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Thread: Best seam seal for pontoon?

  1. #1
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    Default Best seam seal for pontoon?

    Just bought an old one man pontoon raft. Has no leaks, but the fabric is starting to come apart on the underside seams due to years of scraping and such.

    Prior owner used duct tape to seal it up, but was wondering if there was something better to seal up the seams before I take it out on the water.

    Thanks!
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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    Patched it with some raft material & glue from ark,,stronger than new.

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    Member Brian Richardson's Avatar
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    Smile

    What kind of boat is it? Make & model?

    This would provide a better *guess of the repair needed.
    (*I say this in the terms of not actually seeing it).

    Best way to assess damages are by hands on inspection, clean 'er up, lay out the project (big or small), then determine all you'll need to devise a trustworthy, good lookin', lasting repair.

    A can of whatever glue w/ some kind of material from whomever is not necessarily the best answer. Then again... could work out just fine.

    All you may need is a little self-help/guidance... might not call for any adhesive or patch fabric at all. Could even be under a warranty, and why stress about it at all unless you need it tomorrow. Then again... if ya need it within a day or two let me know.
    Brian Richardson

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    Have no idea what brand it is. Bought it off craigslist for 30 bucks. The frame alone is worth more than that. Gotta love this time of year when guys are upgrading their gear and practically giving away the old stuff. I did not see any brand marking on it, will take a closer look in the morning.

    I will take a photo of it tomorrow and post it. It is your standard one man pontoon raft. Probably cost 200-400 new. Looks like it was probably either red or orange before the sun faded it out.

    Better yet, I may just stop by AK raft in the next couple days and see what the pros have to say about it.
    Last edited by bilder; 04-21-2010 at 20:55. Reason: Added thought.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    dang bilder i saw that on there....i almost called.......hell you want good sealer? D15 flooring adhesive itll never come apart



    Release Lake Trout

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    dang bilder i saw that on there....i almost called.......hell you want good sealer? D15 flooring adhesive itll never come apart
    I thought it would be long gone by the time I left a message, but I was second in line and the first guy never stopped to look at it.

    I have picked up a canoe and now this pontoon for just over 100 bucks total in the last few days. Gonna have some fun on the water for cheap this summer.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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    Found out that the pontoon raft is a Trout Unlimited Madison model. Made by Classic Accessories based in Washington. Came across a tag with a part number and Google did the rest.

    I emailed them about replacement covers. Will let you know what they say.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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    Member Brian Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilder View Post
    Found out that the pontoon raft is a Trout Unlimited Madison model. Made by Classic Accessories based in Washington. Came across a tag with a part number and Google did the rest.

    I emailed them about replacement covers. Will let you know what they say.
    Costco was selling these for about 150 a few years ago. A box full of yellow boats on blowout sale... I'll be willing to wager all are in sketchy condition by now used or even still in box. Classic version of vinyl bladder-filled duffel sack made for introductory light-duty.

    General idea here is to get folks out on the water for fun without big cost... introducing people to the rafting scene. 3-5 years at best. Fast outgrow it as (or before) it falls apart.

    These boats carried some sort of 1 year warranty with driver error not being a part of it.

    I agree the little frame, oars, and locks -- probably worth the craig'sL purchase. The PVC bottom is an easy fix. I would weld these problem sections with pvc, or you can run some pvc tape or pvc fabric welded or glued on the inside of the boat.

    Keep in mind with boats like this - you'll need a repair kit.

    Also a 3rd oar, extra oar lock, plus a couple quick-pins are important if you plan on any mileage.
    Brian Richardson

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    I found this product which is quoted as sealing inflatable boats and rafts that suffer from anything from pinhole (hard to find) leaks, right up to an eight inch seam leak!

    Using this process, we have seen an eight inch seam leak sealed in three tries. The leak was eight inches long when the Sealant was first applied. On the second treatment it was about three inches long. The third try sealed it completely. Although it took some effort and some patience, it saved the boat.
    It seals from the inside, and is extremely easy to apply as its a liquid that is simply poured into the hull via the valve.

    Hope this helps.

    http://www.inlandmarine.us/products/show/?id=sealant


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    Member Brian Richardson's Avatar
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    This is not the kind of leak (or kind of boat) that this would be of any use on.

    Just a 411 heads up ~ Couple things with 1 part and even 2 part sealants of this variety:

    If you believe it's as easy as dump in in your valve... guess again!

