Stopping or Reducing trailer corrosion ??


Electri-Cal
 

After yesterdays real time discussion on the horrific trailer problems we always seem to have, I woke up with an idea.  I went online and found which anode materials apply to which metals, that are used on steel hull boats for instance.  The answer, for fresh and salt water corrosion seems to be good old aluminum, generally speaking.  I assume from the info. we could add aluminum plates in say 4 to 6 areas that are proven corrosion areas.  Probably near major welded places, it sounds like that slows down the steels rust out resistance somewhat.  

I think I will use a soft aluminum metal plate from the local metals store.  Get some bolts matching ones in my frame if possible, or better, drill a few right next to problem areas.  Rough up both steel and aluminum for good contact and bolt them in.  Maybe that will stop or at least retard trailer corrosion,   Maybe an anode like that would also be an idea for trailer axles, outboard to help with springs and hub contact points.

How does that sound for the ounce of prevention ?? =====  Cal


Richard Green
 

Uh, seems to me it’s apples and oranges in that.  I’m not really thoroughly knowledgeable on these things by any means but I speculate that rust isn’t the same as galvanic corrosion for which an anode is used ordinarily.   I don’t think your aluminum plates would be useful save to look good for a spell while the metal it’s bolted to rusts away.

Rich

On Jul 29, 2022, at 5:50 AM, Electri-Cal <calboats@...> wrote:

After yesterdays real time discussion on the horrific trailer problems we always seem to have, I woke up with an idea.  I went online and found which anode materials apply to which metals, that are used on steel hull boats for instance.  The answer, for fresh and salt water corrosion seems to be good old aluminum, generally speaking.  I assume from the info. we could add aluminum plates in say 4 to 6 areas that are proven corrosion areas.  Probably near major welded places, it sounds like that slows down the steels rust out resistance somewhat.  

I think I will use a soft aluminum metal plate from the local metals store.  Get some bolts matching ones in my frame if possible, or better, drill a few right next to problem areas.  Rough up both steel and aluminum for good contact and bolt them in.  Maybe that will stop or at least retard trailer corrosion,   Maybe an anode like that would also be an idea for trailer axles, outboard to help with springs and hub contact points.

How does that sound for the ounce of prevention ?? =====  Cal


Jove Lachman-Curl
 

Cal, This could have a beneficial effect,
On an ocean boat we connect everything electrically and apply an anode outside the hull in the water, as you know,
On land the trick is that you don't have a big pool of electrolyte to link everything together, but I still think it'll have an effect, but you may have to station your anodes more frequently.
I know anodes are used above the water line too, on oil rigs and other marine structures. Since your trailer lives most of the year half submerged in a fog of oregon rain, it may indeed benefit from a sacrificial anode or 6.
You may want to look into which alloys are best, I've thought about using random aluminum scrap for boat anodes but I"m not sure if most grades will work, or if many of them have been formulated to be less liable to corrosion.. which is not what you want in an anode, but perhaps it doesn't matter.
For comparison, galvanizing... coating a steel part in zinc, seems to work until the zinc is mostly gone, but on large parts they start rusting in areas where the zinc is gone. so your protection might not extend that far from your anode
-Jove

On Fri, Jul 29, 2022 at 7:33 AM Richard Green <chaos5@...> wrote:
Uh, seems to me it’s apples and oranges in that.  I’m not really thoroughly knowledgeable on these things by any means but I speculate that rust isn’t the same as galvanic corrosion for which an anode is used ordinarily.   I don’t think your aluminum plates would be useful save to look good for a spell while the metal it’s bolted to rusts away.

Rich

On Jul 29, 2022, at 5:50 AM, Electri-Cal <calboats@...> wrote:

After yesterdays real time discussion on the horrific trailer problems we always seem to have, I woke up with an idea.  I went online and found which anode materials apply to which metals, that are used on steel hull boats for instance.  The answer, for fresh and salt water corrosion seems to be good old aluminum, generally speaking.  I assume from the info. we could add aluminum plates in say 4 to 6 areas that are proven corrosion areas.  Probably near major welded places, it sounds like that slows down the steels rust out resistance somewhat.  

