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Old 23-05-2013, 10:25   #1
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Seized Zips

I have several zips that have seized up. Most, but by no means all, look as though they have a "salt" buildup around the zip. Some are on inside cushions, some outside.


I have tried WD40, T9 and 3M 5Way penetrating oil, but nothing lets the zip move from it's zammed position. The zips are all nylon or plastic.


Has anyone any ideas how to free them?
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Old 23-05-2013, 10:30   #2
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Re: Seized Zips

Let me guess... the teeth are plastic, the slider is metal?

You just have to have some patience. Try cleaning the slider with soap to get off the penetrating oils, and then apply some vinegar or other acid to dissolve the corrosion. Work the slide about. Then, if you can get it to move, rinse the acid and then reapply the oils. I use silicone, but you can also use lip balm in a pinch. Keep the zippers lubricated from henceforth, should be good

If the slider awa the teeth are plastic, it may be UV damage and the zipper needs replacing.
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Old 23-05-2013, 11:28   #3
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Re: Seized Zips

I have used vinegar with great success .. then make sure you not just lubricate but exercise them regularly -- just like you need to exercise your seacocks.
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Old 23-05-2013, 12:52   #4
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Re: Seized Zips

I've had a number of zippers corrode up. Some I was able to free and lubricate with WD40 or SailCote to ease the pressure needed to move the zipper but they still hung up at the original corrosion point. No amount of cleaning with a brush, soap and more lubrication solved the problem. Leave them for a short while without working the zipper and they would freeze up again. Ended up throwing them away. Prior to the zippers seizing, they worked fine, some for years. Once they froze in position, all was lost. These were nylon teeth zipper with metal zipper closure.

Next time will try the vinegar but just cleaning and lubricating isn't a fix.
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Old 25-05-2013, 13:34   #5
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Re: Seized Zips

Hi everybody,

FWIW,

We have used jewelers' screwdrivers and dental picks to try and remove the corrosion products that happen when the zip pull is aluminum. The corrosion products expand, and may deform the zip teeth, which could explain why they are wont to re-stick at the jammed position. I have also seen zips blocked by salt crystals. If it's a garment, or something small, an overnight soak in freshwater will free that.

Most zippers are not too hard to replace. We've done lots of them, can even be done by hand in some uses. But the clue to happy zips is silicone spray. Not only the sailmaker and the canvas worker have told us this, but since we've been doing it, all the zips move freely, like bad zipper karma is a thing of the past. Hooray!

Ann
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Old 25-05-2013, 13:55   #6
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Re: Seized Zips

The secret for freeing zippers is to wash and lube them frequently. I bought zipper grease once but it looked just like the dielectric grease I have so I use that, a clear silicone grease. Once they are seized you end up replacing them.
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Old 26-05-2013, 05:34   #7
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Chap stick is what I use to maintain zippers. Works likes champ, even if they are getting sticky. Learned it from a canvas guy.
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Old 26-05-2013, 05:48   #8
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Replace zippers with YKK brand (Delrin teeth and sliders) and spray with silicone. In the tropics be ready to replace every 6 years or so. Other brands don't last that long.
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Old 26-05-2013, 06:36   #9
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Re: Seized Zips

Sometimes it is a lost cause. However, somewhere I read heating the vineger helps. I tried it hot vineger on zippers on a center console fishing boat, well encrusted, and it worked.
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Old 26-05-2013, 08:19   #10
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Re: Seized Zips

Remove the slider and gently pull the zipper apart. You will have to resew a stop on one end of the zipper to keep the slider in place. Easily done by hand.
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Old 26-05-2013, 08:24   #11
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Re: Seized Zips

Boiling hot water may help. Removing visible salt grains with needle may help. Force NOT. Once you budge it, you win.

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Old 26-05-2013, 14:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Duckworth View Post
I have several zips that have seized up. Most, but by no means all, look as though they have a "salt" buildup around the zip. Some are on inside cushions, some outside.

I have tried WD40, T9 and 3M 5Way penetrating oil, but nothing lets the zip move from it's zammed position. The zips are all nylon or plastic.

Has anyone any ideas how to free them?
There is something that others are missing. Yes, clean them, use vinegar and dielectric grease, but don't forget that the pull (handle) on older zippers needs to function properly in order for it to unlock in order to slide. Try putting a twist tie through the attachment and use that to pull the zipper. If it can be moved, it will release and slide up and down. If it still doesn't move, it's seriously encrusted or rusted. Hope this helps.
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