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Old 20-06-2018, 09:52   #1
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Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

Hi all,

My inflatable Takakat dinghy has a very slow leak in one pontoon. It takes about 2-3 days for it to get moderately flat. It's slow, but it's annoying.

I know the dish soap trick, but I'm worried it will be tricky with a leak this slow. Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 20-06-2018, 11:48   #2
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

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Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
Hi all,

My inflatable Takakat dinghy has a very slow leak in one pontoon. It takes about 2-3 days for it to get moderately flat. It's slow, but it's annoying.

I know the dish soap trick, but I'm worried it will be tricky with a leak this slow. Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance.

Dish soap. It won't be tricky. I've had leaks at that rate. It won't be a sting of bubbles, but one bubble will grow and grow.
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Old 20-06-2018, 11:53   #3
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

Got it. Didn't realize that it would probably blow a big bubble. Thanks Thinwater.
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Old 21-06-2018, 05:20   #4
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

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Dish soap. It won't be tricky. I've had leaks at that rate. It won't be a sting of bubbles, but one bubble will grow and grow.
It might be a fizzy leak.

Check all seams first.

Use a clean paintbrush dipped in soapy water. The bristles give nucleation sites, which can kickstart the bubbles to form in a location where there is a leak. Soapy water will sometimes sheet, then it gets blown off by the air pressure with no bubble forming.

Don't use too much soap, about 2 tbsp per gallon.

This is a good time to wash your boat too.
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Old 21-06-2018, 06:15   #5
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

Also be suspicious of areas that are worn thin. They can be sort of permeable.


Was the boat first and take your time. That's actually a pretty fast leak.
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Old 21-06-2018, 06:18   #6
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

And once you find the leak assuming it's in a position where this is possible I would suggest just put a blob of 5200 Fast cure on it instead of playing around with patches and glues and all that stuff. Works for me.
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Old 21-06-2018, 06:41   #7
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

A little bit if glycerin or corn syrup added to the solution will give you "improved bubbles"; ie. they will get bigger without popping and so are easier to spot.
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Old 21-06-2018, 08:15   #8
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

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And once you find the leak assuming it's in a position where this is possible I would suggest just put a blob of 5200 Fast cure on it instead of playing around with patches and glues and all that stuff. Works for me.
Back when I did repairs, if I saw 5200 on the tubeset, I either refused repairs or would charge $170 to $255 for pre-cleaning for a simple patch and would offer no warranty on my work due to contamination.

If I fixed it from the start, simple patches were $95 for one spot, $75 for customers whom bought a boat from me. Large cuts, usually were about $150. XL cuts were about $250. My largest cut I have done is on my personal RIB. It measured about 48 inches long.

Could I have charged more? Probably.

///

5200 does not belong on PVC or CSM material in pressurized substrate applications.
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Old 21-06-2018, 08:54   #9
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

Thanks everyone for the helpful info.

I know next to nothing about repairing dinghies. It sounds like the leaking tube is made of PVC. Is something like this my best bet once I find the leak?

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-...79?recordNum=1
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Old 21-06-2018, 09:20   #10
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

unless its a cheap PVC boat Id be checking the valves first


my own zodiac has such a leak and neither the main valve or the O ring on the valve cover stops it. Its a new set of valves this time
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Old 21-06-2018, 09:22   #11
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

I used the soapy water method to find some tiny pinhole leaks on my dinghy. Got my kids to help, it was actually fun. We found around 5 tiny holes.

I cut circles of TEAR AID and applied directly (after cleaning with alcohol). Instant fix.
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Old 21-06-2018, 09:35   #12
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

I'm not sure how big and heavy your dingy is but if you are able to rotate it I have had good luck with a tube sealer from West Marine. If it is a really small leak this will work. The good news is if the leak is a bit bigger the stuff wont work but will leak out and you will find where the leak is. Once that has been revealed I would use tear aid. I think it will work on PVC and Hypolan


https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine--inflatable
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Old 21-06-2018, 10:01   #13
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

I have a 10 foot fiberglass bottom Zodiac and used the sealant from West Marine It sealed 3 small leaks I could not find with soap and water. Not easy turning dingy around and upside down Very pleased with the results.
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Old 21-06-2018, 10:24   #14
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

Awesome. Good to hear about the West Marine stuff. I'll give it a shot.
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Old 21-06-2018, 10:30   #15
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Re: Finding a very slow leak in a dinghy

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...you will find where the leak is. Once that has been revealed I would use tear aid. I think it will work on PVC and Hypolan
There are two flavours of TEAR AID. Type A and Type B. One for Hypalon and the other for PVC. Be sure to use the right one. Its good stuff. I've used it quite a bit. I carry some in my dinghy emergency tool kit in case of a small puncture.
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