When Bad Valves Need to be Cut Off (bladder repair)

When repairing your kite you can usually use heat to remove valves from bladders.  If heat doesn’t work you’re left asking, “how do I remove a bad valve from a bladder?”.  This is when you need to cut the damaged valve off.  The problem is that you’re then left with a hole larger than normal so when the new replacement valve is attached it will stick to the other side of the bladder (no bueno).

The easiest way to work around this is to put something inside the bladder so that the new ‘peel and stick’ valve doesn’t stick to the opposite side.  Here’s a pictorial on how to do it with plastic from a supermarket bag.

1) cut as tight to the valve as possible

2) use a thin plastic and cut it just larger than the hole left by the valve

3) cut a hole in the center of protective plastic 

4) put the protective plastic inside the bladder and center the hole

5) stick the valve on the bladder aligning the valve to the hole in the protective plastic

No need to worry about removing the protective plastic, it will have a rich rewarding life living inside your kite.

If you think you can do it better let us know.

I have a 2012 LF Envy 12M that has a slow leak somewhere. Over about an hour in the water the kite gets soft. There is no damage to the kite and I have no idea how to track down where the leak is and how to patch it. Can you give me a recommendation? Cheers! -Dustin — Asked by versicom

How to find a leak in a Liquid Force Max Flow bladder

Dustin,

If you haven’t identified which bladder on your Liquid Force Envy is leaking you should pump the kite up, pinch off each hose connecting the leading edge to the struts, and let the kite sit.  This will let you know if it’s a strut bladder or the leading edge bladder that is leaking.  If it’s a strut you can remove it pretty quickly and water test it.  The water test will tell you if it’s the valve or a pin hole in the bladder.

If the leading edge lost air you should start with a 50/50 water and soap solution in a spray bottle.  Pump the kite up rock hard and spray down all the valves and hoses.  Let the kite sit for ten minutes and then check to see if there are any bubbles.  You might get lucky and find that one of the valves is leaking.  If so, let us know which one and we can give you recommendations on how to fix it.

If no valves show leaks you’ll want to soap down the leading edge fabric.  Most damage will be on the front edge of the leading edge where the kite comes into contact with the ground when laying leading edge down.  Again, pump the kite rock hard, soak the fabric, and then let the kite sit for ten minutes and check for bubbles.

If you see bubbles you’ll want to note where the leak is (I suggest taking a measurement from the nearest valve) and then pull the bladder out and patch the hole.  

If no bubbles appeared when you soaped down the kite you’ll need to pull the l.e. bladder and water test.  Fill up a tub of water and submerge 1 or 2 feet at a time.

Let us know what you find and if you need help fixing it.  If you need any new bladders for your Liquid Force kite we have a full line up of bladders with OEM valves at this link: 

http://www.airtimekite.com/index.php/airtime-kite-bladders/assembled-bladders/liquid-force-kiteboarding-bladders/liquid-force-kiteboarding-replacement-bladders.html

Regards,

Casey

LEARN THE TRICKS and these repair bits will save your session

image

1) Valve Trap

Designed to re-attach any valve but can also be used to patch a hole next to the valve.  Normal repair tapes either don’t have enough coverage to seal a hole next to the valve or they won’t conform to the irregularities of the valve.  Stick just the top half of a Valve Trap over the valve and you’re done in minutes.

Pinholes in your bladder and no patch kit?  Cut the Valve Trap up and use the pieces to patch pinholes.

2) Pocket knife

Look cool and be prepared.  Leave your scissors at home and pack a pocket knife.  With a pocket knife you can cut the Valve Trap to fit any valve, cut a Valve Trap into small rounds to patch pin holes in the bladder, cut repair tapes to size, open beer bottles, and cut lines out of jets ski impellers.

3) Dacron repair tape

Rip your kite in half and need to finish your session?  Tape that bad boy back together with Dacron tape.  One strip of repair tape on top and a second layer on the bottom of the tear.  Then run some big strips perpendicular like butterfly bandages to give it some real strength.

Tear in the l.e. sleeve or a strut sleeve?  Work some repair tape inside and then put a second layer on the outside.  Use way more than you think you’ll need so that it can’t blowout under pressure.

You know that Dacron tape will work on bladders?  Yeap, we’ve patched holes in bladders that are quarter sized and it worked great.  The adhesive is enough to make the Dacron weave air tight.

Worried about blowing out a bladder tip?  Put a layer of Dacron tape over the bladder tips and they’re now super strong.  You can even use a strip of tape to secure the bladder tips to the end of the bladder sleeve.

———————————————————————————

Now why don’t you click the “Share your tricks” button to the left and tell us how you fix kites in the field.

Dear Airtime, over the past few months my kite's valves have started delaminating. I was thinking of using the Valve Traps to patch them up, but since I have a Liquid Force kite with Maxflow inflation system I am not sure if it will work. Will the Valve Traps fit with a Maxflow inflation valve? Kind regards, Marlies — Asked by marliesmo

Marlies,

Good question.  

You have two types of valve on the kite.  You have the main Max Flow inflate valve and you have the smaller valves that are connected by hoses to the valves on the struts of your kite.

