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Old 02-04-2010, 23:21   #1
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Zodiac Leaking

Hi, my 3 year old 2.9m zodiac has a slow leak in the starboard pontoon. I can't see any bubbles underwater or holes in the top surface. It needs pumping every 5 days to keep it tight, doesn't go flat, just looses enough air to make the pontoon softish, takes about 8 pumps per 5 days.
Is this a valve problem?
If it had a hole in it surely it would deflate in a matter of minutes.
Any help with this one would be appreciated!
Cheers from Keith.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:34   #2
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My Avon had a similiar leak. I wet the whole thing down in soapy water and sure enough a pin hole in the tube was doing it. The previous owner said he soaped it and couldn't find it. I don't know, if you've already soaped it maybe try again?
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:47   #3
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If you can't find any bubbles with soapy water incl. around the valves, have someone else do the soap test. If nothing is found you will have to accept the possibility that the PVC has become porous and start saving for a new dinghy. Buy a Hypalon material dinghy then to avoid the problem in the future (Zodiac is PVC which is often fine but not in the tropics because UV deteriorates it).

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:46   #4
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Thanks Hummuingway and Nick, I will give it the old soapy water test and see what happens, it is the big tube that is deflating, it seems to be linked into the port tube somehow. It was doing it before Christmas and I realised that I had left the valve unscrewed inside the big outside sealer valve, and that stopped it then. But not this time.!
cheers from Keith...........
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Old 04-04-2010, 13:53   #5
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If your Zodiac valves are leaking, check for sand or dirt in the valves. Clean with mild soap and water. Remove and inspect rubber o-rings and seals, and replace if worn or cracked.

Evidently, the inner diaphragm on semi-recessed valves or delrin valves was never intended to be airtight. It just keeps the air from rushing out while you install the outer plug or cap. The valve is supposed to be airtight when the outer plug/cap is installed.

Inflate your boat to maximum pressure. You’ll need a shop or garage, somewhere indoors out of the wind and sun. Get a spray bottle filled with water and dish soap dish detergent. Spray the entire boat, wait a few minutes and watch for bubbles. Some will appear large and grow quickly. Others may appear as small “creamers”. Mark these leaks with a pencil or china marker, something you can erase later.

Don’t worry to much about this very minor leak. Many of us have to pump more than 8 strokes, just to account for temperature changes.
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Old 04-04-2010, 19:39   #6
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Ahoy Gord! Makes a lot of sense to me, I will service the valve.
Sheltered places to test for leaks are a bit scarce out here on the anchorage at Patong beach! I reckon it's the valve, although my crew did scrape the growth of off the bottom 6 weeks ago?
Fair winds from Keith..............
About to depart Phuket for the cruise back to Malaysia.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:12   #7
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valve

Hi guys, I just found you when I googled "leaking valve on a zodiac" haha

I had a 12hr slow leak in one of the cells and traced it back to the rear valve...I tried the "flood the valve with soapy water while balancing the boat on it's side" trick and yup, there was a bubble every 5 seconds or so....

I have not used the boat for a few years though and so after giving it a good dousing with soapy water to test the valve, (while repeatedly blasting myself with said soapy water) the valve appeared to stop bubbling all by itself!!

I am guessing the valve seals were very dry or dusty and the lube from the minute or so of soapy water testing provided enough lube to make the seals true again....

.....so I would try this before you disassemble your valves!

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Old 05-04-2010, 04:38   #8
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Hey Quivering!, I will give it a clean with detergent and a slap of Vaseline, and Bob's your Uncle?
Cheers Fred!!
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