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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:09 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 517
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I had mixed results with the latex sealant. But recall that I was dealing with completely defective fabric, the bad batch that Pakboat got from one of their Chinese subcontractors back around 2007 that resulted in an entire shipment of Puffin Swifts sponsons failing in less than a year after production (I unknowingly bought two that had escaped the recall replacements). When I filled the leaking sponsons with the latex it did flow into all of the air gaps at seams and throughout the surface, oozing out all over them. Once it cured, and it temporarily seemed to stop the slow leakage, eventually all those sponsons resumed their slow descent into flaccidity and I realized the fabric was just too defective (the coating was never properly bonded to the fabric and was peeling off on the inside.) I gave up after having used half of the quart can of sealant and ordered material and valves from DIYPackrafts to make replacement sponsons. Been too busy with other projects and commitments to do that yet but I don't expect it will be that complicated. I'll use the old ones as patterns and may cut out the valves and reuse them.

Speaking of sponson valves, Alv at Pakboat says he is taking my suggestion that he sell replacement sponson Boston type valves pre-welded to oversized circles of coated PVC fabric so that people can just cut out bad valves and then glue the pre-welded valve patch over the (smaller) hole. You can also buy Boston valves from DIYpackraft.com. They sell the nipple type "top off valves" too, similar to those on the tube type inflaters on older Feathercraft and Pakboat skin on frames. Alv claims that the Boston valves hold higher pressure and that is why they switched to them. But they seem more apt to fail, and are not only more costly and time-consuming to replace, but it is a pain in the ass to access them, deep in the kayak hull, to inflate and deflate. I prefer the "remote access" option of the long tube inflaters that I can adjust from the cockpit.

Sidebar: I sometimes feel self conscious at the launch site when I am on my knees with my head down in the bottom of my Pakboat Quest trying to inflate the 6 Boston valves embedded in the sponsons. Even though I am using a hand-pump the position and action suggests the scene in the first "Airplane" movie where the comely stewardess is bent over the lap of the inflatable "autopilot" blowing up the valve in his lap. Only the kayak doesn't have a lascivious grin painted on it. Perhaps it should.

BUT, (back to the sealant) I had a slower leak in one of the Puffin inflatable seats and swirled two coats (3 days apart) of the latex liquid into that unit and it seemed to work in keeping it pressurized once it cured. Perhaps the fabric in the seat was not from as bad a lot as the sponsons -- probably so because the only visible indication that the sealant had oozed through was a few pinholes and one tiny weak area along one outer welded seam. I haven't used that seat since the repair but may try it sometime next month. it's the same as the seat in my 2004 Puffin 12 (which has no leaks) so I can install it in that boat and see if it holds up to the pressure of use.

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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:13 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 517
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
Chuck: I'm not familiar with the construction of the Java -- are the hull tubes like the other full frame FC's in having removable separate internal vinyl sponson tubes or are they made of coated fabric with integrated valves? If the latter, I imagine the liquid latex should work. It's super runny and once you pour a couple of capfuls into an inflated compartment and juggle and tumble it thoroughly to disperse the fluid, the stuff flows and finds every tiny pinhole. You can visibly spot it oozing through until it cures and blocks the opening. After I would pour it in to cure, I would let the air out 90% or so every hour for the first day and every few hours the second and then re-inflate (you can smell the solvent as you release in the air). I figured this would speed up curing and it did seem to help. You do need to keep the parts well inflated until it fully cures or the inside surfaces could stick together. Also, to double seal the pinholes, you can use the oozing habit of the latex to spot all the pinholes -- much simpler and more obvious than the tedious submersion or soap film technique. You could just let the latex fill in the holes or add a conventional vinyl and glue patch or dollop of Aquaseal wherever you spot that telltale bead of latex bleeding through.

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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