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How to Replace A Bladder

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  • How to Replace A Bladder

    Hi Mike

    I think it would be worth it to replace the bladder, especially since it sounds like a collector grade bag ( Olympic logo ) in terrific shape. I haven't changed a bladder in about 10 years, for I have a "gaggle" of bags and never want for another one, but when I did replace them I remember it was kind of a pain.

    First, I took the top string or tie band out completely. The with all air out, I would peel the bag sides down and out like a banana, to expose the bottom air nozzle up to the top opening. Basically, you're turning the bag inside out. You want to get it to the point where you can see the bottom inside of the bladder, where it is attached either with a grooved knob in the air nipple, or glued, to the leather bottom liner of the bag. Not all bags have the blaldder connected the same way at the bottom, so you need to find out how that one is attached. (Something is securing the internal bladder bottom or the nipple would push inside the bag when you push the needle in.)

    disconnect the old bladder at the bottom, being careful not to injure the bottom hole in the bag for the air nipple to stick through. Clean up the internal bag leather and bottom area. Inspect the insides of the bag for any leather or plastic shards that may damage the new bladder, especially along the insides of a welted seam. Then put the air nipple of the new bladder througth the bottom bag hole and secure it to the bag bottom. If the old one was glued, then this one will probably have to be also.

    Now push the newly insert bladder nipple and bag bottom downward, and peel the bag sides upward to put the insides back inside. Keep doing this until all the bag inside area is back inside and the bag looks like a regular bag without air or tie strings. I think I then put a hand inside the bag, pressing the bottom to secure it (pushing outward from inside of bag..) while I inserted the needle. Then I would begin pumping it up and inflate the bag in stages. I'd stop a few times, and look around inside to check bladder shape, fit and condition. I'd keep doing that until the leather was expanded tight. If it looked good ( no bulges, lumps or severly lopsided) I would be satisfied and then let about 1/4 or more of the air out. (just enough to let the top area be laced and close easily. I find that easier to do with some air in the bag.

    I never relace the bag top lacing until I'm satisfied with everything, because if I'm not satisfied, I'd have to undue them again to take the new bladder out. In the old days that happened (new ones leak etc.)

    Again, this is from memory for it's been a while. Good luck with it.
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