Originally Posted by night0wl
MaineSail...here's my conundrum.
I have a relatively new boat, 3 years old. Live near an area of a power plant incinerator, so I get this particularly nasty soot that is not even coming off with dawn detergent wash. So I've thought about a few options, but I'm wondering what the long term effects of these are:
1) Using Collinite #920 to get down to bare gelcoat to rebuild the wax process. This stuff is cheap and is in the Collinite family. What I dont know or like very much is that it appears to use silica which means its an abrasive. I dont like abrasives at all because modern production boat gelcoats are thin as it is and I want to minimize the use of anything that could wear through it. Plus, abrasives inevitably mean a wax/buff application...which will be hard work to do right. Like a waxing/buffing process.
2) Using Interlux 202 solvent. This takes the grime *RIGHT* off. But I dont know what the long term effects of continual use of solvent are on the gelcoat. I intend to own the boat a long time, so solvents in general make me concern. I've heard things like it can make gelcoat soft/sticky, etc. In looking at the ingredients on the quart bottle I bought, the 3 components of this wash are: Methyl Isobutyl Ketone, Cyclohexanon, Aromatich Naptha. Also, this stuff is pricey...at $50 a gallon or $25 a quart
3) FXR or Oxalic acid wash. This stuff is in Black Streak Remover, FXR wash, ON/Off wash, etc. Seems to remove the soot/grease/grime and is a cheap product. I worry about its effect on metal including my aluminum toe rail, various stainless bits/bobs. Its impossible to mask everything off and then do a wholesale cleaning of the boat using this stuff. How much contact with metal is needed before pitting or damage to metal occurs?
Basically, I'm trying to get to bare gel-coat and working my way back up with wax coats of Collinite #885
Try NAPTHA. One of my favorites for removing wax, grime etc. and a lot cheaper than Interlux 202.....
PLEASE DO NOT worry about the thickness of your gelcoat. Even the thinnest gelcoat is 20-30 times thicker than the clear coat of a car and cars are buffed with the SAME polishes and compounds as boats are.
The new boats have gelcoat just as thick as any other boat. I buff 40 year old gelocaot boats that are still not burned through and that have been buffed with abrasives for 40 years. I'm buffing/polishing a 1978 Cape Dory 36 next week and this boat is buffed EVERY year and has been since about 1981 when this owner bought it. Boat still looks amazing for a 33 year old boat..