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Old 6th May 2010, 02:11   #1
mike_123
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What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Probably an old question that's been done a hundred times but a quick search revealed nothing.

I'm in the market for a used KISS Classic and would be interested to hear of any key points I should look for when viewing units.

I'm a technical/engineering type so I'm ok with the general stuff but are there particular wear areas, or common damage areas, delicate parts, places where dirt and grime can collect, etc. that might be good indicators of whether a unit is a good pampered unit, or a bad neglected/abused unit ?

Obviously an important consideration will be the current owner, and it's likely they will be known to someone here, but putting that aside ...

cheers

Mike
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Old 6th May 2010, 02:54   #2
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

The very old units have the O2 on the LEFT not the right. This changed somewhere between units 60 and 80 I think. I avoided that although it's probably not too hard to alter if you wanted to.

I'll tell you when I get mine but I reckon the only insoluble problem would be damage to the head. Replacing all the soft parts and O rings only cost around $100. Doing that familiarises you with the unit and means you have new mushroom valves and ADV diaphragm. Jetsam seen to provide everything else as spares if you need to replace any of the hard bits. I'm going to strip mine, clean everything and change everything as well as servicing both first stages before I use it.

Damage to any o ring surface (scratches/cracks) is obviously an issue too but unless you can actually look at the unit you can't be sure.

You need to check how much corrosion there is on the molex connectors. They always corrode because the inside of the head isn't isolated from the loop. They're easily replaced however.

What displays there are and what head cable configuration there is; one cable gland or two; Fischer connectors or not. Some of the older "square block" housings were inadvertantly made of a porous plastic and leaked but Jetsam must have replaced most of them by now. Many people prefer the 3 separate displays over the VR3 style pendant. The pendant has to be turned on every time you want to look at it and this irritates a lot of people. I plan to replace the kidney/displays with a Shearwater Predator and HUD anyway so this is a moot point for me.

Which BOV reg it has; Paragon = yuk. Mares = less yuk.

I'm not sure how you go about checking the orifice; the hole is soooo tiny. I'm still trying to decide if I should just buy a new one and be done with it.

Otherwise I'm hoping the SH KISS should be fairly straightforward. There's no real electronics to worry about (compared to buying an ECCR) so really as long as someone hasn't run it over with a truck it's likely to be OK.

Mine ought to get here in a few days; we'll see if my assumptions prove accurate.
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Old 6th May 2010, 03:07   #3
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

If you have a chance, I'd check for cracks in 2 places. First is on the MAV body between the 2 hose inlets(if it's the newer plastic MAV), if it's been overtightened there will be a barely noticeable crack that will leak o2. Second and most important, take a close look at the o2 inlet elbow. If there is a crack in the tiny space between the elbow hole and the ADV body, you'll be looking at buying a new head. Most everything else is easily repaired or replaced.
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Old 6th May 2010, 10:55   #4
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Quote: (Originally Posted by mike_123) View Original Post
Probably an old question that's been done a hundred times but a quick search revealed nothing.

I'm in the market for a used KISS Classic and would be interested to hear of any key points I should look for when viewing units.

I'm a technical/engineering type so I'm ok with the general stuff but are there particular wear areas, or common damage areas, delicate parts, places where dirt and grime can collect, etc. that might be good indicators of whether a unit is a good pampered unit, or a bad neglected/abused unit ?

Obviously an important consideration will be the current owner, and it's likely they will be known to someone here, but putting that aside ...

cheers

Mike
Hi Mike,

The other replys above have it about right, your profile says your based in the UK and so are alot of KISS divers, if you do find a KISS you want to go look at might be worth taking another KISS owner with you as insurance/adviser.

The best news is- there isn't really anything that can't be fixed/replaced yourself, yes you have to get parts from Jetsam (but their service/aftersales is SUPERB) and if you have an engineerings background you'll be able to fit the parts without difficulty.

Also any self respecting KISS owner should be looking to sell the orginally supplied KISS Tools with the unit- the blade for opening the scrubber, some allen keys etc, they will likely also have a bunch of spares to pass on, look for an o-ring kit, spare one way valves and the manual, these things are not only nice to have but make starting out so much easier/cheaper.

IMVHO and IF your budget allows and one comes up what you want is a Classic KISS with a hardwired Shearwater Computer and HUD, its the ultimate combination
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Old 6th May 2010, 12:35   #5
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Things I'd look out for:

Handsets. Any moisture, signs of corrosion, missing bars in the display. Any sign that it's been flooded and you'll have trouble. Look for stripped threads, very common on handsets, especially the calibration port on the old black handsets. If you can see the o ring then angle the case and look for a solid black line on the sealing surface. Check the magnets, these are a good indicator of how much use the unit has had. if they slide easily by hand then it's well used, stiff then less use.

