Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,996 Posts
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. :wink:

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
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...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
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.
 

·
Jared
Joined
·
733 Posts
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!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,053 Posts
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!
 

·
Sponsoring Vendors
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
Pretty much anything that doesn't involve the material itself being broken down to the point where it doesn't hold air or delaminates when glue is applied can be repaired. The cost effectiveness of all repairs doesnt always make sense.


Joe, That is definitely repairable. I fixed a 13' rip in a 14' Vanguard once. It was about $500. Held air for days afterward. 4'-5' repairs are pretty common, I do several a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Pretty much anything that doesn't involve the material itself being broken down to the point where it doesn't hold air or delaminates when glue is applied can be repaired. The cost effectiveness of all repairs doesnt always make sense.


Joe, That is definitely repairable. I fixed a 13' rip in a 14' Vanguard once. It was about $500. Held air for days afterward. 4'-5' repairs are pretty common, I do several a year.
Ouch! for someone.
 

·
Jared
Joined
·
733 Posts
Hey Zach, how long would you expect a glued together PVC boat to last if it was taken care of? Really just in terms of seams and material. I'm always down for learning more from a pro.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the great information, this was exactly what I was looking for! I am basically looking for something that floats so I can get some family members out on some easy short multidays like san juan and flaming gorge. It would also be nice to have flexibility to take the raft on some longer trips like deso/gray, middle fork and also use as a paddle raft some class III day runs like browns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
When sizing up possible raft repairs the best thing to think about is the underlying reason why the damage occured. Are all the seams failing? Then it probably got left out in the sun overinflated. Self-bailing floors are made by taking an upper and lower layer of material and glueing it together around the edges, then keeping the middle together with I beams or drop stitching. If you have one blown I beam or the outer glued edge of the floor has a big bubble or has seperated I would probably steer clear because the floor was overinflated, had water in the floor that destroyed the glue, or has factory defects. Any of those and you are probably looking at more trouble in the near future due to the same reason and they are difficult to repair. Same thing with blown baffles.

Mechanical damage is way less of a concern. Don't be afraid of small rips, puntures, or old patches that leak. They are pretty easy to patch or repatch and is a good skill to learn in your garage before you have to do it on the river.

Also, don't be afraid of leaky valves, as long as the valve boots aren't cracked. Valves are easy to clean or replace. Valve boots (if the boat has them) can be replaced but are a bigger job.

If there are gouges in the material but that don't leak you can put a protective patch over them.

If the actual tube and floor material is overly faded, cracked, or blistering, run away. If it's just the wear patches (extra layers of body armour probably on the tops and bottoms of the tubes) that are cracked it's no biggie as long as the underlying tube material is in good shape. If the raft includes a patch kit you can compare the extra patch material to the tubes and get an idea of how weathered the raft is. If the raft looks like the material in the patch kit the owner took good care of the raft and occassionally cleaned and 303'd the boat.

Things like handles, D rings, and foot cones are easy to remove and replace if they are worn or are falling off.
 

·
Sponsoring Vendors
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
It really comes down to specific brands and years of boats. Sometimes even runs of a specific year and brand. Maybe they switched glue mid year, used up a batch from last year, had bad labor, etc.

I would say if you look to get 10 years out of a newer glued PVC boat you wont be disappointed, assuming it is a quality boat to start with. There are plenty of 15 yr old PVC boats out there going strong. There are also plenty of 15yr old boats that have found the dumpster.

I get some PVC boats in from the mid ninties that are stage 5 cancer and I do all I can to talk people out of putting even one dollar into them and I get some that are solid as can be.

I would think and hope a quality, well cared for, glued PVC boat from the 2005-present era could be a 15-20 yr boat. I imagine we'll see some of them surpass that and many will find the dump.

I feel like I got my money out of all of my boats way faster than 10 years so I would find that acceptable. If I got only a handful of days a year I may not feel the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
My Achilles sustained a catastrophic tear (5" x 8") on the Middle Fork. I first tried a large external patch, but it blew out when inflated. On try No. 2 I glued a large patch on the inside as best I could, then re-applied the external patch. It held air for the rest of the trip. I had it professionally repaired for about $200.

Now about PVC rafts and Star specifically . . . I sold the Achilles and bought a used 2006 15'6" Star Super Bug. I've taken the it down down the Middle, Main, and Lower Salmon; Hell's Canyon, the Rogue and the Grand Canyon each twice. With 26" tubes, the Star has an unusual tunnel-hull design the makes it amazingly maneuverable, stable and forgiving. I like the toughness of the PVC construction - I've have bounced it off more than a few boulders with no damage. And it still looks shiny and new.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
Hey Zach, how long would you expect a glued together PVC boat to last if it was taken care of? Really just in terms of seams and material. I'm always down for learning more from a pro.
I just bought a 2001 Star bucket boat (glued PVC) for $50 delievered (guy practically begged me to take it). There were two slow leaking punctures from where he tried to jam it through a hole in a strainer that was too small for the boat. Word is the boat spent it's first five years unused in a garage, then guided on the Soho/Watauga for a few years and spent it's last 20 trips with the private boater I got it from.

The floor was starting to rip off in large areas, almost all of the failings were on the same side of the floor. I *think* there was just not enough glue on that side which started the separation and the water just kept getting in over the years and exasterbated the problem.

5 days, some 303 and a quart of glue later the boat looks practically new and held air for 2 weeks before I put it away. Best $50 I ever spent...it's getting a motor and will be my crappie boat this spring.

I also have a 34 year old hypalon Hyside that is perfectly servicable after some strategically smeared aquaseal.

I have newer boats too...but have yet to buy new. I have less than $3000 in 6 boats. It's easy to capitalize on peoples mistakes and laziness in the rafting world!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top