I think I will use a soft aluminum metal plate from the local metals store.  Get some bolts matching ones in my frame if possible, or better, drill a few right next to problem areas.  Rough up both steel and aluminum for good contact and bolt them in.  Maybe that will stop or at least retard trailer corrosion,   Maybe an anode like that would also be an idea for trailer axles, outboard to help with springs and hub contact points.

How does that sound for the ounce of prevention ?? =====  Cal


Electri-Cal
 

Thanks Jove, That's exactly what I thought, and the softest alloys probably best, or there are motor protective "zincs' for fresh, tidal or combination, and salt waters.  Different metals, but salt water is the worst, probably.  I'd want the softest metal.  I don't know but that a wad of aluminum foil hammered into a brick might be best.   I bought a set of sac. anodes and am using those on my Minn Kotas,  Both the twins and my 50 have anodes, might as well protect the trailer, as we have just had examples of !!

Minn Kota used to make shaft anodes for theirs but stopped, due to "environmental concerns", or -- they didn't sell fast enough.  They are made for all fishing boat offshore shafts,  so that's just a cop out.  I have 2 here, but I'm thinking of trying lead thrust washers, probably made from pounded flat and sanded down lead (round) surf fishing sinkers, as a good alternate.  Yeah, gloves and respirator job.   Hummm, how about drilling holes in those round surf weights, and screwing them in place with SS screws, easy enough ??

Another thought is that the trailer wiring is attached to  steel grounds, or similar light fixture clamps might have residual drain, that's running low current through the frame, I never have liked that.  First for me after a trailer purchase is I cut all wiring off, no ground wires to go hot in salt water.  My wires have always been run inside the boat, not the open frame, with magnet clamp on rear lights, using big steel washers   They also disconnect at the boats bow, and at the car plug.  That way the most bendy, and stressed wire is replaceable as a 6 ft part, which I keep spares wired up for in bad weather.  The wire harnesses today are for low power led lights, and the wires are too weak, in my opinion, to be trailered for years on end.  It's half the gauge of the truck wires we used to have.

Galv is good, but wears in traffic rash areas prone to rusting, steam it off, and use spray galv. to replace before rust gets serious.


Lunch Calls,  Byeee !!! --------  Cal









Electri-Cal
 

Easy enough to check out on the web.  Punch in -- sacrificial anodes for marine use -- and away you go.  All 3 types are available for cheap, compared to a trailer fixing.   I might even use two kinds, a freshwater one, and the saltwater one.  I think a few fishing weights from my tackle box or bi Mart will do to keep my mind at ease.  I'm gonna do the axle for sure, each side.  The springs are probably rubber mounted at the ends, plus they heat and cool every launch, which draws moisture into the bearing areas.

All OB motors today have serviceable zincs, maybe it's time I learned about the old  -- catch the rot before it eats you, of trailer greasing.

Good to have a wake up call,  but Really ,Really, Sorry that Dennis had to make it come to life !! ---  Cal


Wesley Miller
 

The zinc will sacrifice itself for your steel.  But I’m pretty sure lead sacrificial anodes would sacrifice  your steel parts to save itself.  Aluminum would probably work like zinc as they have similar, high electrode potential (voltage).  The Wikipedia article “Standard Electrode Potential” has list of elements with the voltage/potential they will give off electrons, in other words turn into “corrosion.”  The higher negative values on the list will often “protect” those with lower values.  
--
Wesley B Miller


Edward Epifani
 

Hmmm… my understanding is that electrolysis requires an electrolyte. Unless you left your trailer in the water it is not going to proceed. Salt crystals dried on could certainly form new electrolyte with dew, etc if it was not rinsed off thoroughly. Rust ( corrosion)is not the same as electrolysis. A sacrificial anode(eg zinc )is not going to stop rust. Incidentally thorough rinsing is more or less required now as part of prevention of aquatic invasive species transfer on boats and trailers.


