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Old 06-05-2020, 05:53   #1
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How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I found a good deal on a left over Cadet Rib 290 in PVC that the dealer is discounting. I did some research here and found mixed reviews. This particular RIB has the flat deck/double floor which would be nice for my dog. He was always trying to get his footing in our old single floor RIB.

Should I look at another brand? There are some great deals out there on 310 lenght stuff but 290 series RIBs are the biggest I can fit on deck. I'm definately on a budget.

The dealer also has a deal on a Mercury 300 Ocean Runner which has a single floor. But this model specs out at 140 pounds which seems high.
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:33   #2
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I won’t buy another one myself, but in all honesty one may outlast the PVC in Tampa Bay, or are you one that winters in Fl and goes home during the Summer months?
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:35   #3
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I am full time in FL but can store it covered or maybe indoors when not in use.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:40   #4
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I have seen many newish Zodiacs come apart at glue. Elsewhere the quality seems excellent.


Imho this is due to the glue decomposing in the heat of the sun. Most obvious places are handholds and hardware attachments added onto the tubes. On many newer Zodiacs also the floor is glued to the tubes. (A folding floor, that could be otherwise welded).



The tubes should be always WELDED for lasting.



If you can physically access the sample and check if they used glue in any exposed parts, this may help you make a sound decision.


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Old 06-05-2020, 08:26   #5
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I have seen many newish Zodiacs come apart at glue. Elsewhere the quality seems excellent.


Imho this is due to the glue decomposing in the heat of the sun. Most obvious places are handholds and hardware attachments added onto the tubes. On many newer Zodiacs also the floor is glued to the tubes. (A folding floor, that could be otherwise welded).



The tubes should be always WELDED for lasting.



If you can physically access the sample and check if they used glue in any exposed parts, this may help you make a sound decision.


b.
Mine was a Hypalon boat, and yes the glue is what finally did it in, but prior to that the rail got soft and gooey and would smear the big boat if it bumped, the hull would get water in it, between the hull layers, and the only way to get it out was to remove the engine, take it out of the water and remove a plug and turn it upside down to drain. I found that most of the water was entering in thru the front locker and sealed that and it helped, but didnít stop it all. I installed an inspection port in the floor so that I could pump the water out, that didnít work as the hull has baffles in it, I assume to strengthen the floor, finally installed a drain, but because of the baffles you had to hoist the dinghy vertically for it to drain.
As the glue began to fail things like the oar locks fell off, the cleats fell off and then the tubes began to delaminate and leak, I had to pump it up before every use/
It began to fall apart in two years, and was dead in three, by dead it didnít actually fall completely apart, but we were going cruising and I knew it was a matter of not a very long time before a tube unzipped itself along a glue seam and suddenly deflated.

Bad thing was other than being a little heavy, it was actually an excellently designed hull, very, very fast and stable. I assume it was a very good design, but manufactured in the cheapest manner possible. Identical motor and it was almost 10 kts faster than my current AB.

Now just to contrast it, my AB is now a little over two years old, and I have to air it up once a year it seems and that I believe is more temp related than air leak, and I have had zero, as in no problems at all with the AB.

The Zodiac in my opinion was an excellent design, shoddily manufactured.
Mine was I think a Cadet 3.10
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:08   #6
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I had the small one, at a year old ,it got hot in the sun and burst. They wouldn't honour the warranty. Now, before you start asking questions, this was early March in Nova Scotia. Would never buy another one
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:24   #7
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

My experience with Zodiac, I've had a RIB and a normal dinghy with an aluminium floor, is that the former was well designed and badly built, the latter one from Hypalon was fine. But this was in the 80's, they don't make them that well anymore. Now I have a Plastimo with a pumped up sandwich bottom. The material is very good, but thin and will not take much abrasion, on the other hand it makes it light and very easy to handle row and store. I'm very happy with it and I think it will last 5 to 7 years, I'm fine with that. Check out PLASTIMO FUN II PI320VB
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:28   #8
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

The Pi270VH has a rigid inflatable hull AND a rigid inflatable floor. That is even better: https://www.plastimo.com/en/annexes-fun-ii-8986.html
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Old 06-05-2020, 13:25   #9
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I had one in PVC. heavy, poorly made and the only thing that never leaked was the inflatable floor and keel. The stern was a plywood piece that soaked up water. The seams came unglued--they should have all been welded. I would never buy another--but I may have been unlucky and got a real lemon. It went into the tip, after about five years of patch-ups and constant inflations.

