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Old 12 January 2008, 19:56   #1
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Country: USA
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Fix Zodiac leaks with Internal Sealant?

Hi. I am having a difficult time finding the leak (s) in my Zodiac hypalon tubes. It's an older boat and I've tried almost everything. The problem is with the bow chamber. There is a product called "Inflatable Boat Internal Sealant Kit" on allinflatables.com. Does anyone know about this product? Also, aside from soapy water are there any other tricks out there for finding hard to find leaks?
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Old 13 January 2008, 09:12   #2
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Think I used the same kind of kit when I was repairing my old Zodiac GT (PVC). I was repairing cone ends and seams with 2-part glue. As a precaution, I used the sealant inside. Pour contents into valve chamber, then semi-inflate. You'll need a couple of people to help you, as idea is then to rotate boat, so that liquid coats the inside of the tube.

Worked for me - and that was on a 20 year old zodiac.
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Old 13 January 2008, 19:13   #3
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leak

if the leak is small, soapy water is ok - but if it is high, I would prefer to run water on the tube surface.
Hi leak blows the small bubbles off, but doesn't blow water.

If the leak were in the angle where the tube connects to the hull fabric - very common because of sand entering there into the sharp V shape - it will be hard to find and to repair
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Old 13 January 2008, 20:00   #4
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Thanks. I'm thinking it might be worth a shot with the sealant. I doesn't appear as if it could hurt. I might be lucky with regards to the location because its in the bow chamber. The V shape under the tubes where the hard deck goes doesn't extend as far as the bow chamber, for the most part. I'll take a closer look though as I work to solve this leak.
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Old 15 January 2008, 01:10   #5
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Believe it or not, we had a great white shark take a bite out of our 30 ft Nautica and I couldn't get my repair to hold air so I tried a similar sealant sold by West Marine with no success. We then tried Slime, a tire and inner tube sealant and so far so good. It seems to be holding just fine. We used the type sold for inner tube applications.

The other problem with our "little" RIB was spreading it around the inside of the tube so we put the stuff in, aired it up, and went out and used (abused) the heck out of it on a somewhat rough day. Sometimes you just have to go out and mess around.

For pictures of the job that generated the bite, go to www.latimes.com, do a search for "blue whale" and look at the pictures of Sept 20 and 21, 2007. There are also pictures on our website.
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Old 16 January 2008, 07:50   #6
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sealant

where did you find this Slime sealant ?

I did try the West Marine one, but when it came to me, it didn't work too - the date stamped on the bottle was ... old ! Bad.
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Old 16 January 2008, 10:38   #7
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It's very common here in the states. Go to http://www.slime.com/ and see if they have a source in your area.
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Old 16 January 2008, 17:24   #8
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Great information. Thank you. The slime suggestion sounds like it be a good solution too.
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Old 16 January 2008, 18:25   #9
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I've used a product called OKO for sealing tyres. It works fine and it continues to work for years, even in tubed tyres. Spreading it around in a boat may be more difficult than a tyre. I use it in my old JCB, I don't know how long it's been in the tyres but it's more than 10 years and it still plugs new leaks. I just haul out the nail and drive it for 20yds. It's a yellow/green liquid with wee lumps in and it's water washable. It comes in a squeeze bottle and squirts through the valve.
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Old 17 January 2008, 05:04   #10
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We've also used inner tube sealant on smaller tender type SIBs with success using the same methods, plus we could flip the little ones over to spread it.
Channelwatch, I checked out your website, that bite is our worst nightmare in a small RIB. A Great White enjoyed nibbling on the o/b legs of hard boats where we dive [some very close to shore] for several years on his annual trips. While this made a mess of the metal and f/glass boats they got home, we got nightmares. How silly it sounds now but we have said "relax, it's only a [14'] Tiger shark" when having the boat 'inspected' by a finned visitor/s.
Tigers and Hammerheads we watch closely and keep diving, White sharks we go to the pub early. Thankfully you were in a big RIB and in company. The White hasn't struck for a couple of years now, that I've heard of, so hopefully he's been served up with bits of lemon somewhere.
Great job you've got there,
Cheers,
Paul
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