The Valve Traps will work great to repair the smaller valves that connect to the struts with hoses.  However, you want to make sure the valves themselves are in good shape.  Check them to visually to make sure they have no cracks.  If they are in good shape you can use the Valve Traps to repair them.  If the valves are cracked at all you’ll want to buy new valves here.

Please see this post showing you how to work around the fabric reinforcing that is used on the Liquid Force bladders.

The large Max Flow inflate valve almost never needs repair.  What we have seen is the need to clean it out well if it gets sand in it.  We recommend pulling the gasket out of the screw cap and cleaning it.  Also, reach into the valve and make sure there is no sand where the red silicone flap seals against the valve.

Have fun working on your kite and let us know if you have any additional questions.

The AIRTIME kite team

ugg. I just repaired a tear in a bladder with Type B Tearaid after reading that recommendation in an online forum. Then I noticed on the instructions that Type A is recommended for poly material. Can you tell me if I need to pull this all off and redo with Type A. Several online sites (like Murray's Marine and Kitesufari say that Type B is great for bladders. You guys are the experts, your comments would be appreciated. Many thanks. — Asked by nomoss2

This is a really good question, people are often confused by the two types of Tear-Aid. 

First, the difference between the two Types

Tear-Aid Type B is an acrylic based adhesive.  This is the exact same adhesive we used on our FIX KIT valves (same supplier but not private labelled by Tear-Aid). 

Tear-Aid Type A is a rubber based adhesive.  This is the what we use for our ORANGE specific valves.

Second, pros and cons

Acrylic adhesives (Type B) resist chemicals, resist UV, have better stability when exposed to heat, and are recommended for marine environments.  Type B does not adhere well to low surface energy surfaces.  Type B is the best choice for repairing an original or polyurethane bladder (don’t hate me because I believe in science).

The reason that some people don’t like acrylic adhesive (Type B) is that it doesn’t reach full strength for 24-48 hours, however, 80% of it’s strength is achieved after just one hour at room temperature.  Had you tried to remove the patch immediately after adhering it you may have been able to get it to release.

Rubber based adhesives (Type A) will break down more quickly when exposed to chemicals, heat, and UV.You can see this for yourself if you hit Type A with 99% alcohol.  Work some under the edge of the patch with a Q-tip and it will release leaving no residue on the bladder.

The reason people like Type A is that it feels ‘stickier’ and is usually good enough for bladder/kite repair (otherwise people would be complaining about it on the forums).  Type A is very good for low surface energy surfaces.  

Our preferences

We prefer the acrylic (Type B) because it will adhere better to bladders with lot’s of natural lubricant (bladders with a smooth oily feel).  Type A requires much better bladder preparation.  If you don’t have a clean bladder Type A will not stick.

We use the Type A version on our ORANGE bladders because the outside layer is a low surface energy poly that Type B will not adhere to.

If you use Type A on the canopy you may get adhesive leaking out from under it and gathering sand if it’s exposed to UV and heat.

If you want to speed up the adhesion of Type B you should heat it after applying it to the bladder or kite (with caution of course).

You used the right product for your repair and I don’t see any reason for you to even use Type A if you have Type B in your repair kit.  Thanks for posting us your question and let us know if you need any additional explanations.

Casey

Almost done with the move to our new warehouse in the Fort Lauderdale area.  Open house tomorrow night (Tue 29th) 6pm to 9pm.  Come see the place, enjoy some drinks, and get some kites repaired.  There will be at least one of us on a table fixing small kite repairs for free (first come first serve).

AIRTIME kite, Inc
2712 NW 30th Ave
Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33311

From 95 go west on Oakland Park Blvd to NW 31st.  Go left and then second left is in to Lauderdale Lakes Industrial Park.  We’re second road on the right, building on the left, sign out in front of our bay.

Almost done with the move to our new warehouse in the Fort Lauderdale area.  Open house tomorrow night (Tue 29th) 6pm to 9pm.  Come see the place, enjoy some drinks, and get some kites repaired.  There will be at least one of us on a table fixing small kite repairs for free (first come first serve).

AIRTIME kite, Inc

2712 NW 30th Ave

Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33311

From 95 go west on Oakland Park Blvd to NW 31st.  Go left and then second left is in to Lauderdale Lakes Industrial Park.  We’re second road on the right, building on the left, sign out in front of our bay.

IMPROVED VALVE TRAP
The best part of making everything in the USA is that we can easily tweak our kite repair products to make them the very best.  Our latest alteration is an improvement on the release paper on the Valve Trap.
We had a handful of incidents where the slit on the bottom of the Valve Trap was a little too deep and the foam cracked if it was bent too much.  If the foam cracked there was the possibility of an air channel running under the valve and out that crack.
To solve the problem we copied the trusty old band-aid and went for two pieces of release paper that overlap.  It’s easy to peel and there’s no scoring so no chance of damaged foam.
If you think you can make any of our products better let us know.  We’d love to improve the Valve Trap even more.
Valve Tap: Quickly and easily re-use any OEM valve for repairing kite bladders or assembling new bladders.

