Cosmetic Make-Over

  1. Areas that have had abrasion to the point that fabric is showing can be painted with Gaco Hypalon paint. Don’t use this technique to attempt to stop air leaks (it won’t work). This is a remedy for random scratches, but areas where there is constant wear, a pad or urethane coating should be applied. In some situations you may be able stop the cause if it originated from improper trailering or dragging of the boats. To apply the paint, first clean the surface with MEK using a cloth and clamp. Then build-up layers using the same process explained in gluing;short bristle paint brush and multiple thin coats.
  1. The aging of a boat will always produce frayed ends from the nylon base cloth. You can cut the ends off with a scissors and then finish it off by waving a heat gun over the clipped area. This step not only removes them from sight but reduces the chances of future fraying.
  2. If the seam tape, handle or D-ring bases are heavily worn, you can clip the frayed edges and then use a Dremel tool to bevel the edges and then flash it with a heat gun. To finish it off, use some Gaco paint to touch up the area then put 303 Protectant on it to bring back the shine.
  1. There are two categories of valve to discuss; the inflation valve (Leafield C7) and the pressure release valve (Leafield A6) that we are currently using. They are very similar in how they are installed, a female part inside then a washer between the boat surface and the outside male part. It will leak if it is not tight enough (use the spanner tool to tighten it) and it will leak if the washer is installed upside down. The washer has a ribbed side and a flat side. The ribs needed to be in contact with the boat fabric.
  3. The inside center of the valve has a spring loaded stem with a flat plunger on the bottom. When blowing air into the valve the spring will allow air to pass into the chamber. In order to let the air out you will need to push the stem down and twist it to the right. This will be in the open position to allow the boat to fully deflate. There are replacement caps available should you loose any.
  5. The pressure release valve (PRV) is used in the inflatable floors simply because the shape will not allow the pressure that a tube will. Unlike the mattress shape of the floor, the tube is a circle that can distribute increases in pressure evenly. The valve works with a spring that opens it at a per set pressure. You will notice a screen is mounted on a rubber gasket in the center of the valve. This keeps particles from fouling the inside. Should your valve fail to open at the designated pressure, remove the valve and rinse it in soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.
  6. TIPS If you spray either valve with soapy water and it leaks from the outside of the valve it is either loose, washer upside down or the valve is off center. If your PRV fails to work after cleaning, replace it immediately. The result maybe a blown I-beam in the mattress floor repair cost $300. Under the filter screen is a colored dot that indicates the PSI, make sure it is the mfg suggested setting.
  1. The obvious signs are hearing it sloshing around or rubbing the two sides of a deflated tube together and it appears slippery/slimey inside you probably have old moisture inside (part of a routine inspection). The moisture will break down the glue joints so it needs to be removed. Removing the valve to the chamber is the first step in cleaning it out. This is a great time to use a pulley. Hoist the boat up to an angle where you can get the excess water to pool, then use a shop vac with a hose outside into the sunlight. Attach a piece of PVC pipe to the end of a blower and stick it in the chamber. There should be enough space in the valve opening so that air will inflate the chamber and air will pass out the hole. The idea is that the water will evaporate in the warm sun and blow out the hole…it works!
  • TOOL OF THE TRADE & SET UP to turn boats quickly
  1. Make a complete list of all the necessary equipment you commonly use along with the supplier and item number. That way when you needed it it’s easy to find. Make a point of setting up your work station so that everything has a spot. Put everything back after each time it used, even if it’s between uses or between phones and shuttles so you can find it when it’s needed. Post a not pad where you can list “need to purchase” as you get low on something. And finally for things that have a shelf life, use a magic marker to note the dates.
  1. Start a system wherein you number every one of your boats. You log the numbers on a master sheet that you use to not problem areas. Some of the repairs may not require immediate action but the listings will allow you to manage problems before they become critical. You can also use the chart to track common problems so that you can try to use preventative measures to stop the problems from occurring.
  1. Make it easy for staff to assist (silent witness) in getting problem boats identified. Have a tagging system that will get information about a boat number with a problem to the office and to repair center for action. Getting immediate information about what and where the problem is can greatly increase the turnaround of the boat back into the fleet. Otherwise the boat ends up in a pile and nobody knows what then problem is. It may be as simple as tightening a valve, but when it’s in a pile they all will appear to be major repairs.