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Old     (trio)      Join Date: Jan 2010       09-12-2010, 10:41 PM Reply   
What is the best protectant for aluminum against saltwater? I have a new Saltwater Series XStar that I only use in the harbor. I wash it down after every ride. I also use babes boat bright liberally on the hull and metal bits. Unfortunately I am still getting some corrosion on the tower, racks and mirror arm. I also have aluminum wheels on my trailer that I would love to protect. Does anyone have a tips or product recommendations to help protect the metal bits? I would love to preserve the new boat luster as long as I can!! Thanks!
Old     (repo)      Join Date: Feb 2010       09-12-2010, 11:51 PM Reply   
If its the saltwater series why aren't the aluminum bits treated? Either anodised or powder coated? Could it just be residual salt still attached that warm soapy water should remove? Or is it etching into the alloy?
Old    mojo            09-13-2010, 1:53 AM Reply   
if you launch your boat alot i'd sell that trailer while it's still new and get a galvanized one. as for interior, wipe down after use and coat with 303 by 3m. are you flushing it after each use?
Old     (brit_rider)      Join Date: May 2004       09-13-2010, 3:32 AM Reply   
I've been a saltwater boater for almost 25 years and selling towers (inc Mastercraft units) for almost 8 so hopefully I can offer some help here:

The tower, racks and mirror are anodised, therefore warm soapy water is the best thing to use. Whatever you do don't use any kind of polish on them unless it is specifically designed for use on Anodised surfaces or you'll strip the protectant and permanently damage the finish.

I find that once cleaned, plenty of WD40 on a rag helps to maintain the finish. You can apply liberally to offer a bit of extra protection for the following outing too. You may also want to remove all bolts from the tower at the end of the season, coat threads in copper grease and re-insert and torque. leaving them in for a long period of time will allow galvanic corrosion to occur as the salt creeps in. Copper grease is dirt cheap and the best stuff to use in my experience. It'll take you maybe an hour each year to do this but it will pay dividend.... I saw a 2004 MC X star recently that had all its bolts seized... no one could remove the bols to tighten the tower so it looks like the whole unit is going to need replacing.... gulp.

As for the rims, there is not much you can do... in honesty I'm surprised that MC would provide a trailer with rims not suited to salt.... any normal alloy wheel should be fine unless it is literally bare aluminum with no coating. Are these special rims you ordered with the boat or standard? Are they showing signs of corrosion? I'd give them the same treatment as the tower and if the finish fails speak with your dealer about it. Again, once washed and dried a good spray of WD40 offers surprisingly good protection. Remember th einside of the wheel as well as face side.

The best salt dunked trailers I see are those that are rinsed after launch AND recovery. It take literally 30 seconds to spray a hose over the trailer once you've put the boat in and theory says that the first 15 mins of salt water drying on the trailer is the most damaging. The benefit to swilling the trailer off without a boat on there is also that you can get to the harder to reach areas which the boat would prohibit.

Is your trailer a galvanised and painted unit or simply painted? We don't see many painted trailers in the UK as they corrode very quickly... even most freshwater trailers are galvanised. We use different braking systems here so hopefully someone else will be able to chime in about looking after your (assummed) hydraulic disc brake system in salt (we use cable drums as they're easier to maintain).

There are stacks of products out there that claim to get rid of salt, being a prime one. Might be worth investing in a few bottles to keep around the boat and trailer.

Hope that helps...
Old     (trio)      Join Date: Jan 2010       09-13-2010, 9:47 AM Reply   
Great advice on the bolts and WD40. That is some good stuff! 1,000,000 uses and counting! haha. I use Babes seat saver on the interior but might try the 303 when I run out. I am actually really anal about the boat. I rinse down and flush out after every session. The tower itself is not showing any signs of pitting or corrosion but it has a few pin sized tarnished spots on it from the salt. I just wanted to be proactive with it. I certainly appreciate this and any additional advice. you can think of.

I had Pacific Trailers build a custom aluminum trailer for my boat. MC makes a galvanized one but I prefer the look and the longevity of the aluminum. I also purchased the wheels from them. I bring a a large watercooler sized jug full of water with me and rinse down the wheels brakes and trailer after every launch. Once again just trying to catch a problem before it occurs and keep my setup looking fresh!
Old     (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       09-13-2010, 10:20 AM Reply   
I don't know if you care but something like Fluid Film would be a little more friendly for the water than WD40 because a lot will end up in the water if you soak the trailer:

I used to use it on my Sea Doo engines but they already had so much corrosion on them when I bought them that it was hard to tell if it prevented any new corrosion. I generally applied it pretty thick to the engine but I'd think you could wipe on a thin coat onto more visible things like the wheels.

An even more environmentally friendly option might be some sort of vegetable oil but I'm not sure about the long term corrosion inhibiting abilities of something like that.

