leaking bunkers? you may not need to patch them!
specifically, this thread relates to sup'airball bunker plugs that were used from 2005-early 2010, the "sup'air valve" and the "push n go" valve (there was also the boston [white] plug, but i do not see very many of those plugs nowadays).
did you know that the sup'air valve (black, 6-pointed star plug)has an adjustable pressure release mechanism? the goal of this design was for the plug to automatically release air if the bunker became overpressurized, and seal back up once the bunker reached a normal pressure. to adjust these plugs, simply remove the center cap (with the holes). inside you will see a shaft with a tab on it. turning this tab clockwise will increase the pressure resistance, and turning it counter-clockwise will decrease resistance.
after heavy use, these plugs get contaminated with dirt and debris, causing the seals to not work correctly. in turn, seals that dont work correctly=air leaks. i will show you how to disassemble the sup'air valve and clean the seals and sealing surfaces to make these plugs work like new again.
*please read all steps before proceeding. you will be dealing with small parts, so make sure you are working on a clean, uncluttered surface.*
1. we will start out like we are adjusting the valve. remove the center cap.
2. now turn the internal shaft counterclockwise by its tab until it dislodges from the plug. it will take some slight force to advance it past the last few threads. put this aside for now. on the opposite end of the plug you will have a plastic retaining nut, followed by a coil spring. put these aside as well.
3. you will now have the inner workings of the sup'air valve: the shaft, shaft seal(this should still be attached to the shaft), plug body, coil spring, and retaining nut. note the orientation of the shaft seal. there is a flat side and a contoured side. the contoured side seals against the plug body.
4. clean all of these components thoroughly with soap and water, in particular the internal walls of the plug body and shaft seal. do not forget the large, outer seal on the plug body! note the orientation; the contoured side will seal against the bunker. make sure you dry all components before reassembling.
5. after drying, reassemble in this order: retaining nut-coil spring-plug body-shaft seal-shaft. the retaining nut and coil spring install on the threaded, cylindrical end of the plug body. reference the picture in step 3.
6. plug adjustment: the 'loosest' setting will be when the retaining nut is flush with the end of the plug.
the 'tightest' setting is to simply turn the internal shaft clockwise until the retaining nut bottoms out.
do not force it past this point! even at the tightest setting the mechanism will still have about 1/4" of movement within the plug body. i usually just bottom out the adjustment, for simplicity's sake.
7. this process will take about 2-3 minutes per plug.
push n go valves (black, 3 point star) differ from the sup'air valve in that these plugs allow you to manually deflate the bunker without removing the plug from the bunker. pushing on the center of the plug will open an air passage through the center of the plug, releasing excess air. releasing the plug will close the air passage via a thin rubber seal. this seal and its mating surface gets contaminated with dirt and debris, and causes air to leak out of the bunker.
1. to clean these plugs, hold it in your hand and depress the center of the plug to open the central air passage (use the same motion as you would when using a syringe). these plugs were not designed to be taken apart.
2. holding the plug in this position, note that the rubber seal has lifted from the end of the plug. it is this seal, and the mating surface underneath the seal, that usually gets contaminated with dirt. clean this area with a small brush and soap/water.
3. on early models of the push n go valve, some casting flash was not completely removed from the internal components, causing the rubber seal to stick partially open. a small file will remove the flash and allow the air passage to be fully sealed.
FOR ALL PLUGS: remember to clean the plug threads of any dirt and debris! contaminated threads will wear down and result in stripped plugs and bunkers.