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Mondofromredondo
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently relocated my PSC from a small Los Angeles Harbor (Redondo Beach King Harbor) to the busy Port of San Pedro. San Pedro has lots of large freighters which I am certain spew out huge amounts of smog.

I was down at my boat over the weekend and noticed the interior side of the bronze portlights had changed from the smooth patina surface to a heavily oxidized almost looking as though they have been through a fire. Even areas of the interior bronze appear to be blue in color. They look terrible and this has only been after being in San Pedro for a month.

As I have left at least one portlight open all the time to allow the boat to breathe is it possible that smog from the large freighters is causing this to happen? It's very troubling as they use to be beautiful and now they look as I said as though they have been in a fire.

I'm curious if anyone else has had this issue and whether or not they are thinking this could be caused by the smog from the large freighters.

Note that Redondo and Pedro are only about 20 miles apart.

Also if anyone has any idea how to restore these portlights to their original / aged condition. I'm guessing the only way is to start the aging process over from the beginning in the proper envioronment which may mean moving the boat back to a less polluted area (if that is infact the cause of the oxidation).
 

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Not Finished Yet
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My v-berth portlight dogs, and the hooks on the ceiling that they hang from, are very green. This only happens with the v-berth lights. The v-berth and head lights get really hard to open shortly after I clean them, especially in the head. It does seem to develop a dark patina. The other 7 portlights never have any issues at all. Still have not figured this one out, but it is moving up my list, because it worries me.
 

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Keith,

I have had my '88 Pacific Seacraft 31 (same portlights as yours) in San Pedro for 14 years and have not seen the oxidation you describe. (or maybe I have forgotten how shiny they should look?) Stop by C 29 47 some time and we can figure out what is going on.

John
PCS 31 #28
 

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Try Tarnex to git rid of the tarnish followed by a good brass polish to shine and/or wax to protect the metal from corrosive atmosphere. Brass can be quickly tarnished by sulfur dioxide from diesel engine exhaust fumes and by sulfur compounds from smog. Some industrial pollutants will also do it.

Also, gasses from charging batteries can also do this. Make sure you are not over charging your batteries.

A lacquer coating can also prevent tarnish after it is polished but is a pain to apply well without making a mess and a bigger mess to remove when it breaks down.

I salvaged (from a marina trash bin) a brass clock by taking it to a buffing wheel with compound. It was so raunchy and pitted! It looked beautiful afterwards. It looked so good that it set off a major stealing fit at our white elephant Christmas party at work.

The lady who finally ended up with it, was smiling like she had just made off with the Hope Diamond. I could not believe it!

Have FUN!
 

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Mondofromredondo
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221 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for your replies.
John I am in Cabrillo Marina Berth 29 A-8. I saw a PSC 31 a dock or two over. could that be yours? Well if you aren't having the same problem as me then it would probably exclude the exhaust from the ships. So its probably a more personal problem for me.

Raindog I'm almost glad to have someone seeing a bit of the same thing I am.
By the way I almost just called you "Rabidog" by accident.

I fear that the damage could eventually become so great that I may not be able to take them back to a smooth finish let alone a nice patina again.

As Miatapaul suggested it perhaps could be electrolysis. I don't know the nature of the errant electricity at my marina as of yet but will look into that. Being that (I think) portlights are not bonded would they be subject to electrolysys eminating from errant current in the water?
 

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Pacific Seacraft 34
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I think its very unlikely the cause of the discoloration you've described is due to electrolysis or galvanic action. For such an environment to develop, the metals must be immersed in an electrolyte, such as seawater, with very low voltage electrical currents present. Unless the frames are electrically connected to other submerged metals on the boat, it's not electrolysis or galvanic action at work

Do you have any sort of ionizer or air cleaner running constantly on board? Ozone producing machines can cause similar changes to metals and metallic finishes. And, as has been mentioned gases from over charged batteries can cause this.

On Jo Beth, all of our bronze port lights have a deep green-gray patina, as do the outer frames. And, they're all evenly colored. They've been that way for years, decades.

Raindog, it's really strange that your frames are a mix and match of patinas. I'd be interested to hear what you determine is the cause.
 

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I would investigate whether small differences in air flow result in condensation (dew) on some ports and not others. And a different port could have a different micro-climate. Heck, that can change from one pier to the next. These minor variations raise hell with all sorts of weathering, corrosion, and mildew testing projects.

SVJobeth is right--it can't be stray current.
 

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Mondofromredondo
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All the portlights are not bonded and I can think of nothing placed inside of the boat that would emit a caustic gas like chlorine or battery acid. Yet all of the portlights are equally oxidized. Only 3-4 weeks agon they were beautiful with a smooth bronze color as expected after 25 years. All my thru hulls are bonded and I hang a zinc off of one of the shrouds for further protection and I have a Galvanic isolator system also.

I'm truly puzzled. I'll most likely just bring them back to original as best I can by whatever means and allow them to start aging again.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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LA harbor air quality is terrible. I was going to move my boat there at one time, until I realized just how nasty the air was on a bad day. I think you're suspicions about the smog are probably spot on.
 
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