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Old 12-26-2017, 06:41 AM   #1
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PVC Inflatables

I'd like to know what kind of success others have had repairing seams on PVC (not Hypalon) inflatables.
I have a Zodiac roll-up inflatable with full, segmented floor and inflatable keel. I purchased it new and used it less than a dozen times in two years. I've always assembled and stowed the boat myself using only the foot pump provided for inflation and I've stored it inside.
The floor began to debond from the pontoons beginning at the stem and working back. Of course this happened in relatively open water with my wife and daughter on board. The pontoons are intact and hold air just fine.
I took to a small business that specializes in inflatables and got an estimate of $500.00 for a repair with 3 month guarantee. I've also seen adhesives for the DIYer. I have enough experience with contact adhesives to proceed cautiously.

How many have seen this failure?
Has anyone experienced success procuring or doing this kind of repair?
If so, what materials and processes appeared to contributed to the end result?
With or without specific applicable experience, what is your WAG as to why the seams within the pontoons are just fine and floor to pontoon seams fail so early?
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:02 AM   #2
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Clean, sand, clean ..... 3M5200

Next time buy one with welded, not glued seams.
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:16 AM   #3
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Next time don't buy a Zodiac. Their quality has gone way downhill.

It will probably not help, but call or write to Zodiac and complain.
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Clean, sand, clean ..... 3M5200

Next time buy one with welded, not glued seams.
Boatpoker, 5200 can be amazingly strong but is not compatible with some plastics (Polyethylene or Polycarbonate for example). How long has the 5200 repair of your PVC inflatable lasted?

Yes, next time Hypalon (welded seams) for sure!
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:02 AM   #5
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Next time don't buy a Zodiac..
Yeah, that too..
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:10 AM   #6
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Boatpoker, 5200 can be amazingly strong but is not compatible with some plastics (Polyethylene or Polycarbonate for example). How long has the 5200 repair of your PVC inflatable lasted?

Yes, next time Hypalon (welded seams) for sure!
It was on an Aquapro PVC. The 5200 repair lasted for about 3yrs. In the 15yrs I had that boat it was never deflated or covered and used between Toronto and Bahamas.
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:48 AM   #7
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I agree with writing (emailing) zodiac. Also try contacting defender, they have a great service department with lots of zodiac stuff. They may be able to help.
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:43 PM   #8
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It was on an Aquapro PVC...
I would call that a very successful repair! Thanks for the details.
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:54 PM   #9
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GMB,you might get some help from this old thread: Fixing Dinghy Leaks
I was using the dinghy over Christmas and the repairs are fine, no water leaks and tubes holding pressure.
I believe stressing seams,either by the manufacturers shipping packing crunching the dinghy to the smallest possible volume, and owners deflating/rolling the dinghy up, is not good. Motor vibration and torque, especially affecting the transom attachment, is a problem too. However, an afternoon spent testing diagnosing and repairing can be worthwhile.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:17 PM   #10
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If an inflatable is not meant to be deflated and rolled up, what is the point in having an inflatable in the first place?

I'm just about convinced that the Korean inflatables are as good as the Zodiacs at half the price.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:45 PM   #11
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If an inflatable is not meant to be deflated and rolled up, what is the point in having an inflatable in the first place?

I'm just about convinced that the Korean inflatables are as good as the Zodiacs at half the price.
Good point! Weight for size is the big +, as iseasily small ob.driven. Rolling up is not nearly as hard on seams and joins as mfr packing.
Ours is Korean made,10 years old,still ok (after some repairs), and looks good. If it dies and needs a new one it will likely be the same Korean brand.
If I had better crane capacity and storage, a "tinny"(alum)as we call them, could make more sense.
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Old 12-28-2017, 06:11 PM   #12
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The cheaper Zodiacs (Zoom, etc.) are made in China where labor is cheap enough that gluing a PVC boat together still pays. The Pros and the like are still made in Europe (and this is reflected in the price). Pros are thermowelded.

If you are going to make a repair using PVC patches and adhesives, you need to maintain the correct humidity throughout the curing process for the best results. Most inflatable repair places have a climate controlled area where repairs are performed. Doing a repair in your backyard in FL will likely result in a poor bond.
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