How to fix a leaking valve

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How to fix a leaking valve

Postby Salmonslayer » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:58 pm

I wanted to use my 7m yesterday, but it had a leak. I hate showing up for a session only to have kite gear fail and keep me off the water. It was time for some maintenance. I pumped up the kite today and used the soapy water in a spray bottle method to find the leak. The stopper for the main valve was leaking slowly due to a loose fit. The following is how I fix this problem.

What you needCheap pen like the typical Bic pens you had in school. The back end of a properly sized Drill bit works well too.
Small zip ties
Small pliers
Small “diagonal cutters”
Coffee cup with water as hot as you can work with comfortably.
Valve what you need.jpg
Valve what you need.jpg (163.06 KiB) Viewed 5809 times


Step 1: Remove the stopper from the tab connected to the valve and the Velcro attached to the kite. Use the pliers to hold the stopper in the cup of water until the plastic is warmed from the water. 20 seconds or so should be good enough. Quickly shove the blunt end of the pen into the hole in the stopper and let it cool to room temp. You can speed up the cooling by dipping it in a second cup of cold water. Taking this step will slightly expand the stopper
valve pen stopper.jpg
valve pen stopper.jpg (146.47 KiB) Viewed 5809 times


Step 2: Put a zip tie firmly around the valve just under the collar at the end of the valve. An option would be to add a second wire tie just below the first one. Dip the valve in the cup of water long enough to heat up the valve. Make sure you do not put the valve flange where it is glued to the bladder into the hot water. Heating up the flange may cause the glue to fail. After the valve is heated to the water temp, remove it from the water and quickly tighten the zip tie once again using the pliers because it is wet. Let the valve cool. If you leave the wire tie on the valve it will probably be too tight to put the stopper in. Snip off the wire tie with the diagonal cutter and reattach the stopper to the Velcro and valve tab.
valve putting in water.jpg
valve putting in water.jpg (155.09 KiB) Viewed 5809 times


Valve with zip tie tightened a second time and left to cool.
valve tightened.jpg
valve tightened.jpg (145.78 KiB) Viewed 5809 times


The valve and stopper should now have a tight fit and work fine. An option would be to re-add a zip tie (same position below the valve collar) and tighten it down to the valve while the stopper is in . If you do this, try sliding the zip tie head so it is under the stopper tab after you snip off the excess zip tie plastic tail. This will help protect your hands and kite from the sharp zip tie head.

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Last edited by Salmonslayer on Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:02 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby tfraker » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:06 pm

You come up with some creative stuff, keep it up!


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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby Tom H » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:49 pm

I like the double zip tie idea. Adding some heat shrink over both ends and the area it tightens down to would prevent movement. I have never tried. Just a thought.
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby Shoop » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:21 pm

As long as we're on the subject of valves, is there any way to get the little stopper ball in a one way valve to seat, if it isn't working properly? Right now I have to quickly get my finger over the hole when I pull my pump off, and then quickly get the plug inserted. I'd really like to avoid pulling out the bladder if it can be fixed in place. Ideas?
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby Salmonslayer » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:50 pm

Shoop wrote:As long as we're on the subject of valves, is there any way to get the little stopper ball in a one way valve to seat, if it isn't working properly? Right now I have to quickly get my finger over the hole when I pull my pump off, and then quickly get the plug inserted. I'd really like to avoid pulling out the bladder if it can be fixed in place. Ideas?


Have you tried pumping it up with the valve pointing towards the ground when you remove the air nozzle? The ball should just fall into place. This is easier done if it is one of the struts and not a main filler valve on a 1 pump system.

If it is the main filler valve, try pulling the pump nozzle out quickly and giving the bladder a quick shake. Most time this will allow the ball to move, get caught in the airflow and seat properly.

Your valve may be a little misshaped which is making the ball stick or not allowing it to seat properly. Compare it to another valve to see if there is a difference. If yes, then try dipping it in very warm water and reshaping it a bit.
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby HotLaunch » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:34 pm

Great write-up in the event of a loose valve!

However, one of the best ways to fix problems like these is to not have the problem in the first place right? In this case, always make sure you leave ALL valves on your kite in the open position when you pack your kite away after a session. I think it's pretty easy to just pull the dump valve and forget to open the fill valve. Over time a closed fill valve will eventually stretch out and leak or worse... it will pop open while you are kiting (speaking from experience on one of my old kites). Just my 2 cents
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby Robert » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:04 pm

"Sure you can borrow my kite." 2 weeks later, get the kite back, with the inflate valve left plugged in. "Agh! Fu*k!!"
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby Shoop » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:55 am

Yes, it is the main filler of a one pump that isn't seating. Great tips on trying to get the valve to function correctly. It is on my big kite, so I'll have to wait for a dry day before experimenting, as I probably won't be using it for the next few months. Also appreciated hearing about opening up both the inflate and deflate valves. Wasn't ever taught that and the thought never occurred that they might stretch out over time. Given enough time, probably would have learned that one the hard way........not like that's anything new.
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby wylieflyote » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:03 am

Shoop wrote: Also appreciated hearing about opening up both the inflate and deflate valves. Wasn't ever taught that


Odd, It's written in bold ink next the valve on the LE (Naish)
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Re: How to fix a loose valve

Postby C.J. » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:23 pm

great write up.

before I had switchkites or cabs (both have screw in valves) I would always try to open up valves. maybe once or twice I forgot.

I think this is most valuable when buying a used kite. Seems like every kite I've ever bought used online had the valves closed for shipping to help keep the kite packed small. I always just used a zip tie but this looks like a better fix.
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