Wood stink

Seriously, it’s not that bad but no matter what how many times I clean the surface I can still smell it. It’s pretty much embedded in the entire area and smells of sewage that needs to go away before anyone is ever going to live on Satori. The problem is that wood is porous and the old finish allowed for the leaks from the old toilet to soak into the wood. I’m not sure how far I need to go to get rid of the odor but since I started the wood has had bleach, oxalic acid and lacquer thinner spread onto it and the odor is still there. My next task is to use paint stripper to remove the old  finish and get it back down to bare wood. Some sanding will hopefully get most of it and then embedding it with a clear coat of epoxy sealer should take care of it completely (I hope!). I have many, many hours of work ahead of me. Lots of sanding, refilling holes, making new ones and still need to clean out from under the toilet platform more. That’s going to take some skills and contortion to get under there. Last night after work I cleaned the old molding and started sanding it back down to bare wood again. I’ll start with molding, then strip the walls of paint, then clean off the old wallpaper tacking and then finally strip and sand the flooring and other areas.

Before stripping paint and flooring after the first attempt at cleaning the sewage buildup in the wood
Before stripping paint and flooring after the first attempt at cleaning the sewage buildup in the wood

In the photo above you can see the ring where the old toilet once was mounted. The old toilet leaked sewage from the base over to the corner next to the door and down into the shower tub. There is also a little gap down there where it leaked into the walls a little bit and that’s where I have debated about ripping out the permanent molding under the door and some of the other flooring to get access to the mess underneath. I’m in debate now about dealing with it or just simply covering it up to mask the odor. I’ll decide later after many more attempts to clean up. I’m giving myself until November to finish this project but I’m also allowing for more time on this one so it’s done right and will last another few decades.

Original teak molding from the bathroom
Original teak molding from the bathroom

A note on a previous project:

I replaced my fuel system  a few weeks ago and Mark from Auxiliary Engine was able to come back and teach me how to bleed the lines into the injectors and start the engine. It’s great to have someone like him come out and check my work and then show me how easy it is to get the motor running again even if it costs more, just for peace of mind. There is nothing to it really and next time it’ll be a snap. He complimented me on keeping the system simple and secure and then offered a few suggestions on filter micron size and placing valves before and after the Racor filter. After we quickly and easily started the engine we chatted briefly about the next steps. He helped me identify where the exhaust valve is located and I asked him about the vacuum breaker in the exhaust system. That was very helpful as I never knew where these things were located even after extensive searching. Depending on how much more involved the bathroom will take, I am planning on replacing the exhaust system to eliminate the leakage that is happening from the muffler which is corroding the engine block and mounts. Once this is finished, I only have to replace the raw water strainer as it’s currently coming from a thru-hull strainer that is awkwardly located in a bulky area. I’ll eventually mount a strainer out of the way and then just have a valve with a simple hose barb to route the water intake so it’s not making a 90 degree turn right at the strainer and resting right against the hull in the way of the water pump.

One step at a time….

My head day 2

I had another afternoon to keep cranking on the head removal. The lockers were as nasty as it gets and yet after scrubbing and wiping and more scrubbing and wiping I am maybe half done. Possibly more. The holding tank is out and the only hoses left are for the sink, which I’m leaving until last as it’s a convenient source for water. Finally all of the hoses are all removed so  only hose barbs and more cleaning is left before beginning on the walls, ceiling and floor. I’m planning on removing the old wallpaper and repainting the lockers and walls. Then comes patching the holes from the old toilet and then new holes for the new toilet. Fortunately the new one has no exposed pipes or hoses. Everything will come through right under the head in the back. I’m looking at the Thedford EasyFit Eco as the replacement. I’ve heard only good things about this one and the price is great. I’ve seen new toilets for $250 but I’d like to get something a little more dependable and carefree. I know nothing is really carefree for boating but I understand the mechanics for the macerator and pump and both are as good as it gets. Now to start researching paint…

Upper bathroom locker cleaned
Pump-out hose barb and vent hose barb in the top part of the photo.
Top of the holding tank locker
Showing the top of the holding tank locker after cleaning
Bottom of the holding tank with the discharge seacock. This previously had a macerator hose off the side and a pump out hose at the top.

Off with my head!

The surveyor had a very serious look on his face when he said, “You’re going to replace this as soon as you get back to Seattle, right?”. He was talking about the toilet which leaks seawater through the pump. It’s a stinky old toilet, hoses, valves, macerator and holding tank. The wood has some sign of cosmetic rot and mildew everywhere in the lockers. The biggest project to date will be this bathroom replacement. I’ll start with as much wood work as needed to last another few decades. Then a bigger holding tank and a new self-macerating electric flush toilet. I’m also hoping to have both freshwater and saltwater for flushing so when docked I can keep odors to a minimum (saltwater can stink from decaying microorganisms) and then have saltwater for extended trips. I’ll also add a shower head and then clean and service the shower tub at some point just so it’s functional even if it rarely gets used. It will be weeks before the area is ready for the install.

Just after removing the toilet, macerator and hoses
Just after removing the toilet, macerator and hoses
Holding tank ready to be removed
Holding tank ready to be removed

Fortunately the dirtiest part is over and what’s left is mostly deep cleaning inside and under the cabinet where many years of mildew and who knows what other nasty things have been for decades. I’ll start with deep cleaning and getting the wood and trim back in order. Then preparing all of the fixtures for new hoses and clamps. Then I’m hoping to install a new larger holding tank. The original was only 5 gallons but I would like to have as much as 10-12 gallons since the space looks like it might be able to accommodate it either vertically or horizontally. I’m also thinking about a new faucet and shower head. I haven’t even begun looking at anything except toilets at this point. At least I have that figured out.

Another thing I was able to accomplish this week was finishing the fuel system so Mark from Auxiliary Engine can come back and sign off on my work and help me bleed the fuel lines and start the engine. I was also able to get rid of some of the junk in the junk drawer and put all of the small parts into smaller Plano boxes to free up the chart drawers. I’d like to be able to have them dedicated for navigation purposes instead of using them to store things like barbecue tools, cables and other things that tend to eventually cause clutter and make things difficult to find quickly. Thank goodness we have cold and rainy weather so we can buy some time for projects like these. I can’t wait to start sailing again too.