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Old 08-24-2013   #1
Pasco, Washington
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
Repair of AIRE Cell on Tributary floor

Newer to the raft ownership world. Bought a Aire Tributary and it appears that I have leak issues in the floor airecell. I have soaped and determined I have several leaks at the valleys of the airecell (bladder). Rafting shop in Portland gave me vinyl tape and MEK. Am wondering if that is a good permanent repair or more of a temporary thing. Would have to buy the heavier floor material but if that is the right fix, that is what I will do. Anyone got history they can share?

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Old 08-24-2013   #2
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 129
I patched a couple holes in the air cell floor of my trib tomcat, I am not sure if it is the same material or not. I went to the local shop, and they found me some patch material, that we think was the right stuff. Had to open on of their tomcats, and compare to their materials, but we finally found one that seemed like a realy good match. Definately not vinyl tape. I used mek to clean it, and clifton adhesive. That was this spring, and I have run it all summer without a notion that it might be leaking.

I think the main thing for you is to get the material that matches the aircell, and do a patch with cliftons. I think the vinyl tape is a temporary fix for when time is more critical.
Good luck.

"If I'm not there, it means I'm dead...or late!" General W.R. Monger
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Old 08-24-2013   #3
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
I've patched some tributary floor cells with cliftons glue and they have held up well for years. Since your issue is in the valleys, I would just try to use a bit more glue at the bottom of the valley as to build it up a bit under the patch material so the patch will hold in place better. In my experience, the vinyl tape is best saved for the side tube bladders.
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Old 08-25-2013   #4
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 18
Not sure if the trib floor cells are the same as their other boats but if they are and you are seeing long lines of bubbling along the Ibeams in the floor there is a chance that your Ibeams are delaminating from the inside and causing the leaks. I would call the guys at aire and possibly send them a photo of what it is doing. If it is under warrantee they will send you a new floor air cell. If not you could try fixing it with some type of patch. Commercially when this has happened to our boats we scrap the floor as there has not been much we have been able to do about it.
-Kilo Charlie

"Earn more or want less"
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Old 08-27-2013   #5
Pasco, Washington
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
Thanks for the input guys. Kilo, that is exactly what I think is occurring. I have numerous small bubbles forming at the bottom of the Ibeam and what appears to be seperation in the material. I am $2K+ into the rig this summer and a new bladder is $400 so I will try a $50 patch and see how is does in the spring.
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Old 08-28-2013   #6
king kong kev's Avatar
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 25
I would second the recommendation of calling Aire. We have a 143D and had similar problems with our floor. Ours was under warranty and Aire replaced it. If you call, just give them the serial number of the boat and the floor.
Hey diddle diddle; right down the middle... D. Sallaz
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Old 08-29-2013   #7
theBoatPeople's Avatar
Danville, California
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 190
Until you mentioned "what appears to be separation in the material" - which sounds like the interior urethane might be delaminating from the nylon fabric - I was going to say to just use Aquaseal. It sticks like gangbusters to the bare nylon if you clean it first with a bit of denatured alcohol, but if there is a larger area of bubbles or separation then do what Kev said and call Kyle at AIRE.
Just for everyone's info, we've fixed a number of bubbly areas on floor bladders with aquaseal. I know the inclination is to think it's too easy to be a viable fix, but it fills in the X-Y axis on the fabric face better than any patch can, and lasts forever.

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