Product Review - Corrosion Block

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By Mike House, Sportfish Hawaii

When Sportfish Hawaii received an email from Kurt Akamine at Pacific Corrosion Technologies asking us to do a product review on Corrosion Block, my curiosity level was somewhat incited.   I had seen the tall, distinctive can in the stores next to other spray lubricants, but without any technical data or having had much opportunity to try it out, I admit to usually reaching for cans with a lower price tag (a 12 oz aerosol can of Corrosion Block propelled with environmentally safe R134 gas retails for $13.95).  After a few emails back and forth, I met with Kurt to see if he could convince me that Corrosion Block was any different, and why it was they could justify the higher price.

The Informal Survey

Before meeting with Kurt, I decided to do some informal testing and surveys on my own.  I found a few skippers and other people who get corrosion on their vehicles, and I wanted to see what they thought.  “Great stuff,” said one owner of a 28-foot, gas-powered Sea Ray in Hawaii Kai.  “This boat doesn’t get used like it should be, so every time I come in I wash the boat down and then spray the engine with a full can of Corrosion Block.  I don’t know if I’m using too much or too little, but it sure is nice to see the engine room in the same condition it was when I left a couple months later instead of everything rusting out.” 

Everyone I spoke with liked it, and felt it did a job ranging from “pretty good” to “awesome.”  The only negative response I received from the dozen or so people I spoke with about the product was, you guessed it, the price. 

With that, I met with Kurt, who, as the exclusive distributor for Corrosion Block products in the Pacific, replied without any hesitation, “I make no excuses for the price.  You can either get rid of corrosion using this product, or you can pay the mechanic.  It’s that simple.”  Strong words, I thought.  This will be a fun challenge to see if the stuff measures up.  By the way, the company also makes a waterproof grease, however, the focus of this review is on the Corrosion Block spray itself. 

A way to cause Bodily Harm

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Outboard engine treated with Corrosion Block

Well dressed at our meeting, the first thing Kurt did was demonstrate the coating protection of the product by producing two plastic canisters, an electric light bulb socket from an ordinary table lamp, and a few napkins.  Inside one canister was a half-gallon or so of Corrosion Block.  He dipped the light bulb and the fixture into the canister filled with Corrosion Block, plugged in the light and turned it on, holding the entire assembly with his bare hands.   As I cringed, he explained Corrosion Block is completely non-conductive, yet it is not an insulator either.  It is simply a coating of protection that does not allow electricity to flow past it, he said.  A moment later, he took the lit bulb and socket, complete with a layer of Corrosion Block on it, and dipped it into the second canister. 

The second canister was empty when we met, but he filled with water from the sink right in front of me.

Still holding the assembly with his bare hands, he didn’t flinch as he dipped the still glowing bulb and socket into the water-filled jug.  It remained lit with no sparks or blown fuses.  Just as he removed the light from the water, a fellow veteran of the sea happened to walk by.  “Dipping a light bulb in a jug of water?” he said with a bewildered look on his face.  Not bothering to wait for the response, he shook his head and left the room probably thinking a couple of fools were about to cause serious bodily harm to themselves.  “I get that reaction all the time,” said Akamine as he wiped off his hands.  “I wouldn’t try that experiment with any other product in this industry.”

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Notice the thin, clear fluid on the tip of the finger

Some Technical Talk

What is corrosion?  According to Webster’s dictionary, corrosion means to “wear away or diminish by gradually separating small particles.”  According to the product literature from Corrosion Block, corrosion is a “natural process which converts metals by either a chemical or electrochemical reaction into a stable metallic compound such as an oxide, hydroxide, or sulfate.”   The easy way to describe it this: mix metal with water and air for long enough and the metal will weaken, break, or completely disintegrate altogether.  The trick in stopping corrosion is to keep metal from directly contacting water by applying some type of protective coating, be it paint, tar, pitch, wax, Teflon, or, that’s right, Corrosion Block.

The product is described in their literature as a “clean, clear, ultra-thin fluid which leaves a non-greasy atmospheric barrier to protect the base metal on interior surfaces.  It leaves no gummy residue because it contains no wax, resin, tar, asphalt, silicone or Teflon.”  And as I found out in my own testing, these claims are accurate.

Let’s quit the talk and put it to The Test

OK, enough technical jargon.  Does the stuff work as well as they say?  I can say without any hesitation that the answer is an unequivocal yes.  Hawaii is a particularly good environment for corrosion to begin with, and the ocean here is even better.  Top that off with a couple of outboard engines, and the recipe for corrosion is complete.   Using the Sportfish Hawaii test boat, a 25-foot Whaler with twin Evinrude 150 HP outboards, I began with a simple spray of a different product all over the powerheads.  The product was one of the other ones usually found on the shelf near Corrosion Block, and came recommended by an outboard mechanic.

