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Old 05-27-2010   #1
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 8
What Do I DO?

My raft would stay full all last year and now it is having issues keeping air in. If it is a baffle, will the boat stay inflated? And is it okay to use it? How did the baffle go/ break over winter being stored? This is my first raft and I am learning. Sorry if this sounds stupid, but I have no idea. And where is the best place to get it fixed in the Denver/ NoCo area? Thanks.

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Old 05-27-2010   #2
 
kclowe's Avatar
 
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Are all of the tubes leaking? You can use soapy water to find the leak. Inflate the boat and see which tube is leaking (or floor), then pour water slowly over the tube until you see bubbles. If you put some soap in the water it helps. It could also be a loose/leaky/stuck valve, so slowly pour water over those as well. If air is coming out around a valve, use a valve wrench to tighten the valve, but don't over tighten. If it held air last summer and it hasn't been out since, then most likely you have a valve problem. Was it rolled all winter? Did it get moved around a lot? I can give you a good contact for repairs if you don't want to do it yourself as well.

Kim
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Old 05-27-2010   #3
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,593
If its a blown baffle (the partition between chambers) then air would leak from one chamber into the adjacent chamber but the raft would stay tight once you pumped it up. Test for this by inflating one chamber and then the chamber on the opposite corner (for example, the front right and back left chambers) of the raft so the chambers between them are not yet inflated. If the chambers between become inflated, then yes, you do have a blown baffle and its time to seek professional help.

If the raft is losing air and going flat, then you could either have a leaky valve, or a hole in the raft. inflate the boat so its tight and if you can't hear that depressing sound, then air the boat up and spray it down with soapy water like Kimmy suggests. When you see bubbles, that's where the leak is. Then use the rest of the soapy water to clean the dirt off the raft, rinse, let it dry and start patching it using glues and material appropriate for the raft material (likely PVC or Hypalon). There are a number of good raft repair companies in the Front Range, such as Raftfix.com or Downriver Equipment if you're not ready to do the job yourself.

Good luck,

-AH
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Old 05-27-2010   #4
 
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Ha! Yes, that is a depressing sound!!!
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Old 05-27-2010   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
check the valves!

Yvette,
I had a similar problem a couple years ago. The floor wouldn't stay inflated....I had soaped it down and looked for leaks 3-4 times. Eventually, I replaced all the valves and the problem still existed! My last effort was to blast the pressure release valve in the floor with an air compressor. The raft has been solid ever since.

My suggestion would be to make sure the valves are super clean. From there, take the valves out and replace the seals. If that still doesn't work it may be time to take it in for repair. I'm having some work done on my raft now...if everything checks out I'll share the guys info.

If you're bringing your raft this weekend we can attempt to do some repairs on it. I'll make sure to pack the repair kit.
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Old 05-27-2010   #6
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 8
Hi. Yeah I am bringing the raft. I think it is the baffle. I was filling one side and the other tube filled, so... I filled it and will see if it holds air tonight. I checked for leaks, but didn't see or hear any. No bubbles. OOOOOOHHHHHH. There is a place in Denver I was going to take it to, but I feel they are asking an arm and a leg. Let me know about your guy as I need to get it done before the Salmon. Thank you everyone so much!
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Old 05-27-2010   #7
 
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 82
Baffle repair will always cost an arm and a leg, it is an extremely difficult and time consuming repair. Raftfix.com is on the front range, and he has worked miracles with my boat. I hope you can get it figured out before your trip. I wouldn't want to raft anywhere (if at all) in a boat with a blown baffle.
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Old 05-28-2010   #8
 
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodboat75 View Post
Baffle repair will always cost an arm and a leg, it is an extremely difficult and time consuming repair. Raftfix.com is on the front range, and he has worked miracles with my boat. I hope you can get it figured out before your trip. I wouldn't want to raft anywhere (if at all) in a boat with a blown baffle.
What difference does it make if you have a blown baffle or not? If you do get a hole on the water it will cause you to lose more chambers of air, that is all. I don't think that a blown baffle is the end of the world. I ran a boat that had a blown baffle for years. Most of the stuff you guys run down there could be run on a pool toy so you're probably fine.
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