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Old 12 January 2008, 19:56   #1
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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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Old 17 January 2008, 07:08   #11
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Hi Jwalker and PaulMac. I'm still amazed at how people from all over the world can use forums. To see posts by you guys, as well as the earlier posts, is still incredible to me. Scotland, Australia, France... Awesome. Thanks for the tips on tire tube sealant. I'm starting to think that maybe the stuff marketed towards boats is the same stuff as the tire sealant. I'll look into these products. Thanks again.
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Old 17 January 2008, 11:24   #12
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It's definitely not the same stuff but I think each is has it's own application. What we found was that the leaks were large enough that the inflatable boat product was escaping without sealing. It's intended for very small leaks. Slime on the other hand, did escape some but then sealed the leak.

I'll share another trick I used a while back and worked great. I had a patch on the big inflatable, half way up the tube, it had a very small air leak, but due to the rubstrake I couldn't fix it from the outside. I also couldn't get the sealant to splash high enough to reach the leak. What I did was put my 12 volt air pump on suction, attached it to the chamber, and once it was completely deflated and actually sucking I poured the inflatable boat sealant over the leak from the outside. I did this for a while then turned off the pump, so that it wouldn't suck all the product out of the holes, stopped pouring and gave it time to harden. It's been over a year and still holding.
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Old 17 January 2008, 11:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulmac View Post
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
Stupidly enough, my only concern was trying to get a picture, which I never did, and visualizing all the repairs I was going to have to do if he took another bite. I was so excited about having a great white messing with my boat, until I realized he had taken a bite, that I never really though about the serious damage he could do.

As far as a fun job - check out our latest venture. http://www.oceanrescue.tv. It's just now being launched and is nowhere near it's final product. More footage will be added within a couple of days and then on a continuing basis from various sources.
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Old 17 January 2008, 12:53   #14
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Channelwatch,
Now that's one reality show I would watch with my wife!
I repeat, great job you've got there. LOL
As far as the reaction to the shark goes, we are extreme opposites. My thoughts are..Go away now and please don't bite or even nudge me!
Paul
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Old 17 January 2008, 18:34   #15
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Hi. I got an email back from Slime, a tire sealant company here in the US. I asked if it could be used on inflatable boats. While I don't think she realized I could rotate a 12 ft zodiac I think she raised a good issue about it being water soluble.
Her email:

Thanks for contacting SLiME!

Please note that in order for SLiME to be effective there are a few conditions that need to be
present; sealant, air pressure and rotational force. In this type of application,
there is no rotational force. Installing sealant into a wide/deep chamber and
not having any way to direct the sealant to the affected area would render it
useless. Our other main concern is the fact that SLiME is water soluble, so unfortunately we cannot recommend nor guarantee our product for this application.

Well, it looks like I have a few options at hand. I think I'll try an inflatable boat sealant because it might be just what I'm looking for. Thanks Channelwatch for the trick on getting to a leak near a rubstrake. That's exactly what I have going on and if I can't get it by rotating the boat I'll try the technique you mentioned.

By the way, Channelwatch, you have my dreamboat. I live close to Marblehead MA where there's a Ribcraft location. nice boat!
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Old 18 January 2008, 00:52   #16
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Our Slime repair was in late September on an area that is always in the water and it's still holding. It may be that it's just replenishing itself as it dissolves and will eventually leak. For now it's saving a major repair. Good luck.

The Ribcraft is one sweet ride. We have a lot of fun with it, I mean work.
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Old 23 May 2011, 15:43   #17
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Getting it into the bow chamber

Resurrecting and old thread:
I bought a couple of liters of the WM sealant last fall, after just looking at all of the patches on the old MKIII zodiac that I purchased, for some reason. I figured that it couldn't hurt. After getting the valves sorted out - unstuck and lubricated - it holds air pretty well. I've found only one small leak coming out from under the multiply-retaped seam between the starboard tube and the bow.

Now, the bow section doesn't have a valve of its own. It gets air from the side-chamber valves, when they are in the "inflate" position. So how to get the sealant into the bow? Depending on the size of the internal connecting tubes (?) I suppose one could thread a length of small tubing and try to force the stuff through under pressure. If one could identify which opening in the valve body actually leads to the bow chamber. Has anyone dealt with this?

Secondly, now that I've spend a whole unit of weekend leisure-time un-sticking and cleaning the valves, I'm concerned that the sealant might literally gum them up again. Can anyone offer reassurances on this?

Just thought I'd ask before finding out the hard way.
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Old 24 May 2011, 08:15   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northshorehc View Post
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?
Hi,northshorehc, you will find your leak with gas leak detection fluid,if you see any gas men working on the roads ask them for some it's great stuff, that will find any leak you have ,you can also buy it off eBay , good luck
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Old 02 September 2011, 08:05   #19
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Originally Posted by hadd
Hi,northshorehc, you will find your leak with gas leak detection fluid,if you see any gas men working on the roads ask them for some it's great stuff, that will find any leak you have ,you can also buy it off eBay , good luck
Do you have a link as there is a wide range of leak detection fluids?
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Old 02 September 2011, 10:25   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Channelwatch View Post
Believe it or not, we had a great white shark take a bite out of our 30 ft Nautica
You were whale watching when it happened?

I saw video of a similar event, though I think it was about a 16' SIB; they were wrangling GWS's as some sort of research study, which apparently the shark took exception to. The shot of the scrambling crewmembers was classic...

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