I've also heard of filling a garden sprayer (The 3-5 gallon pump up type) with 50/50 vinegar/water and misting everything with that then wiping it down after every trip. Supposedly it prevents staining, mineral buildup and does a better job if cutting the salt than plain water. If you have access to a fresh water hose at your slip you could put one of those inline siphon type plant food sprayers on there and fill it with vinegar or some other salt removing agent.
Old     (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       09-13-2010, 10:27 AM Reply   
Also, I wonder if waxing the tower would be beneficial if you aren't already. I'd check with MasterCraft on applying a petroleum product to the anodized tower. I doubt it would have any short term affect on it but I wonder if repeated application over the course of years would eat at the anodized coating.
Old     (meathead65)      Join Date: Sep 2006       09-13-2010, 10:45 AM Reply   
I respectfully dis-agree on the use of any copper content in the grease used...copper and aluminum together in the presence of salt water is an invitation to rapid corrosion. I agree that greasing the threads is a great way to prevent corrosive seizing, but please keep copper out of the mix.
Old    mojo            09-13-2010, 6:27 PM Reply   
i thought the towers were brushed aluminum?
Old     (pcolajosh)      Join Date: May 2007       09-13-2010, 7:48 PM Reply   
One more tip: use Salt-Away like it's cheap!
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 12:08 AM Reply   
fluid film on motor parts
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       09-14-2010, 3:39 AM Reply   
RUP Alumiguard on all exposed alloys including wheels will stop pitting.
Old     (brit_rider)      Join Date: May 2004       09-14-2010, 6:07 AM Reply   

Can you elaborate on why you don't like copper grease/copaslip in this application? Are you suggesting it would allow the materials to bond? Have you ever seen this happen? Are you suggesting that using copper grease would leads to faster corrosion set in?

I've yet to see two components (stainless and ally) or not bond when copper grease has been present. I do however reguarly see these items corrode (under glavanic corrosion and salt crystal built up) reguarly when this grease is NOT used. The very point of copper grease is that is is an anti-seizing agent that stops metals bonding over time, particuarly when in salty environments.

In my experience the Copper protects the stainless threads from the aluminium... The stainless is the most noble of the metals but the ally wants to corrode (being the most cathodic of the 3 materials) but the presence of copper steps down the disparity in metal cathodic disparity (compare to if it were not present).

For those interested, bit of manufactuer info here desribing copaslip:
"An anti-seize compound and a lubricant perform entirely different functions although many anti-seize products have lubricating properties, especially at higher temperatures. In environmentally adverse conditions such as high humidity and salinity, extreme pressure, acidic atmospheres or excessive temperatures, metals can fuse or weld together. The chief culprit is corrosion, particularly in marine surroundings. Molyslip anti-seize products are designed to provide an insulating layer between metals so that dismantling and routine maintenance are free from breakage of fused parts. This problem is especially onerous on threads and shackles. A single application of Copaslip (often misspelled as copperslip or coppaslip) or Alumslip will stop metal fusion for many years."
Taken from:
Old     (brit_rider)      Join Date: May 2004       09-14-2010, 6:08 AM Reply   
RM, only the cheap low-end towers tend to be brushed or polished aluminum.

The betters ones (Monster, XTP, New Dimension, OEM's etc) are almost exclusively anodised AND brushed or polished.
Old     (trio)      Join Date: Jan 2010       09-23-2010, 3:49 PM Reply   
Another question....What is the best way to keep your trailer to truck light connections from corrosion? The copper is getting that blue/green oxidation in the both the plug and the receiver. My tail lights still work but the buildup is getting worse. I plug it in and out then bang it on the trailer to get the crud out. Is there some type of grease or lubricant to help protect the connection?
Old     (meathead65)      Join Date: Sep 2006       09-23-2010, 5:28 PM Reply   

From the very website you quoted:

"Alumslip anti-seize assembly compound is specially formulated to protect against seizure even under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. Also a highly effective thread lubricant and protective. Designed for same applications as Copaslip® (often misspelled as copperslip or coppaslip) but where there is a prejudice against the presence of copper. Temperature range up to 1100°C."

They make their compound available without copper for the very reason I expressed concern.

Perhaps it is not as critical in an above water connection such as on a tower, but in general in the marine environment, the presence of copper near aluminum will greatly expedite the galvanic corrosion process. We do a substantial amount of work on commercial vessels constructed of aluminum, and have seen even tiny trace amounts of copper do severe damage to hull surfaces. Something as minor as some stray strand trimmings of copper wire allowed to fall into the bilge, then flooded with seawater, can turn the aluminum into swiss cheese in a hurry.

I agree with you that the copper based anti seize will prevent the two parts from fusing, but if exposed to enough saltwater, it may in fact expedite the breakdown of the aluminum piece.
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-24-2010, 5:20 AM Reply   
Baking soda
warm water
stainless-steel brush
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-24-2010, 5:36 AM Reply   
Baking soda
warm water
stainless-steel brush

That will get the connection clean
then i use a dental pick, or pipe cleaner to clean better, toothpicks work, especially the bamboo ones

then a nice slab of DI-ELECTRIC grease on the plug, NOT THE CAR!!!!

If you have reverse-lock out, i recommend pulling the plug and using the clip
I know a pain, but it will save you the solenoid and the master cylinder in years to come
Remember ur sending 12V to the trailer at 3 spots then
2 at the lights, 1 at the tongue, 12V and AMPS (the 2 brakes lights, maybe reverse lights,and a solenoid, all on little 14 gauge wires) are not fun, e-z fixing, but like to eat wires

so if you have those blue scotch crimp crap wire splicers on ur trailer, HAHAHAHAHAH, thats an open wound my friends
over 70% (thats average) use them
cut time
cut cost
= more margin

tell u guys what, look at your grounds
if they aint shinny
they aint working efficiently
like ZINC's


Hence the ZINC, not copper for anodes

look at a periodic table and do the math guys
you need a refresher coarse
its all ball bearings these days
stainless steal
and some oil

just wait to u can buy hemp oil

PLEDGE, thats great SHEET (on a rag, makes ur fiberglass, slick like the dickens) right there, but DAWN soap before


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