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Old 12-13-2015, 07:33 PM   #1
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Re-tubing RHIB worth it?

Has anyone re-tubed their inflatable? Mine (10 year old AB Inflatables) seems to be springing leaks out of every scratch that used to hold air last year. The fabric may be reaching end of life. The fiberglass hull is ok and the size works ok for our needs.
So re-tube or just spring for a new one?
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Old 12-13-2015, 07:50 PM   #2
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Has anyone re-tubed their inflatable? Mine (10 year old AB Inflatables) seems to be springing leaks out of every scratch that used to hold air last year. The fabric may be reaching end of life. The fiberglass hull is ok and the size works ok for our needs.
So re-tube or just spring for a new one?
Hypolon or polypropolene?
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:00 PM   #3
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Some RIB's are designed for tube replacement, but I don't think the AB is. In which case it is quite a job to do.

What I did for my old Novurania was paint the tubes with Tuff-Coat
Tuff-Coat Inflatable Boat Restoration Paint
It works surprisingly well. It could well give you quite a bit more useable life.

You need to pay particular attention to seams though. I got it to hold air pretty well.One part of one seam still leaked a little, but it would last a few days. But then the Yamaha dealer who serviced the engine thought it was getting noisy, which sounded worrying. Although everyone else thought it was fine, and it ran to WOT ok. I figured that the RIB/engine package did not have a lot of life left so sold it. Quite quickly - I had a dozen inquiries within a couple of days, but then the package was priced with condition in mind. I then bought an aluminum AB with a Honda, which is great. So I can't tell you how long the Tuff-coat will last.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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Has anyone re-tubed their inflatable? Mine (10 year old AB Inflatables) seems to be springing leaks out of every scratch that used to hold air last year. The fabric may be reaching end of life. The fiberglass hull is ok and the size works ok for our needs.
So re-tube or just spring for a new one?
I'm re-tubing our zodiac yl-340 next spring. $3600 and well worth it
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by High Wire View Post
Has anyone re-tubed their inflatable? Mine (10 year old AB Inflatables) seems to be springing leaks out of every scratch that used to hold air last year. The fabric may be reaching end of life. The fiberglass hull is ok and the size works ok for our needs.
So re-tube or just spring for a new one?
If you're talking about a center console bigger than 12ft with a good Fiberglass shell and motor then yes it would make sense.
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Old 12-14-2015, 07:11 AM   #6
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So re-tube or just spring for a new one?

Then there is Craig's list
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Old 12-14-2015, 07:15 AM   #7
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If it helps. We got a quote to replace ours for $5000 on our Caribe 12' RHIB.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:52 PM   #8
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Its Hypalon
Only 8'6"

I would like to give the Tuff Coat a try. Thanks!
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:43 PM   #9
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Hypalon? Only 10 yrs old? I bought a hypalon inflatable in 1990. I reached its end of life last year. Check with the dealer. See if there is a warranty.
Polyester, lucky if you get close to 10 yrs.
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:04 PM   #10
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Its Hypalon
Only 8'6"

I would like to give the Tuff Coat a try. Thanks!
Being that size, you have three possibilities. 1) warranty 2) tuff coat 3) if you get here your heading to the dump. I highly doubt that you can retube that small dink cheap enough to justify.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:35 AM   #11
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If you don't deflate it for passagemaking , try filling it with spray foam.

Good for another decade.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:14 AM   #12
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If you don't deflate it for passagemaking , try filling it with spray foam.

Good for another decade.
I've looked at maybe a 1/2 dozen dinghy's that the owners have tried this. Non of them would be what I call a quality job. The problem is getting the foam into the tubes with an equal expansion. Some have tried going in though the valves, one even cut the back end of the tubes off and started filling from the bow. The tubes float fine, just not very smooth to the touch or to sit on.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:25 AM   #13
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You could also try a dinghy sealer. We've used it 3 times; twice in dinghies and once in an inflatable keel. Excellent results. It's similar to a liquid rubber that you put into the tubes though the valve, inflate, roll the dinghy over several times, change the air and roll again. We use to have to pump up one of our dinghies every other day, after using this stuff, maybe once every three months. For $60, it may be worth a try. There are a few other companies that make similar stuff out there also.

WEST MARINE Inflatable Boat Sealant | West Marine
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
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If you don't deflate it for passagemaking , try filling it with spray foam.

Good for another decade.
Along the same thought but lighter and easier to use...Two part polyurethane expanding foam. Mix resin and catalyst, pour into cavity and allow excess to extrude out of a vent (which could be the same hole used to fill with resin). It will fill completely but will generate a little heat than can be controlled with external cooling via a garden hose.

edit- I would only use this as a last resort when the only other option is replacement. If it works it would only cost about 200+ dollars for the foam.
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:24 AM   #15
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I went the WM sealant route that LarryM referred to above, but I must have turned that my 9 ft. Caribe over and over maybe 30 times to ensure a good even spread. Great results....no leaks for two years. Now, I may just try it again. Leaking down slightly over a month.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:12 PM   #16
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Another vote for tuff-coat.

We used it on a white Novurania - white being one of the more difficult colours to do.

Ran it great for a number of years. There was some crazing in the white top-coat after a few years - didn't seem to impact the air holding - just looked a bit worn up close. We had a bit of extra white and did a touch-up coat a few years in and took it back to 100%.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:27 PM   #17
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As a side note I used tuff cote as the paint to apply my reg. numbers.
Went to a sign shop and got the skeleton of the vinyl numbers instead of the actual numbers. Applied that to the inflated tube as my template. Painted away and then peeled off the vinyl when nearly dry.
No bleeding, nice clean lines.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:28 PM   #18
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Its Hypalon
My 30-year-old 13' hypalon Achilles workboat (used and abused well over 200 days per year) is still going strong. I'm not sure what you have to do to a hypalon boat to make it reach the end of its life in 10 years.
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:22 PM   #19
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I too HAD a hyplalon AB290 that I ended up giving to a friend. He has done something with it. I ended up buying a West Marine(Port Supply) Hypalon 310 for $1800. It was somewhat of a spur of the moment decision as we have an active boating group that likes to use dinghies. So I went for new(at a very reasonable price) over fixing the old one. I am sure the old one would have held up fine after fixing. I think it was a valve that was the issue.
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:42 PM   #20
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My 30-year-old 13' hypalon Achilles workboat (used and abused well over 200 days per year) is still going strong. I'm not sure what you have to do to a hypalon boat to make it reach the end of its life in 10 years.
I can top that, I bought my Achilles in 1984 and its still in use. Wooden flour boards are getting pretty rough but it still keeps on providing usefull service.
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