Originally Posted by cooljunk8
Hi! I am new to this forum and sorry for my poor English.
I am looking into the possibility of buying used Zodiac Pro 470.
It was made in 2001 and comes with Yamaha 2 stroke 50hp(made same year).
According to the owner, he has been using only 2 months in summer and kept in a garage during off season. I inspected the RIB and the tubes and hull seem to be in very good shape (although I am an amature).
I suppose that Zodiac Pro is made of PVC, which is less resistant to UV. It might be a difficult question, but if the tubes have been maintained as the onwner say, how long do you think I will have before the tubes start having problems?
Another option is to buy new RIB with hypalon, but made by less well-known and more resonably priced eastern european producer.
I have a 98 Zodiac 470 Pro II. It has PVC tubes on it. The conventional wisdom says that PVC tubes should last about 10 years. The Zodiac tubes are thermowelded (heat fused) and the tubes (on the 470 PRO II) slide on so there is no glue to fail.
If the tubes are protected from UV you can get longer life. However, even if protected from UV the PVC will eventually get brittle due to outgassing of the chemicals that give it flexibility (the outgassing of PVC causes the haze that appears on the interior of car windows in hot weather). Even an unused tube set that has been lying around for awhile will have less life than a newly manufactured set.
Depending on your use (i.e. gently cruising vs. high speed racing) the tolerance for loss of tube flexibility will be different.
The tubes don't usually have date codes on them so it can be hard to accurately determine the tube material age.
You should be able to buy replacement tubes from Zodiac, although it may take a few months to get them. Depending on the price of the boat, this might be a good option. You can argue that the tubes are old and will need replacing when agreeing to a price for the boat. Part of the deal for my boat included new tubes when I bought it. The price of the hull with a fairly new 40hp Yamaha and the new tubes was quite reasonable. My boat has a 98 hull with 2010 tubes. The dealer said that the tubes were at the end of their life when he received the boat, so they did last about 10 years. In the last couple of years, the tubes probably were not well cared for so with proper care they might've lasted a bit longer.
You could also have custom tubes made of hypalon. This will be more expensive but they will last quite a bit longer. However, you might be able to get two sets of PVC tubes from Zodiac for the price of one set of custom hypalon tubes. One of the tube manufacturers in the UK may have already done this so the patterns might be available which will lower the cost of the custom tubes.