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 Post subject: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:27 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Singapore
I've only recently got into kiting but after just a few lessons I was hooked and quickly decided I needed to kit myself with some good quality gear to practice my new addiction! Having been windsurfing with North sails for 15 years it seemed to make sense to go with the tried and tested guys at North and buy two of their 07 kites and a North board.

It was 3 long months til I got to crack open my treasured kites on a 2 week kiting holiday in Tarifa. On teh first windy day I got my kite set up but noticed a couple of struts kept going limp... on further inspection I could hear a hissing noise that made my heart sink! I packed up my kite and headed to the local kite loft to get a second opinion. It didnt take them long to figure it out - the rubber seal on one of the T valves had perished and was leaking air. 35 euros later they'd fixed the offending strut and I walked out the shop a relieved and happy man. That was until the same thing happened again the next day... and the day after that.. and the day after that! In all it cost me 175 euros to get my Rhino completely sorted with tougher T valves that the repair shop was sourcing from elsewhere. They did an awesome job fixing it up and I had a few great sessions on my Rhino before it was time to pack up and head back home to Singapore.

Unfortunately I couldnt afford to get both my North kites fixed in Tariifa and waited til I'd got home to speak to my North retailer in Asia and see what he could do for me. All he could do was send me some new bladders to sort the kite out myself with no instructions, no nothing! Trying to change the bladders on the complicated North system was pretty much impossible for me (as someone new to kiting) and I'm left with a barely used Vegas thats gathering dust in my garage til I'm able to visit my North retailer in the Philippines to have him fix it up for me. What a shocker! Once I got the Rhino going on holiday it was sweet but its just these dodgy valves that are letting me down...

The hassle, cost and stress trying to get my brand new kites overhauled before I'd hardly used them (not to mention the frustration of losing out on so much precious kiting time on my much anticipated kiting trip to Tarifa) has left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth after all these years riding on North's great windsurfing gear. That said, my North board and harness have been good, its just the damn valves and bladders that need sorting out... I paid full retail price for 2 brand new kites from a North retailer and all I got when the gear died on me was a jiffy bag full of bladders!!

Anyone else have issues like this too? Or can anyone gimme some tips on how to change the bladders on a Vegas 07? And are the replacement T-valves and bladders any better than the old ones?


Attachments:
File comment: a few of the bladders they pulled out of my Rhino at the repair shop
Picture 007comp.jpg
Picture 007comp.jpg [ 19.85 KIB | Viewed 4360 times ]
File comment: one of the bust valves in my Vegas
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Picture 011comp.jpg [ 22.66 KIB | Viewed 4360 times ]
File comment: another bust bladder....
P1020015comp.JPG
P1020015comp.JPG [ 19.66 KIB | Viewed 4371 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 5:22 pm
Posts: 215
I was able to get a replacement bladder quite easily in the US, but, I also fixed it while I waited for it to arrive. Here's how:

Remove/cut the broken T-connector from the bladder so it's flush with the rest of the opening. Patch over it with a piece of old bladder material and AquaSeal (for wetsuit repairs.) After 24 hours you can reinstall the bladder and it now pumps up independently. I only had one connector break so I just plugged the other rubber hoses with a small piece of wooden dowel until the replacement arrived. The nice thing about this is that no matter where you live or ride or vacation, you can bring along the small repair items mentioned here so you won't miss any sessions!

The new connectors do seem to be made of a slightly different material but that's just a guess, not confirmed with North.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 5:22 pm
Posts: 215
Oh, one other tip: when you replace a bladder using the NEW ones, use two strings to pull it into place. One attached to the T-connector and one attached to the fill-valve. That way it will be oriented correctly once it's back in the kite. Also, don't try to pull the new connector/valve end of the bladder through the smallest sleeve opening on the trailing edge of the kite. Bypass the smallest tube of ripstop until the large end is seated and then get the last few inches of bladder to go back out the smaller velcro-tabbed sleeve before closing it up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:22 pm
Posts: 296
Location: montana
Sorry to hear a perfectly good trip is ruined by some faulty plastic. If it was on my new kites i payed big bucks for i'd be a little hot under the collar too. Trust me though North makes good shit. You already know that with your past windsurfing experience. The thing that really gets me about the inflatables is that fact that you're basically pumping up a condom I'm simply amazed that they do what they do. I've seen some of the construction and it looks like to layflat rubbers are pressed together with a seaming machine. And the valves is there anything else that can be done to hold air than a kiddie toy stopper valve. Light is the factor but durability needs to be there somewhere. Its not just north its the entire industry. I wonder about where you got the kite if maybe they put something else in it or something plus i was told the dealer is required for making sure the kite is free of defects before sale. I think the next step in buying kites are just like buying second hand ones. PUMP THEM UP BEFORE BUYING.