On Jul 30, 2022, at 7:32 AM, Wesley Miller via groups.io <wmiller743@...> wrote:

The zinc will sacrifice itself for your steel.  But I’m pretty sure lead sacrificial anodes would sacrifice  your steel parts to save itself.  Aluminum would probably work like zinc as they have similar, high electrode potential (voltage).  The Wikipedia article “Standard Electrode Potential” has list of elements with the voltage/potential they will give off electrons, in other words turn into “corrosion.”  The higher negative values on the list will often “protect” those with lower values.  
--
Wesley B Miller


johnacord
 

If you don't mind painting your trailer you might look at Petitt Rustlok.  I applied it to an iron keel and going on three years with no rust.  Good protection.  The key is prepping and following the Petitt directions.  Pay attention to be sure to get it into corners and tight places.  Can be applied over galvanizing also, so would help those edges where galv tends to fail.

John A


Electri-Cal
 

Hey Rich, how does rusty metal removal differ from in water galvanic action ??   Since you say the anodes won't work, do you have a substitute material to consider ??   If I recall, much of the pure lead round surf sinkers I mentioned have been replaced with zinc for ecological reasons.  Maybe some tests might show a benefit from that approach, what do you think ??

Two researchers are better than one, thanks for anything you dig up, ----  Cal


Electri-Cal
 

Sorry Rich, evidentially I Didn't read far enough !!  Looks like several others have a better grip on this than I do so ---  more insight needed.   As I mentioned, a fishing store could give an idea on fishing materials that are close to the metal needed,   Or probably there are the right items for sale, so tomorrow maybe I can dig into that more.  I would sure like a better solution than dunking in fresh water, or a car wash.

Later on,  ----  Cal


Wesley Miller
 

The main boat trailer bugaboo is the square steel tube parts of the frame/tongue because it’s insides are pretty much impossible to wash or paint, let alone look at it to see what’s going on.  Kudos on the Trail-Rite and similar trailers with channel and angle iron frames.  I don’t remember if it was Westlawn School or my random reading about NEVER fastening (welding, bolting, etc) plates flat on each other or welding up something closed, so you couldn’t see, wash or paint when it starts to rust/corrode/etc.  Applies equally well to boats and trailers.
   Even with wood.  My plywood Pelican and her 7 sisters were  built with epoxy sealed “watertight” compartments, cuz that would keep the water and rot fungus out.  When I got her, she weighed about a ton (1300# displacement) with the watertight compartments full of water—luckily it hadn’t rotted, like most/all of the sister ships built like that.  Sawzall and removable covers got the compartments dry and inspectable.
Apologies for the long post,
Wes
--
Wesley B Miller


Randy Torgerson
 

I have read many books on wooden and fiberglass boat construction; fiberglass boatbuilding has many similarities to plywood/epoxy boatbuilding. Most of these books tell you what to do and how to do it. What they fail to tell you is what not to do. Marine Surveyor David Pascoe on his web page and books talks a lot about what not to do. On inexpensive fiberglass boat to luxury yacht he denounces the sealed compartment. Pascoe uses SeaRay in many of his examples of what not to do.

Sealed compartments are a problem waiting to happen so all the compartments in my Tolman will be vented and inspectable.


Randy


On July 31, 2022 8:40:34 AM PDT, "Wesley Miller via groups.io" <wmiller743@...> wrote:
The main boat trailer bugaboo is the square steel tube parts of the frame/tongue because it’s insides are pretty much impossible to wash or paint, let alone look at it to see what’s going on.  Kudos on the Trail-Rite and similar trailers with channel and angle iron frames.  I don’t remember if it was Westlawn School or my random reading about NEVER fastening (welding, bolting, etc) plates flat on each other or welding up something closed, so you couldn’t see, wash or paint when it starts to rust/corrode/etc.  Applies equally well to boats and trailers.
   Even with wood.  My plywood Pelican and her 7 sisters were  built with epoxy sealed “watertight” compartments, cuz that would keep the water and rot fungus out.  When I got her, she weighed about a ton (1300# displacement) with the watertight compartments full of water—luckily it hadn’t rotted, like most/all of the sister ships built like that.  Sawzall and removable covers got the compartments dry and inspectable.
Apologies for the long post,
Wes


Electri-Cal
 

Just as an update, I am now working with a party to fix or at least reduce that "Trailer rot" problem.  When we get the answers, I will no doubt offer free samples in exchange for testing and  brief written evaluation..  Salt water results are of course faster, before and after pix collected over time.  Design is being looked at, as are other obstructions to doing a new product correctly.  Not at all cheap, testing takes time, legalities etc. but it should be a good project, you will be informed as it happens. 

