Ugh … one of the projects we dread annually is replacing the joker valve on our Raritan PHII head. So when we replaced the entire pump assembly two years ago, we didn’t bother replacing the joker valve last year. After all since we’re seasonal cruisers, it’s only been used 12 months in 2 years, right? No.
Apparently there are no exceptions made in the recommended annual maintenance joker valve replacement. 🙁 So when our head began exhibiting signs of a recalcitrant joker valve (bowl contents not evacuating completely, backfill, smell and pump handle resistance), we made a quick trip to West Marine.
Unfortunately they didn’t have a Raritan PHII joker valve in stock. Grumble. But there was a Jabsco joker valve in stock.
I did a bit of research online and what I found surprised us. According to a 2013 Practical Sailor article, joker valves from Groco, Raritan and Jabsco are interchangeable AND the Jabsco joker valve outperforms the other two. Here’s the conclusion from Practical Sailor — for the entire detailed study, click the link above:
Testers noted that the Jabsco black-neoprene tricuspid valve stands apart from the competition in several ways. Because of its unique three-corner design and softer compound, it opens wider (presenting 60-percent greater area than Raritan and Groco). It creates less pumping resistance and greater clog resistance than any other valve.
The primary negative is that neoprene is not as resistant to propylene glycol, a common winterizing agent.
When we removed the joker valve, it was coated in calcium buildup and we could see light through the opening – a sure indication of a joker valve that needs replaced.
So we bought the Jabsco tricuspid joker valve, installed it in our Raritan PHII head and it’s never worked better. Go figure!
Has anyone done this before and had issues? We need to buy a spare and we’re not sure if we should use another Jabsco as the spare or order another Raritan joker valve. Please leave a comment and share. Thanks! Jan