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Thread: Raft repair question

  1. #1

    Default Raft repair question

    My family and I just got back from a great float trip on the Gulkana trip. The only problem is, on our way home my raft started to deflate on my trailer. It's really weird. When I got home I blew it back up, washed it, and sprayed it with soapy water. I can not find a leak anywhere. I know it didn't deflate from a simple temperature/pressure change, because the floor was still completely inflated. I checked the valves and seams. It seems to be holding air in my backyard right now. I am going to check it again in the morning to see if it holds air. Any ideas? I am completely baffled.

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska


    Probably a leaky valve seat, that reseated itself when you topped it off. If it's holding air now, no big deal.

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  3. #3


    Hi Jack:

    Not seeing the raft I can only speculate but here goes.

    We have 17 rafts so we are doing repairs often and when I see this type id deflation I do the soap water bath and look at for the bubbles and listen for hisses. When I see no obvious leaks I shift my attention to valves. Depending on the style you have it could be as simple as a extra twist, a stuck spring or a valve replacement. In the past 2 years both summer floaters and my fall hunting business we have only seen 2 tube issues and they were easy repairs. The valves go all of the time. I just ordered 2 more valves from Mark over at Alaska Raft. Valves tent to be the issue more often than the tube.

    Good luck and stop in the next time you are on my side of the state.

    Gulkana Raft Rentals
    Mile 127.5 of the Richardson

  4. #4


    Thanks Mike and Walt. You guys are a wealth of info. Walt, I have an NRS Otter. One more question. Is there any way to check the valves to make sure they are functioning properly? If I can find a valve with an issue I will just change it out.

    On a side note. The fishing on the upper Gulkana was great. Lakers, rainbows and grayling were biting. The canyon was way high. My family and I opted to portage our gear and I made it through okay. The portage only took us two trips. Three other groups came after me. They opted not to portage there gear. Two boats almost flipped and broke their oars. The other boat almost made it through the canyon but got caught in a hydraulic at the end and shot the driver out of the boat. The guy's wife managed to gain control of the boat and bring it to shore.

    The moral of the story is, take the time to portage some of your gear and make your boat lighter and easier to control. They were lucky and they only lost some oars and got a little wet, but it could have ended up worse. This isn't the first time I've seen people lose gear and passengers in the canyon because they were too lazy to portage a little gear to make their boat lighter.

    The real irony of the story is one of the guys that was in the boat that lost one of their oars because they slammed in to the canyon wall, told me that their group was all involved in a survival school in Anchorage. I'm not going to name names, because I don't like to gossip, but I thought to myself, wow, if this is the type of behavior that you teach at your survival school I am sure I don't want to go there.

  5. #5


    use your valve wrench to tighten the seal on your air valves if you haven't already done that. Those C-7 valves that NRS uses are high quality and shouldn't need replacement. After you tighten the valves snugly, spray the outer rim with soapy water and watch for air bubbles. Then, spray the inside of each valve plunger and watch for bubbles.


  6. #6


    Thanks Larry. Good Advice. I will do that today.


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