Stripped threads anywhere. The kidney is a good place to look. Might be worth taking a set of metric allen keys to check. Just dont end up stripping them when you check them:)

Look at the MAV. All steel and perfectly cylindrical and it's a 1st gen. These are depth limited to about 55-60m and cannot be easily upgraded to a smaller orifice. Steel with flat sides and you can, it's the same orifice in the crap plastic MAV which goes deeper. Check the plastic one for stripped threads, cracks, hoses that slacken easily and leaks around the connections.

If the Paragon 2nd stage works then I think it is better than the Mares. However it is difficult to keep working, I never saw service kits anywhere other than Jetsam and I dont know if they still supply them. Count on replacing it at some point.

Make sure the adv works and does not leak. Ask, or better yet check, what valve stem is in it. The old top hat version was very reliable but very hard to replace the o ring in. The new conical seat is easier to maintain but more prone to leaks.

The ideal unit for me would be 2nd gen stainless mav, 1st gen black handsets, top hat adv provided it is working, all steel hoses and any dsv other than the Jetsam (both the Paragon and Mares flavours are crap). I wouldn't get excited about quick disconnects on the loop hoses, pointless and too big, or rubber/miflex hoses on the regs, again a pointless development that just weakens the whole unit. For me the older the better, something less than about #80 would be perfect.

Cheers,

Stuart
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Old 6th May 2010, 15:22   #6
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Quote: (Originally Posted by abowie) View Original Post
The very old units have the O2 on the LEFT not the right. This changed somewhere between units 60 and 80 I think. I avoided that although it's probably not too hard to alter if you wanted to.
Unit # 69 to be precise. Yes, you can change it over to the right side. Jetsam will do it for a few bucks and that allows you to have the O2 on right AND/OR to plug another MAV in the left side if ever you need the unit to go deeper.
Units starting from #50 or so have the flat side stainless O2 MAV. Previous have the cylindrical one.
Units starting from #100 or so have the plastic 02 MAV.
Units after #110 or so have the inner parts of the canister made of molded screens and tube. Previous have machined delrin inner guts. Both are equally good.
Gen 2 displays appeared for units #120 or so. In my experience, both are equally good if you don't temper with them. If not I prefer gen 1 for their toughness but gen 2 for ease of use.
I'd look for stripped theads all around, trace of corosion inside the displays (if gen 1 and 2), ADV diaphragm and stem as said above.
I would also make sure all the parts can be separated such as unscrew the head from the case, the spine from the case, the manifold....
Put new o-rings all around so you know where you start from. Same for the DSV flapper valves.
Give your new/used unit a good shine and you're good to go. A Classic Kiss is never old, it has accumulated hours of use.
Best
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Old 7th May 2010, 11:08   #7
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Quote: (Originally Posted by stunsm) View Original Post
. Second and most important, take a close look at the o2 inlet elbow. If there is a crack in the tiny space between the elbow hole and the ADV body, you'll be looking at buying a new head.
.
Mine has a crack there having got it today. I'll rebuild it and see if it leaks.
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Old 7th May 2010, 11:17   #8
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Quote: (Originally Posted by lizardland) View Original Post
Things I'd look out for:

If the Paragon 2nd stage works then I think it is better than the Mares. However it is difficult to keep working, I never saw service kits anywhere other than Jetsam and I dont know if they still supply them. Count on replacing it at some point.


Stuart
The issue with the Paragon when servicing it is the soft rubber seat. Everything else about it is standard orings which are easy to get. The problem with it is that the seat is soft; it takes a set with the orifice and starts to leak...

I serviced Harry's for him once and he subsequently bailed out on it at some ridiculous depth and it worked but they don't seem to hold tune for long. Best avoided.
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Old 7th May 2010, 12:01   #9
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Quote: (Originally Posted by abowie) View Original Post
The issue with the Paragon when servicing it is the soft rubber seat. Everything else about it is standard orings which are easy to get. The problem with it is that the seat is soft; it takes a set with the orifice and starts to leak...

I serviced Harry's for him once and he subsequently bailed out on it at some ridiculous depth and it worked but they don't seem to hold tune for long. Best avoided.
Yeah, that was my experience. So you screw the crown a bit tighter which cuts the seat a bit more so you screw it a bit tighter...

I found the Mares to be a pretty poor replacement, if I was buying a KISS again then I'd dump the whole BOV and stick something else on.
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Old 7th May 2010, 15:18   #10
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Re: What to look for in a used KISS Classic ?

Quote: (Originally Posted by lizardland) View Original Post
Yeah, that was my experience. So you screw the crown a bit tighter which cuts the seat a bit more so you screw it a bit tighter...

I found the Mares to be a pretty poor replacement, if I was buying a KISS again then I'd dump the whole BOV and stick something else on.
Yup, mine did the same, tighter, tighter, tighter then finely impossible to tighten and leaky BOV all the time.

I believe a few people have fitted other second stages successfully, the Micron apparently is a perfect fit the Mares adapter and smaller so worth checking out.

If I where starting from scratch I might consider a JJ-BOV as it would also greatly improve the local WOB issue the Jetsam Cotton-reel style BOV has.
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