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Vintage stuff - help

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by Elkfriend, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Elkfriend

    Elkfriend Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: calgary, canada
    Hello Folks,

    I will be getting some vintage gear that I am planning to use, I do not know a lot about the equiment though:

    US Aqualung BC
    Tank has a 1979 inspection sticker
    Regulator is single 2nd stage, DACOR

    Picture attached!

    My question: is this good (still usable) equipment, if it works? Anything I should look out for? Too risky to use? Any ideas about the value of the BC (its in great shape, probably pre-1980)


    Attached Files:

  2. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    Looking at your profile it appears you have some bottom time- my answer would be different if you did not.
    In and of itself there is nothing wrong or dangerous about the equipment- assuming it's in working order- that is where the problem lays.

    The tank appears to be an AL-80 which is likely made of 6351 alloy. Some shops will not fill it-too long a story for here- as long as it passes VIP+ and hydro it should be OK but be aware many shops will not fill old AL-80.

    The reg is fine however it is very unlikely you can get it serviced. Dacor parts are getting hard to come by and a lot of service shops will not touch it. This leaves you with 2 choices- dive it until you don't trust it or scrounge parts and service it yourself. At a minimum I would disassemble, clean and lube it, then give it a full checkup- it's likely it will be OK. This is your call, just make it with care.

    The BC may or may not be worth using. I don't know about that model but horse collars of that same vintage (had same LP inflator and vents) had horrible quality bladders in them. I have yet to find one that was not full of holes and the plastic in the inflators and vents get very brittle. I have a yellow one that looks prefect but has several tubes of Aquaseal plugging up the holes and cracks in it. I will wear it as a show piece were I really don't need a BC but never on a "real dive". I also have a blue one that looked brand new but was a total loss inside. Blow it up and see if it holds air, if it does great. If it leaks down slowly over several hours, find the leaks and fix them. If it leaks down quickly, find the leaks and if they are fixable repair them, otherwise make a decoration out of it.

    VIPed and hydroded, the tank is fine, the other items are iffy. I dive a lot of vintage stuff so I am not afraid to dive gear in good condition, my double hoses have been to 100ft+ on several occasions and I dive them often. Bottom line on your equipment, as long as it is currently in working order, you are comfortable with the possible failures and dive it in reasonable conditions, I would dive it. But only on simple, well know sites....20-30 in the quarry but it would not go off shore with me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2009
  3. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    Ditto on what herman said.

    On the BC let me add a little. The common old horse collars (sold under many brand names) had inner bladders that were formed from a laminate material that has delaminated over time. The plastic layer was fused to form the seams and it is separating from the nylon layer that provides mechanical strength. I too have a number of theses in showroom condition that leak like sieves. Patch the leak and it just tears a new one, unfit to dive.

    There is a good chance your BC is stitched and of different construction. And may hold air just fine. The easy check is to first orally inflate it to see if it firms up and holds. If it passes this test deflate it and inspect the over pressure valve. It may look like a modern back dump without a string. Take it apart and make sure the seal is free to open. This will prevent to your rupturing a good BC because of a stuck valve. Now hook it to a live regulator and inflate it until the valve relives. Make it burp a few times for good measure.

    Next inflate it and leave it alone. In good shape it will stand up overnight. It's possible that the dump seat has taken a seat and it may stand for less time. If you understand the reason this may be fine in the scope of a dive.

    If it passes all of these tests then take it for a dive where BC lift is not mission critical. If it passes and you like how it swims then dive it as you see fit as it earns your confidence.

    I have a nice older Sherwood jacket that I got this winter and want to try soon. The one thing that gets real obvious real fast is that there are no locations for many of today's accessories like instruments, alternate second, light, catch bag etc. It may be a fine rig to dive for novelty purposes but it's unlikely that it will become your daily diver.

    On the cylinder it will be limited if it is a 6351. For local use with an accepting shop you're good to go. If you go on the road with it the reaction and willingness to fill will not be predictable.

  4. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    The BC is a US divers BC with the same syle of power inflator as their horsecollar BC's and the same polyurethane bladder material. It uses a separate inner bladder, but one that is very prone to aging badly. Unless stored in ideal conditions the odds are it will have sections that are brittle or cracked and repair is essentially impossible.

    It also requires a proprietary hose fitting that is no longer made. I have a couple extra hoses, so if it holds air let me know and I can send you one.

    The reg was a great design, but parts support dissappeared 4-5 years ago when Mares bought Dacor and dropped support for any reg not currently in production.
  5. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    I agree with DA Aqua Master about the BC. I have yet to see one that the bladder didn’t develop cracks near the fittings after a few dives. Those bladders just don’t didn’t hold up after 20 to 30 + years. It is a shame because I liked some of the design features. I though the combination dump valve overpressure valve was a nice design.

    The fins are nice Swimaster Mark X. If the rubber is in good shape, they are nice fins.

    The compass looks like a Scubapro compass that was very nice.
  6. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    Old does not equal vintage. While the gear is interesting most of it is not actually vintage. Jacket BCs are post vintage, old maybe but hardly vintage. That particular BC is worthy of disposal. The fins and compass are interesting units. N
  7. DaleC

    DaleC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Leftcoast of Canada
    I dive two old AL 80's made of 6351 alloy and don't have a problem with fills. My understanding is that they are good to go as long as they pass Hydro and an eddy current test. This is done with the vis inspection and checks the threads for any signs of cracking. BTW it looks like your tank has a J valve on it.

    If you don't want it I'll be out there later this summer and will take it off your hands for you :eyebrow:

  8. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    All true but some shops and from what I understand almost all of them in Fla will not fill AL tanks older that 90. BS to be sure but none the less they will not fill them.
  9. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    Depends where you are, some shops simply will not fill them--PERIOD ---and in fact some will not fill steel 72s or anything older than about 12 years. Where is this mythical land, well, Flariduh, in Flariduh it is hit or miss. Spent two weeks there in the Keys and Gold Coast, just got home and getting my steels filled was a huge problem. I gave up on the old pre-89 6351 alloy aluminum stuff long ago now. Not worth the hassle.

  10. SwimJim

    SwimJim Manta Ray

    Florida is a different country as far as air fills are concerned. If I lived there I would have to own my own compressor. I feel sorry for the divers who moved down for the warm brackesh water. But that's their soap.
    Where I reside, if it's not on the list, it gets filled. Theres still VIP's and Hydro's, but nothing near the BS that gos on in the alleged Sunshine state. I'll take 150 year old pristine wrecks over fungus covered rock piles any day of the week. Your opinion may vary. LOL


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