View Full Version : Is it worth it?
July 26th, 2009, 12:25 AM
I posted about a year ago asking if it was still possible to get my Scubapro MK 7 with 109 and 108 second stages serviced (though at the time, I didn't even know what second stages they were). I recently got around to thinking about it again and sent the lds an email a couple of days ago asking if they could get parts and for a rough estimate. They replied with : first stage kit $36, and 2 second stage kits at $24 each, plus $70 labour (their standard annual service fee). And add to that an inflator hose and a port splitter to add said hose (that the shop guy said he'd have to find out if he can get, though the all-powerful internet tells me they exist) and possible replacement of the hoses that are already connected, I'm looking at like $200 or more.
Now given that this reg has not been put on a tank since before I was born (i'm 21), I have no idea how well/badly this reg breathes and I don't want to put a bunch of money into it only to dive it once or twice and find that a low end new reg will breathe better. Can anybody give me an idea of how it compares to newer regs?
If I do go ahead and get it serviced, I'm a bit weary about spending $144+tx every year. Would I be able to get away with every second year or having the tech look it over every year and only changing what's necessary? (I've never had a reg serviced before, so don't really know how it works)
July 26th, 2009, 02:02 AM
With prices like that you would be better off just buying a new regulator every couple years and selling the old one. There are a number of places that will service regs by mail. Try googleing them and see if you can get a better price.
Do check out the sticky post at the top of the regulator form that discusses how to check out your own reg. You should have an idea about how to do this. It is not black magic.
I am usually one that will say that the service intervals pushed by the manufactures are more than a little self serving. And honestly what comes in a 109 service kit but a couple o-rings and a poppet. Fifty cents of parts that they sell to you for $24 plus tax. But since its been over 20 years even I would suggest getting this one serviced.
July 26th, 2009, 09:32 AM
The service kits for a Mk 7 are pretty rare, and I am not 100% sure SP still makes them. You'd have to put one together from a Mk 5 kit most likely.
The Mk 7 uses Mk 5 parts on the breathing side of the reg. The other side uses a large brass resonator and some other dinky springs and parts that often corrode and deprive the reg of the honking low air warning function. Those parts are also very rare and are no longer made. The end result is that is is almost always possible to make a Mk 7 functional in terms of breathing, but not so often in terms of the audio warning feature.
That said, the kit prices quoted are high - about twice what it should be for the first stage, and an R108 kit should not cost more than $7-$8 even with a 100% markup with a 109 kit not costing more than about $9-$10 at the same markup. But the labor rate is fair. Excessive markup often happens in cases where a shop may not be a Scubapro dealer and is further marking up parts they are paying full retail for from another shop.
Some of the cost is unavoidable. Adding an inflator hose costs about $30, regardless of the reg and you are in essence upgrading the basic reg with a splitter. That is the reality of upgrading a vintage reg and that will add another $30-$35 - although getting one is not a problem. Trident makes a 1 to 3 port swiveling splitter that will work nicely.
So if you figure $105 for parts kits and labor, then add $60 for the splitter and hose, you are still looking at $165 to get it back into service. You can ship it somewhere else to get the lower rate, but by the time you pay shipping both ways, you are pushing $200 again. Just be sure you get it serviced by someone who understands the Mk 7.
Personally I never liked the Mk 7 and never undestood why it stayed around so long. I suspect production stopped long before the existing stock ran out and Scubapro just cataloged them for years until they finally sold the remaining inventory in the mid 1980's. It was ungodly heavy, had a yoke that was forged with the main body (not replaceable and not DIN convertible), had poor hose routing, and the audio feature ceased to be useless once SPG use was common. Even in it's prime the Mk 7 never offerred much advantage over a J valve.
You could get a nice Mk 5 or Mk 10 off e-bay to use with your R108 and R109 and be well ahead in terms of the first stage.
July 26th, 2009, 10:51 AM
I just rebuilt a couple of those jewels and they work great….except for the aural warning. I don't know why as everything inside looks pristine. DA or Awap, if you have any pointers on getting the honker working, I'm all ears….no pun intended.
When I worked in a dive shop in the 80ies the MK 7 was popular with the crowd that had to have "the best/most expensive." I will say that the IP on both of these recover much quicker than my MK10's. At any rate, today the 7 is basically a regulator for the DIY crowd, not something to spend money on. It is a shame that SP chose that silly yoke arrangement instead of the one found on the MK5 or MK2. The 109 and 108 are still great second stages and worth having serviced, but find someone more reasonable (like DA)
July 26th, 2009, 10:59 AM
...somehow I get the feeling you REALLY want to dive this reg, which is fine, some people are into old/classic cars versus new cars too. Since you're gonna dive this reg pretty much no matter what input you get here....I'll at least suggest that annual servive is an unnecessary expense, depending on how many hrs/dives you put on the reg annually...and the extent you are careful with the reg (not getting water into the 1st-stage, for example). I think a common rule of thumb might be doing an 'annual' after 100 hrs/100 dives have elapsed......however, and DA Aquamaster can better answer this, I'm assuming the O-rings and other soft parts in the annual kits are made of 'modern' (durable) materials as I'd think such soft parts were originally made of older/obsolete/less durable materials and would require more frequent servicing 'back then'.
July 26th, 2009, 11:02 AM
Thanks for the replies. I don't know if the kit prices would vary at all between the US and Canada, but $7-10 vs $24 is a bit of a stretch. I'll check with another shop that sells SP and see what they say. Unless it's a fair amount cheaper, I probably won't bother with it, continue with rentals for now and maybe take a look on ebay.
July 26th, 2009, 11:07 AM
...somehow I get the feeling you REALLY want to dive this reg,
It's not so much that I REALLY want to dive it, it's that it's there. It's in my basement so I got a quote and wanted to know if it was reasonable and if I should bother gettting it serviced or just leave it in my basement alongside a couple of old snorkels, a couple of masks and a pair of jet fins that don't fit me. If people here though it was a decent reg and the price was good, I would go for it, but it doesn't look that way.
July 26th, 2009, 12:34 PM
Another avenue for you to consider is to learn to rebuild the second stages yourself...the 108/109 are easy to do and then find a better first stage, either a DIY one or something you can have serviced elsewhere. A MK-5 would be a good choice if you want to stick with SP but pretty much any first stage will do. There are plenty of old Sherwoods and USD's around that are easy to get parts and service for.
July 28th, 2009, 11:50 AM
I got a response from the other shop this morning. They can't (or won't) service it anymore. After some thought, given that it would probably cost $200 to make it usable and my current dive count doesn't guarantee I'll use it enough to get my money's worth, it'll stay in my basement for awhile longer and I'll continue renting. The R109 will come out again when I figure out what I want for a first stage (on ebay or otherwise).
Thanks for the responses everybody and to couv for the bit of extra help.