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Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)

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Ron Dittmer

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Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« on: April 16, 2015, 11:42:27 pm »
Our 8 year old Sanicon macerator pump failed due to a broken bolt getting lodged inside which damaged the grinder and also broke off a couple of internal black plastic impeller blades.
Notice one of the 4 bolts is missing.  It is placed on the side.




I priced a new Sanicon pump.  Phoenix and Thetford sell them for around $450.  I did find someone else selling one for $379.

On Ebay, a number of sellers offer a Seaflo pump that is a very close copy to my Sanicon.  They cost around $58 including shipping.
Don't get confused as I was at first.  The pictures on Ebay here shows the Seaflo pipe flanges with large lips that appear as stubby stops.  Those are just protective rubber shipping caps.


I bought a Seaflo pump for $58 and it arrived just 3 days later.  Here are my old Sanicon and new Seaflo pumps side by side for comparison.


I disassembled both pumps to find the inlet components to be an identical match.  Since my old inlet was still in perfect condition, I reused it.


If you determine that your original Sanicon inlet component is damaged, you can easily saw the extra plastic off the new one to create a very close working copy.


For the curious, here are the two grinders.  The new Seaflow blades resemble a kitchen blender.  One of the four Sanicon blades is folded over, bent from grinding the broken bolt.  Both types are very strong, bendable only with good plyers.  The Seaflow blades have a sharp edge on them for effective grinding.  The Sanicon blades might have been sharp some time ago, but are surely dull 8 years later.
ADDING this comment in June 2018.  The original macerator blade offers much less resistance than the original Seaflow blade for higher speed pumping & grinding.  If disassembling the Seaflow pump for any reason, you might want to consider installing the original Sanicon blade.....after you sharpen it.


The new Seaflo pump did not have a screwdriver feature as did the Sanicon for freeing up a jammed pump, but upon opening it, it did have a slot in the end of the motor shaft so I drilled a 3/8" hole in the end cap to access the slot, just like the original Sanicon.


Limited water will get inside through the screwdriver hole in both pumps, so a weep hole in the bottom of the motor case becomes critical.  The two holes from the screws of the new pump stand make a great pair of weep holes.

I intentionally drilled the screwdriver hole in my new pump smaller to reduce water potential and offer a nice surface for a stick-on pad to seal the opening.


Not Shown: When done, I capped the hole with a nice stick-on-pad to protect the inside of the motor.


Water did get inside and damage my old Sanicon bearings.  They spin as noisy as old roller skates.


I assembled the Sanicon inlet component to the Seaflow pump for a perfect replacement at a fraction of the cost.
To further demonstrate component-compatibility, I assembled the leftover parts on the original Sanicon pump.


The Seaflo pump came with a mounting stand but I determined it best NOT to use it.  The holes from the stand screws make great weep holes.


--------------------------------------

Now for the Tips & Tricks.

I had to disassemble everything to determine compatibility and such.  But that is now learned.  I recommend you DO NOT disassemble anything at all with the new pump.  Simply cut off the inlet nozzle to resemble the Sanicon, and drill the hole on the opposite end for the screw driver.  Use common sense and care when drilling and cutting.  The most important thing to watch out for would be plastic debris getting inside the pump.  While cutting and drilling, I advise to setup yourself with a vacuum cleaner over the inlet and in the work area around the screw driver hole.  Once done, continue vacuuming anything that might have fallen inside.

I suggest this because it is tricky to reassemble an opened pump.  The 3 sections (motor, pump, and grinder), plates and gaskets all need to be in perfect alignment when assembling.  Just behind the grinder plate, there is an odd shaped plate that must "seat" exactly proper inside a slight indent.  That is very easy to miss.  To avoid all that inconvenience and detail, I advise DO NOT loosen any bolts.  Just cut-vacuum, drill-vacuum, and be done.  Very simple, very fast, risk-free, completed in just 10 minutes.

I initially thought I would use the stand to mount the pump, but it would require reassembling the pump with the motor case 180 degrees, and then I would need to drill a weep hole.  With the stand off, the two mounting screw holes become weep holes face down.  Taking the pump apart again was a deterrent.

This one issue caught me off guard.  When I hooked up the new pump red wire to the old red wire on the motor home, and black-to-black wires, the pump ran backwards.  I had to hook up red to black and black to red to have the pump run in the right direction.  So watch out for that one.

One final suggestion.  The pump bolts require a 5/16" thin wall socket.  I suggest you make sure the bolts are tightened up.  When loosening mine during disassembly, they were almost loose.

