Inflatable Boat Valve Types for PVC and Hypalon Dinghies, Sport Boats, RIBs & Rafts
There are several inflatable boat valve types that can be used to replace any worn out valve on any craft. A complete replacement, rather than an attempt to repair an old valve, is usually a more suitable solution to air leak problems.
The valves are the part on the raft’s air chamber to blow air in or let the air out. There are several leading inflatable boat valve types including Leafield, Halkey-Roberts, and military style. Here is a brief look at some of them:
Leafield: These British-made valves are the choice of most inflatable boat manufacturers. These one-way valves are durable, fast, and easy to maintain as they clamp directly to fabric and come in several types, including recessed boot or bootless. The A-7 and B-7 valve have their core assembly located inside the tube so they are more difficult to repair. The popular C-7 Leafield is located outside and is very easy to work on.
Halkey-Roberts: The company makes several types of valves designed to clamp directly to most boat fabrics. The one used with inflatables has double seal protection, a low profile, and is made from acetal and aluminum. Similar to the Leafield, a Halkey-Roberts valve has a spring-loaded center post that allows air to pump one way into the chamber. When you want to deflate the tube, you depress the post.
Boston Valve: This one-way, screw-type valve is economical and easy to replace. It uses a two-part system with an inner flap flange, and an outer cap as the main seal. You will find this particular inflatable boat valve type on Sevylors.
Maravia: The older model AD-1 is a one-way valve that fits in a recessed valve boot, while the AD-2 has a threaded base. They operate similar to the Leafield and Halkey-Roberts valves.
Military-style: These metal valves, such as those made by Samgong, are very sturdy. To operate the military style, simply twist off the cap and air flows in either direction. The biggest complaint by boaters is that these types of valves can get stuck in the Open position if there is any corrosion on the metal.
Replace a Defective Valve
In most cases, if you have a slow leak you can simply clean debris around the rubber gasket inside the valve rather than replace the whole thing. You can also replace just the rubber seal only, or buy a valve repair kit for your specific type online. If you need to replace the valve entirely, you will need either a special valve wrench (i.e., Leafield, Halkey-Roberts, and AD-2) or a screwdriver (military and AD-1).
To remove an old valve, first deflate the boat:
- If the valve is glued on, heat the area with a hair dryer to soften the adhesive. Hold the valve cup through the tube fabric and work it out through the hole.
- If the valve is screwed together, hold the valve cup through the fabric, and insert the valve wrench to work the body out of the nut, which stays inside the tube. If you need to remove the nut as well, work it out through the hole in the fabric.
- If the valve shows any damage, replace it rather than clean it.
Install a new valve:
- Remove any old adhesive using 60-grit sandpaper.
- Insert a new valve nut inside the tube.
- Using marine sealant, coat the valve threads and the edges that contact the fabric.
- Screw the body to the nut gently. Tighten it using the valve tool, holding the nut through the fabric.
- Let the sealant dry for 24 hours.
- Pump up the tubes and check for any air leakage.
Replace any damaged or defective valve with a newer inflatable boat valve type rather than try to replace it with the same old model. Along with using modern adhesives, a quality valve such as the C-7 is the best solution for installing on any dinghy, sports boat, RIB, or raft, as well as on both PVC and Hypalon inflatable boats.
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