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Old 19 October 2009, 13:49   #1
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Zodiac MKIII GR questions

HI guys and gals,

I posted this on a different forum, but was recomended to RIBnet by a couple of savy posters.




I have a new to me, but well used 15’ Zodiac MKIII GR Model 3432 with aluminum floors and a month, year, model code of L586.

The intended use for this boat (I live in AK) is for a once a year fly-out moose / bear hunt (two guys), and perhaps 4 or 5 summer day / fishing trips with the family (5 total, wife, me, 2,4,6 year old boys) out of Seward, Homer, Deep Creek, or Whittier, weather permitting, and never out of sight of land (not exactly comfortable with “big” water).

I purchased this as part of a package deal along with a trailer, two piece full length top, ores, anchor, and a 1985 Johnson 25hp 2-stroke short shaft motor for $1500, figuring that even if I needed to put another $500 each into the boat and motor, that I would still be way ahead money wise versus a new boat and motor, that start out around $6500 up here. Everything has been sitting in an unheated shed, all wrapped and bagged up for at least 10 years. That said, It looks to be in pretty good shape with only a few patches. The wood on the transom is perfect but the finish is chipped or flaking in a number of areas and will need to be sanded and have some new spar varnish applied. The two forward wooden cross beams (I don’t know what they are called) do not have any rot, however their finish is almost non existent and will need to be refinished somehow. Question: what are these cross beams called, and what are they for? I do know that the aft one, is were the forward most aluminum floor board attaches.

Additionally there is a trapezoid shaped wooden floor board with a hole in it that looks like it should fit up in the front of the boat, across or between the two wooden cross beams but it has three 1” x 1” pieces of wood attached to the bottom of it, that seems to prevent it from sitting, or fitting in between the two cross beams. It just doesn’t seem to fit worth a darn anywhere, and I cant figure it out…

I have inflated the boat, however I have not had a chance to soap it up and find the leaks. It looses perhaps 20-25% of the air pressure overnight and takes about a dozen or so pumps (each side) to firm it back up with the crappy foot pump I have. I am not especially worried about leaks or patching as I will be taking it in to Alaska Raft and Kayak and have those guys give it a good once over and fix anything that needs fixing, but they did tell me that they have no experience with the style of valves that are on this boat.
The valves are a rather large (hand size) chrome plated affair (four each) and they are REALLY stiff and hard to rotate. So, what can be done to loosen them up? Can I lube them with something?

A couple more questions:

From the data plate (L586) this looks to be a 1986 Zodiac, which I believe would make it a Hypolon boat, and not the newer PVC based “strongam, strongarm, strongman” or what ever the proprietary name is. Can anyone confirm this?
There are two holes on the lower aft transom, and I know one is supposed to be the self bailing hole and the other the drain hole, but I don’t know which is which. They both appear to have some sort of gasket or valve in them.

I would like to store this boat outside this winter, inflated and tarped up really well, on the trailer. its really my only option other than deflated and bagged in my garage. any thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance for your input and assistance!
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Old 19 October 2009, 14:05   #2
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here are a few pics of the boat
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Old 19 October 2009, 14:09   #3
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a couple pics of the valves and one of the forward floor piece...
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Old 19 October 2009, 22:55   #4
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Hi Alangag,

Welcome to RIB.net! You got a fantastic deal there for $ 1500!!! The Grand Raids are very well built professional grade boats. Chances are that your boat is hypalon, but it is hard to say for sure. There was a year or 2 where Zodiac used there "Strongan" PVC in Grand Raids before their customers demanded that they go back to hypalon, but I think that was in the early 90s. I'll see if I can get more info in that regard.

Regarding the 'wood crosse beams' that are glued in the boat, the aft most one is the thrust board. I hadn't seen a 2nd (the one closest to the bow) one in a Grand Raid before, but maybe that was something specific to the Mark III size. My brother's Mark II Grand Raid has just the one thrust board (located aft of the trapezoid shaped floorboard). The purpose of the thrust board is to create tension (on the fabric hull) between it and the transom when the floorboards aft of it are flattened and the stringers are installed to keep those floorboards flat. Without this tension, the floorboards would have alot of movement between each other resulting in a floppy hull and poor performance. It is important for that thrust board to be firmly glued to the fabric so that it has no fore/aft play in it.

Have a read through the "old zodiac" thread there is some good stuff in there that would also relate to your boat. The valves are not chrome plated, but are actually $tainle$$ $teel !!! They are worth a small fortune in and of themselves. You can get them to rotate more easily by pulling the top SS portion away from the bottom SS portion (they are squeezed together by a compression spring. You can & should apply a lube between those SS pieces, but be sure that it is one that is safe for rubber O rings. The compression spring acts as a blow off valve if the pressure within the tubes becomes excessive.

Recomended operating pressure is 3.4 psi, if you don't have one, be sure to get a pressure guage. If you did get an original Zodiac pressure guage with the boat, it probably has 2 green zones indicated on it. The wider green zone at the higher pressure is for the inflatable keel, the narrower zone at a slightly lower pressure is for the main sponsons.

With regard to the trapezoid shaped bow board, those 1"x1" stubby pieces that jut out from the ends are meant to keep the bow board between the thrust boar and that forward located board. You may have to install that board while all of the air is out so that there is enough flexiblity in the fabric to get it in there.

