View Full Version : Salt Water Maintenance

12-21-2007, 04:33 PM
I run my 93 S & S in a salt water lake. (I know, but it is my only option for getting on a slalom course) I flush the motor after every use, and rinse the trailer. I have manifold drain lines going to the bilge. My question is, what other steps can I take, other than a closed loop cooling system, to minimize salt water damage to my beautiful boat? The boat goes to fresh water about 6 times a yesr, also.

12-21-2007, 05:25 PM
A nice coat of the entire engine with WD-40 before and after will help. Don't forget to coat the engine mounts and any miscellaneous hardware like hinges and such as well.

With the flush, I wouldn't think disconnecting the manifold drain lines would be necessary, but it couldn't hurt I suppose.

12-21-2007, 06:54 PM
I ran my '94 PS 190 in salt. Every time I would flush the engine for 10 minutes with fresh water, then three cups worth of Salt-X through it as well. Afterwards I would lightly hose the engine off with fresh water and give it a good coating of Boeing T-9. When I say good, I mean I would use 1/4 - 1/3 of the can each time coating the entire engine and all other metal under the engine cover. I would also give a quick squirt behind the dash and on the driveshaft. I would use soap/water to scrub the hull then hose off with fresh water and a cup of Salt-X. I was fotunate enough not to use the trailer all of the time, but the few times I did, I would be sure to thoroughly rinse with fresh water and coat the winch with T-9. I also hit the metal on the swim platform, the prop, shaft, tracking fins, and rudder.

I work for a marine dealer who specializes in inboards that only see salt water and are rarely hauled. Before I purchased the boat, I discussed the maintenance with their service director and this is what was recommended.

12-21-2007, 08:09 PM
MC has some new Anodes that you can attach to your shaft and engine block I believe! also when you flush your engine, unless flushing within the hour that you take the boat out of the water, you should flush for 25ish minutes!! Long enough to let the thermostat's open up and let the water run through the whole engine! If you flush a cold boat for ten minutes, you're only cleaning half the engine!!

Someone came in yesterday that has an X-Star in the middle east and we discussed this with our mechanic!!

12-21-2007, 09:14 PM
If you re-read my post, you will notice that I stated I flushed my vessel for 10 minutes with fresh water, and then started cycles with Salt-x (usually three dispenser cups). Total flush time is around 20-30 minutes. Plus, I don't think I would ever let my boat hang out for too long with salt sitting in the manifolds.

Unless your boat is sitting in the salt for an extended period of time, anodes aren't going to do any good. I bought a set for my PS, but after research on this site and talking to others, I decided against installing them.

12-22-2007, 02:04 AM
figures! I don't have a saltwater boat, nor have any experience with one, I was just sharing what I heard yesterday!! The guy that we talked to runs in the Persian gulf which has a very high salinity, so the anodes are very useful, and should help him alot in keeping his boat running like new!!

12-22-2007, 06:43 PM
Thanks for al the good information! I wasn't too far off, and will follow up!

12-23-2007, 10:22 AM
Salt is the toughest on MC trailers. The boats can handle it relatively well, but the trailers take the beating with the closed tube frame. I have several friends who dump their new boats in the salt and the best idea I have seen yet is my buddy who has a 15 gallon fresh water tank below the rear bench seat for washing the salt off the skier after getting out of the water. You would not think that this means much, but when the skier gets out, he carries alot of salt on his body, which stains the carpets, rusts all the non-stainless interior pieces and keeps the boat nice and clean. He just has a washdown pump and a 15 gallon tank with a shower nozzle, so when you hop out, just spray yourself down on the swim platform and hop in the boat.

As for the mechanicals, you cannot beat a freshwater cooling system. They are relatively inexpensive and really save your motor. Before I had mine installed, I had an acid flush, which supposedly removed all the calcium, rust and build up on the cooling passages. After running the system for 3 years, I went and had the coolant sampled and it was still fresh as new. If you have the LT-1, a closed cooling system is necessary, because the aluminum heads and the iron block can actually weld themselves together by galvanic corrosion.

You can keep a boat nice when it is used in salt, you just need to be much more anal and throw some elbow grease into it. A long flush, a freshwater rinse down of the interior every once in a while and some silicone spray on the engine will keep everything looking nice and fresh. The trailer is pretty much a lost cause, unless it is a galvanized one. The old drum brakes will last about 2 months getting a salt bath on a regular basis. There is just no good way to flush them out, even with a flush kit.... discs are the way to go in salt.