Freshening up a Roberts Halkey valve? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-23-2011   #1
Western, North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Freshening up a Roberts Halkey valve?

Hey folks!

I'm completely new to rafting. I'm trying to take up a new water-based sport after moving inland (used to surf when I lived by the beach).

My friend talked me into picking up a used ducky to see if I like being on the river. Anyway, it has Roberts Halkey BV 690 valves, and one of them has an intermitant leak. If you turn the valve handle in just the right way, it holds air. Otherwise it hisses. So I'm guessing the gasket is getting old or there's some slop in there. Is there a method to cleaning/refurbishing them? I'd like to get out on the water this weekend, and mailordering a new one will take too long. I'm a very handy person, and I could probably rig a fix, but I'd love any advice that experienced people such as yourselves could provide.


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Old 06-23-2011   #2
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7
Sounds like the valve stem may have gotten bent or warped or has a foreign body stuck on the rubber seal...
You could try to clean the rubber seal with a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol. Open the valve and soak a Q-tip end in the alcohol---swab the rubber on the end of the valve well. Worst case----undo the valve itself---- the top(visible part) unscrews from the bottom(inside the tube part). You need to place the deflated tube on a flat surface-with some downward pressure on the surrounding fabric to hold the inside part of the valve in place-you can unscrew the top part of the valve with a Halkey-Roberts valve removal tool(a tube with a couple notches in the end) or you can be very,very careful and use long nosed, needle nose pliers to unscrew top. If you are very careful--the plastic struts supporting the valve stem that you'll lever against to remove the valve aren't all that strong--then you can inspect and clean the valve/plunger rubber end and the plastic end of the outer valve that seats the rubber seal. Reverse this process to re-assemble, being careful to re-align the valve with the circular crease made by the raised part of the valve body cups.
I have had good luck with cleaning these old valves(red end---oldest/yellow end newer style). Some may nix this, however I often coat the rubber seal on the valve stem with 303 after cleaning to keep the rubber user-friendly.
Good Luck!! With patience and care, the valve may be user-friendly again.
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Old 06-23-2011   #3
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 834
I have old 690 BVs and taking them apart, replacing 0-ring, cleaning worked fine for one that bubbled.

Those 690 BV came in a long and a short:

Halkey-Roberts Valve Types at

If you have the long and you have valve caps then don't lose them... I cannot find them anywhere. If anyone has some on a junk boat that they want to sell then let me know.

I bought a boat at a swap, didn't think it was a big deal that they had cut all the cap strings and kept the caps... but it is... I can't find them anywhere.
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Old 06-23-2011   #4
Western, North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Thanks for the advice. I going to give this a shot tonight!

And yes, my boat has no caps on the valves. All the strings were cut. Wish I would've known about that one.
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Old 06-23-2011   #5
earthNRG's Avatar
Snowmass, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 429
Without the caps you may never have a fully sealed valve. The valve was designed with the caps being an integral part that is required for a complete seal. However, following the advice above you should be able to get a pretty good seal.
"A witty saying proves nothing."
- Voltaire (1694-1778)
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Old 06-23-2011   #6
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 208
One long cap sitting on my desk

Anyone want it? My boat uses the short ones.

Those valves should certainly seal without the cap. But the cap is pretty good protection from damage.

And think about using the Aire method of unscrewing the valve while fully inflated. That way the tube holds the valve. Works great.
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Old 06-28-2011   #7
Western, North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 12
So, I took the valve out, and the gasket looks good. I think the problem is that the spring is not as taught as the others. And anvice on how to fix this? Is there an easy screw-in replacement for the orange-tipped valves?
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Old 07-14-2011   #8
Western, North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 12

After figuring out that ALL of my valves were leaking, i decided to get midevil on their asses. I took them all out, and gave them all a once-over.

Here's how:

If you don't have a valve wrench, I found that a pipe wrench and a gentle touch work very well.

My springs had been compressed down to about 3/4 inch long. I gradually strectched them up to 1 1/8-inch. There's more closing tension now.

I checked at Napa auto parts, Tractor supply, and Lowes, but I could not find a replacement for the main gaskets. Mine were starting to get hard and they weren't sealing. So I took them out of the valve, and soaked them in water with dish washing soap, and scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and a scotchbrite pad. I then soaked them in WD40 over night and they got some of their rubberyness back. I heard that brake fluid or transmission stop leak fluid might work even better.

If any one knows where I can get replacement gaskets around town, I'd love to hear it. I was told that my local hydraulic hose repair shop might have them.

The Valve are completely different now. I don't know if they are back to 100%, but they must certainly be in better shape than before. I will install them tonight and let you know how they turned out.
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Old 07-14-2011   #9
Western, North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 12
As for that O-ring around the valve body, does anyone know what size they are? I'm guessing that I could get new ones at the out parts store, but mine are all still in good shape.
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Old 07-14-2011   #10
conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
refurbished vales

i posted this in the other thread as well. sotar has nineteen of these old valves, refurbished, for $50.
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