    1.) Valves will have 1 to 3 different issues or a combo of all problems if you just dump 'er in
    a.) Cheapest fix scenario the diaphram gets coated, out of shape, more stiff, then will not seal properly and air will bubble out.
    b.) Valve body gets coated then will not allow diaphram to seat with proper seal and air bubbles out
    c.) Valve body 'threads and all' are lock-tight together making maintenance a tougher issue... especially if having problems a & b.

    Some might argue just clean out your valve... not so simple... rubber on the diapram is often fragile and doesn't tolerate solvents very well (particularly older ones) they fall apart. Soap and water won't be good enough for valve body or inner parts like springs, diaphram, etc.

    2.) Doing this process correctly involves putting a non-harmful releasing agent on all valve parts while trying not to make a mess of it.

    3.) Once you put it in --- IT IS A HANDS ON - Get 'er done like right now pronto get active scenario. It does not mysteriously work itself in and throughout the inside of a tube. You also must have curing time, a little exchanging of the air inside while curing, low to no humidity in the tube, and right temperatures.

    4.) Even the BEST of the inner Sealants are 60-65% (following all steps to the letter and beyond) on the smallest of scratches, abrasions, micro-pin-holes, or foaming seams. That may sound good... BUT... have 100 tiny leaks with 60 solved (for maybe 3-5 years at best) NOW 40 letfover - so try again and best reliable figures are 16 now leftover. AGAIN now down to 6-7 -------------- see my point --- this stuff can help when you use it correctly, yet don't expect miracles and know to use other traditional repair methods.





    [/QUOTE]
    Brian Richardson

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    I originally posted this sealant on the Alpacka Raft Forum, as it can enter the hull via the valve, and once inside the hull, using the correct application techniques on a repairable (for the sealant/material type) tear/split/hole, it has the potential to form an effective repair.

    Obviously, its is the responsibility of the person carrying out the repair to ascertain whether the sealant can be poured into their hull via their valve type, and to ensure that the hull material and the nature and extent of the damage is compatible with the sealant and repair method.

    Nobody is advocating the ridiculous notion that simply pouring the sealer into the hull will somehow effect a repair!

    Applying the sealer and repair technique as described in the link, to a suitable material, with a realistically repairable area of damage affords the probability of success.

    Thanks for the lecture...

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    Hardly a lecture... you should not see it as such.

    Your posting of the product was wrong stuff wrong boat.

    Your posting also made mention of I'll quote you, "It seals from the inside, and is extremely easy to apply as its a liquid that is simply poured into the hull via the valve."

    This is incorrect and NOT what you would ever want to do!

    Not a lecture at all... look at it as useful guidance for proper and realistic use of an inner sealant.

    My clarifications are dead nut right-on correct and freely given. When you take professional guidance/help so defensively... particularity on a product you likely have little to no experience with (suggesting it on here for the wrong repair application) - perchance it's beat to take it or leave it.

    I see this kind of product used in good faith by consumers reasonably frequently... 90% of the time the results are the valve issues I addressed, then never work out as expected regarding time, $$$, and parts.
    Brian Richardson

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    The bladders are fine in this raft. It is the skins/covers that need mending.

    Different kind of fix.

    Used to be red/black in color. Prior owner left it out in the sun too long and the nylon has faded and the PVC bottom of the skin is coming apart at the seams due to one too many scrapes on the rocks.

    Will probably hear back from the manufacturer tomorrow to see how much a replacement is. Depending on cost I will either get new covers or patch up the old ones.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilder View Post
    The bladders are fine in this raft. It is the skins/covers that need mending.

    Different kind of fix.

    Used to be red/black in color. Prior owner left it out in the sun too long and the nylon has faded and the PVC bottom of the skin is coming apart at the seams due to one too many scrapes on the rocks.

    Will probably hear back from the manufacturer tomorrow to see how much a replacement is. Depending on cost I will either get new covers or patch up the old ones.
    Yep... UV damages, some neglect, simply use w/ few years, and the 'color red', even UV thread fraying on stitching is often a bad mix.

    Good luck on the manufacturing or distributor side of things... hopefully all will work out. If not - I can recommend proper materials right down to stitching both fabrics fixing what you have or suggest other new boat options.
    Brian Richardson

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Repairs on outer shells

    My best advice is to bring it down to Alaska Raft and Kayak and let Tracey have a look at it. The direct local number for the shop is 1 (907) 561-7238; the toll-free is 1 (800) 606-5950. The guy is a walking encyclopedia of information on the who, what, where, when, and how of inflatable boats and their care / repair. My guess is that you're looking at outer shells that have lived the full but short life boats of this kind are supposed to live. That's why they're so cheap.

