Since there seem to be a good number of folks in this string with experience replacing neck seals, I could use some advice.
I got a great deal ($400) on a used Kokatat GFER in my exact size a few years ago. It came with the neck gasket cut out (no doubt the reason for the bargain), due apparently to a deep tear in the front of the neck gasket that reached within a half inch of the bonded seam. But I am concerned that the tear is so close to the seam and that there is not even an inch of rubber there. Bear in mind the photo below is of the INSIDE so there is substantially more of it on the outer surface. I’m concerned that the remaining nick in the old gasket will remain a weak point. Should I glue a scrap over it on the inside as well to reinforce or do you think the split will stop at that old adhesive line once it has new material glued to it? I’ve also seen videos where they heated the old gasket and completely peeled it off the drysuit fabric before applying the new one but that seems like a pain in the butt.
Also, after reading the in depth explanations about gaskets on the Kayak Academy page I opted for their aftermarket “universal” latex neck gasket and booties rather than the Kokatat because (besides being cheaper) they came in a more specific range of sizes. I have a small windpipe and easily feel strangled by a too-tight neck gasket. I’m on the cusp between the two sizes of Kokatat so the other option seemed a better choice. Anybody have experience with one versus the other? This suit is not going to get heavy use. I like going out year round but have few friends that do so a dozen times annually or less may be all it gets used.
I notice that the instructions NRS and other repairers have posted differ from the instructions from Kokatat. I fail to see why the complicated rigid mounting board and clamps that Kokatat shows are necessary. I’ve mended folding kayak sponsons and inflatable flotation bags for years using Aquaseal or vinyl cement and never had to clamp them to get an airtight pressure seal. Also puzzled that some instructions show gluing the old surface and then laying on the new gasket while the glue is wet. Others show putting a strip of glue on BOTH the old latex and the edge of the new one and letting it dry to do a glue-to-glue bond (which is what I’ve done with vinyl construction and repairs.)
Since there seems to be more than one way to do this, which method is “best” may be moot. Unless somebody has a better recommendation I am thinking I will do the coffee can stretch with glue on both the new and old latex, then taped snugly to dry overnight. Or maybe use long cable tie wraps to put pressure on the seam??
I kind of wish I had seen Nick’s post on the neoprene gasket – I think I would have preferred that but had not been able to find one. Oh well, next time. Or if this one proves horrid.