How can I remove pits and restore my T Top frame?
Nick Varie asked:
Q: will this product remove pits in aluminum. i have them on my boats aluminum t top
A: Which product are you referring to? Can you send me pictures?
Q: I guess the buff product but I am not sure if it would work or if you have a better solution
A: Pictures really help. Are the pits on the tubes as well or just on the flat plate? Can you stick a pin or toothpick into the deepest pit and let me know how deep it is?When I know exactly what you’re dealing with, I’ll be able to help.
Q: The pits are in the tubes also but if I try to put a pin in it doesn’t go in at all it is just on the surface. I can sand it off with sand paper but it doesn’t look good. It is a mako boat and they said it is anodized aluminum but the anodizing obviously didn’t protect it
A: For your convenience, I’ve highlighted the hyperlinks. Click on the hyperlink to get more information about the selected product.
Good news. If the pits aren’t too deep, that means that you’ve caught it in time and can restore your T Top to its former glory. Anodizing gives you a nice appearance when new but doesn’t protect against salt air. Alumetron is a clear coat that can protect your aluminum against salt and corrosion for up to 10 years. It comes with a 3 year warranty that can be extended to 5 years if further protected with VS721.
If you had protected your aluminum T top frame when it was new, you would not have this problem today and it would still look new.
The procedure to restore and protect your aluminum T top is as follows:
First, wet sand the surface until most, if not all of the pits, are no longer visible. In your case you have some flat panels as well as the tubes.
On the flat panels that have a higher polish, use 800 grit wet sandpaper and a flat sanding block. Keep the surface wet and sand back and forth, with the grain. If you sand across the grain or in circles you will see the striation marks or swirls. If you want a higher shine, you can go over it again with 1,000 grit, but 800 should give you a satisfactory finish.
On the tubes, use 600 grit wet sandpaper and keep the surface wet at all times and sand with the grain only. On most aluminum tubes the grain is perpendicular to the length. If you have long sheets of wet sandpaper, you can draw the paper back and forth around the tube. With shorter lengths of sandpaper, you can wrap it around and work it back and forth with your hand.
Next you need to neutralize any residual corrosion that may be in the remaining pits or grain of the aluminum by passivating it with Marine Grade Alumabrite. Don’t use industrial grade as it will etch the surface and turn it white and streaky. Residual corrosion will remain active and eventually blister the clear coat above it. Dilute the concentrated Alumabrite with water, following the instruction on the bottle, spray or brush it on and after the waiting time (test for best results), rinse it clean.
Wipe on 4 coats of Alumetron with a lint free cotton cloth. Each coat dries quickly so by the time you finish one coat it should be ready for the next and allow to cure. If some minor, shallow pits remain, the Alumetron will fill them in so they won’t be as noticeable, but it’s better to remove them all if you can.
To extend the warranty from 3 years to 5 years, apply 2 coats of VS721 over the clear coat. Simply wipe it on with a damp sponge and wipe off the haze. After 24 hours apply a 2nd coat. It will give you better abrasion resistance as well as additional make your top super easy to keep clean. In your case, the beauty of VS721 is that salt can’t stick to it. When you’re back at dock after a day’s fishing all you need to do to get the salt off is rinse it with a garden hose and you’re done. VS721 needs to be reapplied about twice a year, but it’s quick and easy.
I know that this sounds like a lot of work but it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. You don’t have to remove the frame from the boat. You’ll increase the value of your boat by making the frame look new again, or better than new, plus save a lot of money over replacement. Alumetron even comes with a sticker for the frame indicating that it has a 5 year warranty on the finish and this can add a lot of value if you plan to sell or trade the boat.
This coating system is proven to last up to 10 years, even in constant salt water immersion, and the time you spend now; you’ll save many times over by not having to wash the salt off the frame every time you use your boat.
Thanks for your question,