Tag Archives: joker valve

No joke

5 Nov

Over the last week our head (toilet) was getting stinkier and backflowing a bit. This was a sign that we needed to replace the joker valve (more on that in a minute), but with only one spare and a potential crossing we decided to wait. Now that we are stuck at dock waiting on a weather window, we broke down and ordered a few more and replaced the darn thing yesterday.

Most manual boat heads have this rubber nipple thing (it’s called a joker valve…don’t ask us why as we haven’t researched that one yet). The joker valve is the only barrier between the head and the tank after you flush away your toilet business. Joker valves tend to degrade, get calcified, and then need replacing. They are easy to buy, and Amazon even sells “brand new” ones. Really? Brand new? Is there a market for used ones?

Most boaters do the replacement as a yearly chore, but with us four boaty types apparently that yearly maintenance is now a six month event. Not sure how we managed the first year aboard without discovering this frequency (thus the reason we only had one spare), although maybe our full time cruising life is harder on a joker valve. Anyway…we (and by we I mean me, Robin, the head mistress) replaced it last in May just before Robin’s mom and sister visited Tango. We wanted their visit to be full of sweet smells and good boat memories, not leaky joker valves and heady stenches.

It’s not a tough replacement, just the loosening of two bolts and then you can pop out the old one and slide in the new one. It’s really just the accompanying smell and potential for leakage that make it the least funny joke I ever heard.