In the finish I bought a Tuff-Tender from Polycraft. I also bought a trailer for it, so when ashore I can load it with tents, bedding and tackle and take off into the wilds to go fishing. It tows easily behind a car or 4WD. I have a bimini on it, because I like to fish over coral, sitting out of the tropical sun. That I could not do easily on an inflatable.

Aboard ship it does not deflate and stores on deck--just as the other one did--but it is lighter and rows easily, and is easily driven by a 3 horsepower outboard, but it will take up to fifteen. The inflatable rowed like a pig and was sluggish and pushed a lot of water along with it, using about twice as much fuel and travelling slowly at that. The Zodiac was good to get into and out of--but that is ALL I can say about it that was impressive.

The Tuff-Tender is almost but not quite as good as was the Zodiac in that single aspect. It has pontoon sides, so one can stand on them while getting out also.

The Zodiac was also quiet against the hull--the Tuff Tender makes the occasional tapping noise so it needs fenders--although without them it does not mark the paint. It is foam-filled and is accepted by SOLAS as a life raft for coastal purposes, and also is crocodile nibble-proof. Seriously--crocodiles like to puncture inflatables. Small ones like to get into them too. More than once I had to evict one about four foot long from the Zodiac tender, probably the same one.

Now--if you MUST have an heavy and shorter-life inflatable, I would not touch anything except Hypalon, and get it from Swift or some other quality manufacturer who is prepared to build it themselves and guarantee materials and workmanship instead of out-sourcing it to some distant source of cheap labour and probably cheap material.

I have friends who owned Porta-Boats and who would have nothing else--and for deck storage they would be the ultimate. You need to do some research as to which option is best for you depending on your individual needs.
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Old 06-05-2020, 15:33   #10
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I would stay away from PVC here in Florida as my Cadet 2.6 had the glue dissolve with the floor pulling away. I should have tried 5200 before trashing it!
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Old 06-05-2020, 15:56   #11
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

I have owned Zodiacs in the past, albeit a long time ago when they were a force in the IRB world. Usual dramas with leaks & glued on parts falling off.
I now have a Polycraft 3.0m (plastic boat) with a 15 super Mercury (Tohatsu 18 clone). Great boat, but heavy at 90Kg's, hard to get on the plane when 3 up and is a very wet boat, particularly in any light chop. I have checked out the latest IRB's asked many questions looked at as many sailing boats as possible to see what they had hanging off the back. In my observations, it seems Brig & Highfield are the most common & Zodiacs are like rocking horse poo.
After much research, I have decided to bight the bullet and buy an OC Tender, built in N.Z. The quality is second to none, friends who have an OC Tender cannot praise it enough. 45Kg's (hull only) and will plane with low h.p. (8h.p.) with 2-3 p.o.b. and dry in a chop!!
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Old 06-05-2020, 16:25   #12
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

From Experience: Zodiac is a very poorly made product, (every problem you can imagine). Customer service and warranty basically non-existent. I have now had an Achilles for some time and can highly recommend it.
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Old 06-05-2020, 16:47   #13
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

Bought a zodiac wave 275 two yrs ago from Defender up here in Connecticut-it was last yrs model and i think $800. I wanted something i could lift up by hand from the water and throw it on the foredeck where it spends May-Oct each yr...i think this is a 9 footer, definitely PVC, and just at my limit weight wise about 75 pds (I think) ..slat flooring and keeps 3 of us from swimming from anchor/mooring to the dock..so far so good - no complaints..
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Old 06-05-2020, 17:16   #14
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Banks View Post
I had one in PVC. heavy, poorly made and the only thing that never leaked was the inflatable floor and keel. The stern was a plywood piece that soaked up water. The seams came unglued--they should have all been welded. I would never buy another--but I may have been unlucky and got a real lemon.
OP wants recent experience with Zodiac. I've had one (my second) since 2009 and I have to agree with Mr Banks (above). Everything glued has fallen off, some of the heat seams have also failed. Ditto his experience with the transom. The PVC has sort of held up but it is discolored.

Mine is a FR360 and has the inflatable floor, and that has had to be replaced at about $600. Good thing is that it is light and I stow it below deck when at sea.

But I'm still using it. Tomorrow I intend to go on a 10mile trip in the ocean to get supplies. I keep repairing it and just don't want to by another dingy right now, but next time I might get an Achillies
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Old 06-05-2020, 18:08   #15
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Re: How is Zodiac Quality Lately?

Just say no to zodiac, and definitely say no to mercury ( inflatables). I have a 2007 Achilles 310 with inflatable keel and floor that has held up so good itís ridiculous. This is my second Achilles hypalon, I will see you purchase a third with a rigid hull. Buying a budget boat to save money, sadly will cost you twice as much in the long run. Good luck to you
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