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Old 03-05-2015   #51
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
Sotar welded d-ring leaks

Originally Posted by bluebtr View Post
15 years ago I bought an NRS boat that was in a commercial fleet its whole life and leaked flat within a couple days, I called it the pincushion. I used a substance that I poured into the valve openings, and then spent the better part of the afternoon rolling and tumbling the boat in the back yard, then replaced the valves. It worked great for several years but it started to leak again after I rolled it up for winter storage. I cant remember the name of the product but if you can get away with leaving your boat inflated I would think you could keep it serviceable for a while. Its not Sotars fault that its in the condition that it is in considering it was a commercial boat that more than likely was kept out in the sun all summer for 10 years. Good luck

Uh, fix-a-flat?

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Old 03-05-2015   #52
bluebtr's Avatar
silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
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Posts: 85
[QUOTE=wildh2onriver;389398]Ah, fix-flat?'s fix-AAAAAAA-flat...... It worked for Me!

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Old 03-05-2015   #53
Panama Red's Avatar
glenwierd, Co.
Paddling Since: 05'
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 181
Check out the glue huffers at inflatable technologies, they do a inner coating I hear. They are located in denver but have some cheaper shipping than common carriers.

Nonsense, I have not yet begun to defile myself
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Old 03-06-2015   #54
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
Here in the Seattle zone, Jim Shelfo does that work. The product is definitely NOT fix-a-flat, it's a liquid latex of some kind.

I've used on all kinds of boats. It's solved seam leak issues on an 83 hopi. It's kept a delaminating set of sotar cat tubes from continuing to delaminate. It's sealed the lealky tips of cat and ik tubes of several makes and models.

I've never found a downside, other than the inside tubes seem to remain tacky and sorta stick together a bit when rolled up.

I've had boats I did this to 10 years ago and they still hold air.

So this will be my plan B, and I do recommend it, but DON'T use fix-a-flat!!

I came across a service estimate from Sotar, they recommended a new floor and a full boat coat liquid lex. gonna get started this weekend, I'll see if I can get some pix posted.
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Old 03-06-2015   #55
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Man, with all that work required, I hope you got a good deal on that boat.
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Old 03-12-2015   #56
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
I thought I would provide a little update on this, now that I've learned a little bit more. I've had some stellar service from Sotar. Several folks have taken time on the phone with me to talk repair procedures, track down details on the boat, and explore floor replacement options. I really appreciate their time and courtesy on a fool's errand.

So, out of those and convos with my local repair experts, here's a distilled batch of knowledge I've collected so far:

- Welding urethane is truly an art. Different colors weld differently, so there is no textbook weld time. Welding different colors together changes the duration of the weld. Too long, you have a brittle thin weld, too short and insufficient bond is formed.

- The small welded d-rings will leak with major abuse. The boat in question ran commercial big water III and IV 3x a day for years. I consider that abuse. Earlier care might have prevented the delam issues though.

- Lexatron delamination, which many consider a manufacturer defect specific to certain years of sotar boats, can in fact occur on any lexatron boat. The best consensus I can get is that any leaks, even the very small pinhole leaks like I had on d rings will allow water into the base nylon fabric. It will wick and anywhere the base fabric gets wet is a candidate to delaminate. "steam delam" if you will. So, the #1 rule is DO NOT ignore small pinholes or leaks or you may end up with a bigger problem.

- factory second i beam floors are floors that failed the 24 hour pressure test at sotar. if they are sold, repairs to get to spec on air retention will be performed at time of sale (some folks don't want the repairs done).

- factory second drop stitch floors are floors that have bubbles between the exterior material and the dropstitch material. These are heated up to reactivate the glue and fix the bubble. Like ibeams, no repair work done unless the floor sells.

- Delam repair is gnarly. Sotar will soak a rag in THF and cover it with plastic to slow evaporation, set it on the delam area, and let soak. Remove old urethane with a putty knife, coat nylon with 2 part stabond, then liquid lex a final coating. They really don't recommend anyone do this because the amounts of THF needed are essentially unsafe, and are difficult to obtain.

- Bug Juice: This is what Jim Sheflo calls his interior tube coating. It's some kind of a liquid latex, but it is not THF thinned like sotar's in-house liquid lexatron (which attacks the urethane inside the tubes). It is not the 2 part raft seal material. It is not the flex seal in a spray can. It's a turqoise colored, thin latex. Remove all valves, coat in 303 for cleanup later. put 1qt in each tube (not floor) and replace valves. inflate and rotate thoroughly to coat inside. Let all excess material drain to one area, remove and clean valves, and wet vac out remaining material. before replacing valves rig blower to a tube 1/2 the size of the valve hole and run for several hours to air exchange and dry the coating.

- Sotar reports a number of problems attempting to seal delam pinhole leaks from inside. they report stiff, cracking coatings that prevent rolling the boat. They report stuff flaking off and not working very well for very long. They report thf-based lex will damage the inside of the tubes.

- NONE of these side effects is true with the material Sheflo uses. I will try to get more detail on exactly what it is. But I can roll up my boats and there is no stiffness of flaking off of the coating on the boats I've done this to in the past, some of which have seen 10 more years of use. So, clearly the correct material is absolutely the key to this repair technique.

Hope that helps someone, sometime.
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Old 03-12-2015   #57
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
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Life is a journey.
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Old 03-12-2015   #58
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
How much is liquid lex to purchase from them? I've had and dealt with a few pinhole leaks, I bet I have a few right now. I might have to get some touchups done...
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 03-13-2015   #59
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
$35/pint. Can also get small amounts of THF.
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Old 03-14-2015   #60
Wavester's Avatar
NorCal, California
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 330
Fyi SOTAR's Liquid Lex doesn't last long in the bottle. Not much more than a year or so.
Kind of like the glue in your repair kit.
Bty, I have never had any of the three SOTAR's Ive owned lose air. I have done back to back Grand Canyon trips the last two years, 21 plus days and usually I pump the boat up to operating pressure in the beginning and don't top it off. Except the morning of Lava . Week long trips I never top it off and it maintains air.
However at the end of the season I inspect my boats especially scuff marks. If I see any material showing through I cover with Liquid Lex.

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