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The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

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  • The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

    Hi everyone,

    After reading some of the posts on this website, I thought I'd sign up and help out where I can. I've been in the inflatable industry for about 10 years now, 7 of which I worked directly for Zodiac. The ' Strongan ' name is used because it is different than all other pvc's in the market. Difference is that Zodiac has 2 threads inside the fabric....1 running longitudinal in the tube and the other running horizontal....which is why you may see the ' Duotex ' word in their catalogues. Almost all other pvc's in the industry have the single thread between the layers of fabric. The dual thread reduces the bendability in the tube when on the water. I have seen some comments about the thickness of fabrics. The thicker the fabric does not mean it is more durable...if anything, it is harder to work with when doing repairs. What counts in any brand of inflatable's fabric, is what is inside the fabric.

    I've done several repairs to inflatables, rigged up quite a few, and have seen brand names come and go over the years but if anyone has a question to ask me, please feel free here to ask and I will do my best to help out with my comments, concerns and opinions.

    Cheers.

  • #2
    Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

    Hi,

    I think I'm going to take you up on your offer and ask if you had any experience with the Saturn brand as far as durability and service life are concerned

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

      I have a 1992 Zodiac Futura MKII Sport GT (What a long name). The glue failed on the boat as it was stored in a hot location, but under a tree and a fabric cover. I removed the transom and floor and reglued everything back in. So far no issues with my repair. As I understand the thermobonded tubes rarely fail? Any idea what the life expectancy of the PVC is? I have started to see tiny cracks around the very back of the speed tubes, and had one fail due to too much weight on it while on the beach. The tube has since been repaired with a small patch at the rear seam.

      Is there any other info you could share on my specific boat? Any idea what the top speed should be with a 2 stroke 40hp?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

        Originally posted by megaxyu View Post
        Hi,

        I think I'm going to take you up on your offer and ask if you had any experience with the Saturn brand as far as durability and service life are concerned
        Hi there, I don't have much experience with those boats although I have heard good things about them. The life expectancy of a pvc boat should be 10 years minimum, longer if taken well care of.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

          Originally posted by Peter_C View Post
          I have a 1992 Zodiac Futura MKII Sport GT (What a long name). The glue failed on the boat as it was stored in a hot location, but under a tree and a fabric cover. I removed the transom and floor and reglued everything back in. So far no issues with my repair. As I understand the thermobonded tubes rarely fail? Any idea what the life expectancy of the PVC is? I have started to see tiny cracks around the very back of the speed tubes, and had one fail due to too much weight on it while on the beach. The tube has since been repaired with a small patch at the rear seam.

          Is there any other info you could share on my specific boat? Any idea what the top speed should be with a 2 stroke 40hp?
          The thermobonded seams are the strongest point on the tubes and should never come apart! I do know that the mid 90's zodiacs have a good chance of having the floor and or transom attachments come unglued. It is unfortunate however the new models are all welded in place.

          With a 40HP motor on that boat you will fly! Probably getting upwards of 45mph...which is pretty quick considering the boat only weighs about 200lbs. Nice to hear you got the transom back in place!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

            Zwapp420, my boat doesn't go nearly 45 mph, more like 28 mph with one person and only in choppy water. The prop should probably be replaced, as it has been dinged. It has a 2 stroke Evinrude. Any recommendations? Composite vs aluminum? Don't want stainless. Adjustable prop vs two speed vs fixed? The challenge I have is we scuba dive from it with hundreds of pounds of gear.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

              Only way to prop it correctly is have a tach (tinytach or some kind of portable tach) to get correct rpm. Guessing the correct prop is useless.
              1975 Starcraft SS-16' / Converted to a Side Console
              1978 70hp w/ OEM Power trim
              17P Stainless Prop. 33mph loaded with gear(incl 4 batteries/6gal fuel)
              1975 Starcraft Super Sport- Resto currently "in progress"
              https://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=547770

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                If you are using the boat for diving with a couple people and a couple hundred pounds of gear, of course you won't get top speed. If you go with a higher pitched prop, you will get out of the hole faster but you will lose on top speed and vice versa, lower pitch, higher speed. Definitely replace your prop, or take it to a shop who can fix it as those dings will reflect on performance.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                  I have one of the unfortunate "mid 90's" (about 96 I think) that the floor came unglued last year, so I got about 6 years on it (light use, stored alot). The place that sold me the glue to repair it (2 part glue - $70/pint) said that this is the same glue the factory used for the floor. So this means that I will get about another 6 years before it comes unglued again. Is that true?

                  Also, has anybody come up with a way to "weld" the floor seam to the tubes using some kind of portable plastic welding.

                  Thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                    More like two years when you reglue it yourself and no, none is doing thermobonding on inflatable repair. We do have a couple of thermobonders that we use with liferafts, but the material on an inflatable is much to thick. Also, PVC boats are so cheap that after 8 to 10 years you are better off dumping it anyway.
                    Elvin
                    My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

                    The 3 Rules:

                    1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
                    2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
                    3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                      Originally posted by zwapp420 View Post
                      Hi everyone,

                      After reading some of the posts on this website, I thought I'd sign up and help out where I can. I've been in the inflatable industry for about 10 years now, 7 of which I worked directly for Zodiac. The ' Strongan ' name is used because it is different than all other pvc's in the market. Difference is that Zodiac has 2 threads inside the fabric....1 running longitudinal in the tube and the other running horizontal....which is why you may see the ' Duotex ' word in their catalogues. Almost all other pvc's in the industry have the single thread between the layers of fabric. The dual thread reduces the bendability in the tube when on the water. I have seen some comments about the thickness of fabrics. The thicker the fabric does not mean it is more durable...if anything, it is harder to work with when doing repairs. What counts in any brand of inflatable's fabric, is what is inside the fabric.

                      I've done several repairs to inflatables, rigged up quite a few, and have seen brand names come and go over the years but if anyone has a question to ask me, please feel free here to ask and I will do my best to help out with my comments, concerns and opinions.

                      Cheers.
                      Did you work for ZNA or did you work in France or Morocco?
                      Elvin
                      My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

                      The 3 Rules:

                      1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
                      2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
                      3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                        Originally posted by TOHATSU GURU View Post
                        Did you work for ZNA or did you work in France or Morocco?
                        ZNA my friend.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                          Do I know you? I think I know/knew everyone on the Rec and MilPro side.
                          Elvin
                          My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

                          The 3 Rules:

                          1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
                          2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
                          3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                            Originally posted by zwapp420 View Post
                            If you are using the boat for diving with a couple people and a couple hundred pounds of gear, of course you won't get top speed. If you go with a higher pitched prop, you will get out of the hole faster but you will lose on top speed and vice versa, lower pitch, higher speed. Definitely replace your prop, or take it to a shop who can fix it as those dings will reflect on performance.
                            Since you're in the business, how about taking another crack at that...
                            When a shop owner, tech, highly knowledgeable shade tree mechanic, and others generously offer free advice that solve your problem...

                            Can you kindly close out your topic with the solution, so other anxious boat owners can benefit from your experience...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Re: The truth about Zodiac's PVC Fabric

                              He got it backwards, but anyone can make a mistake
                              Elvin
                              My answers are like Zen...It may not be the answer you want, but it is generally the answer you need.

                              The 3 Rules:

                              1) Look in your service manual first...Then ask me if it is correct.
                              2) Understand that your desire to repair your engine does not mean that you have the ability to do so.
                              3) If you are confused, take your engine into a dealer..Then let them be confused...At least, in theory, they sent someone to outboard 101.

                              Comment

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