The 2 holes on the bottom of the transom are both meant to have one way rubber (flapper type) drainage valves in them. They do need to be replaced every so often, so it is a good idea to get a handful of them from your nearest Zodiac dealer (they're somewhere around $ 3 each). There should also be rubber plugs that fit into those holes if you wish to close off the valves.

For winter storage, take the outboard off the transom and take the floorboards out for the winter. Store the floorboards somewhere dry where ice won't get at them. It is also good to remove the floorboards once or twice during the boating season and to clean them and the boat fabric of sand & debris before re-installing them. This will help the fabric last much longer. You should be fine letting some of the air out of the tubes, tarping the fabric & transom of the boat and leaving it outside during the winter. While the hypalon should stay flexible well past -30 F, the less disruption of it during the cold snaps the better. I do pretty much the same thing with my boat, & Winnipeg's winter temps are closer to those of Fairbanks than to Anchorage's.

With your fly in moose hunts, how much cargo weight are you allowed to bring on the planes that you use?
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Old 19 October 2009, 23:37   #5
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http://www.zodiacmilpro.com/tds/inflatables/MK3GR.pdf
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Old 20 October 2009, 01:35   #6
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the floorboards have to be inserted with all the air out of all the tubes, esp those forwardmost ones.

the 2 holes in the rear are drains and should have one way valves in them. if they don't or they are old and tired, "Defender Boats" in CT probably has replacement flappers.

fun boats
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Old 20 October 2009, 01:39   #7
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Prairie tuber, that is sure some great info and I thank you for it!

If I understand you correctly I should be pulling “out” on the hand portion of the valve while I try to rotate it? They are truly stiff like…? Well…. Really stiff. Lube hmmmm, so what do you recommend? I am afraid to use any kind of silicone based lube as I hear it makes future fabric repairs very, very difficult. Parker o-ring lube would probably be just the thing, but it is kind of a snotty paste and I don’t know how I would get it in there? Also, should I only be turning the valves one direction? Clockwise etc.? I will keep digging around on the internet and see if I can find a schematic of the valves or something that shows how they got together….

Regarding the floor boards, your explanation makes a lot of sense. I did not try to insert the forward wood piece until I had quite a bit of pressure in the tubes…

Off topic… this looks to be a mostly Brit forum, with a few others from the further most outposts of the Empire, or former Colonies. Next time I am in GB I will have to pay more attention to the RIB and SIB guys… would have loved to have my SIB in Cambridge this spring! Pump it up in the park under the weeping willows, and put in on the Cam next to the punts, grab a few pints to go at the Mill, and charge off at break neck speed towards Ely! Of course I highly suspect that the authorities frown upon that type of activity…. Did notice down by Deal and Walmer Castle, that there were a few SIB’s launching from the beaches! Have read a few posts here about folks crossing the channel… not me thanks! Have only done 6 crossings and all on the ferry, but 2 of the 6 were with poor visibility and 4 to 6 foot rollers….
See that you are from Winnipeg! Hear that it is very nice, but have not been thru there myself yet!

Thanks again, and cheers!
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Old 20 October 2009, 01:59   #8
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Captnjack, thanks…. That is where I have messed up! I will try again with the floor boards after I deflate the tubes all the way! Fought the thing pretty hard the first night, only to figure out that I had the floor in upside down… the big red rust stain from the gas can SHOULD have been a red flag…. Too many beers I guess… of course I didn’t figure it out until late in the 8th round, and by then wasn’t thinking too clearly…

Both rear holes do have a one way rubber check valve thing in them, and I have purchased plug’s for both. I was mistakenly under the impression that one hole was a certain type of check valve that was different from the other one. Big relief to know they are both supposed to be the same!

We have a West Marine here in Anchortown, and I was in there the other day picking up the plastic version of the little male-to-male adaptor that fits into the valves for filling an then capping (I only have one adaptor made from stainless) and the bungs for the aft drains, and few other things like gas cans, fuel line etc. for what they charge, I would have thought they would have complementary KY or at least Vaseline…. Oh well, what’s one more expensive hobby?!

Prairie tuber, I am very fortunate in that I work for a cargo airline that flies to the place that I hunt, so weight is not a concern. Is best if I can keep to one pallet position, but if I need more space than that, I will just send on a couple of flights ahead of time and have them hold onto my stuff at the destination station, then I will jump seat out with the aircraft. 25 years in this business, nice to finally get a few perks now and then…
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Old 20 October 2009, 03:29   #9
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Some valve info;

http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?...t=rotate+valve
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Old 20 October 2009, 12:29   #10
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Alan:

A squirt of silicone lube into the valves won't hurt anything as long as you don't get it on the fabric itself (i.e. don't saturate the valve and allow the excess to drip all over.) The valves usually seal with either rubber seats and/or O-rings, so a little lubrication is necessary occasionally to keep things moving freely.

Be aware that rubber and plastic is also prone to aging; it either gets hard and crumbly, or goes soft and gooey (depending on the aging component and the material it is.) Vlave seals and seats are fairly well protected, though and should last for quite a while.

Luck, and congrats;

jky
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