Not my first rodeo with this stuff, ----  Cal


Jove Lachman-Curl
 

I've been pretty cavalier about lead in the past, but the more I learn about its durability and toxicity, the less of it I want around.
Using it as a sacrificial anode seems unwise, even if it worked. Which it won't since its the other side of Iron on the electro reactivity series.
image.png


On Sun, Jul 31, 2022 at 10:31 AM Electri-Cal <calboats@...> wrote:
Just as an update, I am now working with a party to fix or at least reduce that "Trailer rot" problem.  When we get the answers, I will no doubt offer free samples in exchange for testing and  brief written evaluation..  Salt water results are of course faster, before and after pix collected over time.  Design is being looked at, as are other obstructions to doing a new product correctly.  Not at all cheap, testing takes time, legalities etc. but it should be a good project, you will be informed as it happens. 

Not my first rodeo with this stuff, ----  Cal


Jove Lachman-Curl
 

Also Cal,
A bit more reading online suggests that this idea probably won't work much, unless you're submerged in an electrolyte most of the time, or your anodes are very close together. Zinc Paint is probably your best bet.
-Jove

On Sun, Jul 31, 2022 at 12:44 PM Jove Lachman-Curl <jovelc87@...> wrote:
I've been pretty cavalier about lead in the past, but the more I learn about its durability and toxicity, the less of it I want around.
Using it as a sacrificial anode seems unwise, even if it worked. Which it won't since its the other side of Iron on the electro reactivity series.
image.png


On Sun, Jul 31, 2022 at 10:31 AM Electri-Cal <calboats@...> wrote:
Just as an update, I am now working with a party to fix or at least reduce that "Trailer rot" problem.  When we get the answers, I will no doubt offer free samples in exchange for testing and  brief written evaluation..  Salt water results are of course faster, before and after pix collected over time.  Design is being looked at, as are other obstructions to doing a new product correctly.  Not at all cheap, testing takes time, legalities etc. but it should be a good project, you will be informed as it happens. 

Not my first rodeo with this stuff, ----  Cal


 

"Galvanic corrosion" of ferrous metals is also called "rust". <g> The usual anode material for ferrous metals is zinc, but the anodes need an electrolyte to work, I'm pretty sure. Anodes would help while the trailer was submerged, but I don't think they'd do any good most of the time, when the trailer is out of the water rotting away from the merely damp salt encrusting its nooks and crannies.

I think the best prevention is to rinse out the insides of any tubular parts. I was reasonable good about dipping Pickles first trailer, whose main members were all rectangular tubes, in a convenient fresh water lake after launching in salt water. Usually not immediately, but within a few days. When I cut the trailer up the main members were still solid enough, but the tongue had rotted out from the inside. :o( Worst up at the forward end. The main members got rinsed in fresh water, but I would have had to back the trailer in until the hitch was underwater to rinse the whole tongue.

Even most trailers made with channels for the main frame have tubular tongues. Take a hose and stick it in one end of the tongue and give it a good rinse after launching in salt water.

The little Harbor Freight utility trailer I got came with a tongue that is a rectangular tube, but with a slot in one side, which faced the bottom on the trailer. There's a name for that kind of tube (and I think I can find it in the Coyote Steel catalog). It'd be easy to rinse and would dry quickly. :o) The HF trailer tongue has steel tabs welded across the slot in a couple of places to counter wringing. Using that kind of tube might be a good bet when replacing a trailer tongue.

