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Thread: Servicing a Si Tech Inflator Valve

  1. #1
    Senior Member Divin'Hoosier's Avatar
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    Default Servicing a Si Tech Inflator Valve

    Have any of you ever disassembled a Si Tech drysuit inflator valve? Mine is sticking and causing a freeflow into my suit. Not a good thing! It needs to be lubricated I'm sure.

    I got the valve off of the suit easily. (It's a Bare Trilam HD Tech and the valves aren't glued on. I love that!!!) I also removed the air intake nipple and outer o-ring. The problem is I can't get the valve opened. There is a seat on the inside (suit side) of the valve that fits a standard allen wrench. The problem is that when I go to unscrew it, the whole unit rotates including the inflator button. I can't get hold of the button to keep it from turning because it's recessed and is flush with the valve housing. Any ideas? I know the valve is pretty simple inside and the stem/o-ring most likely just need to be cleaned and lubricated. If I can only get to them!

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Fruit Pie the Magician. RIP Mo2vation's Avatar
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    Default You tried the Silicone spray in, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin'Hoosier View Post
    Have any of you ever disassembled a Si Tech drysuit inflator valve? Mine is sticking and causing a freeflow into my suit. Not a good thing! It needs to be lubricated I'm sure.

    I got the valve off of the suit easily. (It's a Bare Trilam HD Tech and the valves aren't glued on. I love that!!!) I also removed the air intake nipple and outer o-ring. The problem is I can't get the valve opened. There is a seat on the inside (suit side) of the valve that fits a standard allen wrench. The problem is that when I go to unscrew it, the whole unit rotates including the inflator button. I can't get hold of the button to keep it from turning because it's recessed and is flush with the valve housing. Any ideas? I know the valve is pretty simple inside and the stem/o-ring most likely just need to be cleaned and lubricated. If I can only get to them!

    Any suggestions?

    Claudette dived a Bare for years. Every once in awhile her's would also stick.

    She was instructed by Bare to spray some silicone spray INTO the valve, then attach a LP hose and fill the suit (presumably to push the silicone onto whatever needed to be lubed.)

    She did this and if I recall, it worked every time.

    Its not taking the valve apart, but it worked for her.

    ---
    Ken
    You've got some new momentum - you better keep on going
    Tomorrow soon will be your yesterday
    You've got some new momentum - you better keep on going
    You've got to move to make it all the way... - NM

  3. #3
    Senior Member Divin'Hoosier's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mo2vation View Post
    Claudette dived a Bare for years. Every once in awhile her's would also stick.

    She was instructed by Bare to spray some silicone spray INTO the valve, then attach a LP hose and fill the suit (presumably to push the silicone onto whatever needed to be lubed.)

    She did this and if I recall, it worked every time.

    Its not taking the valve apart, but it worked for her.

    ---
    Ken
    I haven't heard back from Bare yet. They may tell me to do this as well. I haven't tried it yet.

    "INTO the valve" ... how specifically? Did they have her remove the nipple and spray it in there? Did she depress the inflator button and spray around the circumference?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Divin'Hoosier's Avatar
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    Default

    Bare's answer is buy a new one and replace it. I'll probably end up purchasing one for my save-a-dive kit, but I'd like to try and get some more life out of this one. It only has 120 dives on it so it should have plenty of life left.

    I'll definitely give the spray silicone a try.

  5. #5
    May I have this dive? HBDiveGirl's Avatar
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    Default Sticky inflator valve on a BARE d.s.

    I don't know why, but the 'sticky' inflator valve was the only early problem I had with my XCD2-Tech BARE drysuit: It started around dive #150 with that suit, and recurred for the next 400 dives until I replaced the valve when I replaced the original zipper. (I suspect the problem started when I had a closed circut lift bag which I inflated using my drysuit inflation hose. When I reconnected the hose with my suit, I suspect I blew salt water into the valve each time. Ew.)

    Working silicone into the inflator mechanism worked very well, everytime, for a couple of years.

    I was cautious to avoid getting the silicone spray anywhere on my drysuit, as I don't know if the vehicle in the spray could damage anything.
    So, I packed towels all around the valve, front and back, leaving only the inlet nipple and the press-button exposed.
    Then I either sprayed silicone into the nipple with a straw-nozzle or glooped silicone o-ring grease manually into the opening.

    Then I connected my charged dry suit inflator hose and blew gas through the valve repeatedly, catching the silicone in a towel placed behind the valve.
    It would usually free up the mechanism immediately and then work smoothly for a couple of months.

