Corrosion Prevention For Dummies
Spring cleaning our new Air Ranger airboat yesterday completed a corrosion prevention observation conducted over 20 airboat redfishing trips and a 74 day Texas duck season back-to-back. I ended up with around 80 hours of engine usage during that time frame with countless hours of prolonged, repeated exposure to the most corrosive saltwater environment anywhere. I took some pictures yesterday to document my findings and observations.
I’ve learned a lot during this impromptu, but somewhat “forced” observation. My comments are those of me and mine alone, unsolicited, and completely unbiased. While the observations and results center around the use of one product, I’m not discounting that you may put your trust in “some other product” and it might yield similar results. For me, the use of the product mentioned was simple, quick, most readily available, and we had some experience with it. We had actually quit using it often because of mixed results. As you will come to find by reading, the mixed results were because of a lack of understanding in how to use the product within our “normal operations”. In other words, we needed corrosion prevention for dummies!
Big, High Dollar Problems
Corrosion is a big problem on the Texas Gulf Coast and other corrosive environs. Airboat operators are constantly confronted by a battle royale with rust and corrosion. Automotive motors and their components weren’t built for saltwater exposure. Stainless exhaust will rust out in a heartbeat due to heat and salt exposure. Zinc plated fasteners will rust and corrode in short order if unattended. Stainless fasteners in contact with aluminum will corrode to the point of “almost being welded” to the hull.
With any piece of equipment and especially high dollar airboats and high performance components, it’s almost sickening to watch as corrosion destroys their functionality, impedes maintenance and repair, and demolishes resale value. Taking on a new Air Ranger airboat this season, I made it a point to learn a little more about corrosion and it’s prevention.
Pride Turns To Frustration
We take pride in our equipment and it’s maintenance and corrosion prevention. We’ve had little success preventing corrosion on equipment held long-term and have experimented with virtually everything including Corrosion X. Before putting the new Air Ranger on the water, I did some reading including everything written by Corrosion X.
Frustrated by potential disaster “looming” I contacted Mr. Mike Tuite, owner of Corrosion X. I explained our situation, airboat usage on the coast, corrosive metals and environs, etc. Mike asked me “how are you approaching corrosion prevention”? I explained that we had used Corrosion X along with “spray on grease” with some success but not much. He dug a little further in our approach. I mentioned that we typically apply a preventative, use the boat, then return and completely wash the equipment and re-apply. Sometimes we wouldn’t get a preventative re-applied or re-applied well. It might be hours or sometimes a day or two before re-applying if we were repeatedly using the equipment. When the equipment wasn’t being used, we had it completely covered by spray on grease “most recently”.
When You Are Part of The Problem
Mike said “the problem is you are washing it off”! He went on to recommend that we apply Corrsion X HD to the motor and other components that aren’t “high temp”. Corrosion X HD is a thick syrupy product that isn’t “visually attractive” but is awfully tenacious and “self healing”. He then recommended that we “wash around” these components including the motor. “DO WHAT”? “Not wash the motor, I thought he was outside his mind”! He went on to explain that a product like Corrosion X prevents corrosion by breaking the chemical and electrical process needed to cause rust and corrosion. If Corrosion X is present, it is just impossible to corrosion and rust to occur. If you apply it, then wash it off, not only is it costly and unnecessary, but we were asking for trouble. The “self healing” nature of Corrosion X HD was interesting. If the product got scraped off by some debris, it would flow back together almost like a product that is “self leveling”. That helps to “catch your back” when running hard and unable to keep a sharp eye on things.
Mike suggested that we keep an eye on the components and remove the product from time to time to inspect the metal and check for corrosion. Keeping a sharp eye on our new investment, I was amazed that there were no signs of corrosion.
I was concerned that the motor would get filthy as dirt, dust, and debris might adhere to the gooey nature of the Corrosion X HD. During 65 hours of operation during this years Texas Duck Season and 15 hours of operation airboat Redfishing this Fall; consisting of about 80-85 days on the water; I did remove the product from the very front face of the oil pan on our 8.1L Levitator. It was getting a little dirty plus I wanted to inspect the paint and metal for signs of corrosion. There were no signs of even the most remote corrosion or rust. It’s far easier to degrease the motor and pressure wash if the motor starts getting filthy, reapplying Corrosion X HD and starting again.
Spray on Grease
The reason spray on grease failed us, I learned, was it is a wax based surface coating and does nothing to prevent the chemical and electrical process of rust and corrosion. I literally witnessed rust emerging from beneath the grease. It did manage to prevent rust on bolt heads on the engine manifold, but the oil pan was a disaster as was exhaust during storage.
Hi Temp Components
Mike recommended for components like exhaust pipe, headers, and rotating assemblies like the flex plate, flywheel, propeller hub, and the likes that we use Corrosion X in the red can. The product in the “red can” is much thinner than HD. We applied it to the exhaust pipe and headers between and after usage. We found that the product stayed put on the flywheel and rotating components without causing an ugly and gooey mess that might be experienced with Corrosion X HD.
Corrosion X HD Characteristics
In taking the pictures for this discussion yesterday, one thing that impressed me was the tenacity of the HD. I ended up degreasing and pressure washing the Levitator motor four times. After each degreasing and pressure washing I noticed that the HD was still sticking to the motor. I saw some rust colored material at the exhaust ports. Upon inspection, it was Corrosion X HD that had caked up from the high temperatures and burned slightly. There was no rust, however!
As I said earlier, Corrosion X HD is not the most “visually attractive” product. It appears to have a color of pine sap and it is syrupy and gooey. If you are looking to “shine” some bling on the motor, this product will save it from corrosion but it’s not going to “shine”. I would use it in a heartbeat on those “long-lived” components that need protection. Like components that you don’t have to come in contact with frequently. For us, the motor was the right place for this product along with some other electrical solenoids, grounding connection, rudder bearing brackets and such.
On components that are going to burn off a corrosion blocker during use, we used the “red can” and applied after each use. During roughly 5 months of this observation period, I used a case of the “red cans” along with about 4 cans of the HD totaling around $120. On an airboat or other costly piece of equipment, that’s a small price to pay for serious corrosion prevention. I found great pricing on the product through “Sky Geek.com”. I ended up buying the 16oz. Aviation product in the “blue can” which is the same product found in the “red can” it’s just packaged to appeal to the aviation community.
As with our use of the product, successful corrosion prevention is in some part going to rely on the “user”. You have to get the product in places that it needs to go. That means you are going to have to get in the cage and work the angles applying it in all the nooks and crannies where problems are going to occur. We’ve got the HD product also on trailer components, hubs and lug bolts, tongue latch, winch, tongue jack, etc. I haven’t gotten to the point of applying it to the galvanized axles under the trailer as of yet, but that experiment is coming!
Capt. Kris Kelley
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
109 W. Austin
Seadrift, TX 77983