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Old 06-22-2011
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Fixed me dinghy!!...

I am posting this because I had a bit of a time researching how to fix my Avon inflatable, and perhaps someone can use this information.

One of the inflation valves on my 33 year old Avon Redseal dinghy broke a couple of days ago as I was inflating it. Not surprising, I guess, due to its age and repeated thermal stresses of the plastic valve. It broke into two pieces, one inside the chamber and one laying on the deck of the dinghy.

I did a bit of online research and found that most thought it was a difficult repair, with some folks stating that repair was best left to the professional inflatable repairmen.

Well there aren't a lot of pro inflatable dinghy repairers around here, and shipping a 65 pound dinghy is non-trivial in both process and expense, so I decided, what the hell, there's little to lose except a few bucks, because the dinghy is useless without repair, so I went to WM and bought a new valve and a hypalon repair kit ($150).

I pulled the valve half that was inside the chamber out through the existing hole and pulled off the hypalon doubling pieces around the hole, inside and out. Then I sanded the old adhesive around the hole, from the front and back (inside the chamber), which research said was a critical step.

I put the new valve half into the chamber. I had to cut the edges of the existing hole at the cardinal points about three eighths inch in order to get it in, but I knew the new doublers, valve body, and adhesive would seal the slits, so I had no problem with that. Then I installed the inside and outside doublers on the hole. I used the instructions in the kit for "curing" the adhesive, and I used the old doublers as templates for cutting holes for the valve in the new doubler material. After the doubler material was in place and cured, screwing the two halves of the valve together through the hole was trivial. I torqued the coupling of the two valve halves hand tight as hard as I could, but used no tools on it.

I inflated the chamber and there were no leaks on the valve or around the doublers, but there were a couple of pinhole leaks about a half inch from the doubler material, in the hypalon...probably due to sanding too aggressively when removing the old adhesive. I deflated the chamber. I cut a piece of hypalon from the kit, and, following the instructions from the kit, repaired the leak.

I re-inflated the chamber over six hours ago and it's holding pressure fine. I have fixed me dinghy. I think anyone with a bit of mechanical aptitude and a little experience at fixing things could do this repair. It is not much more difficult than repairing a bicycle tube.
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