How to Replace Drysuit Neck Seals

Written by regina edwards
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How to Replace Drysuit Neck Seals
A drysuit neck seal keeps the suit watertight. (sea rescue drysuit image by Jeff Dalton from Fotolia.com)

Drysuits provide insulation in cold-water environments. Divers, kayakers and boaters wear insulated garments and drysuits to keep warm and dry. Neck and wrist seals on drysuits wear over time, requiring expensive and time-consuming repairs. Manufacturers such as Kokatat recommend that users install a replacement gasket directly on the previous neck seal, rather than possibly weakening or destroying the drysuit.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Plastic tub or pail
  • Traffic cone, bucket or pail
  • Sandpaper
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Latex gloves
  • Aquaseal
  • Cotol
  • Plastic plate
  • Plastic knife
  • Brush
  • Waxed paper
  • 2 long rubber bands
  • Heavy weights, such as books
  • Neoprene tape and heat gun or iron (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut out the bottom of the plastic tub to create a ring that will fit over the traffic cone and hold the neck seal in place. If necessary, split the side of the container. If a traffic cone isn't readily available, use a bucket or pail that will fit over the neck opening; similarly, choose a plastic tub that is slightly larger than the bucket or pail to fit over the inside container holding the neck gasket open.

  2. 2

    Cut the free end of the old neck seal that extends from the suit, taking care not to cut the drysuit fabric and leaving the glued portion around the neck opening (gasket). Keeping the old seal gasket attached to the drysuit will preserve the suit fabric and provide a smooth surface for contact.

  3. 3

    Sand the glued ring to create a rough surface and then clean with alcohol.

  4. 4

    Turn the torso of the drysuit inside out and insert the neck opening through the traffic cone to expose the inside of the neck opening. The traffic cone serves as a holder for the gasket.

  5. 5

    Combine equal amounts of Aquaseal and Cotol on a plastic plate and mix thoroughly with a plastic knife. Since this mixture will harden, you will need to prepare several fresh mixtures. For example, dispense a 1-inch circle of Aquaseal gel with an equal amount of liquid Cotol.

  6. 6

    Apply one coat of the Aquaseal-Cotol mixture on the old gasket and wait at least five minutes for the mixture to get tacky.

  7. 7

    Apply a second coat of the Aquaseal-Cotol mixture to the old gasket, taking care to thoroughly coat the area.

  8. 8

    Insert the replacement seal over the traffic cone, to position it evenly on the gasket.

  9. 9

    Apply a coat of the Aquaseal-Cotol mixture to the area of the new neck that you will attach to the old gasket.

  10. 10

    Align the new neck seal carefully on the old gasket, taking care to avoid moving the seals because this will spread the glue to exposed areas to create unsightly spots.

  11. 11

    Press the two seals together and gently rub out any air bubbles. Properly fitting neck seals will align, resulting in minimal to no fold along the gasket.

  12. 12

    Cover the side of the neck seal with waxed paper.

  13. 13

    Place the plastic holder that you created in Step 1 over the neck seal being held upright with the traffic cone.

  14. 14

    Place two rubber bands over the holder to secure it in place. Make sure the rubber bands are not squeezing the holder over the neck seal because the neck seal will fold and buckle and lose even contact with the gasket.

  15. 15

    Cover heavy weights such as books with waxed paper and place over the neck gasket.

  16. 16

    Allow the glue to cure for at least eight hours.

  17. 17

    Remove the weights, rubber bands and plastic holder from the neck seal.

  18. 18

    Inspect the glued gasket for air pockets and buckling.

  19. 19

    Prepare a mixture of Aquaseal and Cotol and apply a thin layer to the inside edge of the neck gasket. If desired, affix neoprene seal tape to the gasket seam using a heat gun or iron, according to manufacturer's instructions.

  20. 20

    Allow the glue to cure for at least one hour.

  21. 21

    Remove the drysuit from the traffic cone holder.

  22. 22

    Carefully turn the neck seal right side out and insert over the traffic cone so that the suit exterior is facing out.

  23. 23

    Apply a thin layer of Aquaseal-Cotol mixture along the exposed neck seal seam. Only a thin, continuous bead of the glue mixture is required to seal the edge; take your time to produce a thin line for a neat look.

  24. 24

    Allow the glue to cure for 24 hours before use.

Tips and warnings

  • Use clear Aquaseal, if available, instead of black Aquaseal for a neater look.
  • Aquaseal is messy; wear gloves and work slowly.
  • Test the integrity of your repairs by wearing the drysuit in shallow water or in a pool to ensure it is watertight before using it in cold water.

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