Rubber Soaker Hose Repair

A soaker hose leaped under a descending garden fork and accumulated a nasty gash:

Soaker Hose Splice - gashed
Soaker Hose Splice – gashed

Mary deployed a spare and continued the mission, while I pondered how to fix such an odd shape.

For lack of anything smarter, I decided to put a form-fitting clamp around the hose, with silicone caulk buttered around the gash to (ideally) slow down any leakage:

Soaker Hose Splice - Solid Model - Assembled
Soaker Hose Splice – Solid Model – Assembled

As usual, some doodling got the solid model started:

Soaker Hose Splice - Dimension doodle 1
Soaker Hose Splice – Dimension doodle 1

A hose formed from chopped rubber doesn’t really have consistent dimensions, so I set up the model to spit out small test pieces:

Soaker Hose Splice - Test Fit - Slic3r
Soaker Hose Splice – Test Fit – Slic3r

Lots and lots of test pieces:

Soaker Hose Splice - test pieces
Soaker Hose Splice – test pieces

Each iteration produced a better fit, although the dimensions never really converged:

Soaker Hose Splice - Dimension doodle 2
Soaker Hose Splice – Dimension doodle 2

The overall model looks about like you’d expect:

Soaker Hose Splice - Complete - Slic3r
Soaker Hose Splice – Complete – Slic3r

The clamp must hold its shape around a hose carrying 100 psi (for real!) water, so I put 100 mil aluminum backing plates on either side. Were you doing this for real, you’d shape the plates with a CNC mill, but I just bandsawed them to about the right size and transfer-punched the hole positions:

Soaker Hose Splice - plate transfer punch
Soaker Hose Splice – plate transfer punch

Some drill press action with a slightly oversize drill compensated for any misalignment and Mr Disk Sander rounded the corners to match the plastic block:

Soaker Hose Splice - plate corner rounding
Soaker Hose Splice – plate corner rounding

A handful of stainless steel 8-32 screws holds the whole mess together:

Soaker Hose Splice - installed
Soaker Hose Splice – installed

These hoses spend their lives at rest under a layer of mulch, so I’m ignoring the entire problem of stress relief at those sharp block edges. We’ll see how this plays out in real life, probably next year.

I haven’t tested it under pressure, but it sure looks capable!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

6 thoughts on “Rubber Soaker Hose Repair

  1. It’s a soaker hose, so even if it leaks a little, it should be fine.

    1. The main line runs outside the garden plots, with hose bibs on vertical pipes emerging from the ground, and folks have backed over two of ’em in recent months: the jets must have been spectacular. Vassar locked the vehicle entry gates to prevent more carnage.

      Inside the garden, a popped coupler isn’t such a big deal …

  2. carrying 100 psi (for real!) water

    If that’s causing problems, a search on “rv water pressure regulator” will show regulators that will bring it down to 40-50 PSI. Sold by the usual suspects, including WalMart and Amazon. I found one non-adjustable for $6.72 from Amazon, with others running to $20-25.

    1. I put a four-line manifold just inside the garden gate, where turning on two or three lines keeps the pressure under control; we’ve learned not to run a single hose!

      One of the cheap regulators would make a nice Christmas Stocking stuffer, though.

  3. I recently inherited an older RV, and am learning a lot (like the fact that nobody will insure an RV is the tires are older than 7-8 years). But we’re talking about water pressure. RV water systems have a limited pressure tolerance, and some RV parks have overly high pressure. Modern RVs can handle 80-100psi, where older RVs like mine are restricted to 50 psi or so.

    In the RV world there are two kinds of regulators, a cheap flow restrictor like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Pressure-Regulator-High-Pressure-40055/dp/B003BZD08U

    …and a true pressure regulator, like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Renator-M11-0660R-Regulator-Lead-free-Adjustable/dp/B01N7JZTYX/ref=lp_16187229011_1_1
    I have one of these on order, along with a lot of other RV stuff.

    1. We’ve learned the hard way to turn the water off / on at the riser pipe, rather than at the manifold. With at least two hoses active from the manifold, though, the pressure remains at sensible limits and, after fixing a few weak connections, the hoses have been stable for a couple of years.

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