    If not, I repeated the application until it did.
    I did this fast, in the garage, on the tailgate, or on a boat.

    Only when this trick stopped working, around dive 550 on this suit, did I ask Mark Owens to replace it. He put in a DUI inflator, which has been fine... sticking only rarely and the silicone spray works like a charm. Beach diving coastal waters is really hard on this stuff.

    ~~~~~
    Claudette
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." --Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    Senior Member Divin'Hoosier's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HBDiveGirl View Post
    I don't know why, but the 'sticky' inflator valve was the only early problem I had with my XCD2-Tech BARE drysuit: It started around dive #150 with that suit, and recurred for the next 400 dives until I replaced the valve when I replaced the original zipper. (I suspect the problem started when I had a closed circut lift bag which I inflated using my drysuit inflation hose. When I reconnected the hose with my suit, I suspect I blew salt water into the valve each time. Ew.)

    Working silicone into the inflator mechanism worked very well, everytime, for a couple of years.

    I was cautious to avoid getting the silicone spray anywhere on my drysuit, as I don't know if the vehicle in the spray could damage anything.
    So, I packed towels all around the valve, front and back, leaving only the inlet nipple and the press-button exposed.
    Then I either sprayed silicone into the nipple with a straw-nozzle or glooped silicone o-ring grease manually into the opening.

    Then I connected my charged dry suit inflator hose and blew gas through the valve repeatedly, catching the silicone in a towel placed behind the valve.
    It would usually free up the mechanism immediately and then work smoothly for a couple of months.

    If not, I repeated the application until it did.
    I did this fast, in the garage, on the tailgate, or on a boat.

    Only when this trick stopped working, around dive 550 on this suit, did I ask Mark Owens to replace it. He put in a DUI inflator, which has been fine... sticking only rarely and the silicone spray works like a charm. Beach diving coastal waters is really hard on this stuff.

    ~~~~~
    Claudette
    Thank you Claudette. Good stuff!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Divin'Hoosier's Avatar
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    Default

    Quick update ... I got it fixed. I used 100% silicone. Specifically I used the McNett Seal Saver because I had it lying around. It's 100% liquid silicone. I put it into the air intake port (I had already removed the valve from the suit and removed the nipple), screwed the intake nipple back on and blew some air through the valve. It unstuck immediately.

  8. #8
    Fruit Pie the Magician. RIP Mo2vation's Avatar
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    Default Nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin'Hoosier View Post
    Quick update ... I got it fixed. I used 100% silicone. Specifically I used the McNett Seal Saver because I had it lying around. It's 100% liquid silicone. I put it into the air intake port (I had already removed the valve from the suit and removed the nipple), screwed the intake nipple back on and blew some air through the valve. It unstuck immediately.
    This is great news, buddy.


    ---
    Ken
    You've got some new momentum - you better keep on going
    Tomorrow soon will be your yesterday
    You've got some new momentum - you better keep on going
    You've got to move to make it all the way... - NM

  9. #9
    Diving Technologist JS1scuba's Avatar
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    Default

    One might want to consider removing the valve and performing valve service on it. It disassembles relatively easily. A nice soak in an ultrasonic bath (if no ultrasonic ok too) of a light vinegar and water solution, then a rinse, blow out reassemble with proper lubricant. Also dip the ends of your inflator hose connections in a vinegar and water solution as well.

    The silicone spray is a temporary fix, and may work a long time but the culprit is in need of a good cleaning.

    Cheers
    JDS
    Joel Silverstein, VP COO
    Tech Diving Limited
    TDI Advanced Trimix Instructor Trainer 0125
    Need to reach me ? Cell / Text 928-230-3680

  10. #10
    Senior Member Divin'Hoosier's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JS1scuba View Post
    One might want to consider removing the valve and performing valve service on it. It disassembles relatively easily. A nice soak in an ultrasonic bath (if no ultrasonic ok too) of a light vinegar and water solution, then a rinse, blow out reassemble with proper lubricant. Also dip the ends of your inflator hose connections in a vinegar and water solution as well.

    The silicone spray is a temporary fix, and may work a long time but the culprit is in need of a good cleaning.

    Cheers
    JDS
    That's what I was trying to do but I couldn't get the blasted thing open and I didn't want to break anything. I got the valve off the suit easily enough and the nipple and outer o-ring are also easy to remove. Getting into the valve is the hard part. When I use an allen wrench to attempt to remove the retainer on the underside (suit side) of the valve, the entire middle of the valve just turns include the inflate button. I can't figure out a way to stop it from turning to unscrew the retainer without potentially damaging the valve.

