I Beam repair - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-28-2017   #1
 
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2003
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I Beam repair

Hi everyone, I have a sotar raft with three I beams that just separated. I have looked into repairs and replacing the floor, and unfortunately both options are prohibitively expensive for me. I was wondering if anyone has ever repaired this on there own before. If you have I was wondering if someone could give me a fairly detailed step by step explanation on how to do it. I am pretty handy and have done some patching, but I have never done this type of job before, and I would like some directions before I cut it open. Thanks!

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Old 06-28-2017   #2
 
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Poundtown, Wokastan
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I so hate floors. Each repair is a one off and deserves its own special procedure. You might start by posting up some pics of the damage. That would get some better ideas from the gallery. Below is a link that gives you a taste of what's to come.

I-Beam | Goodwater Boat Works

Check the custom fab tab here

http://www.raftrepair.com/gallery.php

You will need a good climate controlled environment with a big flat floor.

Post up your pics of the damage!

Good Luck
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I saw someone do it on youtube.
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Old 07-02-2017   #3
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Problem is, with 3 blown i beams the rest are likely to blow even if you fix the 3. Id lean towards retro fitting with a cheaper floor. I have put RMR floors in sotars with good results and they are close to half the price of a new sotar floor. If you are handy it wouldnt be that bad to retrofit yourself. Certainly faster than the i beam repair that is likely to have marginal results and have other beams blow even if you do a good job.

FWIW, If you brought it to the shop I would do everything I could to steer you towards a new floor.
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Old 07-02-2017   #4
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Get a speedy stitcher from rei. They come with some bad ass thread that has like a wax coating on it. We made a 2x4 jig and clamped the floor into it. Prep the floor for patching sand or rough up along the seam to be sewn. I sewed about a foot and tied it off. Sewed another foot....so on and so on. NRS sells a 2.5" wide hypalon in 8 foot rolls for seven bucks a piece. You will need 2 qts of adhesive. The sewn baffles will be smaller in size than normal but it's a 200 dollar fix for a 1500 dollar problem. You will need tolulene, which if you read the back of almost all brake parts cleaner that's all it is. You can do it!!
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Old 07-02-2017   #5
 
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Grants Pass, Oregon
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This may not work either but I think that they may have some drop stitch seconds for a good price at Sotar. You could ask and see what they have.
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Old 07-03-2017   #6
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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I had a similar problem (blown I beam floor) in my old 14' STAR self bailer. I had it professionally repaired but the solution they came up with might work for a handy DIY.

Instead of repairing or replacing the floor they converted it into a AIRE style bladder floor. They bought a similar sized bladder direct from AIRE then opened up the existing floor with a big incision. They removed all the internal baffles and installed a zipper (also from AIRE) and added two reinforced holes
to match the valve locations on the new bladder.

The result is a 'good as new' floor exactly the right shape and size. The new bladder doesn't need to be an exact fit, just close. A little extra just inflates to the limit of the old floor. You might even be able to skip the zipper and do some sort of overlapping flap with grommets that would lace closed.
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Old 07-03-2017   #7
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I have done the AIRE bladder replacement on a couple boats and it has worked well. A RMR floor isn't much more than an AIRE floor bladder and the retrofit is comparable in time and sometimes easier, especially if you are going the zipper route. If you go the bladder route remember to put some small holes in the bottom so the floor can bail out the water.
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Old 07-06-2017   #8
 
Las Cruces, New Mexico
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Thank you all for your help! Can you buy floors directly from RMR? The guy I talked to at RMR said that it doesn't work to put them in a Sotar raft, and he also said that they don't sell the floors separately. They just have them for warranty replacement.
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