7-year old Helios has a leak

My 7-year old Helios has a leak on the starboard side, bottom-back (between rower & stern) at the black-oval patch which is over a seam. Can I repair this?

The material is a sythetic rubber called Nitrylon, similar to Hypalon. For the leak you are describing, and it could be either water or air at that point on the boat, I would use a bead of AquaSeal along the edge of the patch that is leaking.

AquaSeal, by McNett Corp., is a clear urethane adhesive sealant. It has the consistency of caulking and needs to air dry overnight. Clean up the area first with alcohol or acetone, let the solvent dry, then lay out the repair dead flat and place a thin bead of AquaSeal along the suspect edge.

The best way to detect the specific air leak section is to use really soapy water and look for bubbles.

To detect the specifics of a water leak, dry the outside of the kayak and fill the interior with some water. You should be able to see where it leaks out from below.

AquaSeal can be purchased from us, but also most dive shops carry this material.

Repair Adhesive

I just bought a Sunny kayak from you through a dealer in
Florida. Love it but one of the carrying handle patches is pulling away from the kayak. What adhesive/glue do you recommend to glue it back down?

This is a pretty easy repair using AquaSeal. Read through the repair procedure. To keep the AquaSeal from squishing out beyond the patch onto the visible surrounding fabric, use masking tape to surround the glued area on the boat hull. The AquaSeal sticks quite well if the area is cleaned first with a solvent, and it’s hard to remove excess adhesive that squishes out beyond your intended area.

AquaSeal can be purchased from us, but also most dive shops carry this material.

Leak in older version of Helios II

I have a leak in the inside of the bow in an older version of the Helios II. It appears to be on the seam, what do you recommend for a repair job and sealant? It is an excellent kayak, that I use frequently. I am weary of using it on any lenghty trips anymore due to the leak.

The older Helios used brass grommets that, when corroded, produce copper ions that do damage to the natural rubber on the inside of the seam.

You can reseal these seams using either SeamGrip or AquaSeal by McNett. The SeamGrip is the same urethane formulation, but a little thinner than the AquaSeal.

First, remove all the old grommets by prying them out. Then open up the seams and place the SeamGrip or AquaSeal into them using a wooden matchstick or equivalent small tool. Pay attention to the seam at the grommet hole. Then cover the seam with some waxed paper and use wooden clothespins as clamps to hold the seam together. Place the pins next to one another for a uniform grip. Let the adhesive dry at least 24 hours.

Reinflate the chambers and look for edge leaks along the seams using soapy water to check for bubbles. You probably will find some seeping seams as the air will wick through the cloth. Mark the leaking edges. Deflate the chamber and use a little Seam Grip or AquaSeal on the leaking edges. Let dry overnight again. It may take a couple of tries to get all the slow leaks.

Can you recommend a grommet that doesn’t corrode the rubber (aside from brass)?

We have been using a nickel-plated brass grommet that works OK. Stainless steel grommets work well, of course, but are hard to find.

I have a friend coming down from the states in November. He can source and bring the grommets down. Can you notify me of the size? Also, will i need a grommet gun?

Yes, you will need either a grommet pliers or a grommet stamp and die set.

I have taken off all of the corroded grommets from my innova, and need to replace them. Unfortunately, I never took not of the size. Can you email me the size grommet that I will need.

#2, which is about a 3/8″ diameter grommet.

Patch Kits

My kayak when bought new didn’t came with any adhesive or patch kit. How can I obtain them?

We have patch kits for $20, plus shipping. Check our store for ordering or contact us directly.

Abrasion Leaking Air

I’ve developed some abrasion on the material on one of the side tubes, in which the red nylon material is worn out and it’s down to the bare fabric material underneath. It’s leaking air. How do I patch it up? Someone suggested AquaSeal but I’m wondering if that’s what you recommend as well.

Abrasions can be covered with AquaSeal, or the slightly thinner formulation of the same urethane material — SeamGrip. Both are made by McNett. Clean the area first with some rubbing alcohol, then apply the urethane to the abrasion and keep it flat until it dries.

If the kayak is losing air, I would first confirm where it is leaking by inflating the chamber and then applying a warm solution of soapy water to the suspect areas. You should see bubbles appearig where the kayak loses air.