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Author Topic:   Refurbishing Aluminum Supports on RPS
Jim Bennett posted 08-25-2001 09:58 AM ET (US)   Profile for Jim Bennett   Send Email to Jim Bennett  
My recently obtained "73 Outrage 21 has aluminum supports (feet) on the RPS. Having spent its entire life in FL the aluminum is well oxidized; also the aluminum in outrigger assembly on console. Figure I need to use power wire brush to clean up and restore brightness to these areas Would appreciate any other suggestions for restoring and future protection. Currently plan to keep boat in Ohio freshwater.
lhg posted 08-25-2001 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Rather than the work of restoring salt corroded aluminum, you might want to consider upgrading to the composite legs that have now been used for the last 25 years. They used to be dark brown, but colors have changed over the years. And when you re-install the seat, consider mounting the legs on 4" high teak blocks. You will like the much needed extra height. Mine is raised six inches, so that a pull out 72 Qt Igloo, with cushion, will fit under it in the BW cooler cleats. But a few have mentioned that they think 6" is too high.

Incidentally, does anybody know what a set of these composite RPS legs costs from a Dealer, or even better, who is the OEM? This seems to be a highly guarded secret at Boston Whaler.

Jim Bennett posted 08-26-2001 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Bennett  Send Email to Jim Bennett     
Thanks for response. Until someone answers your question about vendor for RPS composite legs, I'll continue to try and cleanup and use my Al ones.
As for raising seat, 4-6",is that done to improve leg comfort or visibilty or both? Like the idea of cooler under seat. Also remember reading somewhere in another of your posts recommending a larger than standard cooler seat in front of console. Would you mind repeating that info here or e-mail me. Am I correct that original was 86 qt? West and Shoreway only show 60,70 an 94 - no 86.I will probably need to replace mine and get cushion from Dave's or Whalertim in this forum.
Tom W Clark posted 08-26-2001 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

If you want to clean up your aluminum supports you can do so by wire brushing them as you say. A Dremel tool may come in handy. You may find that after getting a lot of the corrosion off of them you might want to sand them with sand paper. Aluminum sands quite nicely, though the rate of erosion is far less than wood, of course. A palm sander or random orbital sander will work nicely on flat surfaces as will a belt sander. Grits of 150 to 220 work well. If you have one, a Fein brand detail sander will get into many awkward places. You may continue to sand with finer and finer grits and even polish them if you want, though a brushed finish is probably preferable. You could also have them professionally polished at vast expense.

After cleaning them up you have some choices. Leave them raw and they will very quickly deteriorate and look awful. You spray a clear coat like laquer on them. You could paint them the color of your choice or have them powder coated or anodized, which is probably the most durable method. No matter what you do, they will eventually begin to deteriorate even in fresh water.

I've just received some great photos of lhg's boat showing how he raised his console and rps. His are lifted 6"! He has an Igloo 72 qt with cushion under the rps on Whale Lure.

On my last Whaler I used an igloo 25 qt mounted on Whaler style chocks under the rps, no lift. Remember that Igloo changed they lid designs on all their coolers in the early 90's to a "domed" design which effectively increased their capacity and thus their model names. An old 86 qt cooler is essentially the same as a contemporary 94 qt cooler but with a domed lid. This is why there is confusion about what we call the coolers in the older Whalers and the ones sold now. The newer lids have reeked havoc with the ability to stow them under seats and such as well as the ease with which the lids open if they are up against something like the front of a console, especially if they have the cushion on top.

dgp posted 08-26-2001 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
You might consider media blasting them with glass beads, walnut shells or cocoa hulls. Most machine shops can glass bead blast. You might have to hunt more to find walnut or cocoa blasters. A really good automotive rebuilder would use this media.
If you're going to anodize or powder coat then that provider might be able to remove the oxidation or recommend someone who will.
Jim Bennett posted 08-26-2001 04:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Bennett  Send Email to Jim Bennett     
Thanks all for responses. I believe I will do the sanding and see how it turns out. I was wondering about using a clear spray lacquer after. If sanding turns out OK that is probably what I will do.

Tom, your comments on cooler confirm what I suspected about size issue. Maybe I'll just keep old cooler and replace handles,drain spout and order cushion. One problem with existing cooler is its weathered surface. dull and tinged "tan" Am going to have topside, inner deck and console resurfaced and painted with Imron. Maybe should have cooler painted also. Any thoughts on that.

Boat is currently at dealer having Merc engine reconditioned. I am sanding away
on teak and will start varnishing soon.

Tom W Clark posted 08-26-2001 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

If the cooler you have is an old 86 qt, then what I would do is buy a new 94 qt and replace the lid with the lid from your old cooler. The new cushion for the top will cover all but the very corners, at least it will if you get a Whaler spec cushion and not the crappy igloo optional cushion.

lhg posted 08-26-2001 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Tom - the new Igloos (now 12 years old) also have different bodies. I have both an older 86 and the newer ones, and the lids would definitely not be interchangeable. Width is greater on the new ones.

Regarding opening the new coolers in front of the console, just turn them around, facing the hinges out. Works like a charm, and is easy to get used to. They'll never blow open this way when trailering, etc.

Even though both of my Whalers have the standard Montauk console, both raised 4", I use the big 162QT igloo in front. The height is much better for two people to comfortably sit, or for one to lay down and lounge, and the additional storage is great. The extra width is not a problem at all, and you have a really nice seat for two. Only downside is with the 18 Outrage, the seat is a bit high for comfortable sitting when the forward shelter is set. On both boats, I didn't even need new cooler cleats. Just move the existing mahogany ones out, and forward a little. It is not necessary to bungee strap this big cooler in place.

The only reason I mentioned getting the new composite seat legs is for cost. I would think that would be less expensive than messing around with restoration of the old ones. Anybody know who makes them, or how much they cost from Whaler?

GAwhale posted 08-27-2001 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for GAwhale  Send Email to GAwhale     
In my profession I deal with a great amount of aluminum corrosion on airplanes. It is always worst in galley and lavatory areas. Hope the following information is of help:

We usually use a high speed die grinder with round scotch brite pads (3M). The 90 degree grinder is easier to hold. There are three types: Brown(most course), Red(middle), Gray(fine). The Red is the most used. We must remove all corrosion including all the pitting. The aluminum is then measured with a micrometer or depth guage. If it is within limits per the related Structural Repair Manual (10% is generally safe), it can be treated.

It is always easier if the part can be removed from the aircraft. The first step is to place the part in the acid etch tank. It then must be neutralized in the water tank. Then it goes into the aladine tank. Aladine is a known carcinogen (causes cancer). Proper safety equipment must be worn. The Aladine turns the part a gold color. It also must be neutralized in the water tank. The Aladine provides the aluminum with a corrosive barrier. The last step is to paint the part with gray aluminized primer.

There is an old wives tale that aluminum dust causes Alzheimers Disease. I have never seen proof of this.

GAwhale posted 08-27-2001 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for GAwhale  Send Email to GAwhale     
Just to clarify;
(10%material removed, 90%remaining is generally safe)

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