IMPROVED VALVE TRAP

The best part of making everything in the USA is that we can easily tweak our kite repair products to make them the very best.  Our latest alteration is an improvement on the release paper on the Valve Trap.

We had a handful of incidents where the slit on the bottom of the Valve Trap was a little too deep and the foam cracked if it was bent too much.  If the foam cracked there was the possibility of an air channel running under the valve and out that crack.

To solve the problem we copied the trusty old band-aid and went for two pieces of release paper that overlap.  It’s easy to peel and there’s no scoring so no chance of damaged foam.

If you think you can make any of our products better let us know.  We’d love to improve the Valve Trap even more.

Valve Tap: Quickly and easily re-use any OEM valve for repairing kite bladders or assembling new bladders.

Checking the Screw valve on Cabrinha bladders

The majority of Cabrinha kites with leaking leading edge bladders are missing the o-ring in the screw valve or have sand behind the o-ring in the screw valve.  This is a really simple fix if you know what you’re looking for.  Here is how you can check your screw valve (Cabrinha calls it the Airlock valve on their SPRINT system).

First make sure the o-ring is in the cap of the screw valve.  Here is a picture showing how to pull out the o-ring.

image

If you’re missing the o-ring you’ll have to buy a new cap (or check the hardware store) for $6.  If you have the o-ring make sure that the two sides are still smooth and will seal.  If either side is chewed up or worn out from too much use you should replace it.  Also, make sure there is no sand between the top of the o-ring and the cap.  

Once you’ve cleaned out or replaced the o-ring you should test it.  We like to spray the valve with soapy water and tweak it around to see if any air burps out of it.  

image

Only worry if the valve is leaking without moving it around or if it leaks with only the slightest bump.  You need to really screw the cap down but be careful that the base doesn’t start to spin in the kite or you may tear the bladder.

To make sure you’ve fixed the problem we suggest you leave the kite inflated overnight.  Be sure to clip off the hoses that connect the l.e. bladder to the strut bladders so you can isolate which bladder is losing air if you notice any air loss.

These little tricks can save you a session or down time from sending it in for repair.  If you have any tips or tricks please post them here using the “share your tricks” button on the left. 

If you want us to figure out what is wrong with a kite feel free to send it in to one of our repair locations.  Click here to start a repair ticket for professional kite repair.

Have fun riding,

Casey

what type of glue can i use to reattach de-laminated valves to your orange bladders. — Asked by toddsphresh

Toddsphresh,

Thanks for asking us about kite bladder repair.

If a valve fails on an ORANGE bladder it is going to be between the valve itself and the octagonal patch.  Don’t try to remove the octagonal patch because you’ll only damage the bladder and eliminate any option to glue the valve back on the kite bladder (please see the picture showing a bladder with just the octagonal patch).

octagonal patch still on bladder

To re-attach a kite valve you now have two options.  You can either use a polyurethane glue (aquaseal, seam grip, kitefix, 3m 5200, etc) or you can use one of our Valve Traps.

Glue.  Our ORANGE kite bladders are made up of several layers.  The innermost layers have barrier properties (that’s why they hold air) the outer layers are for sealing.  This outermost layer is a PE with very low surface energy so glues do not adhere well to it at all (people think this is a conspiracy and we’re hiding the ‘secret’ glue but the truth is we don’t know of one that works).  What does stick is rubber based pressure sensitive adhesives (think ‘peel and stick’).  Your only chance to gluing a valve down is to glue down to the octagonal base which is polyurethane (that’s why we said don’t remove the octagonal base).  

The glue is less expensive but requires quite a bit of time to dry completely.  Also, you get usually only get one chance to do it right with the glue.  If you have to redo it for any reason you won’t be able to remove the glue and you won’t have a nice smooth surface to adhere to.

Valve Trap.  The Valve Trap is our ‘peel and stick’ valve fix that is fast, easy, and permanent (well, as permanent as any plastic pieces can be).  Our lab testing has these testing out at over 5 times the life of any other valve attachment method.

Because the Valve Trap has a rubber based adhesive on the bottom you can use the Valve Trap to re-attach a valve to the octagonal base or straight to the ORANGE bladder.  We prefer the Valve Trap because it’s super fast.  The Valve Trap seals over the valve and then you have a nice big 4” diameter ‘peel and stick’ base to adhere to any bladder.  You’ll see lot’s of how to videos on this site.

Any questions feel free to call us.  We manufacture right here in Oregon so there is always someone who can walk you through a kite repair or bladder repair.

Casey

My buddy was looking through ebay to see what used kites were going for and he kept seeing AIRTIME kite repair mentioned and had to share it with me.  I did a quick search and found several active ads all referencing professional repairs by AIRTIME or suggesting you send the kite to AIRTIME for professional repair.  It makes us feel so good knowing people appreciate the quality of our repairs.

When we work on kites we always treat them like they were our own.  We try to make the repairs as pretty as possible to keep the resale value up and if anything ever goes wrong we’ll back up our repairs with a guarantee.

Click here and ask for a repair quote.  You might be surprised that our repairs are no more than the guys fixing kites in their garages charge.