What raft leaks are repairable? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-05-2014   #1
 
Lakewood, Colorado
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What raft leaks are repairable?

I am kayaker looking for used raft. I have seen a few good deals where the boats have some leaks and need repairs. Can someone give me some good info on when I should run away from these deals... Is there a specific type of leak that means death of the boat like a ripped seam, blown baffles or something similar? Are there other types of leaks that are super easy to fix with the realm of of DIY?

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Old 12-05-2014   #2
 
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Oregon City, Oregon
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Originally Posted by bdf48 View Post
Is there a specific type of leak that means death of the boat like a ripped seam, blown baffles or something similar? Are there other types of leaks that are super easy to fix with the realm of of DIY?
Small punctures, rips, or tears (under 3") are easily patched on just about any kind of raft.

Repairing blown seams or baffles is extremely difficult. Paying an expert to do it will in most cases negate the bargain price on the raft.

Multiple pinholes or broad areas of air seepage indicate that the coating on the raft (probably neoprene or a neoprene/hypalon compound) has broken down. This is not repairable. It probably resulted from the raft having been left out in the sun or stored with moisture inside the tubes--probably both.

People try to fix the raft by re-coating the exterior. That is futile. The air pressure will simply make little balloons that will pop.

I have used a product (I think it's called "Raft Seal.") that goes inside the tubes, so that air pressure forces it through the fabric. It seems to work okay in the areas where the coating reaches, but it is impossible--or nearly so--to get the entire inside surface of the tubes coated. You have to keep turning and turning the raft in every direction until the liquid dries. If you stop too soon, it will puddle and form thick spots that will turn hard and crack. Have a team of raft jugglers handy, because it will take at least an hour, no matter what the instructions say.
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Old 12-05-2014   #3
 
seattle, Washington
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Originally Posted by bdf48 View Post
I am kayaker looking for used raft. I have seen a few good deals where the boats have some leaks and need repairs. Can someone give me some good info on when I should run away from these deals... Is there a specific type of leak that means death of the boat like a ripped seam, blown baffles or something similar? Are there other types of leaks that are super easy to fix with the realm of of DIY?
Whoa, we got a noob here. Lets start with how much you can spend and what youre trying to run with this poverty boat. Help me help you. Fyi, nothing takes the fun out of boating more then a rotten raft.
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Old 12-05-2014   #4
 
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Stay away from old bucket boats and old PVC boats like Star or Maravia. Go with Hypalon if you can. Once the glue starts giving out on the seams of a PVC boat, it's pretty much a throw away. Stay away from floor problems like blown I beams and leaking self bailer holes. Blown baffles can get expensive to fix too. Look over the patches. If they are starting to fall off, they will have to be redone at some point. If they were done properly, they should last for the length of the boat.

I have an old Avon that had the "fix a flat" treatment done to it before I got it. A friend opened up all the chambers to replace the valves for me. We vacuumed out all the chambers as the "fix a flat" had turned hard with age and had fallen off inside the tubes. There was about three gallons worth of that crap in there. What a mess. The boat is now a little lighter and quieter.
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Old 12-05-2014   #5
 
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Stay away from seam leaks!!!! Stay away from glued boats and glued seams!!! The glue breaks down over time and in the hot sun or under pressure...
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Old 12-05-2014   #6
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
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A blown I-beam in the floor can be run for years... Trust me u won't notice the different in handling with one blown I-beam. But a bunch of blown I-beams.. Buy a different boat.
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Old 12-05-2014   #7
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All Hypalon boats are glued, and that's okay for hypalon, the glue lasts a long, long, long, time. PVC boats use a different glue that causes outgassing over an extended time, and the gasses break down the chemical bond between 2 layers of material. Hypalon boats are waterproof on the outside of the material, but not the inside. ( I know some old Avons were double sided, but they are the exception) Be particularly aware if you find a used hypalon boat with a good sized patch on the floor area, as it is likely water got in the floor when the puncture happened. The crucial part is that they got all of the moister out of the floor before finishing the repair. Water will ruin the material on the inside. Hypalon is a great material, I have witnessed hypalon boats have good, long, 25 plus year life spans. My Dad's Riken was made in 1996 and is still going strong, no major wear problems or leaks. I can't believe that boat is almost 20 years old now! Wow!
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Old 12-06-2014   #8
 
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PVC boats use a different glue that causes outgassing over an extended time, and the gasses break down the chemical bond between 2 layers of material.
Learch has lots of good advice, but this is no longer an issue.

The outgassing Learch mentioned plagued a lot of the first PVC boats back in the 80s but was fixed about 20 years ago. I've had my glued PVC Vanguard for over 10 years, it holds air for months sitting on the trailer over the winter without leaking any out.

PVC and Hypalon have their pros and cons but that's another topic.

Good luck finding that boat!
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Old 12-06-2014   #9
 
Breckenridge, Colorado
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Old 12-06-2014   #10
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Not this one
Story?
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