Newbie questions re care and repair

I just acquired a used 2009 Tarpon 100 that had been a rental kayak. Needless to say, it’s a bit beat up. I’d like to rehab it for my own use, and I had already priced replacement parts before purchase. I have a few questions regarding rehab.

The first question is about plastic welds. The rental company used a black plastic weld on all the kayaks I saw, I assume because it’s cheap. However, they did a hack job, in my opinion. The weld is all gunked up in and around the scupper holes below the seat. They filled in those two scupper holes. I’d like to make it look better. My questions are A) can the black weld be removed and replaced with yellow weld stock or B) can it at least be smoothed down so it looks better?

Another question involves hatches. There were originally round Orbix hatches on the kayak, but they are long gone. The rental company replaced them with plastic lids they cut to fit, and they screwed the lids in place with what looks to be a thick bead of clear silicone. I’d like to take these lids off and put Orbix hatches back on. How do I remove the silicone? Will it peel off once I remove the screws? Also, I think I have to have the hatches open in order to attach the carry handles, right?

The last question, for now, involves scuffing on the body of the kayak. I imagine it got dragged a lot and manhandled during loading and unloading. The entire body is scuffed and dirty. I’d like to clean the dirt and lessen the appearance of the scuffs if possible. Is there a cleaning product that is recommended for this? I know about the 303 Protectant, but I believe it’s for UV protection, not cleaning. What do you recommend?

Thanks in advance for any advice. I’d like to get this kayak in good shape for my personal use, which will mainly be for travel to and from fossil-hunting locations – with a little casual paddling on vacations thrown in. It doesn’t have to look brand new. The employee at the rental company admitted that the Tarpons were too nice to be used as a rental and that they only bought a few before realizing this.

Previously Enjoyed Tarpon

– Last Updated: May-01-16 6:54 PM EST –

A Japanese rental car in Detroit is probably the only thing that takes more of a beating than a rental kayak.

As for the plastic welds, there's probably not much you can do. You're going to have to remove a lot of the old black plastic and that could be a delicate process to get it right or risk removing too much material and creating new problems. Without spending a ridiculous amount of time and effort, you'll likely wind up with a semi-matching color weld on top of a nonmatching one.

Replacing the hatches with proper Orbix models ought to be a snap. Not much will stick to polyethylene for very long so the silicone should peel fairly easily so you can start the project with a clean surface.

303 is not going to do much with the dirt or act as Botox on the scuffs. Much too late for a showroom shine.

To remove the dirt, take it to your local car wash and spend a couple dollars thoroughly power washing it. The inside could probably use a good rinsing since there's no telling what crawled inside and died in there over the years.

As for the scuffs, they are part of the boat's character. If any gashes or scars are especially troubling to you, they may be feathered out and smoothed a bit with some fine sandpaper but otherwise I wouldn't worry about them. Unless you plan on paddling on velvet exclusively, you'll soon be adding plenty of your own scratches and dings to the boat.

Congratulations and enjoy paddling your Tarpon.

Previously enjoyed Tarpon
My thanks.

I hope you didn’t pay more than $150
I would just give it a good scrubbing with soap and water and a scrub brush and then just use it as is. Trying to fix the scuppers and hatches is not worth the trouble. The kayak is not worth how much you would spend on hatches.

I was once told by a fellow who worked at a plant where they made polyethylene kayaks that they would fix flaws in the finish by pouring a little lighter fluid on it and setting it on fire. He said you had to do it just right and the results were a good fix. I’ve never really been tempted to try it on any of my poly boats, but then they don’t need it.

What I have done, though is to very lightly scrape, or sand small areas on the bottom, then clean the bottom and use a wax remover, then put a coat of clear gloss outdoor polyurethane on it. I haven’t had to redo it in years. It does almost make scuffed areas disappear and really shines it up better than new. However, I was told that polyurethane doesn’t always stick that well to some polyethylene. I’ve never tried using acetone to clean it before coating it with polyurethane, but it might be worth a try on an old beater.

plastic paint
They do make spray paint designed to adhere to plastic outdoor furniture now. That might work if the OP wants to try painting the boat, as you did.

I used to work at an outdoor gear outfitter where we prepped skiis with poly bases. We would fill deep gouges in them using a P-tex stick, which was kind of like sealing wax, a stick of plastic that you used a butane or propane torch to melt into the divot, then carve down the excess. I think they sticks only come in black and white – can get them on-line or in big downhill ski shops.

Obviously won’t work for refinishing the entire surface of a boat.

You might want to experiment carefully with a heat gun (like the kind you buy for loosening glued-down floor tiles). Might be able to soften the plastic enough to burnish down the “fuzzy” texture.

But honestly, scuffing doesn’t really affect the performance, and nobody but the fish see the hull when you’re in the water.


– Last Updated: May-02-16 4:54 PM EST –

My wife bought this huge folding table made with a polypropylene top for doing crafts and projects. The top feels like Ocean Kayak plastic. I was using it to do a project with epoxy and I spilled some of the unmixed epoxy and hardener ... it kind of stuck and it kind of polymerized ... but was mostly a gooey mess in one small patch. I tried cleaning with organic solvents and finally decided I might be able to burn it off with a little flaming acetone. Not a good idea. The table melted clear through in about 2 seconds. I ended up welding a piece of polypropylene back in place to fix the burn. My wife walked out right as I lit the acetone. She was not happy. It did get rid of the half-polymerized epoxy.

cart wheels are repaired with a soldering iron. The instruction is on UTUBE.

When you light up a hull please video.

Try reading as I’m not:

balloons may putty paint filling gouges.

Is probably a standard procedure…try C1 blogging