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drysuit valves/zips.

Discussion in 'Dry Suits' started by sam51, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. sam51

    sam51 Member

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    hi just ordered a new drysuit, ive chosen apeks vales and a plastic zip.
    ive had a drysuit before, that had si tech valves was not happy with the auto dump.
    and a metal zip. that if was not covered in wax or jell, was a pain to open and close,
    i know there are pros and con, to both, your opions please.
     
  2. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Plastic zips are *really* sensitive to being fully closed. When my metal zip broke last year on the first dive of a week in Oban, I had to use Puffin's suit which was a shoulder plastic zip. Jumped in for the first dive and was completely soaked by the end of it -- fortunately found a launderette as entertainment that night.

    Had a stern talking to by the staff (if you know Puffin, you'll know this is common!) about how to make sure the zip's fully closed as a final check just as you're about to jump in. Thereafter, no leaks.

    Well, I say no leaks... The next day I was pulling the suit on for the second dive and managed to rip the neoprene neck seal.

    Personally I prefer the metal zips, but completely concur with your point about metal zips being harder to use unless fully lubed up.
     
  3. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    I prefer plastic zips, but currently use a front entry suit with a metal one. It's not so much that it's hard to use, but really inflexible and refuses to lie close to my body, arching up over my left shoulder.

    That being said, if you've already ordered the suit then you're getting plastic whatever - no turning back.
     
  4. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    A stiff metal zip is either new (they do need to bed in a bit) or more commonly crud caused by electrolysis and for
    this Lube etc can help, but it's usually temporary and the real solution is to keep the zip clean prior to lube/wax.

    A lot of the damage can be caused when the zip is started. The slider covers the start of the zip so this doesn't get any
    lube. Once dried and post dive the two parts can get stuck, this is why s/hand drysuits are often sold cheap with the zip
    stuck open. If pulled 'dry'. the crud layer acts as an abrasive and can make things worse. This is when zips break, when
    they are pulled dry too hard and the internal cord gets broken.

    Clean the entire length of the zip with a bit of washing-up liquid and tooth brush. If it's got some nasty crud use a 25%
    white vinegar warm water solution and then again a tooth brush. Clean the lot (I use a spray bottle) with water and dry.
    Now use a liquid zip slip and soak the slider, use the brush part to get it right in the groove. Leave to soak for a bit.

    Wax the entire length of the open zip filling the voids between the teeth. Pull the slider about 75mm from the start
    and stop, Now clean the bit that was under the slider as before and once clean use loads of wax again.
    Pull the zip back to the start and then 75mm again going back and forth a few times and adding another layer of
    wax. By doing this close to the start a lot less chance of damaging the cord. Once it's moving freely now start moving
    further always going back to the start. Eventually the zip gets fully closed and will move freely and easily :)

    Why wash lube off and add wax? Lube works better as a lubricant especially if getting into the slider, but washes off
    quicker, so not expecting all the above to be done after each dive, hence wax for longevity.

    This is half-way between usual maintenance and freeing a stuck zip, but to get a nice free zip need to do more than
    the usual (very) quick wash, hang up, quick wax and do proper maintenance.

    Do all the above and your metal zip will last years :)

    Now the metal zip sliding negative has been dealt with what type of zip?

    Answer = metal

    Unlike metal that has been around about 80 years, Plastic is the new kid that still has unsolved issues and why major
    manufactures will no longer fit them and why retrofit repairs also won't touch theme. This is due in part to a some
    failures, but mainly it's the the way the zip is bonded (or rather lack of bonding) to the suit that's at fault.

    I'd change the order.
     
    Wibble likes this.
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    @Tel - what's your opinion on the bottle of lube like this: McNett Zip Care
    ...over good old-fashioned BeesWax?
     
  6. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    #6 Tel, May 1, 2019
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  7. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    Waxed and zip-slipped both my O3 zips regularly but they were still super-stiff, even after a fair few dives.

    My Otter and Pred suit ones on the other hand are fine.
     
  8. sam51

    sam51 Member

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    so I've changed to a metal zip, and also had a internal pocket to be fitted,
    what's the best way to keep the zip moving freely ,
    i think the price will be around £530, so not bad,
    thanks sam.
     
  9. nickb

    nickb Well-Known Member

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    I hope you haven’t made that decision because Tel writes long posts that have the air of authority.

    His advice about maintaining metal zips is very good and I would do all that stuff myself if I were fool enough to stick with metal zips too.

    However, I have been using plastic zips for the past 5 years and have had a lot more success with them than I ever did with brass and I don’t have to do any of the bullshit that Tel wants people to do. I put a bit of lube (pretty much anything greasy will do, but I use the lipstick type stuff) on the end of the zip maybe once every 10 dives. That’s it, aside from being careful when I start pulling the zip over my shoulder.

    Nothing else required.

    I’m diving here in Scapa Flow, 6 days per week for more than 6 months every year. My plastic zips have been faultless and I don’t think I’ve been lucky.
     
    Harvey-NG likes this.
  10. nickb

    nickb Well-Known Member

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    In addition to the above, I’m daily being asked to help people unzip their suits. Most are stiff and poorly maintained, unless they’re plastic - in which case they are invariably smooth and faultless.
     
  11. nickb

    nickb Well-Known Member

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    So, if you don’t want to spend three hours per week maintaining a brass zip, get a plastic one and a small pot of grease.
     
  12. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Nick is welcome to his opinion based on his own experience, which seems to revolve
    around an apologist solution for having poor kit care.

    My 'long' post was from the POV of someone who had failed to maintain the suit, NOT
    from someone who does rudimentary maintenance, which although on metal may take
    a bit longer than a plastic zip it's way less than the picture being painted.

    What's also missing is emphasis on the zip not the material. Unlike metal zips that are
    mostly glued regardless of type of suit the plastic ones use a variety of different techniques
    some of which have a less then steller performance of adhering to the variety of membrane
    and laminate compounds, the failure being not the zip itself, but of the backing pad
    of zip to suit. Throw in the damage that cleaning solvents can cause to the plastic zip if use to
    excess and many suppliers will not now sell to the pubic as failed DIY jobs were effecting brand
    confidence.

    Plastic zips are cheaper than metal and less likely to break, which should now see them taking
    over the entire market, yet metal is still king by a long way.

    Nick has an opinion I have an opinion, but my suggestion would be to ignore both of us and just
    google the dozen or so main brands sold in the UK. Not only are at least 50% NOT selling plastic
    zips some of these are actively advising customers not to buy them.

    This link is an older one from 2014, which is also referenced on a 2017 post so is current as of
    2017. Other manufacturers have current (2019) advice.
    https://www.divedui.com/pages/waterproof-drysuit-zippers
     
  13. JasonP

    JasonP Active Member

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    I have always used metal zips and occasionally rub a 50p candle along them. Works fine. Other than rinsing with fresh water, this is the limit to my maintenance

    Sent from my LG-H990 using Tapatalk
     

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