On 7/29/2022 7:33 AM, Rich G wrote:
Uh, seems to me it’s apples and oranges in that.  I’m not really thoroughly knowledgeable on these things by any means but I speculate that rust isn’t the same as galvanic corrosion for which an anode is used ordinarily.   I don’t think your aluminum plates would be useful save to look good for a spell while the metal it’s bolted to rusts away.
Rich

On Jul 29, 2022, at 5:50 AM, Electri-Cal wrote:

After yesterdays real time discussion on the horrific trailer problems we always seem to have, I woke up with an idea.  I went online and found which anode materials apply to which metals, that are used on steel hull boats for instance.  The answer, for fresh and salt water corrosion seems to be good old aluminum, generally speaking.  I assume from the info. we could add aluminum plates in say 4 to 6 areas that are proven corrosion areas.  Probably near major welded places, it sounds like that slows down the steels rust out resistance somewhat.
...--
John <jkohnen@...>
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. (Mohandas K. Gandhi)


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If you're worried about the electricity in the trailer wiring unplug the trailer lights when launching. I try to remember to do that anyway when the lights use conventional bulbs -- a hot bulb hitting cold water can burst.

But most of the rusting of a trailer happens when it's out of the water. It's only briefly submerged, and most of the time the trailer lights are unplugged when it's on dry land too.

On 7/29/2022 12:03 PM, Electri-Cal wrote:
...
Another thought is that the trailer wiring is attached to  steel grounds, or similar light fixture clamps might have residual drain, that's running low current through the frame, ...
--
John <jkohnen@...>
There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor. (George Santayana)
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The farther two metals are apart in the Galvanic series the more the baser metal will sacrifice itself to the nobler metal. Be careful when mixing metals underwater, especially in salt or brackish water, and use sacrificial anodes baser than any metal you want to keep:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series

On 7/30/2022 7:32 AM, Wes wrote:
The zinc will sacrifice itself for your steel.  But I’m pretty sure lead sacrificial anodes would sacrifice  your steel parts to save itself.  Aluminum would probably work like zinc as they have similar, high electrode potential (voltage).  The Wikipedia article “Standard Electrode Potential” has list of elements with the voltage/potential they will give off electrons, in other words turn into “corrosion.”  The higher negative values on the list will often “protect” those with lower values.
--
John <jkohnen@...>
Resistentialism: The theory that inanimate objects demonstrate hostile behavior toward us. (Coined by Paul Jennings from Latin res (thing) + French resister (to resist) + existentialism (a kind of philosophy))
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Lead is more noble than steel, so your trailer would sacrifice itself to your lead. The trailer would be the anode, and the lead the cathode...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series

On 7/30/2022 9:12 PM, Electri-Cal wrote:
Hey Rich, how does rusty metal removal differ from in water galvanic action ??   Since you say the anodes won't work, do you have a substitute material to consider ??   If I recall, much of the pure lead round surf sinkers I mentioned have been replaced with zinc for ecological reasons.  Maybe some tests might show a benefit from that approach, what do you think ??
--
John <jkohnen@...>
Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want. (Jonathan Swift)
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Richard Green
 

The difference between rust and the galvanic corrosion is that rust is a process of oxidation which will occur without electricity and galvanic corrosion is a metal and electrical “eating” of the less noble metals. Seems to me. I see a big difference between the two. As regards protecting the trailer insides in box beam trailers I have taken some and sloshed Ospho around it my trailers until the inside has been coated thoroughly as I can do it. The outside gets Ospho painted on and in the final treatment, I use Rustoleum rattle can anti rust primer then a topcoat. Best I can say.

Rich

On Jul 31, 2022, at 4:02 PM, John Kohnen <jkohnen@...> wrote:

Lead is more noble than steel, so your trailer would sacrifice itself to your lead. The trailer would be the anode, and the lead the cathode...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series

On 7/30/2022 9:12 PM, Electri-Cal wrote:
Hey Rich, how does rusty metal removal differ from in water galvanic action ?? Since you say the anodes won't work, do you have a substitute material to consider ?? If I recall, much of the pure lead round surf sinkers I mentioned have been replaced with zinc for ecological reasons. Maybe some tests might show a benefit from that approach, what do you think ??
--
John <jkohnen@...>
Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want. (Jonathan Swift)


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