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Mares Dragon AirTrim valve sticking open

Discussion in 'Mares... Just add Water!' started by Ryan Off, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Ryan Off

    Ryan Off Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Camarillo, CA
    5
    0
    0
    I have a Mares Dragon AT where my discharge valve is sticking open once I have pressed the discharge button. I am currently the BCD in fresh water to hopefully dissolve any salt buildup to help correct this. Without sending in the BCD to a certified Mares tech, what else can I do to repair the problem? Is it possible to disassemble the AirTrim system, clean, dry and reassemble it? If so, how, I can't seem to unscrew any AT discharge valves (except for the manual discharge valve).

    My assumption is that since I have not used this BCD for 4 months that some salt or mineral accumulation has occurred inside the AT system. If this assumption is right, then I assume that soaking the BCD in fresh water for a day probably won't fix the problem. What else can I do?
     
  2. zoranb

    zoranb Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Zagreb, Croatia
    139
    9
    18
  3. Sirto

    Sirto Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Anderson, SC
    292
    4
    18
    I started that other thread. I eventually brought the bcd to a Mares dealer and they found that the problem was a sticky inflator/deflator button. They disassembled, soaked and cleaned it and that fixed the problem.
     
  4. Ryan Off

    Ryan Off Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Camarillo, CA
    5
    0
    0
    Thanks. I've seen that post and as noted below by Sirto, the result was a stuck button that required a Mares tech to fix.

    I would like to know how I can disassemble and fix an AirTrim problem without having to send it in to Mares. The system appears to be ingenious, yet simple using pneumatic valves (here is a Mares video on AirTrim), so it should be easy to fix once one can get inside. The question is how to disable the discharge valve for cleaning.

    For a bit more background: I soaked my BCD in fresh water overnight. Adding air to the BCD works fine and the BCD keeps pressure until I use the discharge button. After pressing the discharge button once, the button returns to the original position and the bottom left discharge valve closes completely, but the top right discharge valve does not fully close. Thus, adding any air to the BCD does not stay in the BCD. Since the button fully returns and the second discharge valve closes, the problem does not appear to be with the button, nor the pneumatic system. The problem appears to be occurring with the top right discharge valve only.

    I'm hoping to dive with the BCD next week, and taking it in to Mares will take too long.
     
  5. zoranb

    zoranb Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Zagreb, Croatia
    139
    9
    18
    If you're feeling very adventureous and DIY-ish:
    AT valve.jpg
     
  6. Ryan Off

    Ryan Off Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Camarillo, CA
    5
    0
    0
    Thanks for schematic. How do I unscrew the outer ring? I can't seem to do it by hand.

    I also spoke with Mares tech support and they said I will void the warranty if I open up the AT system myself. They told me to give it to a Mares Lab or get certified myself to be a Mares Lab tech. Quite frustrating to fix a BCD. In the future, if I purchased a new BCD I would make sure it was simple enough to fix myself. Especially handy if you are a long dive trip/liveaboard.
     
  7. zoranb

    zoranb Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Zagreb, Croatia
    139
    9
    18
    The 5th part from the left seems to have threads, so unscrewing would be my bet. I'll try on my Dragon today and let you know.
    How long is the warranty anyway? More than 1 year? Shameful. Some cars have 5 year warranties already. BCDs should have more than that :)

    The cutout in the Mares video is quite detailed. Maybe it will help: Mares AirTrim Technology - YouTube
     
  8. Ryan Off

    Ryan Off Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Camarillo, CA
    5
    0
    0
    I noticed that, but as mentioned, I can't unscrew the outer casing by hand. I'm tempted to take a wrench to it. Thanks for the video, it's the same one I saw and posted before. Great video and should help on the cleaning, but still doesn't help on how I get in to the system without breaking anything.
     
  9. Zak OHara

    Zak OHara Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Pac NW
    1,411
    30
    48
    Hi Ryan,

    Well it's probably too late now, I apologize, I've been away from the Board and not receiving notices of new posts. Here is the issue, we cannot for liability reasons try to analyze, inspect, or offer suggestions on how to disassemble, repair, or service any prouduct to someone who hasn't been properly trained. I will tell you this applies to any company with mechanical devices. Having said that, we can recommend you take it to a Mares Lab certified store / technicial close to you, that could help. To me it sounds like you have narrowed it down to the issue.

    If I can help steer you towards a good service center, please let me know. At the end of the day, the BCD is great, it just needs to be rinsed really well after diving. Like all bcds,Salt Water is not it's friend.

    Let me know if I can help.

    Best,
     
  10. Ryan Off

    Ryan Off Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Camarillo, CA
    5
    0
    0
    Zak,

    Thank you for the reply. I ended up taking it to a Mares Lab (through Sport Chalet) and they repaired the BCD for $20. Sounds like it was an repair for that cost. It's quite frustrating that I can't find any information on how to disassemble a product I own where there is no safety concern in dissembling it (e.g. as there could be for a large electrical device or product containing chemicals). I tried just about everything I could without breaking parts to get in to the system. Possibly I just need to try to unscrew harder. I will look in to getting my Mares Tech certification, because it is necessary for me to be to fix my own equipment as I might be diving for long periods away from any technicians. If organizing the training is too difficult, then I will switch over to a more reliable and fixable piece of equipment. I like the Mares Dragon AT, but if it's not able to be repaired without sending it in, then it is of no use for me.

    I understand about insurance reasons, but all my other equipment including tank and reg, I know how to disassemble and fix any problems.
     

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