Dry Top Gasket Replacement - Mountain Buzz

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Old 09-23-2008   #1
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
Dry Top Gasket Replacement

In preparing for a trip to South America my girlfriend and I dusted off our old Dry gear to find we had three blown gaskets. Having struggled with poor professional repair in the past and knowing that no one in Costa Rica would know how to replace the gaskets we ordered new gaskets from NRS and prepared to do it ourselves.

Years ago I worked for an outfitter that offered gasket replacement service so I had the advantage of seeing jigs set up for the job. After I got the gaskets in the mail I started looking around the house for what could be used to mimic the jigs. It had been suggested to use a traffic cone for the neck gasket which seemed like a good idea but there wasn't one handy. So, I quickly cut a piece of 1 x 12 that was laying around from another project. After measuring the gasket (they're about 26 cm across for a Large) using a skill saw I fashioned an octogon of sorts that would fit inside of the neck hole (a circle would be ideal). Using this piece and a handful of wood clamps the neck went pretty smoothly.

Next, I needed a jig for the two wrist gaskets. It turned out that an empty wine bottle with three sleeves of corrugated cardboard duct taped to the outside was about the right diameter. I'm just finishing the wrists now so I can't swear by this method but the neck seems really strong.

Just wanted to scribble this out for any of you that want to get your gear ready for next season before putting it into storage. A few household items and the proper gaskets from NRS turned this into a pretty easy do-it-yourself project.

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Old 09-23-2008   #2
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 141
Another option to make your own circular jigs if you dont have a jig saw handy is to use styrofoam. I cut a circular jig and 2 half-circles out of a piece of about 3/4 inch styrofoam that usually gets thrown away when you buy some boxed electronics. I used a frisbee which was almost the right size to draw the circle on the styrofoam with a sharpee then cut it out with a steak knife, super easy. I used some wood clamps to hold everything together while the aquaseal dried and put some plastic shopping bags between the gasket and styrofoam in case the styrofoam got glued to the gasket. The whole process took about 1 hour. Below is a pic of the jigs from a drytop repair kit if you dont know what we're talking about. Now if only there were a source for cheaper gaskets, $30 seems a little steep for what you're getting...

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Old 09-23-2008   #3
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
I didn't even think of using styrofoam. Thanks for chiming in and adding some additional information.

BTW - The wine bottle didn't work as well as the flat jig because the gasket wanted to creep up the bottle.
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Old 09-23-2008   #4
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 213

Been there, done that. A few suggestions:

Wrist gaskets: don't use anything that 's tapered. I've used all sorts of bottles, but the gaskets always tend to slip. Maybe you can tape them better than me, but why bother? Cut a piece of minicell (or ethafoam) the right diameter, cover the foam with packing tape so the glue doesn't stick, and use this. Foam is best - it'll give a little and is very easy to work with. If you're gluing to some old gasket, it's _really_ important to prepare by good sanding etc. I now put a couple rubber bands over the glued part and this seems to ensure a tight (sealed) glue job all the way around.

Neck gaskets ... are much more difficult. Go to the Kokatat site and use their instructions. Don't even try to save time using traffic cones or whatever; it just isn't worth it. Buy a bunch of the small spring clamps - they're good for all sorts of other things anyway.

see: http://www.kokatat.com/customer_service_self.asp

Kokatat has great repair guides.
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