    Joel ... any suggestions?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Gombessa's Avatar
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    Default

    The Lindblom book says to hold the button with small pliers (using a scrap of rubber inbetween to protect the button), while using a socket or allen wrench to undo the valve stem.

    The accompanying illustration looks like it might be an older version of the valve though, with a raised button.

    Have you tried pressing the top of the valve down on a sheet of rubber or the back of a mousepad for friction?

  12. #12
    Diving Technologist JS1scuba's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin'Hoosier View Post
    That's what I was trying to do but I couldn't get the blasted thing open and I didn't want to break anything. I got the valve off the suit easily enough and the nipple and outer o-ring are also easy to remove. Getting into the valve is the hard part. When I use an allen wrench to attempt to remove the retainer on the underside (suit side) of the valve, the entire middle of the valve just turns include the inflate button. I can't figure out a way to stop it from turning to unscrew the retainer without potentially damaging the valve.

    Joel ... any suggestions?
    Soak it for a little while in a vinegar / water solution then rinse and dry. You may then need to grip the button on the outside. If you are not hamfisted put a pair of slip-joint pliers on it (im sure Tobin will jump me on this) and grip it tightly so it does not spin but does not mar (tape it) and carefully try to back the allen screw out. Be careful and it should open up.

    Make sure you don't have to dive tomorrow in case you screw it up badly.

    (worse case is put it back together. go on a dive boat and swap it out with someone elses who you don't know while they are sleeping -- just kidding)

    Last edited by JS1scuba; 02-10-2009 at 09:40 AM.
    Joel Silverstein, VP COO
    Tech Diving Limited
    TDI Advanced Trimix Instructor Trainer 0125
    Need to reach me ? Cell / Text 928-230-3680

  13. #13
    Fruit Pie the Magician. RIP Mo2vation's Avatar
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    Default Bwahahahahahahaha

    Quote Originally Posted by JS1scuba View Post
    Soak it for a little while in a vinegar / water solution then rinse and dry. You may then need to grip the button on the outside. If you are not hamfisted put a pair of slip-joint pliers on it (im sure Tobin will jump me on this) and grip it tightly so it does not spin but does not mar (tape it) and carefully try to back the allen screw out. Be careful and it should open up.

    (worse case is put it back together. go on a dive boat and swap it out with someone elses who you don't know while they are sleeping -- just kidding)


    Nicely done.

    Like Ben rolling over to Cali and going all Hooka on his argon.


    Ben: (Sits on bench next to Cali.) "Click. PUFF PUFF PUFF"

    Cali: (chicken winging it into harness, reaching left arm behind him) "Dude, hand me my Dry Suit hose, I can't seem to find it..."

    Ben: (click...) "Oh, shoot was that YOUR inflator hose... my bad, buddy..."





    I recommend dissecting the valve with pliers when you have a spare valve in hand. You know, just in case it blows apart and you're now out of a valve and out of the water.


    ---
    Ken
    You've got some new momentum - you better keep on going
    Tomorrow soon will be your yesterday
    You've got some new momentum - you better keep on going
    You've got to move to make it all the way... - NM

  14. #14


    Default BARE / SITECH inflator valve

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin'Hoosier View Post
    Have any of you ever disassembled a Si Tech drysuit inflator valve? Mine is sticking and causing a freeflow into my suit. Not a good thing! It needs to be lubricated I'm sure.

    I got the valve off of the suit easily. (It's a Bare Trilam HD Tech and the valves aren't glued on. I love that!!!) I also removed the air intake nipple and outer o-ring. The problem is I can't get the valve opened. There is a seat on the inside (suit side) of the valve that fits a standard allen wrench. The problem is that when I go to unscrew it, the whole unit rotates including the inflator button. I can't get hold of the button to keep it from turning because it's recessed and is flush with the valve housing. Any ideas? I know the valve is pretty simple inside and the stem/o-ring most likely just need to be cleaned and lubricated. If I can only get to them!

    Any suggestions?
    No problem dismantling this by using 2 allan wrenches.

    However there are 3 O-rings in it, placement of 2 of those are easy, however the 3rd is the big question, where shall that one be?

    I assume it is somewhere in the plastic surroundings, any one who knows ?

    Thanks

  15. #15
    Unified Team Diver scubamountaingirl's Avatar
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    Default

    probably a stupid question, but this has nothing to do with the Si Tech Inflator Valve recall??? I am sure it is a different problem because no one of the above has mentioned it...

    ?
    w
    I dont know what i am going to do next, but it will be interesting.

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