How often do you have to replace the neck seals on your drysuit? I have had two fail (rip while taking off) in just over a year. Yes I store it on a hanger in a closet and wipe the gaskets with 303 regularly. It is getting expensive @$60 a pop. I calculate that I have used the suit no more than 40 times since the last replacement (probably closer to 30) It is going to put a crimp in my Jan. 1 traditional first roll of the year.
The time frame for replacing neck seals varies greatly. Instead of paying $60 a pop to have someone else do it, why not just replace them yourself? It’s easy to do, and the replacement seals are only around $25. You can have your suit ready to go in 12 hours or so. One source for seals (and a handle tool for helping to install them) is at: http://kayakacademy.com/
2nd Kayak Academy
Their disk & split ring is nicer for doing the job than cutting out cardboard. Buy 2 seals and keep one in the freezer for the next replacement. That pretty much insured that the first replacement gasket is lasting a long time for me (to the chagrin of the DB).
My latest drysuit has been a nightmare with gaskets.
The first neck gasket blew at 6 months. The second at 18 months, the third after 4 wearings. I then changed to a different brand of gasket, and have been pleased so far (13 months and all's well).
And like you, I take really good care of my suit. I have an old drytop that the fabric wore out under the arms, but it still has all the original gaskets. So I guess I do know how to take care of them.
One good thing to come of it is that I'm now a whiz at replacing my own gaskets, and I made my own neck jig. Very handy for me and my friends.
What brand gasket did you get? About all I find anywhere is NRS.
They’re a little bigger at the base than the Kokatat gaskets, but the rubber is a lot more supple, and is much easier to glue up than the Kokatat gaskets.
Actually, Kokatat doesn’t make gaskets, I believe they buy them from a supplier in England. Where NRS gets theirs, I don’t know, but I do like them better.
less stretching and/or trimming:
Yup, they’re good!
I’ve used their seals on several garments and they’re good quality.
Do it yourself
Kokatat has good instructions on their website. I’ve repaired several of them and it’s not difficult once you make the forms (two discs and a ring). If you intend to repair your own neck seals going forward, make the forms out of something durable, like 3/8" plywood, then cover the surfaces that will be exposed to glue with packing tape. I have a Webshots album with pics and instructions at: http://community.webshots.com/user/brian_nystrom-reg
Use OS Systems seals (www.ossystems.com). If your neck is 16" or larger, get their XL size seal.
I have done the first replacement of my neck gasket. I need to replace that second gasket. Is it recommended to remove the second gasket from on top of the factory gasket? If so, how is it done? Second question, is it ever recommended to completely remove the factory gasket from the Goretex fabric. If so, under what circumstances and how. My dry suit is a Kokotat, 10 years old.
Usually, the heat from a hair dryer is enough to soften the glue and allow you to peel off the replacement seal. While it’s probably possible to remove the original seal, it’s likely to be a real struggle and you’ll probably damage the fabric underneath. Besides, the remnants of the old seal provides a good gluing surface for replacement seals, as you’ve seen.
You can put to much 303 on gaskets
Repairing your own is the way to go. It’s something that has to be done periodically depending on use. There are lot of videos online and various techniques. It will probably take you a fair amount of time the first time you do it, but after that it will go a lot faster.
While leaving the remnant of the old gasket is the easiest way to do it, many people suggest removing the old gasket layers completely after the third replacement. Again some use a hairdryer or carefully use a heat gun. Others prefer returning it to the manufacturer at this point. If returning it to Kokatat they will thoroughly inspect entire the suit at the same time. You might get a free replacement suit if they find problems with it.
On problems with gaskets that fail quickly, it can be from improper rotation of stock at the retailer. If you get a gasket from the bottom of a bin where it has been sitting for 10 years, your going to have a problem. When you get a replacement gasket try stretching it a bit and also folding it sharply. You shouldn’t see any fine cracks. It also shouldn’t feel sticky. Sometimes the cheapest source isn’t always the best.
Some people tend to lose the neck gaskets faster. I am one of those and have just come to terms with more frequent sends back to Kokatat. My wrist gaskets last longer than many I know. But even with not using any skin care products and being diligent about protecting the neck gaskets I will have one split with no prior indication of a problem.