotic locale.

  2. That's a nice clean looking installation. How comfortable is the seat? (I dont mean on Carols head, altho if hes got a good version of Whip It, it could be acceptable)

    We found that unbending a coathanger and chucking it in a 3/8" drill created a flexible unplugger and cleaner of head piping and valves. Sorta like a poor man's rotorooter.

  3. You will love your Lavac - they Truly suck!!! We have one in the Westerly, and, knock on wood, have not had to do ANYTHING to it in three years of ownership.

    The Pretorien's head looks suspiciously like the one you just pulled out. Ugh.
    Chris Witzgall

  4. Your new install looks awesome! Wishing you many uneventful flushes!


  5. @Ryan - Good idea and isn't that what travel is all about.
    @Bob - Several people have asked that and I have to say I have never evaluated toilet seats based on comfort. They all seem "fine" to me. Good idea on the rotorooter.
    @Chris - We are hoping for "nothing to do" as well.
    @Cindy - Thanks!



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