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Old 05-07-2013   #1
durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 7
Does anyone know anything about these older SOTAR 14ft cat tubes?

I just got these tubes on my travels to the North West and I was wondering if anyone had any information on them? I have done some research on line and canít seem to find anything out about them (year, exact material, etc.). All I can guess is some that the tubes would be some where between late 80s and early 90s just on the values but thatís just a stab in the dark. If anyone can fill me in on some stuff about them I would really appreciate it, thanks for the help.
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Old 05-07-2013   #2
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 48
Military Valves

Those are old metal military valves that make it a bitch to top off. Hope that helps.

The Warrior of the Light Knows that eveything around him form part of his Good Fight. -Paulo Coelho
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Old 05-07-2013   #3
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
You are officially a Sotard!!!
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 05-07-2013   #4
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 325
Look closely at all the seam tape and look for a stamped serial number. I looked all over my raft and didn't find one until I was told where to look. If you find one, the last two digits are the year.

I bet those valves put it in the late 80's. My 95 raft had the long shank HR valves before I changed them; I am not sure when they started using those.

At some point in the 80's and 90's SOTAR was using a type of urethane that got a reputation for delaminating. My raft is made of that type, but it has had no problems whatsoever. I have seen other rafts from the same era that had serious problems from this.

Anyway, if those tubes hold air, have good baffels, and show no signs of delamination, then you have a good boat. If the boots around those valves start cracking or leaking you will want to glue in some doughnuts and swap them out for c-7's, but if they are in good shape don't worry about them.

I bet the folks at SOTAR would be willing to chat with you about your old tubes. Give them a call.
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Old 05-07-2013   #5
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
Originally Posted by DRACO18 View Post
Those are old metal military valves that make it a bitch to top off. Hope that helps.
Those are not metal military valves.
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Old 05-10-2013   #6
durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 7
ok so the veridic is in, mikepart thank you for the helpful hints. ok so hear it goes. these tubes are from the early to mid 80's, could be one of the oldest SOTARs still on the water. i contacted SOTAR and this is what they said.

Dear Mark,
I started working here in October of 1992 and those tubes are much older then the stuff built when I started here.
Those end cones, shape of the tubes and material seams were from the very early to mid 80's.
We do not have any access to anything like that and make the entire tube completely different these days.

The tubes were glued way back then and the glue warranty was 3 years - so at this point the tubes had a pretty good life considering.

The fabric looks like the old Duratex PVC. We stopped using it around 87-88.

I would have no clue where to get the plastic end cones and neither does anyone else here. There may be another manufacturer that uses plastic end cones, but the removal and replacement would probably cause leaking issues - very hard to seal up something like that, and very hard to get glue to stick to older oxidized fabric like that.

The old military valves were only used at the very beginning of Sotar boat building, so again it points to the early to mid 80's.

thanks to everyone that helped me on this.
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Old 05-10-2013   #7
San Juan Islands, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 217
Did you buy those on San Juan Island? A few months ago a guy was selling a set of those for $600, I passed because I thought there might be glue issues because of the age.
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Old 05-11-2013   #8
durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 7
it could be the same ones, they where on whidbey island WA......... but i didn't pay $600. there is a bit of a glue issue and a seem issue lol, these things will take some work but with what I paid, if i can get a few seasons out of the tubes it will be worth it.
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Old 05-11-2013   #9
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 97
If you have an issue with the nose cones you could probably make NRS cones work.
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Old 05-17-2013   #10
CommanderKeen's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 17
Topping off

I have old (plastic) military valves on one of my boats (83 Udisco) and they're not hard to top off at all. The first time I tried to top it off I was a little concerned because as much air was coming out as going in, but adjusting the valves so they were just barely open did the trick and now it's not a problem at all. The solution was to open them just enough to get the air in, about 1/4 turn or so. That allows the rubber on the inside of the valve to push away when you pump, but the internal pressure of the boat pushes it mostly closed on the upstroke. If you have one of those barrel style K-pumps then it makes it really easy.

Although the new valve designs are definitely better, the old one functions about the same, albeit with slightly more effort. Enjoy your retro boat while you can!

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