I was told by a couple of different mechanics that spraying the powerheads is a good idea to protect them, but the downside is the resulting build-up makes for a tough job when it is time work on the engines again.  I was also warned to not get any spray into the electrical components such as the magneto as it might burn them out.  Heeding this advise, I sprayed the product on and inspected a few days later.  Sure enough, there was a gummy build-up and I was glad I had no work to do on the motors that day.

I then ran the boat.  The spray did an adequate job of protecting the engines until then, but I noticed when I returned to the boat a day after running it that it began to burn off.  After running the boat a few more times and spraying the product on, I found myself going through about a half can every time, and having to re-apply it almost every time I used the boat.   The gummy build-up got into several corners, making a bit of a mess, but the protectant kept disappearing as though it has been washed off.

Then came the Corrosion Block test.  Without cleaning anything, I sprayed CB on the powerheads.  Four days later, after feeling the thickness of the spray and checking for build-up, I sprayed more all over the powerheads, waited a few minutes, and it felt the same as it did before I sprayed the second time.  I then ran the boat, and took a look again.

Not certain if I needed more product, I sprayed the engines again, replaced the covers, and let time and the ocean air do its thing.  For three full weeks I did not remove the covers of the engines.  I ran the boat hard for anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours, returned to the slip and washed the boat down without looking at the powerheads.  No spray, no wash, no inspection.  After three weeks, all seemed well, so I left it for another eight weeks, “running it hard and putting it away wet.”

No White Powder

After eight weeks (a total of 11 without any further application), it was time to inspect for damage.  There was none.  The same thin layer was still present over most of the engine surfaces, no corrosion was evident anywhere, and no white powder was visible in the gaskets.  The electrical connections were clean and secure.  All that was present was a thin layer of protection.

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Note the lack of corrosion after 11 weeks

To say I was shocked when I first lifted the covers is an understatement.  Anyone who has owned a boat in Hawaii knows you can’t just leave your engines for over two months without doing some maintenance and expect them to look like they came out of the factory.  But that’s what happened.  Now, the engines were in good shape to begin with as they were just overhauled a couple of months prior, but the ocean air in Hawaii wreaks havoc on anything it can get its hands on and I took a chance in putting Corrosion Block to the test for so long.  Some of my tools, by comparison, contained in a plastic tool box in the forward cabin, were rusting at an alarming rate during the same period of time.  I had to clean them up and apply some Corrosion Block to them.

So it’s a little more…..it’s cheaper in the long run

The bottom line is you get what you pay for.  For those concerned about the price (which really isn’t a whole lot more than the other spray products), consider the effectiveness of the product.  The goal is corrosion protection, so if the item you are trying to save lasts longer, you’ve saved a ton of money in not having to replace it.  It also won’t ruin plastic or paint, and it stops rubber from drying out, so you save money, and time, on tedious repairs. 

But those are the obvious savings.   Savings that aren’t so obvious are in the application and usage.  Because Corrosion Block is non-conductive and the thin film layer never builds up, each application lasts longer.  A typical 12 oz can lasts more than three times as long as other products just in application

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12 oz spray & handpump with convenient 40 oz refill bottle

alone, and depending on how it is applied, the manufacturer claims it can last up to 18 months on a single application.  Of course, wipe downs and washed areas will need reapplication more frequently, but it won’t take much to take care of those areas.  Imagine the savings you can achieve by applying a little at a time to areas that need it most instead of continually applying greasy buildup products that dissolve quickly.

How about Mother Nature?

It’s also good for the environment.  Corrosion Block wipes down easily and comes clean with a little soap and water.   Kurt’s demonstration ended easily enough with out so much as a drop on his clothing, and he was ready for his next appointment.  

Corrosion Block is virtually non-toxic, the spray can contains no CFC’s, and the 40 oz container comes with a unique hand-action spray pump that can be used again and again.  Though the hand pump dispenser was a little tough to get into the tighter areas from the lack of a straw, it dispensed the product onto surfaces quickly and efficiently.  And the bottle is easy to refill.

So next time you see someone dip a lit light bulb into a jug of water, make sure it is coated with Corrosion Block first.  If it’s not, you’ll get to look at the person as though he or she is about to cause severe bodily harm.

Corrosion Block is available at most fishing supply (and other) stores in Hawaii.  If you can’t find it, call Kurt Akamine of Pacific Corrosion Technologies at (808) 836-2953, or toll free at (800) 668-8228.  Of course, you can also email him at rustblock@aol.com.

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