Wednesday, August 7, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier 12 Floor Issues

A couple months ago I noticed I had some water in the hull of my NuCanoe Frontier 12. Rather than using the drain plug in the rear I found that the best way to drain the water was to lift up the rear and sponge out the water from the front hatch.

I wondered how the water got into the hull and I soon discovered the problem. The floor had developed two cracks on top of supports which created pressure points.

I wasn't sure if this would be covered under the NuCanoe 3 year warranty or what I should do so I asked the guys on the NuCanoe forums. They told me I should contact NuCanoe directly and to contact my dealer so I did both. I explained my situation to both of them. From what I had herd, NuCanoe's customer support was excellent so I was hopeful. I got a response from both the next day. My dealer told me I should contact NuCanoe and see what they wanted to do which I had already done. NuCanoe gave me two promising options.

1. They would work with my dealer to get me a brand new replacement. Can't beat that.

2. They had a foam insert to provide additional support to the floor in development which they would provide me as well as supplies to patch the cracks. If this didn't work out the option to get a new one would still be available.

I really didn't want to have to deal with setting up and registering a new one so I decided to go with option number two. A few days later I received a shipment from NuCanoe with my foam insert and some JB WaterWeld to patch the cracks.

The foam insert was not easy to install. I removed the front hatch lid to get all the angle I could manage and forced it in. I was afraid that I was going to break the foam but I managed to get it in unharmed. I shoved it back into the hull nearly as far as I could get it so it would reach the area in front of my seat where I typically stand. The farther I slid it, the tighter it got as the floor is higher in the front so the water will somewhat drain towards the rear.

I was pleased with the outcome. The foam insert really did help provide the much needed support in the area where I stand. It didn't help much in the front where the floor is higher but from the cup holders back to my seat it was a much more solid surface. This foam insert has recently also been made available for free to all NuCanoe Frontier owners.

Next it was on to patching the cracks. By this point I had developed two additional small cracks making four total. I'd never used JB WaterWeld before but it was simple enough. I applied a liberal amount of the putty to the cracked areas. It didn't look the best but as long as it made the hull waterproof once more I wasn't too concerned.

First trip out with the patched cracks it wasn't long before I found out that the JB WaterWeld was not going to cut it. Once it is dry it has no flex and the frontiers floor is very flexible so the water weld snapped right off.

So at this point I was considering plastic welding but I knew nothing about the process at the time. I once again asked the guys on the NuCanoe forum for advice. I also contacted NuCanoe again to explain the situation and get their opinions. The last thing I wanted to do was void my warranty by melting my frontier. They gave me the go ahead to try the plastic welding so that's what I did.

My plan was to slowly apply heat via a heat gun and see where that got me. Maybe the cracks would just melt back together with little effort. From research I knew that the melting point of the polyethylene plastic which a NuCanoe is made of was not very high so I set my heat gun at a lower setting of 660 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few minutes of applying heat to the plastic I started to see some effects. The crack did appear to be joining back together. After a few more minutes the crack really looked liked it had sealed over so I stopped and let it cool and moved on to the next one. I did a round on each of the four cracks. Once the plastic had cooled I found that the cracks had reopened. It was obvious that the plastic was just expanding when it was heated making it appear that the cracks were being sealed. So I decided to take more drastic measures. I heated the plastic up again and started maneuvering it with a flat head screwdriver. I did a few passes over each of the cracks using this method and it seemed to be working although it didn't look the best. I did my best to smooth the melted surfaces.

Here's the end result of the biggest crack pictured first above.

 Here's the end result of the second crack pictured above.

And here's the other two that were not pictured above.

The patches appeared to be waterproof. Upon pressing on the floor around them they seemed to be solid. After a few trips out I didn't notice any water in the hull the and patches remained solid.

So at this point my floor issues are resolved. NuCanoe's customer service was great and they really stand behind their product. The Frontier 12 is still a fairly new product and I'm sure they will continue to improve upon the design. I do believe that if I'd had the foam insert all along that I wouldn't have had any problems. Despite these issues I'm still thoroughly pleased with my NuCanoe Frontier 12.


  1. Rylan, you're a better and more patient man than me. Would have asked for a new one. Great job and thanks for sharing.