Closing point:  My original Sanicon is 8 years old.  That company was bought by Thetford around 4 years ago.  It is conceivable the pump in recent years could be different than the pump made by the original company.  Before buying a new pump, I advise to first remove your original pump to see if it looks like my old pump.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 07:44:10 pm by ron.dittmer »
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Pax

Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 06:19:47 am »
Nice job, Ron!  I might just spring for one now and have it on hand in case of failure.  You mentioned you might use the stand that came with the Seaflow to mount the pump rather than the original strap.  I'd be interested in know how it turns out if you do.  That has been on my to-do list for a while (reducing the macerator noise).

  - Mike

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 06:43:57 am »
You mentioned you might use the stand that came with the Seaflow to mount the pump rather than the original strap.  I'd be interested in know how it turns out if you do.  That has been on my to-do list for a while (reducing the macerator noise).
Hi Mike, I added the Tips and Tricks comments.  Read through that.  I don't recommend using the stand.

I too would like to reduce macerator pump noise of which a new pump all by itself will help a lot.  I am planning on mounting and running the pump temporarily without the motor attached to the rig and see what is learned.  Then install a good strap and include a large soft rubber pad in between pump & strap and then compare.  I suspect the majority of macerator pump noise is transmitted through the waste plumbing and not the mounting strap, but maybe I will be surprised.

I will report my findings.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 09:34:02 am by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 06:49:07 am »
Never, in my wildest dreams--well, maybe only there--could I attempt to do something like that.  But it sure does help to expand my understanding of one more mechanical mystery in my motor home!  Thanks for sharing  all that, Ron.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 09:40:13 am »
Never, in my wildest dreams--well, maybe only there--could I attempt to do something like that.
Carol, read through my added Tips & Tricks at the bottom of my initial post.  If you can use these tools with any degree of control, you can modify the new pump and then hand it to any handyman for the installation.  You only need to make sure your old pump looks like my old pump.

Use this to cut off the long inlet tube.


Use this afterward to make smooth clean edges


Use this to drill the hole at the end of the motor


Use one of these to seal the hole you just drillled


It's that easy.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 07:33:51 pm by ron.dittmer »
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Bob Mahon

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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 03:23:57 pm »
Ron,
I must compliment you on a well-written and complete summary of the modifications you made and the way you laid out the photos is marvelous.
Well done.
Carry on, regardless..................
"In God we trust" to save our country and bring our troops safely home.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 03:40:29 pm »
You are very welcome Bob, Carol, and Mike.
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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 05:31:05 pm »
Ron, that is real good to know and the savings are very significant.
Thanks for the info.
Dave
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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 07:39:16 pm »
Good job Ron! I wonder if PC could save some $$$ using your new pump brand rather than the Thetford?
Could be they get them at a considerable discount because of all the other Thetford items used in PC's....
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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2015, 08:29:14 am »
Once again I thank you Ron for this helpful tip.  I will download this info into my RDittmer tips catalog.
I purchased a new macerator from Phoenix when I was at the factory last year, but I will look into the model that you bought.   Thanks again for sharing.

Bill Golden
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2015, 09:58:33 am »
Here’s another idea, Valterra's SewerSolution®.  No motor at all.

http://www.amazon.com/Valterra-SS01-Boxed-SewerSolution-System/dp/B00CCYWJQK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1429362800&sr=8-13&keywords=valterra+rv+sewer+hose

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=14&v=SJ7Sk0-T4CM


Interesting!  It seems effective and useful at an RV camp site with hook-ups.

For us it wouldn't get much use because we near exclusively use dump stations where speed is important because of others waiting.  The Sanicon is very clean to handle, quick to setup, a very friendly means at dump stations, assuming I am not flushing the tanks.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 10:00:31 am by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2015, 07:26:53 pm »
Outstanding work Ron! Our 2007 2551 is on its second Sanicon. I've converted over to gravity, but I'll give this a try this Summer.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2015, 11:46:29 am »
The conversion to gravity and back to Sani-Con seems quite easy to do, based on the removal of my macerator.

To get started, I had removed the macerator from the in-between adapter section to a standard 4-prong-locking 3" pipe connection.  The adapter should be easily removable to add a 12" extension with end cap for easy forward-facing gravity dumping.
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Re: Low Cost Macerator Pump Replacement (Saved A Pile Of Money)
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2015, 04:22:08 pm »
Thanks Ron!  Mark
Mark