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Old 03-31-2010
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Leakyy inflatable dinghy

I have an older inflatable Zodiac in need of repair. The reinforcing patches at the corners of the transom have come loose. There are couple of other reinforcement pathes loose also. I bought the right glue, like the factory uses, and some repair material that matches the boat. However the boat also had a slow leak so I figured I'd fix that at the same time.

Last night I inflated the dinghy to full pressure, and started spraying it with a bottle of soapy water. Starting at the bow and working back everything looked good. Then I got to the stern where the tail cones are. One area foamed like crazy, an obvious large leak. Then I found literally dozens of small spots that foamed up! There was also leaking from one of the taped joints in the cone.

The bigger leaks I can just put patches on, but a lot of these little leaks are so numerous patching them will be tough to do. Are there any sealers out there that could bepoured or sprayed into the tube to seal it, like the stuff for auto tires? Anybody had good luck with that? If the leaks are slow enough that I have to pump the boat up every couple of days, I could live with that.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 03-31-2010
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Gary, some bad news. The French government condemns life rafts at ten years of age, mainly because the "French" brand, Zodiac, used glue which decays and falls apart after ten years. The seams become unreliable and you'll be playing wack-a-mole patching leaks forever.

You can clean and patch, but you'll never catch up with them all. I suppose you could use Tire Goop or something similar, but you'd need a lot of product and even then, never be sure you'd gotten it all.

After a Zod is ten years old? Time for a new boat. (Yeah, they never told anyone about that when they sold them new, did they?)
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Old 03-31-2010
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I've had some success sealing the pin holes of a 25 year old Zodiac. Go to your local hardware store to purchase a spool of white plumber's tape and a tube of adhesive that is gas and chemical resistant. I've been using something called Seal All, which comes in a yellow tube. Reinflate your Zodiac, spray it with soapy water, and mark the pin hole locations with tape or a pencil. Scrub the spots so they are clean, let the zodiac dry, deflate it, and then apply the adhesive directly to the pinholes. Let the adhesive cure overnight.

Next, remove the air valves and wrap the inner AND outer valve threads with the plumber's tape. This ensures your valves will not leak. Total investment is about $5.00 and some of your time. If this doesn't work, not a great loss.
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