    Still, Tracey might recommend a coating of some kind that would give you a couple more years out of these tubes. After that I'd be looking to upgrade if it was me. I'll give Tracey a call and try to talk him into chiming in on this discussion... he's an okie, but I think he's learning how to type... anyway you might inquire about the cost-effectiveness of a urethane coating on this boat. If you can get it to work for you, you'll have a tough, abrasion-resistant coating that should last quite a while. Some might see this as a gold ring in a pig's snout, but it might work for you. HERE'S A LINK that talks about the process, which appropriately stresses how much is involved in the preparation of the boat, before the coating is applied.

    I have noticed that there are a LOT of AIRE products in the Alaska Craiglist. This is evidence of Wild Alaska Rivers Company (no longer with us) and Alaska Raft and Kayak's ability to get a lot of quality boats out there in the last fifteen years or so. AIRE makes a great product, and that's why so many of them are out there. You might shop on the used market for one. But I have also noticed that even the used market seems to hold to higher prices than I would expect. Keep a sharp eye out though... you might snag a good deal. I picked up my Super Leopard on Craiglist for $2,000, and it's essentially a brand-new boat. That boat retails for over $5500.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Hardly a lecture... you should not see it as such.

    Your posting of the product was wrong stuff wrong boat.

    Your posting also made mention of I'll quote you, "It seals from the inside, and is extremely easy to apply as its a liquid that is simply poured into the hull via the valve."

    This is incorrect and NOT what you would ever want to do!

    Not a lecture at all... look at it as useful guidance for proper and realistic use of an inner sealant.

    My clarifications are dead nut right-on correct and freely given. When you take professional guidance/help so defensively... particularity on a product you likely have little to no experience with (suggesting it on here for the wrong repair application) - perchance it's beat to take it or leave it.

    I see this kind of product used in good faith by consumers reasonably frequently... 90% of the time the results are the valve issues I addressed, then never work out as expected regarding time, $$$, and parts.
    I simply made a suggestion as to a type of sealer.

    I have no objection to professional advice, I do however object to your arrogance and the overall tone of your responses.

    You're coming across as so "dead nut right-on" self righteous that at the height of passion, you'd probably call out your own name!

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    Default Wow..

    Aero, you sound like a twitchy pilot. Now that we are done with the name calling, I assure you Mark knows what he is talking about. Now for a 30 dollar boat. If fabric is thin, sew seams, glue patch. If fabric has strength, sew seam and tears coat inside and out with aqua-seal, drink 1 six pack beer, check aqua seal. When dried, apply lifejacket to self, drink one more six pack beer, then float while drinking/fishing.
    Happy drifting.

    Chris

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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Stout View Post
    Aero, you sound like a twitchy pilot. Now that we are done with the name calling, I assure you Mark knows what he is talking about. Now for a 30 dollar boat. If fabric is thin, sew seams, glue patch. If fabric has strength, sew seam and tears coat inside and out with aqua-seal, drink 1 six pack beer, check aqua seal. When dried, apply lifejacket to self, drink one more six pack beer, then float while drinking/fishing.
    Happy drifting.

    Chris
    Not twitchy, just don't care for ego and attitude.

    Whom is Mark?

    I don't drink alcohol.

    If I did drink alcohol, I would not Packraft whilst under the influence of same.

    But thanks for the advice...

  19. #19
    Member Brian Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeroNautiCal View Post
    Not twitchy, just don't care for ego and attitude.

    Whom is Mark?

    I don't drink alcohol.

    If I did drink alcohol, I would not Packraft whilst under the influence of same.

    But thanks for the advice...
    Not a tone, attitude, or arrogance... You posted a really poor 'suggestion' for the original poster. It had no application to his problem and for 100% certain the home job w/ sealant would have killed any chances of reclaiming some life out of his boat. I went ahead and clarified/defined this type of product's useful properties and the unfortunates associated with the labeling.

    If you still see some kind of arrogance with that... well... your just not seein' it.
    Brian Richardson

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    The manufacturer emailed me back. The 7 foot model I have is no longer in production and replacement parts are gone....but the pontoons for their current 8 foot models will fit the frame I have. Cost would be 68 bucks for a new pair of 8 foot bladders and skins for my frame.

    So I can either get by with what I got for 30 bucks or spend the extra money and have what amounts to a new raft for under 100. Not bad for a boat that is selling online right now for $329.

    Gonna have to think on that one for a bit. May limp by this summer and buy new pontoons later in the season.
    Just a bitter Alaskan clinging to his guns and religion.....

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