And last but not least on this rant and rave is the ONE pump TWO PUMP who cares they don't work and every one hates them so why keep trying to do it. I don't get it. The idea or concept of this method works fine but everyone rebutles to this concept with strut pressure vs main bladder. My only problem is safety if one goes they all go then your in really big trouble.

I'm glad i'm still on the 06 stuff not a problem and very happy to fly NORTH gear just as good as the bow's cause they're hybrids. hehe

:D


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 Post subject: Re: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:35 pm
Posts: 2
I'm having this EXACT problem. Two T Valves are broken on my 07 Vegas which are keeping me off this kite for a good chunck of the summer. The good news is that the local shop (Big Winds in Hood River, Oregon) says that North will Warranty this with free replacement parts. The bad news is that after telling me on three different occasions that they would be in soon, I still have no date on when I will ever get these parts. After waiting a month and missing several great potential sessions - I'm looking for another fix if anyone has suggestions. I can use the post above for the smaller strut since it also has an inflation value, but what do you with the intermediat strut that only has a T-Valve for inflation.

Has anyone ever replaced just the T-Valve? Can you comment on how to do it?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:53 am
Posts: 1
Hey I had the same exact problem I was out riding and noticed my struts were going out one by one .... so I had to end my session .. same problem ... valves were leaking ... so I bought AIRTIMES Ustick option valve in order to fix the faulty valves...

1) First remove the old valves (i used an iron worked beautiful but u have to be careful...)
2) Clean the area where ur going to stick your valves..
3) paste the new valves ..
4) check for any leaks now on the new valves if no leak found .. put it back in your kite
5) be careful on how you attach your tee connectors...

hope this workss....


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 Post subject: Re: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:58 pm
Posts: 1266
dbretonx wrote:
Hey I had the same exact problem I was out riding and noticed my struts were going out one by one .... so I had to end my session .. same problem ... valves were leaking ... so I bought AIRTIMES Ustick option valve in order to fix the faulty valves...

1) First remove the old valves (i used an iron worked beautiful but u have to be careful...)
2) Clean the area where ur going to stick your valves..
3) paste the new valves ..
4) check for any leaks now on the new valves if no leak found .. put it back in your kite
5) be careful on how you attach your tee connectors...

hope this workss....



Tell us more about removing the valves with an iron. What setting do you use on the iron? How long do you hold the iron on the valve margins? Do you peel off the valves at the same time you iron them? or Do the valves curl up and come off by themselves? Doesn't the bladder material really wrinkle up where ever you heat it with the iron?

The only technique I had heard about for removing valves was that of using alcohol and a toothpick, to dissolve the glue and lift off the valves. Where did you learn about the removal of valves using an iron? Do you use a conventional clothes iron or some other type of iron, like a soldering iron?


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 Post subject: Re: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:03 pm
Posts: 51
Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with your new North kites. I have been a North retailer since 2005 and have never had a problem with getting great customer service for myself or for my customers. If you have problems again try contacting the main North offices and ask to talk to someone else that can be more usefull. They are usually really good about taking care of their customers, or at least in my experiences here they are.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 9:39 pm
Posts: 405
Location: West Coast of Florida
I would say that going to a dealer who is a larger retail of the kite brand you are buying helps. Not only are they usually a better price due to quantity, but they are usually better at warranty/issues you have with the kite.

I wish every dealer would carry all the different style of kites, so I could go in, pick a color and look at it before I laid down the loot. But unfortunately the shops tend to a brand or two maybe, and make their money being a specific dealer.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kites Customer Service and broken T valves saga
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:05 am
Posts: 75
does anybody know anywhere in north America that sells these ?

Image

U-stick also provide a solution but you need to buy their bladder with the T-valve, don't see the point in that when there is nothing wrong with the bladder I have but i think the valve only sticks to their bladders. :-(

as for getting the old valve off its easily done, just submerse it in hot water (almost boiling) wait a little while peel a little bit off, when u start to meet some resistance put it back in the water again, then peel a bit more off. be very carefully at the end when you peel the last bit off as its easy to warp the bladder slightly. The closer you get to the end the slower and easier the valve needs to come off so you don't damage the bladder.

thanks

bobby


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