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Hello,
new to site so please be kind.
We bought an old Sears raft, (has an aluminum tag ending in 83, I am assuming 1983) Model Number 690, its a 12 footer with a motor mount on back, old but in good shape. Wanted to kow if anyone could help identify material for maintenance and repairs, the seam tape is lifting on certain spots and the boat could use a new UV or protectorant chemical, a bit whethered.

Second, we were considering a motor for lakes etc. Electric or gas? I am leaning toward electric for simplicity and noise and gas related issues.

All help would be appreciated. I got it this Saturday and am very excited about getting out there, considering the Delaware this weekend.

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aka The Curmudgeon
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I had an old Udisco once upon a time that looked like yours. They were very popular as were Campways. Mine had the same patches for the D Rings, same oarlocks, etc. They were a serviceable boat, but now 30 years old and should be considered past its usable life. The material is most likely Hypalon, good stuff, but much lighter Denier weight than what is used today. No doubt adhesives have changed a lot as well.

Keep in mind that
1) It's 30 years old
2) Boats today are built to a much tougher standard than they were back then.

A 12 ft bucket boat was used in kindler, gentler water. Nothing made for whitewater use comes with built in oarlocks made for skinny oars. That alone should serve as an indicator of the intended use for your boat.

I put a 6 foot gash in mine highsiding a rock that today's boats would scoff at. Enjoy it on flat water while wearing life jackets, it' still fun.

I second your thoughts on electric motors. I have both, they each have their place. Unless you are motoring miles (and miles and miles) the hassles, weight, mechanical complications, spilled gas and oil, etc far outwiegh the limitations of an electric motor.
 

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Looks alot like an old campways. It is almost certainly a hypalon or neoprene boat. The same type of adhesives will work for those materials. If you want to put something on it, use 303. Do not use ArmorAll.

I disargee with captishmael that "Boats today are built to a much tougher standard than they were back then." Today’s rafts include really cheap ones (saturn ect.) and really tough ones. The same can be said of rafts made in the 80's. If it is a Udisco that would be one of the cheaper ones from the 80's.
 

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Udisco

That'a a udisco for sure, I had an 83 way back. They were a cheap boat, be careful of leaving it in the sun inflated. Mine split a seam while sitting in the river.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well thanks for the info so far.

I am curious about the Sears label, did they rebadge a famous/popular manufacturer? Like those listed above Campways and Unisco? I have looked up and down google to little avail, the only thing that popped up was related to the aluminum tage which states "SES" and ends with the "83". Seams Sears Roebuck had a Marine Div. which in some documentation is linked to SES as a boat code. Still very curious...

In as much as it being "cheap" not too sure if that is the case. For something to last 30 years, well I would say t was probably most cost effective if anything.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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aka The Curmudgeon
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Cheap is probably being harsh. The uses boats are subjected to today are much tougher than the typical use back in the day. Refer to Fletcher Anderson's pioneering book "Rivers of the Southwest". Many rivers that were considered unrunnable back then are commonly run today. Also refer to my post above regarding the 6 Foot gash. I do believe that even a Saturn would not have been scathed by my highside.

Just like the private label stuff in your local grocery store, Sears probably did not not make your boat, they did not make a whole lot of their varied product line. Not that its good or bad, but your boat is probably a Udisco or Campways. Doesn't matter though, it was definitely not one of those K Mart inflatables better suited to a swimming pool.

Your boat+Life Jackets+Flat Water=Fun!
 

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I would say it's a UDISCO, which were pretty decent (albeit inexpensive) rafts in their day. And it's neither neoprene nor Hypalon, but a cheaper coating called EDPM. The adhesives for neoprene and Hypalon will work fine. You have a nice example of rafting history in your possesion, and with proper care, it might just last another thirty years!
 

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Looks like you may be putting some precious cargo into that boat. The best dollars spent will be for quality PFDs that fit. Hopefully you already know that to do it correctly, you will spend more on safety gear than you did on that boat. Happy boating!
 

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Looks like you may be putting some precious cargo into that boat. The best dollars spent will be for quality PFDs that fit. Hopefully you already know that to do it correctly, you will spend more on safety gear than you did on that boat. Happy boating!

Ditto this sentiment. The comment about the oar locks being suited for flat water should also be heeded. I'd always be erring to the side of caution with that boat, especially considering those boys are going to be having a blast in it!
 

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Both Sears and Monkey Wards sold boats and supplies, but that is the first inflatable I've seen with a Sears name on it. They mainly sold row boats and such. That thing would be bomber on a lake with a small trolling motor. Seam tape lifting is common in old boats like that one. If it's not too bad, I wouldn't worry about it. You can do more damage trying to grind and prep old fabric to get the glue to stick than if you just left it alone. Get you some 303 off the NRS web site and never ever use Armor all on it. If you do get a leak in it, I'd put tear aide for hypolon on it and call it good. The floor should be rubber and you fix holes in it using a bicycle inner tube repair kit. Good luck, have fun, remember the fabric is thin when coming into shore.
 
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